"Russia will use all the instruments at its disposal to counter a threat against its territorial integrity—this is not a bluff," Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a chilling national address that also blamed the West for the war in Ukraine and ordered reserve forces in Russia to mobilize for war.
The move comes "as Moscow seeks to buttress its army's flagging manpower and regain the offensive following stinging losses on the battlefield," notes the Wall Street Journal.
Putin repeated a number of now-common lies—about the current war being a mission to liberate Ukraine from neo-Nazis and about Western nations turning Ukrainians against Russia and fomenting war. "The goal of that part of the West is to weaken, divide and ultimately destroy our country," he said.
He also claimed that the West had "resorted to the nuclear blackmail," with "some high-ranking representatives of the leading NATO countries" making statements about "the possibility and admissibility of using weapons of mass destruction—nuclear weapons—against Russia."
"I would like to remind those who make such statements regarding Russia that our country has different types of weapons as well, and some of them are more modern than the weapons NATO countries have," said Putin. "In the event of a threat to the territorial integrity of our country and to defend Russia and our people, we will certainly make use of all weapon systems available to us. This is not a bluff."
"Those who are using nuclear blackmail against us should know that the wind rose can turn around," he continued. "It is our historical tradition and the destiny of our nation to stop those who are keen on global domination and threaten to split up and enslave our motherland. Rest assured that we will do it this time as well."
This war has had a nuclear dimension from the outset. People in Western governments have taken it seriously. I'm sure they'll continue to do so. But any use of nuclear weapons by Putin would be stupid, self-defeating, and lead to extremely grave consequences for Russia.
— Matthew Harries (@harries_matthew) September 21, 2022
Putin's speech—which you can read, translated, in full—was followed by an address from Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who said Russia was "at war not only with Ukraine and the Ukrainian army, but with the collective West."
Shoigu said 300,000 reservists—excluding students—would be drafted to fight in Ukraine.
The draft follows a Tuesday announcement from "Kremlin proxies" in southern and eastern Ukraine that the areas would hold votes "on referendums on annexation to Russia," notes The New York Times. "The Kremlin signaled that if Russia were to go forward with annexation—even if no other countries recognized it—any further military action by Ukraine in those regions could be seen as an attack on Russia itself."
A few perspectives on Putin's speech:
The speech from Putin today is a careful balancing act of a leader under pressure, who is trying to: 1. please hardliners and Russian milbloggers; 2. not displease the general populace; 3. appease the military; 4. give the impression he is not losing a war. 1/20 ????
— Mick Ryan, AM (@WarintheFuture) September 21, 2022
— Noga Tarnopolsky (@NTarnopolsky) September 21, 2022
Short summary of the Putin's speech: 10 minutes of blatant lying, 4 minutes explaining the need for mobilisation, 1 minute threatening the world with nukes.
— Dmitri (@wartranslated) September 21, 2022
My first reactions to Putin's speech this morning.
1. We are entering a new phase in the war.
2. Putin is desperate, but take him seriously.
3. We are in this for the long haul - think unpredictable.
A???? of five initial questions and conclusions.
— Alexander Stubb (@alexstubb) September 21, 2022
More developments in the saga of Florida flying migrants to Massachusetts:
BREAKING: Migrants flown to Massachusetts file class action lawsuit against DeSantis and other Florida officials in federal court pic.twitter.com/Rp5xgAWOKp
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) September 20, 2022
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), when asked why the state paid to transport migrants from Texas instead of from Florida:
"The problem is we're not seeing mass movements of them into Florida … It's just coming in onesie-twosies." pic.twitter.com/zY1Ma3cst8
— The Recount (@therecount) September 20, 2022
The truth about deaths during incarceration. The official Department of Justice tally of deaths in state prisons and jails was almost 1,000 deaths short last year, says the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Reason's C.J. Ciaramella looks at the new report here.
"The committee and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that in the last year alone the department missed 990 prison and jail deaths that were reported on state websites, news articles, and other public databases," notes Ciaramella. "The investigation was also frustrated, the report says, by the Justice Department's lack of full cooperation. It refused to provide all the records the subcommittee requested."
Juul sues for FDA records. "Juul Labs on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration over the agency's refusal to disclose documents supporting its order to take Juul's e-cigarettes off the shelves in the U.S. market," reports Axios. "Juul accused the FDA of violating the Freedom of Information Act by withholding a majority of the 'scientific disciplinary reviews' underlying the sales ban, according to the complaint filed in a court in Washington, D.C."
"The public deserves a complete picture of the scientific facts behind one of the agency's most controversial and closely scrutinized decisions in recent years, especially where even FDA recognizes its order is suspect," says Juul's complaint.
— Center for a Stateless Society (@c4ssdotorg) September 20, 2022
• Expect to start seeing a lot more political spam emails soon.
• A new art project uses artificial intelligence to envision celebrities who died young as if they were still alive today.
• The Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf asks what public schools should teach children about gender.
• Can the Sunday morning political talk show be saved?
• The government can't fix social media moderation and shouldn't try, writes Jacob Sullum.