Russian President Vladimir Putin was due to deliver a speech from Moscow at 6pm London time, possibly announcing the official declaration of war on Ukraine in defense of Russian-held territories, but made the world wait on Tuesday night.
The Russian news channel that announced the speech deleted its posts about two hours after the Russian leader was due to begin his first international announcement since the country’s invasion of Ukraine on February 25.
It appeared the Russian leader had canceled his speech and postponed it to Wednesday, according to a Telegram account by Kremlin-affiliated political analyst Sergei Markov.
“You can’t even mobilize a speech,” said one observer, scoffing at the apparent cancellation.
“Rumor has it that Putin’s speech was delayed because of his long walk from the end of the table to the press room,” joked another.
The speech will take place on Wednesday at 6 a.m. London time (8 a.m. Moscow time), according to Forbes Russia, which quoted two sources allegedly from the Kremlin administration as saying the speech will be broadcast “when the Far East wakes up”.
The news comes after Dmitry Medvedev, a staunch Putin ally, vowed that “all forces of self-defense” would be used to protect what he calls “Russian territory” – hinting at an escalation in Ukraine .
Moscow’s parliament then passed new laws paving the way for Putin to end his “military special operation” and officially declare war, allowing him to mobilize Russia’s vast population for the army.
The move could usher in a new phase of the conflict involving weapons and tactics previously held in reserve by the Kremlin.
Russian President Vladimir Putin was due to deliver a speech from Moscow at 6pm London time but ultimately appeared to cancel the scheduled speech after a two-hour delay
A still from a handout video made available by the Press Service of the Russian Defense Ministry on September 20, 2022 shows a BM-27 Uragan multiple-launch missile system of Russia’s Central Military District, aimed at an undisclosed location in the Donetsk region in the eastern Ukraine fires .
Engineers from Ukraine’s National Guard on September 20 check for the presence of mines along a dirt road near the abandoned positions of the Russian army in northern Kharkiv region
Ukrainian soldiers ride on an armored vehicle in Novostepanivka, Kharkiv region, on September 19
Plans for a series of referendums emerge after Ukraine humiliatingly routed Putin’s forces east of Kharkiv and reclaimed part of the territory, while the despot’s allies, propagandists and political hardliners called for an escalation while calling for the president’s resignation became
Analysts speculated that Russia would have difficulty mobilizing its citizens to fight in Ukraine since much of the infrastructure needed for troop training was dismantled after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The news comes after four regions under Moscow’s control announced they would hold referendums on whether to join Russia, though large parts of the territory remain either disputed or under Ukrainian control.
Russia’s Luhansk and Donetsk regions, which originally declared independence to justify the initial invasion of the Kremlin in February, said they would join Kherson and partially Russian-controlled Zaporizhia in referendums – the results of which are expected to be fraudulent.
The speech was scheduled to coincide with the United Nations meeting in New York to pledge continued support to Ukraine.
French President Emmanuel Macron said the results were not recognized by the international community.
“I think what was announced by Russia is a parody,” Macon said. “That is cynicism and obviously not recognized by the international community.”
Incendiary ammunition falls on the village of Ozerne in the Donetsk region of Ukraine in undated footage. The Ukrainian military authorities have accused Russia of shelling the Ukrainian village of Ozerne with illegal ammunition
A Ukrainian artilleryman works on a 2S3 Akatsiya self-propelled howitzer in the Mykolayiv region on September 19, 2022 amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine
Ukrainian soldiers work on a tank abandoned by Russian troops during their retreat in northern Kharkiv region, September 20, 2022
A helmet is hung on the barrel of a rifle in the city after it was recaptured by Russian forces September 20 in Kupiansk, Kharkiv, Ukraine
Russian-installed leaders in the occupied territories of Ukraine’s four regions on Tuesday laid out plans for referenda on joining Russia.
“If the idea of the Donbass referendum wasn’t so tragic, it would be funny,” Macron told reporters.
Sky News reported that some ballet boxes are being erected in Russia rather than Ukraine.
Russian state television said 90% of people in the four regions will join Russia, even though the Kremlin controls only parts of those areas.
The US has also rejected the referendums, with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan calling the referendums an affront to the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity.
He said President Joe Biden would deliver a “firm rebuke” to Russia for its war on Ukraine when he addressed the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday.
A view of the abandoned and damaged market area in the city after it was recaptured by Russian forces in Kupiansk
Women walk past a destroyed building as Russia’s assault on Ukraine continues in the town of Izium, recently liberated by Ukrainian forces
A statue of Ukrainian poet, writer and artist Taras Shevchenko is seen in front of the destroyed Palace of Culture building in the retaken city of Derhachi
The European Union has also strongly condemned Russia’s plans to hold referendums in parts of Ukraine and will not recognize the results of the votes, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Russia, its political leadership and everyone involved in these ‘referendums’ and other violations of international law in Ukraine will be held accountable and additional restrictive measures against Russia would be considered,” Borrell said.
Borrell said voting on the referendums in these regions cannot be considered “free expression of the people’s will.”
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Putin last week that now is not the time for war, and Chinese President Xi Jinping raised questions and concerns about the situation when the two leaders met last week.