By Vihaan Majumdar
With the war in Ukraine having turned in favor of the Ukrainians, Russian President Vladimir Putin took an extreme step on Wednesday, ordering a partial call-up of the military reserves and forcing 300,000 troops back into active service. The move comes after months of extreme losses and shortages of troops, with the war being regarded as a major embarrassment for Russia. What was expected to be a quick victory instead resulted in months of valiant resistance by the Ukrainian military. Russia itself was subjected to numerous sanctions, which crashed the economy to the point where one Russian ruble is worth little more than a penny. Reports also suggest that the situation was so bad that the Kremlin resorted to mass recruitment in their own prisons. The move to call up the reserves was received with extreme backlash domestically. Plane ticket prices skyrocketed as numerous people emergently booked plane tickets and fled, with a ticket to Istanbul costing as much as £7,904 ($8,910.69). Others took to the streets to air their discontent, with reports suggesting that over 1,000 protestors have since been arrested.
In the 14-minute televised address, Putin also warned that he wasn’t bluffing when he said he would use everything at his disposal to protect Russia — an apparent reference to Russia’s nuclear arsenal. Putin had previously rebuked NATO members for supplying weapons to Ukraine. Putin also alleged “nuclear blackmail” on the part of NATO members, citing “statements of some high-ranking representatives of the leading NATO states about the possibility of using nuclear weapons of mass destruction against Russia.”