Ukraine LIVE: Desperate Putin pulls fighters from Syria as ranks pummelled by offensive

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In a rare televised address this morning, Vladimir Putin announced partial mobilisation in Russia. 

Until now, Russia has called its invasion of Ukraine a “special military operation”. 

However, Putin said that mobilisation will begin today as it is necessary to “liberate” the Donbas. 

He said that people living in the Donbas: “do not want to be under the yoke of neo-nazis.”

Putin said the aim of the West is to “weaken and destroy” Russia.

He also accused the West of “engaging in nuclear blackmail”.

In response to this, he said: “I tell the West: we have lots of weapons to reply, it is not a bluff.”

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