Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced a partial military mobilization in Russia for the seven-month-old war in Ukraine, warning that it is “not a bluff”.
In a televised address to the nation on Wednesday, Putin said he was defending Russian territories and that the West wanted to destroy the country. He said Russia will use all means at its disposal to protect its territory.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told state media that Putin’s decree will call up 300,000 additional soldiers to serve in Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine.
Here’s how the world reacted to Putin’s announcement:
Aide to Ukraine’s president says Putin’s announcement of partial mobilization was a “perfectly predictable appeal”.
“The war is clearly not going according to Russia’s scenario and therefore required Putin to make extremely unpopular decisions to mobilize and severely curtail people’s rights,” Mykhailo Podolyak told Reuters.
210th day of the “Three Day War”. Russians who demanded the destruction of 🇺🇦 ended up getting:
2. Closed borders, freezing of bank accounts.
3. Jail for desertion.
Everything still according to plan, right? Life has a great sense of humor.
— Михайло Подоляк (@Podolyak_M) September 21, 2022
British Foreign Secretary Gillian Keegan said Putin’s speech was a worrying escalation of the war in Ukraine and his threats must be taken seriously.
“It’s clearly something we should take very seriously because, you know, we’re not in control – I’m not sure he’s really in control either. It’s obviously an escalation,” Keegan told Sky News.
US ambassador to Ukraine says partial mobilization is a sign of “weakness”.
“Mock referendums and mobilization are signs of weakness, of Russian failure,” wrote Bridget Brink in a Twitter message.
“The United States will never recognize Russia’s claim to allegedly annexed Ukrainian territory, and we will stand by Ukraine for as long as is necessary,” she said.
Sham referendums and mobilization are signs of weakness, of Russian failure. The United States will never recognize Russia’s claim to allegedly annexed Ukrainian territory, and we will stand by Ukraine for as long as it takes.
— Ambassador Bridget A. Brink (@USAmbKyiv) September 21, 2022
Germany’s Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck said it was “another bad and wrong move by Russia, which we will of course discuss and politically advise on how to respond.”
After Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the West about what he called “nuclear blackmail,” China’s foreign ministry called on all parties to engage in dialogue and consultations and find a way to address each party’s security concerns.
China’s position on Ukraine is consistent and clear, Wang Wenbin, spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, said at a regular news conference on Wednesday.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Russia’s mobilization order was a sign of panic in the Kremlin that should not be taken as a direct threat of full-scale war with the West.
“The mobilization, the call for referendums in Donetsk, all this is a sign of panic. We’ve heard his rhetoric about nuclear weapons many times and it leaves us cold,” Rutte told Dutch broadcaster NOS.
“It’s all part of the rhetoric that we know. I would advise staying calm.”
The EU member bordering Russia will not offer refuge to Russians fleeing Moscow’s troop mobilization, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics said in a tweet on Wednesday, citing security concerns.
#Putin announced “partial” mobilization and annexation of parts #Ukraine. We must not give in to his blackmail and support Ukraine as best we can. #Russia is as dangerous to Europe and world peace today as Nazi Germany was in the last century #StandWithUkraine
— Edgars Rinkēvičs (@edgarsrinkevics) September 21, 2022
Prime Minister Peter Fiala said Putin’s mobilization move was an attempt to “further escalate” the war and it was proof that Russia was the “sole aggressor”.
“It is necessary to help Ukraine and in our own interest we must continue to do so,” he added.
The jailed Kremlin critic claimed in a video statement during one of his court hearings that partial mobilization would lead to “massive tragedy”.
“This will lead to a massive tragedy, a massive number of deaths … to retain his personal power, Putin went to a neighboring country, killed people there and is now sending a huge crowd of Russian citizens to this war,” Navalny said and appeared via video link in court.