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Putin’s plan: What does partial mobilisation mean? | Russia-Ukraine war News

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree that will see 300,000 reservists called to fight in Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a partial mobilisation after Moscow’s troops suffered losses in Ukraine.

In a televised address on Wednesday, Putin warned Western nations supporting Ukraine that Moscow would defend itself with the might of all its vast arsenal if faced with a nuclear threat from the West.

The blunt warning from Russia’s leader marks the biggest escalation of the war since Moscow’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine began and accompanied the decision to call up 300,000 extra reservists.

Here is what we know:

What did President Vladimir Putin say?

  • On September 21, President Vladimir Putin ordered Russia’s first mobilisation since World War II in an early-morning, pre-recorded televised address, saying additional manpower was needed to win a war against Ukraine and its Western backers.
  • “To protect our motherland, its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and to ensure the safety of our people and people in the liberated territories, I consider it necessary to support the proposal of the defence ministry and the General Staff to conduct a partial mobilisation in the Russian Federation,” Putin said.
  • “We are talking about partial mobilisation. That is, only citizens who are currently in the reserves and, above all, those who have served in the armed forces have military skills and relevant experience. Only they will be subject to conscription,” he added.
  • “Conscripts will obligatorily go through additional military training based on the experience of the special military operation before departing to the units,” Putin said, according to an Associated Press news agency translation.
  • Putin’s speech came after seven months of fighting and follows recent battlefield losses for Moscow’s forces.
  • It also came a day after Russian-controlled regions in eastern and southern Ukraine announced plans to hold votes on becoming integral parts of Russia – a move that could set the stage for Moscow to escalate the war following Ukrainian successes.

What does partial mobilisation mean?

  • Putin said the conscription will begin on Wednesday, without providing much detail.
  • Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s defence minister, said he expected 300,000 people to be called up out of the country’s vast reserves of about 25 million people.
  • Only those with relevant combat and service experience will be called up. Shoigu said that approximately 25 million people fit this brief, but only about 1 percent will be drafted in.
  • “In general, a full mobilisation would mean that any military-aged man, 18 to 60-year-olds, could not leave Russia and would need to join the military. It’s unclear if this partial mobilisation means that,” said Al Jazeera’s Gabriel Elizondo, reporting from Kyiv, Ukraine.
  • The UK’s defence ministry said the move was likely intended to limit the number of desertions and designed to mitigate immediate pressures on the military.
  • Arme Petimezas, a senior analyst at AFS group, told the Reuters news agency: “It is not yet a total war for Russia because there is no full mobilisation. But I think Putin is underestimated. He has escalated every time. For him, it is life and death. I don’t see why his next move will be de-escalation unless he wins.”

Why did Ukraine say?

  • Ukrainian officials have roundly ridiculed Russia’s latest steps towards annexation and mobilisation, saying Moscow is behaving in a desperate manner having faced battlefield defeats.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s adviser, Mykhaylo Podolyak, mocked Moscow’s latest steps in a Twitter post.
  • “Everything is still according to the plan, right? Life has a great sense of humour,” he wrote.
  • “210th day of the ‘three-day war’. Russians who demanded the destruction of Ukraine ended up getting: 1. Mobilisation 2. Closed borders, blocking of bank accounts, 3. Prison for desertion,” said Podolyak.

What were the immediate economic effects?

  • The euro tumbled to a two-week low against the dollar, European stock markets slipped, and investors piled into safe-haven bonds, pushing yields on German and US government debt down.
  • Investors sought the safety of US Treasurys and the Japanese yen.
  • British and Dutch gas prices rose amid fears of a renewed hit to global financial and energy markets.
  • Russia’s rouble slumped to a more than two-month low, heading towards 63 to the dollar.
  • “The initial implications are clear: it’s a potential escalation which is negative for the outlook in the eurozone, and so it’s unsurprising that the euro is weaker. It has boosted risk aversion more broadly, so the dollar is stronger,” Colin Asher, a senior economist at Mizuho Corporate Bank, told Reuters.
  • “It was interesting to me that dollar/yen dipped on the news of the announcement, potentially indicating a return of the yen’s safe-haven credentials, which have been absent for much of the year.”



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US judge dismisses Mexico lawsuit against gun manufacturers

MEXICO CITY — A U.S. federal judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit brought by the Mexican government against U.S. gun manufacturers arguing their commercial practices has led to bloodshed in Mexico.

Judge F. Dennis Saylor in Boston ruled Mexico’s claims did not overcome the broad protection provided to gun manufacturers by the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act passed in 2005.

The law shields gun manufacturers from damages “resulting from the criminal or unlawful misuse” of a firearm.

Mexico’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said it would appeal the decision.

Mexico was seeking at least $10 billion in compensation, but legal experts had viewed the lawsuit as a long shot.

The Mexican government argued that the companies know their practices contribute to the trafficking of guns into Mexico and facilitate it. Mexico wants compensation for the havoc the guns have wrought on its people.

Among those sued were some of the biggest names in guns, including: Smith & Wesson Brands Inc., Barrett Firearms Manufacturing Inc., Beretta U.S.A. Corp., Colt’s Manufacturing Company LLC and Glock Inc.

Another defendant was Interstate Arms, a Boston-area wholesaler that sells guns from all but one of the named manufacturers to dealers around the U.S.

The Mexican government estimates 70% of the weapons trafficked into Mexico come from the U.S., according to the Foreign Affairs Ministry. It said that in 2019 alone, at least 17,000 homicides in Mexico were linked to trafficked weapons.

