On September 21 the president said that 300,000 men will be called up. He said that NATO countries had used nuclear blackmail against Russia. Putin reminded the world that Russia possesses nuclear weapons, too. He warned that if Russia's territorial integrity was threatened then Russia would respond extremely strongly. The mobilization only applies to men who are in the reserve. However, Putin has not kept his earlier promise about not sending conscripts to Ukraine.
Putin said that volunteers fighting in Donbas are to be given legal status. He said that he will recognize the results of referendums due to be held in Donbas and Zaprozhzhia. These districts represent 15% of Ukraine's population. If the referendum results are to join Russia, then Russia shall declare this to be its territory.
Former President Medvedev said that if anyone encroaches on Russian soil then Russia is entitled to use all means of self-defense: hinting at nuclear arms.
The US, EU and UK have denounced the referenda as a sham and illegal. Western analysts said that Russia's mobilization is proof that Russia is being defeated.
On September 19 the Russian Parliament voted to toughen the law against desertion.
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