New Delhi: Hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday (September 21, 2022) announced a “partial mobilisation” of 3,00,000 reservists with immediate effect to fight in Ukraine and said he will use all available means to protect his people if his country is “threatened”, China urged all parties to engage in dialogue and consultation. As Putin warned the West over what he described as “nuclear blackmail”, Beijing asked all the parties to find a way to address the security concerns of all parties.
China’s position on Ukraine is consistent and clear, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a regular press briefing on Wednesday.
“We call on the relevant parties to realise a ceasefire through dialogue and consultation, and find a solution that accommodates the legitimate security concerns of all parties as soon as possible,” Wenbin said.
Putin’s threats ‘must be taken seriously’: UK
British foreign office minister Gillian Keegan also reacted to Putin’s speech and said it was a worrying escalation and the threats the Russian President made “must be taken seriously”.
“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 a TV news channel.
Russia has ‘lots of weapons to reply’: Vladimir Putin warns West
Earlier in the day, in a televised address to the Russians, Putin said that the partial mobilisation of its 2 million-strong military reservists was to defend Russia and its territories.
“If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will use all available means to protect our people – this is not a bluff,” he said.
Russia had “lots of weapons to reply,” Putin said.
He also said that the US, the UK, and Belgium were pushing Ukraine to “transfer military operations to our territory” with the aim of the “complete plunder our country”.
“Nuclear blackmail has also been used,” Putin said, citing Ukraine’s Zaporozhzhia nuclear power plant, the biggest in Europe.
Both Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of endangering the plant in the fighting.
The West did not want peace in Ukraine, the Russian President said in his address.
Putin’s call for 3,00,000 reservists to fight in Ukraine was Russia’s first such mobilisation since World War Two and signified a major escalation of the war, which is now in its seventh month.
It followed recent setbacks for Russian forces, who have been driven from areas they had captured in northeast Ukraine in a Ukrainian counter-offensive this month and are bogged down in the south.
While Putin calls the Russian action in Ukraine a “special military operation” to root out dangerous nationalists and “denazify” the country, the West says it is a land grab and an attempt to reconquer a country that broke free of Moscow’s rule with the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991.
(With agency inputs)