Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Wednesday that, in accordance with President Vladimir Putin’s decree on partial mobilization, another 300,000 troops will be called up to participate in Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine. Earlier Wednesday, Putin said in a televised address that he had signed a partial mobilization decree, saying he was protecting Russian territories and that the West wanted to “destroy” Russia. Follow the events of the day on our live blog. All times are in Paris time (GMT+2).
09:26: Russian mobilization ‘sign of weakness’, US ambassador to Ukraine
Partial mobilization ordered by President Vladimir Putin is a sign of “weakness,” the US ambassador to Ukraine said on Wednesday.
“Fake referendums and mobilization are signs of weakness, Russian failure,” Bridget Brink wrote in a Twitter post.
“The United States will never recognize Russia’s claims to the allegedly annexed territory of Ukraine, and we will continue to support Ukraine for as long as it takes,” she said.
09:16 am: UK says Putin threats to be taken seriously
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s speech on Wednesday was a disturbing escalation and his threats should be taken seriously, British Foreign Secretary Gillian Keegan told Sky News.
“Obviously this is something we have to take very seriously because, you know, we are not in control of the situation – I’m not sure if he is in control, really. This is clearly an escalation,” Keegan said.
“It’s scary… It’s a serious threat, but it’s been spoken out before,” she told the BBC in a separate interview.
09:07 am: Russian mobilization ‘predictable’, says Ukraine
Russia’s mobilization was a predictable move that would prove highly unpopular and highlight that the war is not going according to Moscow’s plan, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mikhail Podolyak told Reuters on Wednesday.
Podolyak said in a text message that Russian President Vladimir Putin was trying to shift the blame for unprovoked war and Russia’s worsening economic situation to the West.
08:55: Russia is at war with the “collective West”, not just Ukraine, says defense minister
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Wednesday that 5,937 Russian soldiers have died since the February military intervention in Ukraine, a rare acknowledgment of Moscow’s military casualties.
“Our losses to date amount to 5,937 dead,” Shoigu said in a televised address, adding that Russia is “at war not so much with Ukraine as with the collective West” in Ukraine.
08:55: Germany agrees to deal to nationalize gas giant Uniper
Germany has reached an agreement to nationalize troubled gas giant Uniper, the government said on Wednesday, as the energy sector recovers from the aftermath of Russia’s war with Ukraine.
Berlin and Uniper’s Finnish owner, Fortum, have announced a deal that would leave Germany with a 98.5% stake in the debt-laden gas company.
Under the agreement, Berlin will invest 8 billion euros ($8 billion) in cash in Uniper and buy Fortum shares for 500 million euros. Fortum will also repay an €8bn loan provided by Uniper.
One of the largest importers of Russian gas, Uniper, has found itself in a quandary as Moscow cut supplies to the continent after invading Ukraine in February.
Missing supplies had to be replaced with expensive supplies from the open market, where gas prices skyrocketed.
08:50 am: Russian Defense Minister says 300,000 reservists will be mobilized
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Wednesday that, in accordance with President Vladimir Putin’s decree on partial mobilization, another 300,000 troops will be called up to participate in Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine.
In an interview with Russian state television, Shoigu said that students and conscripts would not be drafted, and most of Russia’s multimillion-dollar reserve would not be drafted.
08:24: Ukraine accuses Russia of another shelling of the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant
The Ukrainian nuclear company Energoatom on Wednesday accused Russia of another attack on the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine.
“Russian terrorists again bombed the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant at night,” Energoatom said in a Telegram message.
08:15: Putin announces partial military mobilization in televised address
Russian President Vladimir Putin said he signed a decree to begin partial mobilization on Wednesday, saying he was protecting Russian territories and that the West wanted to destroy the country.
In a televised address, Putin said his goal was to “liberate” the Donbass in eastern Ukraine, 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 nuclear blackmail against Russia and said that Russia would use “all available means” to protect its territory. He said Russia had “many weapons to respond” to what he called Western threats.
According to him, the partial mobilization of Russia’s two million military reserve “is fully adequate to the threats we face, namely to protect our Motherland, its sovereignty and territorial integrity, to ensure the security of our people and people in the liberated territories.”
02:52: German chancellor at UN: Putin must admit he cannot win in Ukraine
President of Russia Vladimir Putin will only give up his “imperial ambitions” that risk destroying Ukraine and Russia if he admits he cannot win the war, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in his first address to the UN General Assembly.
“That is why we will not accept any peace dictated by Russia, and that is why Ukraine must be able to repel a Russian attack,” Scholz said.
According to the chancellor, the return of imperialism with Putin’s war in Ukraine was a disaster not only for Europe, but for the rules-based global peace order. He urged the UN to protect this from those who would prefer a world where “the strong rule the weak”.
02:24: Japanese PM condemns Russian invasion of Ukraine during UN speech
Prime Minister of Japan Fumio Kishidareferring to United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday denounced Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as destabilizing the international order to its core and said the rule of law must prevail, not coercion by force.
“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is behavior that flouts the philosophy and principles of the UN Charter… This can never be tolerated,” Kishida said.
Kishida, who hails from Hiroshima, the first city to be atomically bombed, also denounced the nuclear threat from Russia.
01:33 am: US official warns of ‘increased consequences’ if Russia annexes parts of Ukraine
If Russia annexes parts of Ukraine, the consequences will worsen, a senior US State Department official said Tuesday, as Moscow-appointed leaders in the occupied territories of four Ukrainian regions planned to hold referendums on joining Russia.
“We have made it clear that the consequences will be intensified. We have… a number of tools,” the official said.
00:30 am: Zelensky welcomes Western support against Russia’s planned referenda
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky greeted the Western allies for condemning the plans of the authorities of the pro-Moscow regions of Ukraine to hold referendums on joining Russia
“I thank all friends and partners of Ukraine for their massive and firm condemnation of Russia’s intentions to organize even more pseudo-referendums,” he said in his daily address.
00:15: African Union leader warns of pressure to choose side in Ukraine
African Union Chairman Maki Sall said on Tuesday that Africa “does not want to be a breeding ground for a new Cold War,” hinting at growing pressure on the continent’s leaders to side with the war in Ukraine.
Many African countries are heavily dependent on grain imports from Russia and Ukraine. With a market in short supply, Russia’s foreign minister is trying to portray the West as a villain by blaming it for rising food prices. Meanwhile, Western leaders 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)