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'Putin is only interested in escalating war': EU official

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BRUSSELS – Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a "clear signal" to the international community that he is only interested in further escalating the war in Ukraine, an EU spokesperson for foreign affairs said on Wednesday.
The recent announcement on the Russian army's partial mobilization and referendums in four Ukrainian regions are "just another proof of Putin is not interested in peace, that he's interested in escalating his war of aggression," Peter Stano, the chief spokesperson of the EU diplomatic service, told reporters at the European Commission's daily news briefing.
The EU considers these moves made during the opening week of the UN General Assembly in New York a "clear sign signal" that Putin is "desperate" to continue "his destructive war, which had already so many bad consequences worldwide," instead of seeking peace and finding solutions to the conflict, he added.
Stano also pointed out that "Putin is not only attacking Ukraine" but "decided to attack the international community that believes in the rules on which the current world is being based," including the UN Charter and principles of international law.
He also described Russian military activities around the Zaporizhzhia power plant and the recent hints of using nuclear weapons as a "very dangerous nuclear gamble."
"The international community should be united in exercising the necessary pressure on Putin to stop such reckless behavior," he said.
Stano also ruled out that the EU would ever recognize the annexation of Ukrainian territories by Russia, and asserted that the planned referendums do not have any legitimacy.
In a Twitter post, European Council President Charles Michel also voiced criticism on the mobilization announcement made during the UN sessions that "work for cooperation, security and prosperity."
He reassured Ukraine of the bloc's "steadfast" support.
'Admission of failure'
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace described Putin's order of partial mobilization and plans to hold "illegal annexation of parts of Ukraine" as "an admission that his plan in Ukraine is failing."
Wallace said: "He [Vladimir Putin] and his defense minister have sent tens of thousands of their own citizens to their deaths, ill-equipped and badly led.
"No amount of propaganda can hide the fact that Ukraine is winning this war, the international community are united and Russian is becoming a global pariah."
Putin announced earlier on Wednesday a partial mobilization in Russia, calling up 300,000 reservists to join the army.
He also vowed to use "all means at its disposal" if Russia's territorial integrity is in danger, which was widely interpreted as a nuclear threat.
On Tuesday, Ukraine's separatist Luhansk and Donetsk regions, and Russian-controlled parts of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson announced holding referendums on joining Russia on Sept. 23-27. (PNA)

Last Modified: 2022-Sep-22 11.53.15 UTC+0800