Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky has called on the Russian population to protest the partial military mobilization announced in the country on Wednesday.

    “Protest! Fight! Flee! Or become Ukrainian POWs! Those are your options for survival,” Zelensky said in his daily video address on Thursday. He said 55,000 Russian soldiers had already died in Ukraine since the Russian invasion on February 24.

    Zelensky also addressed mothers and wives of Russian men who were drafted into the service. “Do not doubt this: the children of the leaders of your country will not participate in the war against Ukraine. Those who make decisions in your country protect their children. And your children are not even buried,” he said.

    Moscow wants to call in 300,000 reservists with military experience for what it calls the “special military operation” in Ukraine. Putin hopes to regain the initiative. Zelensky said the war will now no longer be just a television spectacle for the Russians, but that it is now getting serious.