Over 140,000 Sign Petition Against Mobilization in Russia

More than 140,000 people have signed a petition opposing Vladimir Putin's announcement of a partial mobilization in Russia, which will see thousands of reservists called up.

The Russian president announced the mobilization order in a televised address on Wednesday, with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu saying it will provide another 300,000 troops.

The Russian-language petition against conscription, titled 'Against partial and total mobilization,' was created on the Change.org petition site by a user with the pseudonym 'Soft Power.'

It says: "On September 21, 2022, Vladimir Putin announced the start of partial mobilization throughout Russia. Only those citizens who are in the reserve and, above all, those who served in the ranks of the armed forces, have certain military specialties, will be subject to conscription for military service.

Putin orders partial Russian mobilization for Ukraine
Municipal workers remove debris from around a residential building hit by a missile in Kharkiv on September 21, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. A petition against Putin's planned Russian mobilization has attracted more than 140,000 signatories. YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/GETTY

"We, the citizens of Russia, women and men, oppose general and partial mobilization. President Vladimir Putin has no legal grounds, weighted and well-reasoned reasons for announcing it, and cannot have any.

"In the current state of uncertainty we are not prepared to expose our men - brothers, sons, husbands, fathers and grandfathers - to any moral, ethical or physical danger."

Protests against the mobilization have been announced for 7 p.m. local time on Wednesday, in city centers across Russia.

Thousands of Russians were arrested for attending anti-war demonstrations in February and March, after the invasion of Ukraine began on February 24.

As part of the mobilization order, the contracts of Russian soldiers already serving in Ukraine have been extended indefinitely.

In his address, Putin claimed the West "wants to destroy our country" and threatened to use "all the means at our disposal," to defend Russia's "territorial integrity," in a possible allusion to nuclear weapons.

Lithuania put its rapid reaction force on heightened readiness in response to the Russian announcement.

British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said Putin's mobilization is "an admission that his invasion is failing."

He said: "President Putin's breaking of his own promises not to mobilize parts of his population and the illegal annexation of parts of Ukraine, are an admission that his invasion is failing.

"He and his Defense Minister have sent tens of thousands of citizens to their deaths, ill-equipped and badly led. No amount of threats and propaganda can hide the fact that Ukraine is winning this war, the international community are united and Russia is becoming a global pariah."

On Tuesday, pro-Russian authorities announced referendums on joining Russia will be held in four Ukrainian provinces they partially occupy.

The White House branded planned polls in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia "sham referenda" that "will be manipulated."

Update 9/21/22, 8:48 PM ET: This story has been updated with additional information.