President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday announced a partial mobilization in Russia.
"I consider it necessary to support the proposal of the Defense Ministry and the General Staff to declare partial mobilization in the Russian Federation," he said in a televised address to the nation.
With a relevant decree already signed, mobilization activities started on Wednesday.
According to the decree published on the Kremlin website, Russian citizens age between 18 and 50 fall under military mobilization, and they will be paid as much as the military personnel serving under contract.
Also, the contracts of the professional military staff will be automatically extended till the end of the mobilization.
People working at the enterprises producing weapons are free from conscription.
The move comes a day after the announcement of referendums in Russian-controlled Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and parts of Zaporizhzhia to become a part of Russia this weekend.
Putin explained that the decision was taken due to the length of the combat line, which exceeds 1,000 kilometers (621 miles).
"Today our Armed Forces, as I have already said, are operating on the line of combat contact, which exceeds 1,000 kilometers, are opposing not only neo-Nazi formations, but in fact the entire military machine of the collective West," he said.
Only citizens, who have already served in the army, have some military experience and are currently in reserve, will be subject to conscription, the president said.
He added that all mobilized people will necessarily undergo additional military training.
Putin also said the partial mobilization also provides additional measures for weapons manufacturers.
"The heads of defense industry enterprises are directly responsible for assuming the tasks of increasing the production of weapons and military equipment, and deploying additional production capacities.
"In turn, all issues of material, resource and financial support for defense enterprises should be resolved by the government immediately," he said.
Russia to use 'all means at its disposal' if territorial integrity threatened
Putin lambasted the "irresponsible" Western plans to supply long-range weapons to Ukraine, which has been in a war with Russia for seven months, saying the Russian border settlements are already under attack.
"Washington, London, Brussels are directly pushing Kyiv to transfer military operations to our territory. Without hiding, they say that Russia should be defeated by all means on the battlefield with the subsequent deprivation of political, economic and cultural identity, in general, of any sovereignty, with the complete plundering of our country," he said.
He condemned "nuclear blackmail" used by high-ranking NATO politicians, who he claimed encouraged shelling of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and made statements about the possibility and permissibility of using weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, against Russia.
"To those who make such statements about Russia, I want to remind you that our country also has various means of destruction, and in some components – more modern than those of NATO countries.
"And when the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal to protect Russia and our people. This is not a bluff," he warned.
Putin said the Western countries had tried to conquer Russia many times. "It is in our historical tradition, in the fate of our people, to stop those who are striving for world domination, who threaten to divide and enslave our homeland," he said.