Britain’s Foreign Office has warned that Vladimir Putin‘s troop mobilisation and his dire nuclear threats are a ‘worrying escalation’ that must be ‘taken very seriously’.
In an address to the nation, Putin said: ‘If there is a threat to the territorial integrity of our country, and in protecting our people we will certainly use all means to us – and I’m not bluffing.
‘Those trying to blackmail us with nuclear weapons should know that the tables can turn on them.’
Gillian Keegan, a Foreign Office minister, admitted the West is ‘not in control’ of the tyrant but tried to urge for calm despite the terrifying threats.
Britain’s Foreign Office has warned that Vladimir Putin’s troop mobilisation and his dire nuclear threats are a ‘worrying escalation’
Gillian Keegan (pictured), a Foreign Office minister, admitted the West is ‘not in control’ of the tyrant
She told Sky News: ‘Some of the language there was quite concerning at the end and obviously we would urge for calm.’
The Chichester MP also said: ‘It’s something that we should take very seriously because, you know, we’re not in control.
‘I’m not sure he’s in control either really. I mean, this is obviously an escalation and, of course, for the Russian people now they will be conscripted into this war.’
Putin also announced the partial mobilisation of his military reserves today and referendums in occupied areas of Ukraine to make them part of Russia itself.
Western leaders – who are gathered at a UN summit in New York – have already said they will not recognise the results the referendums, and Ukraine has vowed that it will continue fighting to liberate its occupied territories.
Keegan added: ‘These are Putin’s lies and he’s continuing to completely misrepresent what’s happened in Ukraine.
‘It’s an illegal war in Ukraine. It’s Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine. Of course, we will still stand by Ukraine, as will all of our Nato allies.
The Russian leader lashed out today, facing increasing pressure for his botched invasion of Ukraine, and said he is ‘not bluffing’ about the use of nuclear weapons
‘The people of Ukraine, you know, it’s the same message. We’re there, we’re by your side, we will help us as much as we possibly can.’
She stressed that the UK ‘will absolutely continue to support Ukraine’, a message that will be conveyed by Liz Truss at a UN summit in New York.
The Prime Minister will pledge that the UK will next year match or exceed the £2.3billion in military aid to Ukraine given in 2022.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said Putin’s actions were an admission that his plan was failing.
‘President Putin’s breaking of his own promises not to mobilise parts of the population and the illegal annexation of parts of Ukraine are an admission that his invasion is failing,’ Mr Wallace said.
‘He and his defence minister have sent tens of thousands of their own citizens to their deaths, ill-equipped and badly led.
‘No amount of threats and propaganda can hide the fact that Ukraine is winning this war, the international community are united and Russia is becoming a global pariah.’
Melinda Simmons, Britain’s ambassador to Ukraine, wrote on Twitter: ‘Watched Putin’s speech. He still refuses to understand Ukraine. Partial mobilisation and sham referenda don’t change that essential weakness.’
Backed into a corner and facing with the possible collapse of his so-called ‘special military operation’, Putin opted to threaten the free world.
The speech was delayed for 13 hours overnight that sparked rumours of a coup inside the Kremlin. But the Russian leader finally appeared in the early hours of Wednesday – very much alive and in charge – to deliver his message.
A view from the abandoned and damaged market area in the city after it was regained from Russian forces, in Kupiansk
The speech was typically Putin. In it, he attempted to rewrite history to paint the West and NATO as the aggressor – saying they had pushed Ukraine into a war with Russia, despite ordering an invasion of the country himself just seven months ago.
Russia, he argued, had no choice but to launch a ‘pre-emptive war’ to ‘protect’ the people of Ukraine – despite plentiful evidence of Russian massacres of civilians, torture, indiscriminate shelling and other atrocities on the battlefield.
Moscow’s aim, he insisted, remains the full liberation of the Donbass region and its people who he said had been made into ‘hostages of the Kyiv regime’.
In order to ensure victory, he announced that Russia’s military reserves and veterans will start being conscripted into the army from today.
Referendums will also be held in Donetsk and Luhansk – which together make up the Donbas – as well as Zaporizhzhia and Kherson, which are also occupied by Russia.
