BRUXELLES – Russian President Vladimir Putin has delivered a “clear signal” to the international community that he is only interested in worsening the conflict in Ukraine, according to an EU foreign affairs official on Wednesday.
The recent announcements about the Russian army’s partial mobilization and referendums in four Ukrainian regions are “just another proof that Putin is not interested in peace, that he’s interested in escalating his war of aggression,” said Peter Stano, the chief spokesperson for the EU diplomatic service, at the European Commission’s daily news briefing.
The EU sees Putin’s actions during the first week of the UN General Assembly in New York as a “clear sign signal” that he is “desperate” to continue “his destructive war, which has already had so many disastrous consequences worldwide,” rather than seeking peace and resolving the problem, he added.
Stano further stated that “Putin has opted to target the international community that believes in the rules on which the modern world is built,” referring to the UN Charter and principles of international law.
He also called Russia’s military activities surrounding the Zaporizhzhia power facility, as well as recent hints of utilizing nuclear weapons, a “extremely risky nuclear gamble.”
“The international community should work together to put pressure on Putin to halt such dangerous behavior,” he said.
Stano also denied that the EU would ever accept Russia’s acquisition of Ukrainian regions and claimed that the upcoming referendums lack legitimacy.
European Council President Charles Michel also criticized the mobilization statement made during the UN sessions that “work for cooperation, security, and prosperity” in a Twitter post.
He promised Ukraine of the EU’s “unwavering” support.
‘Failure of Admission’
Putin’s order of partial mobilization and preparations for “illegal annexation of areas of Ukraine” were condemned by British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace as “an admission that his plan in Ukraine is failing.”
“He [Vladimir Putin] and his defense minister have sent tens of thousands of their own compatriots to their deaths, ill-equipped and poorly led,” Wallace remarked.
“No amount of misinformation can disguise the truth that Ukraine is winning this battle, the international community is united, and Russia is transforming itself into a global pariah.”
Putin declared a partial mobilization in Russia earlier on Wednesday, calling up 300,000 reservists to join the army.
He also threatened to employ “all means at its disposal” if Russia’s territorial integrity was jeopardized, which was generally understood as a nuclear threat.
On Tuesday, the separatist regions of Ukraine’s Luhansk and Donetsk, as well as Russian-controlled areas of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson, declared referendums on joining Russia for September.