Putin mobilizes more troops for Ukraine

STORY: Speaking in a televised address to the nation, Putin said only those currently in the military reserve, or who have had prior military experience will be drafted.

The partial mobilization significantly escalates the conflict over Ukraine and comes as Russia battles a Ukrainian counter-offensive that has forced its troops to retreat and surrender some occupied territory.

Russia's defense minister said the partial mobilization will see 300,000 reserves called up.

In the same address, Putin backed referendum plans in four Russian occupied areas of Ukraine, to join Russia in coming days.

He said Russia will "do everything to ensure safe conditions" for the polls to be held.

In an apparently coordinated move, pro-Russian leaders in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia announced referendums on September 23 to 27, paving way for the formal annexation of around 15% of Ukrainian territory, or an area about the size of Hungary.