He then added: ‘Our country also has various means of defence, and in some components more advanced than those of NATO countries.
‘When the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will use all the means at our disposal to defend Russia and our people, this is not a bluff.
Plans for a series of referendums come after Ukraine humiliatingly routed Putin’s forces to the east of Kharkiv and recaptured a swathe of territory, with the despot’s allies, propagandists and political hardliners calling for an escalation amid calls for the president to resign
A Russian missile hits a shopping mall in June as Putin threatens to ramp up his war effort
Marines of the Baltic Fleet forces of the Russian Navy train in the zone of obstacles during military exercises at the Khmelevka firing ground in the Kaliningrad
‘Russian citizens can be sure that the territorial integrity of our homeland, our independence and our freedom will be secured by all the means at our disposal.
‘Those who are trying to blackmail us with nuclear weapons should know that the winds may blow in their direction.’
He warned: ‘This is not a bluff.’
He claimed he was responding to threats from unnamed high NATO officials ‘about the possibility of using weapons of mass destruction – nuclear weapons – against Russia’.
Putin made clear that by Russian territory he means invaded areas of Ukraine where he is holding sham referendums in the coming days on joining the Kremlin empire.
‘I find it necessary to take the following decision,’ he told Russians in a pre-recorded message.
‘It is completely adequate to the level of threats we are facing, namely – To protect our Motherland, its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
‘To ensure safety of our people, and people at the liberated territories.
Russian tanks and armoured personnel carriers are destroyed during a counteroffensive operation of the Ukrainian armed forces
Incendiary ammunition falls on the village of Ozerne in the Donetsk region in Ukraine
‘I find it necessary to support the suggestion of the Ministry of Defence and the General Staff about declaring partial mobilisation in Russia.
‘I repeat: We are speaking about partial mobilisation.
‘So it would only be current reservists, called to join the military service.
‘First of all it would be those who served in the army, have relevant army specialty and experience .
‘Those called to join the army will go through mandatory military training.’
Putin said that ‘only citizens who are currently in the reserve and above all those who have served in the Armed Forces, have certain military professions and relevant experience, will be called up for military service.
‘Those called up for military service will undergo additional military training before being dispatched to their units, taking into account the experience of a special military operation.’
Western leaders had pre-empted Putin’s remarks at the UN last night, saying they would not recognise the results of any ‘sham’ referendums in Ukraine.
‘The Russians can do whatever they want. It will not change anything,’ Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Tuesday as world leaders were arriving for the United Nations General Assembly meeting.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy now says the country’s position has not changed as he referred to the referendums as just ‘some noise.’
He later doubled down on the issue, tweeting: ‘Sham ‘referendums’ will not change anything. Neither will any hybrid ‘mobilization.’
‘Russia has been and remains an aggressor illegally occupying parts of Ukrainian land. Ukraine has every right to liberate its territories and will keep liberating them whatever Russia has to say.’
French President Emmanuel Macron said that if the referendum plan ‘wasn’t so tragic it would be funny.’
He described Russia’s invasion as ‘a return to a new age of imperialism and colonies’ and warned that inaction risked ‘tearing down the global order without which peace is not possible.’
‘It’s not a matter of choosing one side between East and West, or North or South. It’s a matter of responsibility’ to the UN Charter, he said.
Meanwhile, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said the world was ‘facing a new fragmentation’ after years of hope following the end of the Cold War and his own nation’s reunification.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz said the world was ‘facing a new fragmentation’ after years of hope following the end of the Cold War and his own nation’s reunification.
Scholz said that President Vladimir Putin, who invaded Ukraine in February, will ‘only give up his war and his imperialist ambitions if he realizes he cannot win.’
‘We stand firmly at the side of those under attack — for the protection of the lives and the freedom of the Ukrainians, and for the protection of our international order,’ he said.
And Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told the assembly the U.N.’s credibility was in danger because of the invasion by Russia, a permanent member of the Security Council.
‘Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a conduct that tramples the philosophy and principles of the U.N. charter … It should never be tolerated,’ Kishida said.