Vladimir Putin during his televised address
Photo: Kremlin / Russian Look / IMAGO
DER SPIEGEL reproduces excerpts from the speech by Russian President Vladimir Putin – in a translation by the dpa news agency.
For a classification of the speech, read the text "Putin's second declaration of war".
The subject of my speech is the situation in Donbass and the course of the military special operation after its liberation from the neo-Nazi regime that seized power in Ukraine in 2014 with an armed coup (…)
It will be about the necessary, urgent steps to protect the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of Russia, about supporting the desire and will of our compatriots to determine their own future, and about the aggressive policies of some Western elites who try by any means necessary to maintain their supremacy, and to this end try to block and suppress any sovereign, independent centers of development, in order to continue to crudely impose their will on other countries and peoples and implant their pseudo-values.
The aim of this West is to weaken, divide and ultimately destroy our country.
They are already saying outright that they managed to split the Soviet Union in 1991 and that now is the time for Russia itself to disintegrate into a multitude of regions and territories that are deadly enemies with one another.
Weaponizing total Russophobia, they have for decades purposefully incited hatred of Russia, particularly in Ukraine, for which they destined the fate of an anti-Russian beachhead.
And they turned the Ukrainian people into cannon fodder and drove them to war with our country.
Before hostilities began, more than seven and a half million people lived in the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics, as well as in the Zaporizhia and Kherson regions.
Many of them were forced to become refugees and leave their homes.
Those who remained - some five million people - now face constant artillery and rocket attacks from neo-Nazi militants.
They attack hospitals and schools and carry out terrorist attacks against civilians.
We have no moral right to turn those close to us over to the executioners to be torn apart.
We cannot ignore their sincere desire to choose their own destiny.
The parliaments of the People's Republics of Donbass and the civil-military administrations of the Kherson and Zaporizhia regions have decided to hold referendums on the future of these regions.
And they turned to us, to Russia, with a request to support such a move.
In this situation, I consider it necessary to take the following decision, which is fully responsive to the threats we face: In order to defend our homeland, its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and the security of our people and that of the population in To ensure the liberated areas, I consider it necessary to support the proposal of the Ministry of Defense and the General Staff to introduce partial mobilization in the Russian Federation.
I repeat once again: we are specifically talking about partial mobilization, that is, only citizens who are currently in reserve are called up for military service, primarily those who have served in the ranks of the armed forces and through certain military ones Have specialist knowledge and relevant experience.
With its aggressive anti-Russian policy, the West has crossed all borders.
We constantly hear threats against our country, our people.
Some irresponsible politicians in the West are not only talking about plans to supply Ukraine with long-range offensive weapons - systems that would enable attacks in Crimea and other regions of Russia (...)
Washington, London and Brussels are directly urging Kyiv to transfer military operations to our territory.
They no longer hide and talk about defeating Russia by any means on the battlefield.
This is to be followed by the withdrawal of political, economic, cultural and in general any kind of sovereignty and the complete plundering of our country.
Nuclear blackmail has also now begun.
I am speaking not only of the Western-sponsored shelling of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, which poses a threat of nuclear catastrophe, but also of the statements made by some senior officials of leading NATO countries on whether it is possible and permissible to use weapons of mass destruction - nuclear weapons - against Russia.
I would like to remind those who dare to make such statements about Russia that our country also has various means of destruction, some of which are more advanced than those of the NATO countries.
Of course, if the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will use all means at our disposal to defend Russia and our people.
This is not a bluff.
The citizens of Russia can rest assured that the territorial integrity of our homeland, our independence and our freedom, I reiterate, will be safeguarded with all the means at our disposal.
And those who are trying to blackmail us with nuclear weapons need to know that the compass rose can turn in their direction, too.
It is in our historical tradition, in the destiny of our people, that we stop those who strive for world domination, who threaten to dismember and enslave our fatherland, our homeland.
We're going to do that now - and that's how it's going to be.
I believe in your support.«