Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures as he addresses a plenary session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in St.Petersburg, Russia, Friday, June 17, 2022. Image Credit: AP

Kyiv: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday announced a partial mobilisation in Russia as the war in Ukraine reaches nearly seven months.

In a televised address, Putin said his aim was to "liberate" east Ukraine's Donbas region, and that most people in the region did not want to return to what he called the "yoke" of Ukraine.

"We will definitely use all means available" to defend Russian territory," Putin said. "That's not a bluff."

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The partial mobilisation will mean that reservists will be drafted into military service, Putin said, starting immediately.

Putin's address to the nation comes a day after Russian-controlled regions in eastern and southern Ukraine announced plans to hold votes on becoming integral parts of Russia.

The Kremlin-backed efforts to swallow up four regions could set the stage for Moscow to escalate the war following Ukrainian successes on the battlefield.

The referendums, which have been expected to take since the first months of the war, will start Friday in the Luhansk, Kherson and partly Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions.

Oil Spikes

Oil jumped after Putin ordered a partial mobilisation to hold onto occupied territories in Ukraine, an escalation that could lead to further disruption to energy supplies.

West Texas Intermediate surged above $85 a barrel after fluctuating earlier in the session.

Crude is on track for its first quarterly loss in more than two years as concerns over a global economic slowdown weigh on the outlook for energy demand. The Fed decision will be followed by other central banks from Europe to Asia, which are also expected to increase borrowing costs.

"If the Fed delivers another hawkish surprise this week, it could mean further downside for oil prices," said Charu Chanana, market strategist at Saxo Capital Markets Pte. in Singapore. "Over the medium term, oil demand is still expected to remain strong as a tough European winter could mean more gas-to-oil switching, while Russia-Ukraine tensions are also on the rise."


The partial mobilisation ordered by President Vladimir Putin is a sign of "weakness", the US ambassador in Ukraine said on Wednesday.

"Sham referenda and mobilisation are signs of weakness, of Russian failure," Bridget Brink wrote in a Twitter message.

"The United States will never recognise Russia's claim to purportedly annexed Ukrainian territory, and we will continue to stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes," she said.

Putin ordered a partial military mobilisation earlier Wednesday and vowed to use "all available means" to protect Russian territory, after Moscow-held regions of Ukraine suddenly announced annexation referendums.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's advisor Mykhaylo Podolyak mocked Moscow's latest steps in a Twitter message.

"Everything is still according to the plan, right? Life has a great sense of humour," he wrote.

"210th day of the 'three-day war'. Russians who demanded the destruction of Ukraine ended up getting: 1. Mobilisation 2. Closed borders, blocking of bank accounts 3. Prison for desertion," said Podolyak.

The Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin urged all parties to engage in dialogue and consultation and find a way to address the security concerns of all parties.

The British foreign office minister Gillian Keegan told Sky News: "Clearly 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. This is obviously an escalation."