Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday ordered Russia’s first mobilisation since World War II and backed a plan to annex swathes of Ukraine, warning the West he wasn’t bluffing when he disclosed he would be ready to use nuclear weapons to defend his country.
In the biggest escalation of the ongoing Ukraine war since Moscow’s February 24 invasion, Putin explicitly raised the spectre of a nuclear conflict, approved a plan to annex a chunk of Ukraine the size of Hungary, and called up 300,000 reservists.
“If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will, without doubt, use all available means to protect Russia and our people – this is not a bluff,” Putin said in a televised address to Russia.
Citing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO, expansion towards Russia’s borders, Putin said the West was plotting to destroy Russia, engaging in “nuclear blackmail” by allegedly discussing the potential use of nuclear weapons against Russia, and accused the United States of America, the European Union and Britain of encouraging Ukraine to push military operations into Russia itself.
Putin said, “In its aggressive anti-Russian policy, the West has crossed every line.”
“This isn’t a bluff. And those who try to blackmail us with nuclear weapons should know that the weathervane can turn and point towards them,” he added.
Both Russia and Ukraine have been fighting for over six months.
As of today, several casualties have already been recorded.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered the invasion of Ukraine because of political differences between both countries.