Putin’s Russia is seven months into its war – and he’s under pressure

Putin 'can't be sure his troops will do what he wants' says expert

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Vladimir Putin’s eagerly anticipated speech has been pushed back until tomorrow – prompted speculation about the reasons with Russia seven months into its war on Ukraine. Sarah Rainsford, the BBC’s Eastern Europe correspondent, tweeted: “After all that, it seems Putin won’t be speaking today. ‘Tomorrow,’ says Solovyov (& others).”

Referring to Putin’s close adviser, fellow BBC journalist Francis Scarr posted: “Sergei Markov says Putin’s address has been postponed until tomorrow.”

The abruptness of the cancellation will inevitably trigger speculation about Putin’s position, given Russian forces have suffered a series of setbacks in Ukraine in recent weeks.

Widespread speculation suggests Russia is on the verge of annoucing a full mobilisation, and the introduction of conscription.

Such a move would force Putin to admit his so-called special operation is a full-blown war. 

The State Duma of the Russian Federation today introduced the concepts of “mobilisation,” “martial law,” and “wartime” into its Russian Criminal Code, imposing a penalty of up to 10 years in prison for anyone surrendering voluntarily.

Articles relating to looting and voluntary surrender were added to the Criminal Code.

People convicted of surrender face between three to ten years in prison if there are no signs of treason. Anyone found to be looting can be jailed for 15 years.

Russian stocks plunged to their lowest in a month today amid fears Putin was ready to introduce marial law, with Moscow also announcing plans to hold referendums on Russian-controlled regions in east Ukraine.

Stocks hit their lowest since mid-August, with the dollar-denominated RTS index down 9.2 percent to 1,155.1 points as of 1542 GMT.

The rouble-based MOEX Russian index was 8.7 percent lower at 2,218.0 points, earlier sinking to 2,171.92 points, its lowest point since August 16.

(More to follow)

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