Kremlin comments on rumor about imminent Putin speech

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has denied rumors in the Russian media that President Vladimir Putin will announce full national mobilization in his upcoming annual address. Those claims are without basis, the official said on Friday, according to RIA Novosti.

The rumor is focused on the upcoming report that the president will give to the Federal Assembly, both chambers of the Russian parliament. The annual event is viewed by many political observers as comparable to the State of the Union address given by the US president. Picking the date of the event is the Russian president’s privilege, and Putin’s office has yet to announce one for this year.

Some media speculated that Putin is preparing a “sensational” speech, in which he would declare the “mobilization not only of military reservists but the entire society and the national economy” and a “purge of government agencies from anyone standing in the way of the mobilization.” The prediction was made by Tsargrad TV earlier this month. Peskov was asked about the rumor after a news website published a recap of the article this week.

President Putin ordered a partial military mobilization in September, stating that calling reservists to arms was necessary to help the offensive in Ukraine. Moscow is de facto fighting against the entire NATO bloc, he explained, and that additional manpower was needed. He was referring to the arming, training, and funding that Ukrainian forces receive from the US and its allies.

The Russian Defense Ministry said it intended to call up some 300,000 reservists, a goal that it reported achieving in late October. Putin later said the actual number of recruits was larger due to a flow of volunteers, who wanted to serve even after the rallying effort was finished.

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