Vladimir Putin escalated Russia’s war in Ukraine this week by announcing a partial mobilisation of the country’s reserve military and issuing a barely veiled threat to NATO countries. He also announced that referendums to join the Russian Federation would be held in the next few days in areas of Ukraine currently occupied by his troops.

Tatyana Malyarenko of the Odesa Academy of Law in Ukraine and Stefan Wolff of the University of Birmingham in the UK have put Putin’s words into context, explaining that holding spurious plebiscites of this nature has long been part of his playbook, but that in the current situation they add a huge layer of risk for all parties.

Russia’s recent setbacks on the battlefield have left Putin under pressure and increasingly isolated on the international stage, as this decision to escalate the crisis clearly indicates. You can follow all The Conversation’s coverage of the war in Ukraine here and do consider signing up for our special weekly Ukraine Recap newsletter.

Jonathan Este

Associate Editor, International Affairs Editor

Vladimir Putin addressed the Russian people for less than 20 minutes to outline his plan for partial mobilisation and referendums in areas held by invading Russian troops. EPA-EFE/Maxim Shipenkov

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