Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a speech Wednesday foreshadowing the eventual annexation of Russian-controlled areas in Ukraine, announcing the mobilization of 300,000 soldiers, and most ominously, yet again threatening the use of nuclear weapons. The following are my initial thoughts on these developments.
Here’s what Putin said. He began by addressing the “Citizens of Donetsk and Luhansk, the People’s republics of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, and other people free from the Nazi regime,” equating them with Russian citizens and promising, “We will be talking about steps of protecting our sovereignty, the will and desire of our citizens to determine their own future, and about the aggressive bloc of Western countries that are trying to keep their supremacy at all costs—that are trying to block and suppress any independent centers of development in order to force their will in brutal ways on others.”
After reiterating his delusional talking points about the conflict in Ukraine being started by Kyiv and the West and explaining that his “special military operation” continues “village by village, and helping people turned into hostages by the criminal [Ukrainian] regime,” he lays out his plans for what comes next.
First, there will be referendums in the controlled areas.