In a televised address in Russia Wednesday, Putin ordered a mobilization of 300,000 reservists, a move that comes after significant losses in Ukraine.
This marks Russia’s first mobilization since World War II, according to Reuters. It is also the largest escalation in the war since Russia invaded Ukraine in February of this year.
In his address, Putin also backed plans to annex parts of Ukraine, threatening the use of nuclear weapons.
Putin called the move “necessary and urgent,” as he railed against the West for providing weapons to Ukraine and accused the United States and Europe of “nuclear blackmail” according to The New York Times.
“To defend Russia and our people, we doubtlessly will use all weapons resources at our disposal,” Putin said “This is not a bluff.”
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu spoke after Putin, stating that the mobilization will include 300,000 soldiers with military experience.
“We are not just fighting with Ukraine, but with the collective West,” Shoigu said.
Shoigu also claimed that 5,937 Russian soldiers have died so far in the war against Ukraine, which is significantly lower than estimated, with Ukraine claiming that over 50,000 Russian soldiers have been killed, according to Politico.