Russia to begin partial mobilization – Putin

The measure will apply to members of the reserve forces and those with military experience

In a nationwide address on Wednesday morning, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial military mobilization. He explained that the Defense Ministry has recommended drawing military reservists into active service, as the country faces a protracted conflict in Ukraine and Donbass.

The measure is sensible and necessary under the circumstances, Putin stated, adding that he has already signed an order for the call-up to start immediately. The Armed Forces will draw on military reservists only, and those who have completed national service, the president added. He promised that they will be provided with additional training along with all the benefits due to people involved in active duty.

In his speech, Putin accused Kiev of backing away from peace talks, acting on direct orders from its Western allies. Instead of negotiating, the Ukrainian government has beefed up its military with NATO-trained troops, many of whom are neo-Nazi extremists, he said.

Russian forces sent to Ukraine in February have secured a large portion of territory claimed by the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics as well as parts of Ukraine, and the resulting frontline stretches over 1,000km, according to the Russian president.

Putin also commented on the upcoming referendums in the two Donbass republics and two regions of Ukraine currently controlled to a large extent by Russian troops. The territories have announced plebiscites on whether become part of Russia, with the ballots scheduled to start on Friday. Putin said his government will respect the outcome of the four referendums, and provide security for the voting process.