While Ukraine continues to advance and recover territories that had been conquered by Russia, Vladimir Putin makes new movements and tries to find the key to avoid total defeat in the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Members of his own government, as well as Russian parties of various kinds, demand that he be more decisive and take tough measures to prevent Ukraine from achieving total victory in the war.
The Russian president has made a speech to the nation, where he calls for partial military mobilization, announces that he supports the referendums of annexation of the territories of Donetsk, Luhansk and the cities of Kherson and Zaporiyia to join Russia. In this way, he tries to contain the Ukrainian victories to defend that these cities are Russian soil, leaving open the possibility of using nuclear weapons if it continues suffering the current blunt defeats.
Putin justifies the call for ‘partial mobilisation’, alluding to the fact that the people who are called are obliged to defend all of Russia, including within their territory the occupied regions of the Donbas, and to which the Ukrainian Army is approaching, while assuring that “the West wants to destroy us”. Specifically, Putin has mobilized hundreds of thousands of reservists, warning that those who do not obey his orders or choose to desert will be imprisoned. Russia has been forced to recruit prisoners inside its own prisons, and continues to look for ways out of a situation that is increasingly complicated for the Kremlin.
As it did with Crimea in 2014, Russia announces referendums on the annexation of occupied Ukrainian cities. The reason is to justify the war actions against Ukraine. If Russia promotes these referendums and comes out victorious in the votes, it will ensure that it is defending its own territories and will plead all kinds of self-defense against Ukraine, who does not give any validity to these votes, and it considers them a complete fraud.
Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelenski has already warned that he will not yield a single millimeter of his country to Russia and assumes that he will liberate all of Ukraine, including the Donbas region, that’s been at war since 2014. The fears that existed at that time regarding the possibility of a civil confrontation in Ukraine are now reversed: the war is already in Ukraine but civil discontent is growing in Russia, where Putin is beginning to lose control and more and more of the Russian citizenry demands that he end the war.