Ukraine’s recent military gains increased pressure on President Vladimir Putin. On 21 September, in a televised address to the Russian nation, Putin announced a partial mobilisation of Russian forces calling up 300,000 reservists for likely deployment to Ukraine. Putin said it was a direct response to the dangers posed by the West. This highly sensitive domestic move - the first Russian mobilisation since 1941 - coincided with a decree that the State Duma pushed through the day before, in which it amended the Criminal Code to increase punishments for desertion.
The mobilisation points to Putin’s determination to escalate the conflict rather than seek its end. Thus far, the order has led to widespread but relatively small-scale protests in Russia as well as evasion and attempts to leave the country by those subject to the order. More than 1,300 protesters were arrested in anti-mobilisation rallies that took place throughout Russia. In his daily address on 22 September President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called on Russians to resist the partial military mobilisation. In a joint statement UK Prime Minister Liz Truss and the European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, said Putin’s speech was “a statement of weakness” and the partial mobilisation was “a sign that Russia’s invasion is failing”. In an interview with Reuters, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg described the mobilisation as a “big miscalculation”.
Read more in the attached pdf on: the risk of nuclear war; ‘sham referenda’ in occupied territories; continuing concerns about the safety of nuclear power stations; debates in the UN General Assembly and Security Council; the stalled diplomacy; Western military and financial assistance to Ukraine; the humanitarian consequences of the armed conflict; sanctions against Russia; energy security in Europe; international food security; China’s position on the conflict; and developments within NATO.