Mexico argued the U.S. protection act did not apply when an injury occurred outside the United States.

Saylor did not agree.

“Mexico is seeking to hold defendants liable for practices that occurred within the United States and only resulted in harm in Mexico,” he wrote. “This case thus represents a valid domestic application of the PLCAA, and the presumption against extraterritoriality does not apply.”

The sale of firearms is severely restricted in Mexico and controlled by the Defense Department. But thousands of guns are smuggled into Mexico by the country’s powerful drug cartels.

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Officials: North Korea fires suspected ballistic missiles

TOKYO — North Korea has fired suspected ballistic missiles, the Japanese Defense Ministry said Saturday.

Further details are still being analyzed, ministry officials said.

Japanese media reported that the missiles are believed to have landed in the Sea of Japan.

Saturday’s firing is the latest of North Korea’s escalating missile launches and a third this week following those fired Friday in the wake of U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris’ visit in South Korea.

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Army officers appear on Burkina Faso TV, declare new coup

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso — More than a dozen soldiers seized control of Burkina Faso’s state television late Friday, declaring that the country’s coup leader-turned-president, Lt. Col. Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba, had been overthrown after only nine months in power.

A statement read by a junta spokesman said Capt. Ibrahim Traore is the new military leader of Burkina Faso, a volatile West African country that is battling a mounting Islamic insurgency.

Burkina Faso’s new military leaders said the country’s borders had been closed and a curfew would be in effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. The transitional government and national assembly were ordered dissolved.

Damiba and his allies overthrew the democratically elected president, coming to power with promises of make the country more secure. However, violence has continued unabated and frustration with his leadership has grown in recent months.

“Faced by the continually worsening security situation, we the officers and junior officers of the national armed forces were motivated to take action with the desire to protect the security and integrity of our country,” said the statement read by the junta spokesman, Capt. Kiswendsida Farouk Azaria Sorgho.

The soldiers promised the international community they would respect their commitments and urged Burkinabes “to go about their business in peace.”

“A meeting will be convened to adopt a new transitional constitution charter and to select a new Burkina Faso president be it civilian or military,” Sorgho added.

Damiba had just returned from addressing the U.N. General Assembly in New York as Burkina Faso’s head of state. Tensions, though, had been mounting for months. In his speech, Damiba defended his January coup as “an issue of survival for our nation,” even if it was ”perhaps reprehensible” to the international community.

Constantin Gouvy, Burkina Faso researcher at Clingendael, said Friday night’s events “follow escalating tensions within the ruling MPSR junta and the wider army about strategic and operational decisions to tackle spiraling insecurity.”

“Members of the MPSR increasingly felt Damiba was isolating himself and casting aside those who helped him seize power,” Gouvy told The Associated Press.

Gunfire had erupted in the capital, Ouagadougou, early Friday and hours passed without any public appearance by Damiba. Late in the afternoon, his spokesman posted a statement on the presidency’s Facebook page saying that “negotiations are underway to bring back calm and serenity.”

Friday’s developments felt all too familiar in West Africa, where a coup in Mali in August 2020 set off a series of military power grabs in the region. Mali also saw a second coup nine months after the August 2020 overthrow of its president, when the junta’s leader sidelined his civilian transition counterparts and put himself alone in charge.

On the streets of Ouagadougou, some people already were showing support Friday for the change in leadership even before the putschists took to the state airwaves.

Francois Beogo, a political activist from the Movement for the Refounding of Burkina Faso, said Damiba “has showed his limits.”

“People were expecting a real change,” he said of the January coup d’etat.

Some demonstrators voiced support for Russian involvement in order to stem the violence, and shouted slogans against France, Burkina Faso’s former colonizer. In neighboring Mali, the junta invited Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Group to help secure the country, though their deployment has drawn international criticism.

Many in Burkina Faso initially supported the military takeover last January, frustrated with the previous government’s inability to stem Islamic extremist violence that has killed thousands and displaced at least 2 million.

Yet the violence has failed to wane in the months since Damiba took over. Earlier this month, he also took on the position of defense minister after dismissing a brigadier general from the post.

“It’s hard for the Burkinabe junta to claim that it has delivered on its promise of improving the security situation, which was its pretext for the January coup,” said Eric Humphery-Smith, senior Africa analyst at the risk intelligence company Verisk Maplecroft.

Earlier this week, at least 11 soldiers were killed and 50 civilians went missing after a supply convoy was attacked by gunmen in Gaskinde commune in Soum province in the Sahel. That attack was “a low point” for Damiba’s government and “likely played a role in inspiring what we’ve seen so far today,” added Humphery-Smith.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Friday that nearly one-fifth of Burkina Faso’s population “urgently needs humanitarian aid.”

“Burkina Faso needs peace, it needs stability, and it needs unity in order to fight terrorist groups and criminal networks operating in parts of the country,” Dujarric said.

Chrysogone Zougmore, president of the Burkina Faso Movement for Human Rights, called Friday’s developments “very regrettable,” saying the instability would not help in the fight against the Islamic extremist violence.

“How can we hope to unite people and the army if the latter is characterized by such serious divisions?” Zougmore said. “It is time for these reactionary and political military factions to stop leading Burkina Faso adrift.”

———

Mednick reported from Barcelona. Associated Press writers Krista Larson in Dakar, Senegal, and Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations contributed.

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