Putin Calls Up More Troops, Resumes Nuclear Threat Over Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin declared a “partial mobilization,” calling up 300,000 reservists, in a major escalation of his flagging invasion of Ukraine, which he portrayed as a fight to the death with the US and its allies.
As Russia moves to annex occupied Ukrainian territory, Putin also renewed his warnings of a nuclear threat. “When the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal to protect Russia and our people,” he said in a televised national address Wednesday. “This is not a bluff.”“Those who are trying to blackmail us with nuclear weapons should know that the wind patterns can also turn in their direction,” the president said, accusing the US and its allies of seeking to “destroy” Russia.
Putin’s latest threats come after a Ukrainian counteroffensive in the last few weeks dealt his troops their worst defeats since the early months of the conflict, retaking more than 10% of the territory that Russia held.
WWII Precedent
The mobilization – the country’s first since the Nazi invasion in World War II, according to historians – isn’t likely to be enough to slow Ukraine’s advances on the battlefield soon. Kyiv now has more troops armed with advanced weapons supplied by the US and its allies.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called the mobilization “an act of desperation.” He told reporters in New York, “Russia can’t win this criminal war. Putin is now banking on further military escalation and is only making things worse.”
Russia Sees Smaller Economic Hit From Sanctions as War Escalates
The U.S. saw no immediate need to react to his latest nuclear threat. “We’re monitoring as best we can their strategic posture so that, if we have to, we can alter ours,” US National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Wednesday. “We’ve seen no indication that that’s required right now.”
Throughout the conflict, Putin has sought to raise pressure on the West – cutting energy supplies, hinting he may use nuclear weapons – in attempts to undermine support for Kyiv. So far, those efforts have largely had the opposite effect.
World financial markets largely brushed off the news, with investors focused mainly on the US Federal Reserve’s interest-rate decision later Wednesday. Treasuries and the US dollar gained as investors sought havens after Putin’s remarks, while oil prices rose and Russian stocks plunged.
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