In an address that was originally slated for yesterday evening, then postponed until this morning, Russian President Vladimir Putin partially mobilized Russia’s reserves in an effort to regain the offensive in the ongoing war with Ukraine.
The Russian leader, in a televised address to the nation aired on Wednesday morning, also warned the West that he isn’t bluffing over using all the means at his disposal to protect Russia’s territory, in what appeared to be a veiled reference to Russia’s nuclear capability. Putin has previously warned the West not to back Russia against the wall and has rebuked NATO countries for supplying weapons to help Ukraine.
Western media has also reported Putin acknowledged intent to annex the Russian-occupied territories within Ukraine proper, and even indicated nuclear reprisals were a possibility should Kyiv attempt to reclaim its lost territories.
In a rare national address, the Russian leader also signaled the Kremlin planned to annex occupied areas of southern and eastern Ukraine and threatened nuclear retaliation if Kyiv continues its efforts to reclaim that land.
The occupied territories yesterday announced a series of referenda to take place this coming weekend. At issue is the question of whether the Russian occupied territories would secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation.
The People's Council of the Luhansk People's Republic has scheduled a referendum on joining Russia for the period from 23 to 27 September 2022. The Lugansk information center reported this on the telegram channel . The same dates were chosen for the referendum in the Donetsk People's Republic and in the Kherson region, which has been under the control of the Russian military since mid-March, as well as in the Zaporozhye region, which is partially controlled by the Russian military.
Western media quite understandably expects the referenda to all go Putin’s way.
The votes, in territory Russia already controls, are all but certain to go Moscow’s way but are unlikely to be recognized by Western governments who are backing Ukraine with military and other support that has helped its forces seize momentum on battlefields in the east and south.
Predictably, major energy commodities are up in early morning trading, with West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude both up roughy 3%.
Natural gas both in the US and in Europe are also surging on the news.
Meanwhile the markets are taking the news of Putin’s escalation as a sign that Powell will “only” hike interest rates by 75bps, as the probabilities of a full percentage point increase are declining.
The times continue to get ever more “interesting”….
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