Putin's Mobilization a Sign of 'Weakness' and 'Russian Failure,' U.S. Says

The U.S. ambassador to Ukraine has described Russian President Vladimir Putin's announcement that he is ordering a partial mobilization as a "sign of weakness" and Russia's "failure."

The U.S., U.K. and other nations have responded with concern and condemnation following Putin's remarks that were originally meant to be broadcast on Tuesday evening.

Putin told the Russian people there would be a partial mobilization of the country's forces during a pre-recorded televised address early on Wednesday morning and that those in the reserves will be called up.

The Russian president also appeared to threaten the use of nuclear weapons as he accused the West of "nuclear blackmail" amid recent military setbacks in the invasion of Ukraine.

Putin Speaks at the Grand Kremlin Palace
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during the meeting marking the 220th Anniversary of the Ministry of Justice, at the Grand Kremlin Palace, September 20, 2022, in Moscow, Russia. The U.S., U.K. and others have criticized Putin's announcement of a partial mobilization of Russian forces. Getty Images

He also said Russia would support referendums due to take place this weekend in the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia regions of Ukraine, which are under Russian control. The referendums will ask voters whether they want to join Russia but are widely seen as sham votes that Russia will control.

The referendums could be a prelude to annexation of the occupied areas by Russia.

The U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Bridget A. Brink, responded to Putin's speech on Twitter on Wednesday.

"Sham referenda and mobilization are signs of weakness, of Russian failure. The United States will never recognize Russia's claim to purportedly annexed Ukrainian territory, and we will continue to stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes," Brink wrote.

U.K. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said that Putin's "breaking of his own promises not to mobilize parts of his population and the illegal annexation of parts of Ukraine are an admission that his invasion is failing."

"He and his defense minister have sent tens of thousands of their own citizens to their deaths, ill-equipped and badly led," Wallace said.

"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," he said.

Earlier, Gillian Keegan, a minister in the U.K.'s Foreign Office, told Sky News: "'Some of the language there was quite concerning at the end and obviously we would urge for calm."

'It's something that we should take very seriously because, you know, we're not in control," Keegan said.

"I'm not sure he's in control either really. I mean, this is obviously an escalation and, of course, for the Russian people now they will be conscripted into this war," she said.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak described Putin's move as an "absolutely predictable appeal, which looks more like an attempt to justify their own failure," in a text message sent to Reuters.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin called for dialogue during a regular press conference on Wednesday, according to Reuters. Wang said his country's position had been consistent.

German Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck said the move was an escalation that was "another bad and wrong step from Russia, which of course we will discuss and consult on politically regarding how to respond."

Responses from other world governments may be expected throughout the day as the United Nations (UN) General Assembly takes place in New York with President Joe Biden set to give an address.