Russia is prepared to use “all defense means” including nuclear, “to defend itself”, Russian President Vladimir Putin has today said in a televised address to his nation, France Press reports. Putin, who has accused the West of wanting to destroy Russia, has ordered partial mobilization of reservists, which significantly escalates the conflict in Ukraine. Putin also said he supported the annexation referendums to be held in the Ukrainian territories occupied by Russia. Pro-Russian authorities in four Ukrainian regions – Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk and Luhansk – had announced referendums for the unification with Russia. In Donetsk and Luhansk there are separatist republics proclaimed as of 2014, whose independence had been recognized by Russia before its invasion of Ukraine. In Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, on the other hand, pro-Russian authorities have been installed after a part of the two regions had been occupied following the Russian invasion in February. In Bucharest, PM Nicolae Ciuca has today said he took notice, with concern, of the Russian President’s statements regarding partial military mobilization and the organization of the so-called referendums and that Romania will maintain its balanced stand and will continue to calmly monitor, alongside its NATO allies, the evolutions in the neighboring Ukraine.