Russia-Ukraine war updates: Penny Wong says Vladimir Putin’s ‘threats unthinkable and irresponsible’ — as it happened

Malcolm Davis, Senior Analyst in Defence Strategy and Capability at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, told ABC Radio Brisbane that Vladimir Putin’s announcement indicated he recognised Russia was losing the war.

“I think what you are seeing is essentially a desperate grab at another opportunity to try and turn the tide but it’s not going to work,” he said.

“What we will see is that this partial mobilisation will go ahead but it will take a long time to produce any effective combat capability and it will encounter a great deal of internal opposition from the Russian people.

“This is essentially reinforcing the case that Russia is losing the war, it’s certainly not a case of Russia winning the war.”

Mr Davis said he believed the greater concern is the risk Russia begins to use low-yield tactical nuclear weapons as the mobilisation fails to deliver victory for Putin.

“The thinking is that Russia would use one or perhaps a few of these weapons to try to force the Ukrainians to the negotiating table to end the war on Russia’s terms and basically use them as warning shots,” he said.

But if Russia were to use nuclear weapons, “NATO would be forced to intervene,” Mr Davis said.

“They couldn’t just simply just sit back and do nothing, it’s quite likely that at that point NATO would intervene at the conventional level,” he said.

“Then we have the risk of it escalating up to a high-level conflict.”

Reporting by Antonia O’Flaherty

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