Russia has conducted referenda in the two breakaway Republics (Donetsk and Luhansk, whose independence from Ukraine has already been acknowledged by Russia) as well as Zhaporozhia and Kherson, which make up most of the rest of the southern corridor to Odessa in the southwest, to determine whether the populace in each region prefers to officially become a part of the Russian state.
The results have been reported to be overwhelmingly in favor. Russia wouldn’t have risked a fair referendum unless a favorable outcome were to be expected, and it was because the populations of these areas have by large majority thought of themselves as Russian people and speak Russian as a first-language. The coup government outlawed the Russian language 8 years ago. The West claims that the referenda were a sham, a predictable claim whether or not they monitored the elections — which they didn’t, despite the fact that 100 independent international observers from 40 countries did.
Once results were in, Putin announced on October 1 that the four areas would be annexed and become a part of the Russian Federation, “forever.” 300,000 active duty personnel make up a “partial mobilization” for the four “former” Ukraine regions. Any future attack upon them will be an attack on Russia itself. This takes the gloves off of the “Special Military Operation” which, according to sources I find most credible, has been conducted without a desire to take territory outside the regions involved here, and minimizing to the extent possible human casualties and destruction of property. (Amnesty International declared sometime back that Ukraine was intentionally locating military forces inside civilian neighborhoods, including schools and hospitals, which is supposed to be against the rules of “just” war.) 300,000 active duty personnel will make up the “partial mobilization” already well underway for the four “former” Ukraine regions.
A future attack on these areas will purportedly justify “any means necessary,” to counter such an attack. The meaning of “necessary” in almost any given context is subjective, but Putin has said more than once that a resort to the use of nuclear weapons by Russia would only come if the existence of the Russian federation were threatened.
Though they may not announce it as openly as Putin did, this is exactly the true position of the US, Britain, India, Pakistan, Israel, China and North Korea. Any of them who perceived a credible imminent threat to the very existence of their country would use nuclear weapons in a first-strike if they believed there was no effective alternative. “No effective alternative” is supposed to be the definition of “necessary.”
Russia’s “partial mobilization” includes regular military, reserves, veteran volunteers and conscripts. Reserves will be used to replace active duty military personnel in their current jobs, freeing them to serve in the advance and security forces in the four regions. It has been announced that conscripts (draftees) will not be used in contested areas.