LONDON (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin ordered a Russian mobilisation to fight in Ukraine on Wednesday and made a thinly veiled threat to use nuclear weapons, in what NATO called a “reckless” act of desperation in the face of Russia’s looming defeat.
Here is some reaction:
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER MYKHAILO PODOLYAK
“Absolutely predictable appeal, which looks more like an attempt to justify their own failure,” he said in a text message to Reuters.
“The war is clearly not going according to Russia’s scenario and therefore required Putin to make extremely unpopular decisions to mobilise and severely restrict the rights of people.”
NATO’S SECRETARY GENERAL JENS STOLTENBERG
“The speech is an escalation but it is also not a surprise,” Stoltenberg told Reuters. “Therefore, we have been prepared. We will stay calm and continue to provide the support to the Ukraine. The speech of President Putin demonstrates that the war is not going according to President Putin’s plans. He has made a big miscalculation.”
BRIDGET BRINK, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE
“Sham referenda and mobilization are signs of weakness, of Russian failure,” Brink said on Twitter. “The United States will never recognise Russia’s claim to purportedly annexed Ukrainian territory.”
WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY SPOKESMAN JOHN KIRBY
Said the United States expected the additional troops but 300,000 was a large figure. “That’s a lot,” he said in an interview with ABC News. “It’s definitely a sign that he’s struggling. And we know that.”
KREMLIN FOE ALEXEI NAVALNY
“It is clear that the criminal war is getting worse, deepening, and Putin is trying to involve as many people as possible in this,” Navalny said in a video message from jail recorded and published by his lawyers.
EUROPEAN COUNCIL PRESIDENT CHARLES MICHEL
“Kremlin announces mobilization … while at UNGA countries work for cooperation, security and prosperity.”
“In this war, there is only one aggressor, Russia, and one aggressed country, Ukraine,” he said. “EU’s support to Ukraine will remain steadfast.”
BRITISH DEFENCE SECRETARY BEN WALLACE
“Putin’s breaking of his own promises not to mobilise parts of his population and the illegal annexation of parts of Ukraine, are an admission that his invasion is failing.”
“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.”
GERMANY’S VICE CHANCELLOR ROBERT HABECK
He said it was “another bad and wrong step from Russia, which of course we will discuss and consult on politically regarding how to respond”.
CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN WANG WENBIN
Urged all parties to engage in dialogue and consultation and find a way to address the security concerns of all parties.
CZECH PRIME MINISTER PETR FIALA
“The partial mobilisation declared by V.Putin is an attempt to further escalate the war Russia launched against Ukraine, and it is further proof that Russia is the sole aggressor.
“It is needed to help Ukraine, and in our own interest, we must continue with it.”
SLOVAK PRIME MINISTER EDUARD HEGER
“I strongly condemn Russia’s pseudo referendums on occupied territories of Ukraine. It’s an illegal annexation, which can’t be accepted. We reiterate our support for Ukraine’s full territorial #integrity and sovereignty!”
POLISH PRIME MINISTER MATEUSZ MORAWIECKI
“We will do all we can with our allies, so that NATO supports Ukraine even more so that it can defend itself,” Morawiecki said, urging more help for Kyiv from Western allies.
DUTCH PRIME MINISTER MARK RUTTE
“The mobilisation, calling for referenda in the Donetsk, it is all a sign of panic. His rhetoric on nuclear weapons is something we have heard many times before, and it leaves us cold,” Rutte told Dutch broadcaster NOS. “It is all part of the rhetoric we know. I would advise to remain calm.”
LITHUANIA DEFENCE MINISTER ARVYDAS ANUSAUSKAS
Lithuania raised the readiness level of its army’s rapid response force “to prevent any provocations from the Russian side”. “Since Russia’s military mobilisation will also be carried out in the Kaliningrad region, in our neighborhood, Lithuania cannot just watch,” Anusauskas wrote on Facebook.
ESTONIAN PRIME MINISTER KAJA KALLAS
“President Putin’s speech was meant to scare the international community. As for nuclear threats, the aim is the same as it has been so far – it is to fuel fear and terrorize the wider public. The Kremlin is blackmailing international community and wants to scare us and deter us from helping Ukraine. Europe will not tire.”
ROMANIAN PRIME MINISTER NICOLAE CIUCA
“Today is international peace day and instead of celebrating it properly, unfortunately, this morning we took note with concern of President Putin’s statement regarding the partial mobilization of the Russian Federation’s army and the so-called referenda.”
FINLAND’S DEFENCE MINISTER ANTTI KAIKKONEN
“Our defence forces are well prepared and the situation is closely monitored.”
MOLDOVA’S FOREIGN MINISTER NICU POPESCU
“Moldova strongly condemns Russia’s plan to annex occupied Ukrainian regions through pretend referenda. We reaffirm support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of #Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.”
BEATRICE FIHN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO ABOLISH NUCLEAR WEAPONS AND NOBEL PEACE PRIZE LAUREATE
“Nuclear threats are unacceptable at any time, by anyone. President Putin’s threats increase the risk of escalation to a nuclear conflict drastically. This is incredibly dangerous and irresponsible.”
(Reporting by Reuters; Compiled by Alison Williams)