Mobilisation meaning: what does Russia’s partial military mobilisation mean, what is it - why Putin ordered it
Putin used a speech to announce the mobilisation into Ukraine, which differs from a mass or general mobilisation
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He also warned the West that Russia will use all available methods to defend its borders, saying, “it’s not a bluff.”
But what exactly is a partial military mobilisation, and what does it mean for the conflict in Ukraine?
Here is everything you need to know.
What did Putin say?
Putin accused the West of engaging in “nuclear blackmail” and noted “statements of some high-ranking representatives of the leading Nato states about the possibility of using nuclear weapons of mass destruction against Russia”.
And he added: “To those who allow themselves such statements regarding Russia, I want to remind you that our country also has various means of destruction, and for separate components and more modern than those of Nato countries, and when the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, to protect Russia and our people, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal.”
Putin stated that he had signed a decree authorising the partial mobilisation, which is set to begin on Wednesday (21 September).
Why has Putin ordered the mobilisation?
Putin’s address to the nation came just a day after Russian-controlled regions in eastern and southern Ukraine announced preparations to hold referendums on joining Russia.
Following recent Ukrainian victories on the battlefield, the Kremlin’s hasty attempts to swallow up four regions districts could pave the way for Moscow to intensify the war.
The referendums will begin on Friday (23 September) in Luhansk, Kherson and parts of Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk, which are partially controlled by Russia.
The UK’s Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said Putin’s actions were “an admission that his invasion is failing”.
“No amount of threats and propaganda can hide the fact that Ukraine is winning this war, the international community is united and Russia is becoming a global pariah.”
Foreign Office minister Gillian Keegan questioned whether Putin was “in control”. She told Sky News: “Some of the language there was quite concerning at the end and obviously we would urge for calm.”
The Chichester MP also said: “It’s something that we should take very seriously because, you know, we’re not in control.
“I’m not sure he’s in control either, really. I mean, this is obviously an escalation and, of course, for the Russian people now they will be conscripted into this war.”
What does ‘partial mobilisation’ mean?
Putin said: “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.”
The Russian leader said the decision to partially mobilise was “fully adequate to the threats we face, namely to protect our homeland, its sovereignty and territorial integrity, to ensure the security of our people and people in the liberated territories.”
Following Putin’s speech, Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s defence minister cleared up the facts and attempted to assuage the fears of Russian men across the country, anxious that they may suddenly be called upon to fight.
Shoigu stated that 300,000 military reservists will be mobilised; Russia has around 25 million possible reservists it could call upon. He stated that those 300,000 will not be taken all at once, but rather as needed.
He also assured students that they would not be drawn into the conflict, and should “be calm” and “keep going to class.”
Conscripts - persons enlisted compulsorily into the armed forces - will also not be deployed to the frontlines, a move which would have been highly unpopular in Russia.
In another signal that Russia is digging in for a protracted and possibly ramped-up conflict, the Kremlin-controlled lower house of parliament voted Tuesday (20 September) to toughen laws against desertion, surrender and looting by Russian troops. Legislators also voted to introduce possible 10-year prison terms for soldiers refusing to fight.
If approved, as expected, by the upper house and then signed by Putin, the legislation would strengthen commanders’ hands against failing morale reported among soldiers.