Russian President Vladimir Putin made a rare televised address to the Russian people on Wednesday morning when he announced a "partial mobilization," saying the measure was needed to protect Russian people from what he called "the entire war machine of the collective West" in Ukraine. Putin followed the announcement with repeated assurances that this mobilization is just "partial." He emphasized that it only concerns reservists and those who have previously served in the army or have military experience. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu also addressed the public, saying conscripts and students would not be called up to fight and that only 300,000 people would be drafted under the new mobilization measure. The measure was not completely unexpected. Discussions about whether Russia would need more soldiers took on a new urgency this month after Ukraine retook control over more than 6,000 square kilometers (about 2,320 square miles) of territory that had been under Russian control. Throughout the war, there have been reports about a drive in Russia to enlist more men to fight, including advertisements on jobseeker websites promising fast cash. In mid-September, footage circulated on social media that allegedly showed Kremlin-linked businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin recruiting Russian prisoners to fight in Ukraine as part of the Wagner mercenary group. Military experts argue the recent Russian retreat marks a turning point in the war Putin's announcement Wednesday made the call to arms official. But his order, published on the Kremlin website, has raised questions. The document outlined the legal status of the soldiers being drafted in 10 points, but the seventh point was never published. Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov has said it concerned the number of conscripts and was intended only for administrative use. That has raised questions about whether the Kremlin only intends to conscript 300,000 soldiers.
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