Marie’s new salute in the Kremlin shows that Vladimir Putin is more terrified than ever about the war in Ukraine

weeks after Battlefield setbacks in UkraineMoscow appears to have collapsed under pressure and moved forward with a new phase of the war: urgent “referendums” to annex the stolen Ukrainian lands and harsh prison sentences for defiant forces.

The double whammy began with the announcement early Tuesday for Russia The State Duma passed the legislation Impose tougher penalties for any soldier who “voluntarily” surrenders on the front line or refuses to follow orders.

Fugitives face up to 15 years behind bars, while those who surrender face up to 10 years in prison. Those who refuse to follow the orders of their leaders face three years.

The legislation, which for the first time also adds the concepts of “mobilization, martial law and wartime” to Russian criminal law, is widely seen as the first step to triggering large-scale mobilization.

After unanimous approval by the State Duma, the legislation will be sent to the Federation Council on Wednesday, according to state media. With the Federation Council also expected to join, the new prison sentences will take effect once Putin signs the bill – which could happen as soon as Wednesday.

It is strange that the legislation was already marked However, it has been approved at all stages in the government portal as of Wednesday afternoon.

While the move is widely seen as a way for the Kremlin to prop up the forces, it was almost immediately met with panicked calls for Russian forces to abandon the war now before it was too late.

We call on the Russian military at the military bases and the front line to refuse to participate in the “special operation” or to surrender as soon as possible. This is probably your last chance – and you’ll need to use it the next day, ‘The Vesna Anti-War Movement Wrote In an open letter. Dozens of other anti-war groups are said to have signed the call.

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As Russian social media channels spurt terrifying posts about the prospects for mobilization, Russia’s proxy leaders in occupied parts of Ukraine have announced, almost in unison, that they will hold “referendums” on joining Russia early this week.

We have set the course for reunification, back to Russia. Vladimir Saldo, the puppet leader of Moscow in Kherson, announced in a video message.

Referendums in the Russian-controlled parts of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia are now scheduled for September 23-27.

While the Kremlin has long pretended to be helpless when it comes to “referendums” – claiming that they are being held at the initiative of the residents living in those occupied territories – it didn’t take long for news of Russians being forced to participate in the vote leaked out.

Prisoners in two penal colonies in Rostov have been ordered to vote for Ukrainian territory to join Russia, according to the independent news outlet. Mizham Obiasnet.

The news agency quoted two sources as saying that prison officials in one escort ordered all inmates with Ukrainian passports to vote, while all inmates were ordered to vote in the other facility.

An apparently frantic effort to speed up referendums marked a full 180 points in Russia’s plans just two weeks ago, when the Kremlin repeatedly delayed voting plans after failing to capture enough territory or gain enough support. Sources Quote By Medusa at the time he said that Vladimir Putin had set his sights on 4 November after he was “tired of waiting”.

But by mid-September, even that date was no longer possible after Ukrainian forces recaptured areas across the east thanks to several surprise counterattacks that drove the Russian forces to flight.

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It is clearly these humiliating defeats that have prompted the Kremlin to act now.

“There is a mentality now to do everything very quickly,” a source close to the Russian presidential administration was quoted as saying. medusa Wednesday.

The media quoted sources as saying that Putin’s sudden change of plans came as a result of a pressure campaign by high-ranking Russian officials who want to intensify the war effort against Ukraine and go beyond the start of mobilization. It was reportedly reinforced by fears that Ukraine might soon reclaim territory currently occupied by Russia.

“They influenced Putin, and here we are, everything is on the ground,” said one of the sources.

According to three sources cited by Medusa, their thinking is that the referendums will stop further Ukrainian counterattacks because, in the words of one of them, Ukraine “will not risk an attack on Russian soil.”

They said that if counterattacks in Ukraine continue, the Russian authorities plan to use the new legislation to impose martial law and partial mobilization.

It is not clear how Russia intends to annex areas that are not even under its full control.

As an institute for the study of war pointed Tuesday, on the eve of Russia’s latest surprising statements, the idea that Russia could win the war by partially annexing Ukrainian territory is “incoherent”.

Such a partial annexation would “place the Kremlin in the peculiar position of demanding that Ukrainian forces not occupy ‘Russian’ territory, and the humiliating position of not being able to implement that demand,” the Washington, D.C. think tank wrote.

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However, many of Putin’s closest confidants appear to view the recent moves as a major turning point, with RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan leading the offensive. Twitter: “Judging by what is happening and is still about to happen, this week marks either the eve of our imminent victory, or the eve of nuclear war.”

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