Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said Wednesday that President Vladimir Putin’s decree on partial mobilisation would see 300,000 additional personnel called up to serve in Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine. Putin said earlier Wednesday in a televised address that he has signed a decree on partial mobilisation, declaring that he was defending Russian territories and that the West wanted to ‘destroy’ Russia. Follow the day’s events on our live blog. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).
09:26am: Russia mobilisation ‘sign of weakness’, US Ukraine ambassador
The partial mobilisation ordered by President Vladimir Putin is a sign of “weakness”, the US ambassador in Ukraine said on Wednesday.
“Sham referenda and mobilisation are signs of weakness, of Russian failure,” Bridget Brink wrote in a a Twitter message.
“The United States will never recognise Russia’s claim to purportedly annexed Ukrainian territory, and we will continue to stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes,” she said.
09:16am: UK says Putin’s threats must be taken seriously
Russian President VladimirPutin’s speech on Wednesday was a worrying escalation and the threats he made must be taken seriously, British foreign office minister Gillian Keegan told Sky News.
“Clearly it’s something that we should take very seriously because, you know, we’re not in control – I’m not sure he’s in control either, really. This is obviously an escalation,” Keegan said.
“It is chilling … It’s a serious threat, but one that has been made before,” she told the BBC in a separate interview.
09:07am: Russian mobilisation ‘predictable’, says Ukraine
Russia’s mobilisation was a predictable step that will prove extremely unpopular and underscores that the war is not going according to Moscow’s plan, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak told Reuters on Wednesday.
Podolyak said in a text message that Russian President Vladimir Putin was trying to shift the blame for starting an “unprovoked war” and Russia’s worsening economic situation onto the West.
08:55am: Russia fighting ‘collective West’, not just Ukraine, says defence minister
Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said Wednesday that 5,937 Russian soldiers have died in Ukraine since the February military intervention, in a rare admission of military losses from Moscow.
“Our losses for today are 5,937 dead,” Shoigu said in televised remarks, adding that Russia is “fighting not so much Ukraine as the collective West” in Ukraine.
08:55am: Germany agrees deal to nationalise gas giant Uniper
Germany has reached a deal to nationalise troubled gas giant Uniper, the government said Wednesday, as the energy sector reels from the fallout of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Berlin and Uniper’s Finnish owner, Fortum, announced a deal that will leave Germany with a 98.5 percent stake in the debt-laden gas company.
Under the agreement, Berlin will inject €8 billion ($8 billion) in cash in Uniper and buy Fortum’s shares for €500 million. Fortum will also be repaid for an €8 billion loan it gave Uniper.
One of the biggest importers of Russian gas, Uniper has been squeezed as Moscow has reduced supplies to the continent in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine in February.
Missing deliveries have had to be replaced with expensive supplies from the open market, where prices for gas have skyrocketed.
08:50am: Russia defence minister says 300,000 reservists to be mobilised
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Wednesday that President Vladimir Putin’s decree on partial mobilisation would see 300,000 additional personnel called up to serve in Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine.
In an interview with Russian state television, Shoigu said that students and those who served as conscripts would not be called up, and that the majority of Russia’s millions-strong reserves would not be drafted.
08:24am: Ukraine accuses Russia of again shelling Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant
The Ukrainian nuclear operator Energoatom on Wednesday accused Russia of again striking the Zaporizhzhia atomic power plant in southern Ukraine.
“Russian terrorists bombed the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant again during the night,” Energoatom said on Telegram.
08:15am: Putin announces partial military mobilisation in televised address
Russian President Vladimir Putin said he had signed a decree on partial mobilisation beginning on Wednesday, saying he was defending Russian territories and that the West wanted to destroy the country.
In a televised address, Putin said his aim was to “liberate” east Ukraine’s Donbas region, and that most people in the region did not want to return to what he called the “yoke” of Ukraine.
Putin also accused the West of engaging in nuclear blackmail against Russia and said that Russia would use “all available means” to protect its territory. He said that Russia had “lots of weapons to reply” to what he called Western threats.
He said a partial mobilisation of Russia’s 2 million-strong military reserves was “fully adequate to the threats we face, namely to protect our homeland, its sovereignty and territorial integrity, to ensure the security of our people and people in the liberated territories.”
02:52am: German Chancellor at UN: Putin must recognize he cannot win in Ukraine
Russian President Vladimir Putin will only give up his “imperial ambitions” that risk destroying Ukraine and Russia if he recognizes he cannot win the war, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in his first address to the United Nations General Assembly.
“This is why we will not accept any peace dictated by Russia and this is why Ukraine must be able to fend off Russia’s attack,” Scholz said.
The return of imperialism, with Putin’s war on Ukraine, was not just a disaster for Europe but for the global, rules-based peace order, the chancellor said. He called on the UN to defend this from those who would prefer a world where the “strong rule the weak”.
02:24am: Japanese prime minister slams Russia’s invasion of Ukraine during UN address
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, addressing the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as destabilising the international order to its core and said the rule of law, not coercion by power, should prevail.
“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a conduct that tramples the philosophy and principles of the U.N. charter … It should never be tolerated,” Kishida said.
Kishida, who hails from Hiroshima, the first city to ever suffer an atomic bombing, also denounced the threat of nuclear weapons by Russia.
01:33am: US official warns of ‘increased consequences’ if Russia were to annex parts of Ukraine
There will be increased consequences if Russia were to annex parts of Ukraine, a senior US State Department official said on Tuesday, as Moscow-installed leaders in occupied areas of four Ukrainian regions planned to hold referendums on joining Russia.
“We have made clear that there will be increased consequences. We have … a number of tools,” the official said.
00:30am: Zelensky hails Western support against Russia’s planned referendums
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky hailed Western allies for their condemnation of plans by authorities in pro-Moscow regions of Ukraine to hold referendums on joining Russia
“I thank all the friends and partners of Ukraine for their massive and firm condemnation of Russia’s intentions to organise yet more pseudo-referendums,” he said in his daily address.
00:15am: Africa Union leader warns of pressure to choose sides in Ukraine
African Union chairperson Macky Sall said Tuesday that Africa “does not want to be the breeding ground of a new Cold War”, alluding to the pressure mounting on the continent’s leaders to choose sides over the war in Ukraine.
Many African countries depend heavily on grain imports from Russia and Ukraine. Amid market shortages, Russia’s foreign minister has sought to portray the West as the villain, blaming it for rising food prices. Western leaders, meanwhile, have accused the Kremlin of cynically using food as a weapon and waging an imperial-style war of conquest.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)
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