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Putin announces a partial military mobilization for Russian citizens

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin declared a “partial mobilization” of Russia’s armed forces on Wednesday morning — signing a decree that will send Russians who have gone through military training to join the fight in Ukraine while stopping short of an all-out draft.

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“Only those citizens will be drafted to military service who are currently in the reserve and first of all those who have served in the army, who have certain professions and have necessary experience,” will be recruited for the campaign, said Putin in a televised address to the nation.

The announcement came just a day after some Russian-controlled areas in Ukraine announced plans for referendums on becoming part of Russia. The choreographed series of events was reminiscent of the Russian leader’s announcement to send tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine in February.

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Putin’s Wednesday announcement also came as his country has struggled to replenish its fighting force in Ukraine and suffered setbacks on the battlefield amid a surging Ukrainian counteroffensive.

In a separate television interview, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Russia would immediately call up 300,000 reservists to “hold the line at the front” in Ukraine.

Addressing world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly Wednesday morning, President Biden said that “Russia has shamelessly violated the core tenets of the United Nations charter” by invading Ukraine.

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“Putin claims he had to act because Russia was threatened,” the president said. “No one threatened Russia. And no one other than Russia sought conflict.”

U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink tweeted that Russia is showing “signs of weakness” and “failure” for escalating the war with Ukraine and vowed, “The United States will never recognize Russia’s claim to purportedly annexed Ukrainian territory, and we will continue to stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes.”

In his address, Putin said the larger force was necessary as Ukraine continued to receive heavy weaponry from a “collective West” intent on “weakening, isolating, and destroying Russia.”

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