Russian President Vladimir Putin declared a “partial” military mobilization in Russia during a televised address Wednesday morning.
“Mobilization measures will begin today, Sept. 21,” Putin said.
The move comes as Russia’s troops have taken weeks of major battlefield losses in Ukraine and as Kyiv presses onward with its sweeping counteroffensive in the northeast.
Putin said he would inform lawmakers of both houses of Russia’s parliament in writing later Wednesday.
“Only those citizens currently in the reserve will be subject to a call-up for military service, first and foremost those who have served in the ranks of the Armed Forces,” Putin said in the pre-recorded video address.
In a televised address minutes after Putin had finished speaking, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that 300,000 Russian reservists will be called up for service as part of the “partial” mobilization.
“In Washington, London and Brussels they are directly pushing Kyiv to shift the military action to our territory… they talk about how all available means should be used to destroy Russia on the battlefield with the ensuing loss of political, economic, cultural and all types of sovereignty and the total plundering of our country,” Putin said.
Shoigu later said: “We’re killing, killing and killing, and that time has come: we’re at war with the collective West.”
A decree on mobilization subsequently published on the Kremlin’s website stated that mobilized soldiers’ contracts will not expire “until the end of the partial mobilization,” with only age, health and imprisonment listed as exceptions.
All those to be mobilized to fight in Ukraine will receive the same salaries and bonuses as those who sign a military contract to serve in the Armed Forces and mobilized men will undergo extra training before being sent to the front, Putin said.
In the first official estimate of Russia’s battlefield losses since late March, Shoigu announced that 5,937 Russian soldiers had been killed in Ukraine since the start of the fighting. Evidence from the battlefield and publicly available information in Russia suggests the real figure is significantly higher.
Shoigu claimed Wednesday more than 61,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed and 49,000 wounded since February.