The war in Ukraine has dragged on for nearly seven months and Moscow has lost ground. Putin said that Russia would use all the means at its disposal to protect its territory.

There are 300,000 people who will be called up for military service.

On Wednesday, the Russian leader's televised address to the nation came a day after Russian-controlled regions in eastern and southern Ukraine announced plans to hold votes on becoming part of Russia. Moscow was warned about its referendum plans at the U.N. General Assembly.

Moscow could escalate the war after the successes of the Ukrainians. The referendums will be held in the Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia regions.

Putin accused the West of engaging in "nuclear blackmail" and noted "statements of some high-ranking representatives of the leading NATO states about the possible use of nuclear weapons of mass destruction against Russia."

I want to remind you that our country also has various means of destruction, and for separate components and more modern than those of NATO countries, and when the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will certainly protect it.

He said it wasn't a bluff.

The partial Mobilization is due to begin on Wednesday, according to Putin.

Only citizens who are currently in the reserve will be subject to compulsory military service, and those who served in the armed forces have a certain military specialty and relevant experience, according to Putin.

Sergei Shoigu said in a televised interview that only those with relevant combat and service experience will be mobilized.

The number of Russian soldiers who have died in the Ukraine conflict is lower than Western estimates.

The decision to partially mobilize was adequate to protect our homeland, its sovereignty and territorial integrity, to ensure the security of our people and people in the liberated territories.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy dismissed the referendum plans and thanked his allies for condemning them.

Zelenskyy said that there were lots of questions surrounding the announcements, but that they would not change the commitment of the Ukrainian government to take back areas occupied by the Russians.

He said that the situation on the front line indicated that the initiative belonged to the Ukrainians. We don't change our positions because of the noise. We are supported by our partners in this.

The Russians are likely to be upset about the war. The Vesna opposition movement said that thousands of Russian men will be thrown into the meat grinder of the war. They will be dying for something. What are mothers and children going to cry for?

Russia's suppression of opposition and harsh laws against defaming soldiers made it difficult to protest.

Moscow is certain to win the upcoming referendums. They were quickly dismissed as illegitimate by the Western leaders who are supporting the Ukrainian government with military and other support.

Zelenskyy thanked all friends and partners of Ukraine for condemning Russia.

The lower house of parliament, controlled by the Kremlin, voted Tuesday to toughen laws against desertion, surrender and loot by Russian troops. Soldiers who refuse to fight could be sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The legislation is expected to be approved by the upper house and signed by the president.

The largest nuclear power plant in Europe is located in the Russian occupied city of Enerhodar. Workers at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant had to start two diesel generators for emergency power after Russian shelling damaged the infrastructure.

Even though all six of the plant's reactor have been shut down, pumps are necessary to avoid a meltdown. The generators were switched off after the main power went back on.

The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant has been a focus for concern because of the risk of a radiation leak. Russia and Ukraine are blaming each other.

That's right.

The AP is covering the war in Russia.