Putin to address Russia TONIGHT in biggest speech since Ukraine invasion as Vlad expected to order full mobilisation

RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin is set to address his nation tonight in a highly-unusual speech in which he is expected to order the full mobilisation of his country’s military.

Putin’s direct message to his people – the first since the announcement of the “special military operation” in Ukraine in February – comes as pro-Russian authorities in the Donbas revealed they will hold referendums on joining Russia this week.

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Mad Vlad is expected to address the Russian people tonightCredit: Getty

Full mobilisation of Russia would mean the potential of pulling up to two million reservists for Vlad’s military operation in Ukraine.

Russian state media publication RBC said that Putin will speak on Tuesday “regarding referendums in the territories of the LPR, DPR, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions”.

The publication added that “what exactly the head of state will say is unknown”.

It comes as his propagandist Margarita Simonyan, Editor-in-Chief of state-run RT, claimed that the country is on the brink of a nuclear war.

“Judging by what is happening and still about to happen, this week marks either the eve of our imminent victory or the eve of nuclear war,” she wrote on Twitter.

Putin is expected to speak about the planned referendums in the southeastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia.

These four states form a land corridor between Ukraine’s eastern border with Russia and the annexed territory of Crimea, which Vlad’s army seized in 2014.

Under their proposals, people will be asked if they want to become part of Russia.

The last time Putin made such an address to the nation was on February 24 on the eve of war, when he announced Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine.

His under-fire defence minister Sergei Shoigu is expected to join him for tonight’s announcement.

The speech is expected today between 6pm and 7pm Moscow time (4-5pm BST).

News of the unexpected address comes just hours after pro-Russian separatists in the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics announced they will hold referendums on joining Russia this month.

Both regions in eastern Ukraine are expected to hold votes between September 23 and 27.

Previous votes were postponed as Ukraine launched lightning advances and covert sabotage behind Russian lines.

This week marks either the eve of our imminent victory or the eve of nuclear war

Margarita SimonyanEditor-in-Chief, RT

A similar scheme in 2014 saw the Kremlin lay claim to occupied Crimea.

Putin ally Dmitry Medvedev, who served as Russia’s president between 2008 and 2012, bragged that the votes would alter the geopolitical landscape in Moscow’s favour forever.

He said: “Encroachment into Russian territory is a crime and if it is committed, that allows you to use all possible force in self-defence.

“That is why these referendums are so feared in Kyiv and in the West. That is why they need to be carried out,” he added.

Experts warned the votes raised the risk of nuclear war – because Russian nuclear doctrine allows the use of its nukes to defend the motherland.

It comes as Putin’s army faces a battlefield reversal in much of northeastern Ukraine, which may have forced him to make one final throw of the dice and consolidate his gains in the southeast of the country.

If he loses control of Crimea, his position would be even more vulnerable.

Putin has previously held off on full mobilisation

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Putin has previously held off on full mobilisationCredit: Reuters

Ukrainian intelligence has warned this week that Putin’s propaganda may be preparing the people for full mobilisation in Ukraine.

Major General Vadym Skibitskyi from Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence told the Kyiv Post: “Today we have started collecting information; this mobilisation-related information rhetoric in the Russian Federation has greatly increased.”

He added that Russian politicians were claiming that “the Russian army cannot cope, it is necessary to declare war and mobilise”.

Skibitskyi said that “there may be support for general mobilisation in Russia”.

In recent days, Putin’s close allies have urged him to mobilise the nation, which could add an additional two million soldiers to Vlad’s army.

Putin has been unable to mobilise Russia’s reserves because he refused to declare war on Ukraine, insisting his invasion was special military operation.

He could also row back on a promise – which has already been broken – not to send conscripts to the front.

At least 25,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in action in Ukraine with another 55,000 injured, captured or lost to desertion, Defence Minister Ben Wallace said.

The struggle to generate cannon fodder was exposed by a Russian mercenary leader Yevgeniy Prigozhin telling convicts in a prison yard: “If you serve six months (in Wagner), you are free.”

But he added: “If you arrive in Ukraine and decide it’s not for you, we will execute you.”

Warlord Ramzan Kadyrov, leader of Chechnya, called last Thursday for every Russian provincial leader to pull together 1,000 volunteers to join the fight.

However, it’s been assumed in the West that Putin would only turn to general mobilisation as a last resort, as this would make the war unavoidable for ordinary Russians, and could galvanise opposition.

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Dr Mike Martin, a Visiting Fellow at the Department of War Studies at King’s College London wrote on Twitter: “Mobilisation in Russia doesn’t solve anything. It takes months and months to turn civilians into soldiers.

“Russia needs soldiers yesterday not in six months. It also doesn’t solve their equipment problems nor their logistic problems.”

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