German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Wednesday condemned President Vladimir Putin’s order for a partial military mobilization to support Russia’s war in Ukraine and the holding of annexation referendums as an “act of desperation.”

Speaking on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, Scholz insisted that Russia “cannot win this criminal war” in Ukraine and that Putin “is making things much worse with his latest decisions.”

The German leader said that Putin “from the very beginning completely underestimated the will of Ukrainians to resist,” as well as the “unity and determination” of Kiev’s allies.

“Mock referendums” in the four Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine “will certainly never be accepted” by the international community, Scholz said, and thus will not be “any excuse” for “Russia’s intentions, namely to conquer its neighbor’s land by force.” “.

“In the world we live in, law must prevail over force, and force can never be stronger than law,” he said.

Earlier, German Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck called the partial military mobilization “a bad and wrong step.”

“Through partial mobilization (Russia) continues to escalate this aggressive war that violates international law,” he tweeted.

“A bad and wrong move that we strongly condemn… We continue to fully support Ukraine.”

Scholz believes that this move signals that Russia’s campaign in Ukraine “is not going well,” his deputy press secretary Wolfgang Buchner told reporters.

Russia was forced to withdraw its troops from Kiev at the beginning of the war, and also did not achieve the success it had hoped for in the east, where Ukraine launched a lightning counteroffensive, the press secretary noted.

Ukraine was “very effective in protecting its integrity and sovereignty, not least thanks to massive support from the countries of the world, especially Germany,” he added.

Finance Minister Christian Lindner told a press conference that the mobilization showed that the war would last a long time and “we have to adjust politically and economically.”

In a pre-recorded address to the nation on Wednesday morning, Putin announced the mobilization and vowed to use “all available means” to defend Russian territory after Moscow-controlled regions of Ukraine suddenly held referendums on annexation.

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