Vladimir Putin has announced the beginning of conscription measures in Russia in response to growing difficulties the country is facing with the Ukraine war, a move that potentially represents a significant escalation of Moscow’s already bloody conflict.
The announcement was made as part of a rare public address given by the Russian president to the citizens of his country, during which he also accused Western powers of ultimately aiming to “destroy” Russia.
While disinformation in relation to the ongoing conflict is widespread, there now appears to be consensus at least that the invasion is not going as well for Russian forces as the Kremlin might have initially hoped. The new Russian conscription measures are likely aimed at making available more troops for the conflict in an attempt to rescue what Russia has euphemistically termed its “special military operation” in Ukraine.
In the speech given on Wednesday morning, Vladimir Putin repeated Russian claims that the invasion of Ukraine was purely defensive in nature, and specifically aimed at protecting “Russia’s Crimea” as well as the Donbas regions – which has a sizable population of ethnic Russians – from alleged aggressive measures taken by the Zelensky administration in Kyiv. Putin seized and colonized Crimea in 2014.
Putin accused the Ukrainian government of organising a “genocide” in the Donbas against people “who refused to recognise the government that was created in Ukraine” as a result of what the Russian head of state described as a Western-backed “state coup” in 2014.