Live updates: Russia’s war in Ukraine
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has said that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to launch a partial mobilization of his country’s citizens is a sign of “panic” over the situation in Ukraine.
“You see that Ukraine is increasingly able to turn the tide, has conquered big chunks,” Rutte told reporters in The Hague on Wednesday.
“You also see that Western support is starting to work, so our help with weapons systems and other things. We need to really continue with that.”
“Russia cannot win this war. But this is a kind of panic reaction.”
When asked whether he thought that partial mobilization would lead to escalated military activity, Rutte said: “I think it really shows that Russian leadership does not have the situation under control.”
He added that he would not “worry too much” about the Kremlin’s threats of conflict with the West, saying that such rhetoric had been heard before.
“We are not at war with Russia. But we are supporting Ukraine in their justified struggle against the Russian aggression.”
Some background: Rutte joins a chorus of top government officials who have condemned Putin’s national address early on Wednesday.
The US ambassador to Ukraine, Bridget A. Brink, dismissed his announcement and tweeted that “sham referenda and mobilization are signs of weakness.”
She also pledged the United States would remain a staunch ally in Ukraine’s resistance against Russian aggression.
Germany’s economy minister, Robert Habeck, denounced the Kremlin’s move as a “bad and wrong development,” while British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said Putin’s address was “an admission that his invasion is failing.”