In a rare video-taped address, Vladimir Putin announced a partial military mobilisation, putting more boots on ground in Ukraine amid reports of Russian troops losing major territory.
This would translate into three lakh people out of Russia’s vast reserves of 25 million being called up to fight Putin's war in Ukraine. Putin also threatened nuclear retaliation against the West and warned that he was not bluffing.
Putin's announcement raises fear of a broader conscription, leading to protests against mobilisation — as per an independent protest monitoring group. Over 1,400 protesters were detained across Russian cities.
The Russia-Ukraine war was in the spotlight at the United Nations General Assembly's yearly meeting. While US President Joe Biden slammed Russia’s nuclear threat as a reckless disregard, Ukrainian President Zelenskky said, “for us, this is the war for life.”
Former diplomat Vishnu Prakash told CNBC-TV18 that the Russia-Ukraine war is at a dangerous stage. He added that Putin calling up reservists is an ominous sign.
“This is a very dangerous and critical stage that the conflict has got into. Calling up the reservists is an ominous development, something that one was hoping not to see. If one looks at it, it is a tacit admission by Putin, that they have faced a huge setback in the battlefield. So, now it is not Russia’s war, it has become Putin’s war.”
Prakash believes that this is the time to sit at the table and hammer out a solution.
“Putin believes that he is like a czar. He is now a wounded and angry tiger. So I would take his threats seriously because Putin is capable of causing damage and he may not go down alone. However this is a time where cooler heads should prevail. This is actually the time to sit down on the negotiating table and hammer out a solution because otherwise we are heading towards a major crisis the likes of which the world has rarely seen earlier”, Prakash said.
Fred Weir, special correspondent at Christian Science Monitor, believes that Russia is going to a point of no return with the referendums.
“I think Russia is going past the point of no return with these referendums. So they are going to declare those frontlines now as the state border of Russia. So that suggests that there will be no backing off. Also mobilising the three lakh reserves definitely portends much wider, more destructive and bloodier war.”
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