Just a day after leaders of the separatist-controlled regions in eastern Ukraine called for referendums on accession to Russia, President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, 21 September, announced a partial mobilisation of troops.
"We are talking about partial mobilisation, that is, only citizens who are currently in the reserve will be subject to conscription, and above all, those who served in the armed forces have a certain military specialty and relevant experience," Putin said in his address to the nation.
The referendums will start on Friday in four regions – Luhansk, Kherson, Zaporizhzhia (partly Russian-controlled), and Donetsk regions.
In his speech, Putin accused the West of initiating a war against Russia in Ukraine since 2014.
"In its aggressive anti-Russian policy, the West has crossed all lines," the Russian president was quoted as saying.
Putin said he would use "all means available to us" to defend Russia. He further added that those who are trying to blackmail Russia with the nuclear threat will find the tables turned against them.
"I'm not bluffing," he asserted.