President Putin warned the West that Russia would use all the means at its disposal to protect its territory, saying: “It’s not a bluff.”
He accused the West in engaging in “nuclear blackmail” and noted “statements of some high-ranking representatives of the leading Nato states about the possibility of using nuclear weapons of mass destruction against Russia”.
Responding to the televised addressed Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “President Putin’s breaking of his own promises to mobilise parts of his population and the illegal annexation of parts of Ukraine are an admission that his invasion is failing.
“He and his Defence Minister have sent tons of thousands of their own citizens to their death, ill equipped and badly led.
"No amount of threats and propaganda can hide the fact that Ukraine is winning the war, the international community are united and Russia is becoming a pariah.”
An update from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) suggested that the sudden change in strategy from Russia coincided with their intelligence reports that suggested Russian military was facing significant pressure.
In their daily briefing, they outlined the referendums that were being held in Russian controlled areas of Ukraine in the next few days, as well as some of the personnel shortages that Russian forces are experiencing in Ukraine.
The update read: "Russian forces in Ukraine continue to experience personnel shortages. The Russia Duma voted on 20 September 2022 to amend a law which extends punishments for defaulting troops.
"This is likely intended to limit the number of desertions and refusals and thereby to mitigate some of the immediate pressures.
"The Russian civilian and military leadership has faced significant pressure over the last two weeks. These new measures have highly likely been brought forwards due to public criticism and mark a further development in Russia’s strategy.
"Putin is accepting greater political risk by undermining the fiction that Russia is neither in a war nor a national crisis in the hope of generating more combat power.”