[guest post by Dana]
After suffering intense humiliation on the world stage due to Russia’s loss of a significant amount of territory to Ukraine, President Putin’s desperation is showing:
President Vladimir Putin ordered a Russian mobilisation to fight in Ukraine on Wednesday and made a thinly veiled threat to use nuclear weapons, in what NATO called a “reckless” act of desperation in the face of Russia’s looming defeat.
Flights out of Russia quickly sold out following the announcement of the country’s first military mobilisation since World War Two, a dramatic reversal after months in which Moscow had insisted its operation was “going to plan”.
Putin emphasized that he is not bluffing with regard to using nuclear weapons.
According to Russia’s defense secretary, an estimated 300,000 people would be mobilized.
Additionally, he plans to take steps to annex Ukrainian regions:
Putin effectively announced plans to annex four Ukrainian regions, saying Moscow would facilitate referendums in Ukraine’s Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions on joining Russia. A day earlier, Russian-installed officials in the four regions announced plans for such votes this week, which Western countries denounced as shams.
Ukraine remains unmoved by Putin’s threats:
“Referendums and mobilization in the Russian Federation will not have any consequences, except for accelerating the collapse and revolution in Putin’s Russia,” said Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky.
All of this underscores Putin’s desperation and the narrowing of options available to him.
President Biden opened his speech this morning at the United Nations General Assembly by rightfully condemning Putin:
“Let us speak plainly: A permanent member of the United Nations Security Council invaded its neighbor,” Mr. Biden said, adding later, “This war is about extinguishing Ukraine’s right to exist as a state.”
He also excoriated the Russian president for threatening to use nuclear weapons, saying that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”
In light of Biden’s comments, there’s a bit of irony when one considers that the U.S. State Department approved issuing Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov