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Putin announces a partial military mobilization for Russian citizens

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MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin declared a "partial mobilization" of Russia's armed forces on Wednesday morning.

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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.

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and first of all those who have served in the army, who have certain professions and have necessary experience," 

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will be recruited for the campaign, said Putin in a televised address to the nation.

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The announcement came as Russia has struggled to replenish its fighting force in Ukraine and suffered setbacks on the battlefield amid a surging Ukrainian counteroffensive.

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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.

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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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The Russian leader also insisted Russia had a moral obligation to protect civilians in partially Russian-occupied portions of Ukraine as they held a series of "referendums" aimed at joining the Russian Federation later this week.

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Putin also accused western powers of providing Ukraine with long range weapon systems that can strike deep into Russian territory 

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and again accused Ukraine and its allies of menacing Russia with nuclear threats. 

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Putin warned Russia and its people would use "all available means" in their defense — noting Russia had its own capable nuclear arsenal. "This is no bluff," said Putin.

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"Those who are blackmailing us with nuclear weapons should know – the rose winds can change and blow in their direction."

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The Defense Minister also provided new figures on Russian casualties — saying 5,937 Russian soldiers had died fighting in Ukraine. Western estimates run much higher. 

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