President Joe Biden strongly condemned the brutal Kremlin invasion of Ukraine and urged the world to firmly support efforts to repel the aggression, telling the U.N. that Russian leader Vladimir Putin was making an implicit threat to use his nuclear arsenal. “reckless”.
Russian attacks on schools, hospitals and train stations “should make your blood boil,” Biden said at the United Nations on Wednesday, after Putin tried to bolster Russia’s flagging fortunes in Ukraine by authorizing a partial mobilization of reservists.
“The permanent members of the UN Security Council have invaded their neighbors in an attempt to wipe a sovereign nation off the map. Russia has shamelessly violated the core principles of the UN Charter,” Biden told the UN General Assembly in New York.
In a televised speech announcing Russia’s first reservist recruitment since World War II, Putin accused the West of nuclear blackmail and said his government would use all means to protect the country.
“Those who are trying to blackmail us with nuclear weapons must be aware that the prevailing winds may also turn on their side,” Putin said.
Biden accused him of showing “reckless disregard” for Russia’s responsibilities as a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, stressing that the core values of the United Nations are under threat if they don’t stand up to Putin.
“You can’t take a country’s territory by force,” Biden said. “Everyone of us in this institution…our resolve must be clear, firm and unwavering.”
► UK Prime Minister Liz Strauss said the UK is giving Ukraine $500 million through the World Bank to help it buy more natural gas. Ukraine has enough stockpiles for about six months.
► Ukrainian officials say Russian proxies in Donetsk province have recruited as many as 500 workers at the Donetsk steel plant, essentially shutting down two steel plants.
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Putin announces ‘partial’ military mobilization
Putin announced a partial military mobilization in a televised address to his country on Wednesday as the Ukrainian counteroffensive continued to push his invading forces back to the Russian border.
Putin’s plan was first unveiled by reservists who had served in the military, hours after the Russian-controlled eastern and southern regions of Ukraine announced plans to vote on becoming permanent Russian territory.
Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said 300,000 men — slightly more than 1 percent of the 25 million reservists who fit the description — would be drafted into the military.
Putin has previously avoided conscription to minimize the impact of the war on the Russian population — a term he rejects in favor of “special military operations.” But the conflict he hopes to be completed within weeks has dragged on for seven months with few signs of ending soon.
He blamed the West for the escalation and told his people that the U.S. and its allies were trying to turn Russia “into a series of deadly warring territories and regions.”
What is local mobilization?
Partial mobilization means that only Russians currently in the reserve will be drafted, Putin said. Putin said those initially brought back to the army would include experts and others with “relevant experience.”
That, he said, was enough to overcome “the threats we face to protect our homeland, our sovereignty and territorial integrity and ensure the safety of our people and the people of the liberated territories.”
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Has Putin threatened nuclear war?
Putin has accused the West of nuclear blackmail, accusing Ukraine and its allies of an explosion near the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant. Ukraine blamed Russia for the explosion, which international regulators warned could trigger a nuclear disaster. Putin also accused major NATO countries of suggesting that nuclear weapons could be used against Russia.
Putin said: “I want to remind you that our country also has various means of destruction, and … in order to protect Russia and our people, we will definitely use all means at our disposal. This is not bluff.”
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Russian Democratic Youth Movement protests war
Russia Wisner Democratic Youth Movement Calls for nationwide protests in response to Putin’s escalation of war. The group urged front-line troops to refuse to take part in “special operations” or to surrender as soon as possible. The site, which is hard to access from the United States, provides a hotline for soldiers looking for a way out.
“You don’t have to die for Putin,” the group said in a statement. “In Russia, you are needed by those who love you. To the authorities, you are just cannon fodder, and you will be squandered for no purpose or purpose.”
When will the referendum vote?
Referendum voting will begin on Friday in Luhansk, Kherson and parts of the Russian-held Zaporozhye and Donetsk regions. The referendum has been discussed for weeks, but a vote is not expected until November. Ukrainian military gains could force the Kremlin to increase voting rights as a pretext for intensifying military efforts in those regions.
Former President Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council chaired by Putin, said a successful referendum would lead to an “irreversible” redrawing of the border. He warned that Moscow could use “any means” to defend them.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky dismissed the vote as “noise” and thanked Ukrainian allies for condemning the vote. US National Security Adviser Jack Sullivan said Russia would manipulate “fake” results to annex the country.
“Let me be clear, if this does happen, the United States will never acknowledge Russia’s claims to any allegedly annexed parts of Ukraine,” Sullivan said.
Post-vote talks will be ‘impossible’, Russian lawmakers say
The head of Russia’s lower house foreign affairs committee said any prospect of talks with Ukraine was out of the question after the Donbas region voted to join Russia. Leonid Slutsky said the negotiating process had passed the point of no return.
“Politicians in Kyiv said earlier that surrender was the only possible development” that could end the fighting, he said. “We were ready to negotiate, but Kyiv violated all agreements.”
Russia cracks down on deserters
Russia’s lower house of parliament voted this week to strengthen laws that prohibit desertion, surrender and looting by Russian troops. Lawmakers also voted for a possible 10-year prison sentence for soldiers who refuse to fight. The laws are expected to be approved by the upper house and Putin.