Russian President Vladimir Putin announces a partial military mobilisation for Ukraine

President Vladimir Putin has ordered Russia’s first military mobilization since World War II and warned the West that if Moscow continued its “nuclear blackmail” it would respond with the might of its vast arsenal.

In a televised address, Mr Putin said his goal was to “liberate” the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine and that most people in the region did not want to return to what he called the “yoke” of Ukraine.

He said he was defending Russian territory and that the West wanted to destroy the country.

“We are talking about partial mobilization, that is, only citizens who are currently in reserve are drafted, and most importantly, those who served in the armed forces have a certain military specialty and relevant experience,” Putin said.

Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said 300,000 reservists would be mobilized.

Mr Putin said the partial mobilization decision was “fully proportionate to the threats we face, namely to protect our homeland, its sovereignty and territorial integrity, to ensure the security of our people and the people of the liberated areas”.

“When the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we use all available means to protect our people – this is not a bluff.”

Mr Putin accused Western leaders of complicity in nuclear blackmail and vowed to respond to any threats against Russia.

“I would like to remind those who venture such statements about Russia that our country also has various means of destruction, and for separate components and more modern than those of NATO countries,” he said.

“If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will certainly use all means at our disposal to protect Russia and our people.”

A soldier of the Ukrainian National Guard walks towards the destroyed Russian APCs.
Russia has suffered losses in eastern Ukraine after an offensive by Ukrainian forces.(AP: Evgeny Maloletka)

Russia already considers Luhansk and Donetsk, which together form the Donbass region partially occupied by Moscow in 2014, as independent states.

Ukraine and the West consider all parts of Ukraine held by Russian forces to be illegally occupied.

Russia now holds about 60 percent of Donetsk and by July had captured most of Luhansk after months of intense fighting.

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