By Vlad Schepkov
President Vladimir Putin of Russia released a national address early Wednesday, ordering a “partial” mobilization of additional troops and effectively doubling down on his commitment to Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine.
In what would be the country’s first mobilization since World War II, Putin called up additional 300,000 soldiers and reiterated his aggressive stance against Ukraine and its Western allies, claiming Russia is fighting against the “collective West.”
Putin further fueled speculations over his potential use of nuclear weapons, saying Russia is ready to use all means at its disposal to protect the country, its people, and the territories it claims, adding “This is not a bluff.”
During the address, Putin also voiced his support for recently announced referendums in occupied territories – multiple Russian-controlled areas have scheduled votes on breaking away from Ukraine and joining Russia.
The move, widely criticized in the West, follows a string of Ukraine’s recent battlefield advances – in early September, the country launched a counteroffensive operation, re-capturing multiple major cities in Russian-occupied territories, and “freeing” over 6,000 square kilometers of its territory, according to President Vladimir Zelensky.
Defense Stocks Gain
The conflict escalation is once again bringing increased attention to key US military contractors – shares of Lockheed Martin (NYSE:), Northrop Grumman (NYSE:), Raytheon Technologies (NYSE:), and General Dynamics (NYSE:) are all recording 2-3% gains in early Wednesday trading.
Since the war began, multiple governments worldwide have committed to increase military spending, although any major deal is yet to be announced.
The strength may also be attributed to the US’s (and global) continuous military and financial support of Ukraine – just 5 days prior the US Department of State authorized additional $600M military assistance package for the struggling nation.