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Putin warns a NATO-Russia clash would bring 'global catastrophe' as mobilisation set to end in two weeks
14 October 2022, 19:11 | Updated: 15 October 2022, 01:31
Vladimir Putin has warned that any direct clash of NATO and Russian troops could lead to a "global catastrophe" and said Russia's mobilisation would end within a fortnight.
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At a conference in Kazakh capital Astana, the Russian leader said he had no regrets about the invasion of Ukraine and that Russia's partial mobilisation of troops should be over within two weeks.
The strongman leader said 222,000 reservists would be called-up in total - this is down from the 300,000 figure the defence ministry initially quoted when the order was announced in September, according to the Independent.
33,000 of them are in military units already and 16,000 are involved in combat, he said.
Asked about the conflict expanding to become a direct clash between NATO and Russian troops, Putin said: “The introduction of troops into a direct confrontation with the Russian army is a very dangerous step that could lead to a global catastrophe."
"The idea is try and get Putin to realise he can't win this war!"
He added: “I hope that those who speak of this have enough sense not to take such steps.”
Fears have been growing that the war could escalate and even become a nuclear conflict.
The 70-year-old leader also said there was “no need” for further “massive strikes” on Ukraine, because the majority of so-called designated targets had been hit.
The speech follows Russia’s attacks on civilian areas on Monday, including parts of the capital Kyiv, where a missile strike hit a playground.
The attacks were apparently in retaliation for a truck bomb explosion bridge linking Russia to Crimea, which is a crucial supply route for the invading forces.
After the Kerch bridge blast was followed by Ukraine recapturing of occupied areas in the east and south of the country in a series of counter offensives that restored confidence and embarrassed Russia’s military.
In Kherson, Russia has urged civilians to "leave with their children" for their own safety amid fears over rocket strikes by Ukrainian forces.
'Russia is on the back foot in Ukraine.'
Evacuees were expected to be arriving in Russia today after a Kremlin-installed official urged that residents leave, as Ukrainian forces continue to advance.
The Kremlin is facing increased criticism in Russia over its handling of the conflict.
Reports in the Russian media have described attempts to recruit men without the relevant experience, including those ineligible for to serve due to medical reasons, and force them to enlist.
After the president issued the mobilisation order, tens of thousands of men fled the country across the borders to neighbouring nations.