Foreign Office minister Gillian Keegan tells BBC Breakfast that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s TV address is ‘chilling’ and ‘a serious threat’.
Addressing his people, Mr Putin announced a partial mobilisation in Russia as the war in Ukraine approaches the seven-month mark.
Putin TV address – what did he say?
In his first national address since the war began, Putin warned the West that Russia would use all the means at its disposal to protect its territory. He told those watching: “It’s not a bluff” when referring to the weapons Russia had at its disposal. The president told his people that the West was indulging in “nuclear blackmail” with his country.
As part of the partial mobilisation, Russia will call up reservists to fight in Ukraine. The Russian Defence minister clarified this would involve 300,000 troops heading to the region.
Putin also accused the West of wanting to weaken and destroy Russia, stating that this move is necessary for Russian territorial integrity.
The move comes after the announcement that Putin is to hold referendums in parts of occupied Ukraine to show support for remaining part of Russia. Western nations have responded by calling these votes a “sham” and that they would never recognise the results.
Should we be worried by Putin’s TV address?
Although Putin’s TV address sounds fairly scary, many notable parties have responded by undermining the moves.
Many experts say it could take months to actually mobilise these new troops and that they may not have the equipment they need when they do reach the front line. Russia has suffered severe losses of bases and ammunition in Western-backed attacks from Ukraine. UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace says the address is a sign of Putin admitting he is losing the war. Wallace said: “no amount of threats and propaganda can hide the fact that Ukraine is winning this war.”
The Guardian’s foreign correspondent, Luke Harding, claims that a partial mobilisation won’t solve the shortage of Russian troops in Ukraine and claims that it could be “deeply unpopular” in Russia. In addition, Bridget Brink, US ambassador to Ukraine, said on Twitter: “Sham referenda and mobilisation are signs of weakness, of Russian failure”
Sham referenda and mobilization are signs of weakness, of Russian failure. The United States will never recognize Russia’s claim to purportedly annexed Ukrainian territory, and we will continue to stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes.
— Ambassador Bridget A. Brink (@USAmbKyiv) September 21, 2022