Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “partial mobilization” of its citizens into the war in Ukraine. This was a big deal since, so far, Russia has refused to act like the country is in wartime. But this partial mobilization meant requiring people to fight – particularly reservists and people with military experience. Except, reports surfaced that Russia was also calling up people that weren’t fit for service – including students, elderly people and some people with health problems.
A lot of Russians weren’t happy to hear the news, with many trying to flee the country. An exodus of people at the Finnish border caused authorities to close the border to most Russians (except those visiting to study, work or see family). And Latvia has said it wouldn’t help Russians trying to escape the mobilization at all.
On Thursday, Putin said certain people should have been exempt and that Russia would need to fix “all mistakes” it had made so far in the mobilization. Meanwhile, Putin plans to annex four Ukraine areas after referendums in the regions to join Russia. Ukraine says it’s going to recapture the areas, and the UN is calling these votes a sham, but Russia is planning a big celebration afterwards and could use the annexation as a justification for using nuclear weapons down the road.
“The Russian Federation, as one of the five permanent members of the security council, shares a particular responsibility to respect the charter,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. “Any decision to proceed with the annexation of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kerson and Zaporizhzhia regions of Ukraine would have no legal value and deserves to be condemned.”
“This mobilization raises many questions. We must correct all the mistakes and ensure that they do not happen again,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin. “If a mistake has been made, it must be corrected and those who were summoned without an appropriate reason should come home.”
“The cost of one person in Russia wanting to continue this war is that Russian society will be left without a normal economy, a worthwhile life, or any respect for humanitarian values," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a Thursday evening address.