Putin says he isn’t bluffing and has ‘lots of weapons’ – as he orders partial mobilisation of reserve troops | World News

President Putin has accused the West of participating in “nuclear blackmail” against Russia and warned he has “a lot of weapons to respond”.

In a rare speech to the nation, he said he was not lying and would use “all means at our disposal” if Russian territory was threatened.

Putin also ordered an immediate “partial mobilization” – called the country’s military reserves – a move that Russia’s defense minister said amounted to about 300,000 troops.

Live: Putin ordered ‘partial deployment’ in Ukraine and called in reserve troops

“Now they (the West) are talking about nuclear blackmail,” the Russian leader said.

He cited statements about Ukraine shelling the occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and said some representatives of NATO countries had raised the possibility of using nuclear weapons against Russia.

He said they should remember his country “has many different types of weapons of destruction, and for certain components they are even more modern than those of NATO”.

“If there is a threat to the territorial integrity of our country and to protect our people, we will certainly use all means available to us – and I’m not fooling around. lies,” said President Putin.

He also approved referendums in four regions of Ukraine currently occupied by Russia.

Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia announced plans for the referendums on Tuesday.

It is scheduled to take place from September 23 to 27. Together, these regions make up about 15% of Ukraine’s territory.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, dismissed the plan, saying: “The Russians can do whatever they want. It won’t change anything.”

The UK Ministry of Defense said the referendums could be “fueled by concerns about an impending Ukrainian attack and expectations of greater security after officially becoming part of Russia”.

Putin’s speech came after Ukraine’s counterattacks aimed at recapturing large swaths of territory in recent weeks.

The president repeatedly called Ukrainian forces “neo-Nazi” and accused them of carrying out “terrorist acts” against citizens in areas controlled by Russia.

He said 5,937 Russian troops were killed in the war. This is much lower than the more than 40,000 cited by Ukraine and the 15,000 estimate given by the head of MI6 in July.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Gillian Keegan told Sky News that Mr Putin’s nuclear threat is something to take “very seriously because you know, we don’t control – I’m not sure he controls, really. .

“This is clearly an escalation,” she said.

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