Russia's mobilisation was 'predictable', shows war effort failing, Ukraine says

Mykhailo Podolyak, a political adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, receives questions from a member of the media after a meeting with Russian negotiators in Istanbul, Turkey March 29, 2022. REUTERS/Kemal Aslan/File Photo

KYIV, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Russia's mobilisation was a predictable step that will prove extremely unpopular and underscores that the war is not going according to Moscow's plan, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said on Wednesday.

Podolyak said in a text message to Reuters that Russian President Vladimir Putin was trying to shift the blame for starting an "unprovoked war" and Russia's worsening economic situation onto the West.

Putin on Wednesday ordered Russia's first mobilisation since World War Two, warning the West that if it continued what he called its "nuclear blackmail" then Moscow would respond with the might of all its vast arsenal.

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It significantly escalates the conflict over Ukraine and comes as Russia battles a Ukrainian counter-offensive that has forced its troops to retreat and surrender some occupied territory.

"Absolutely predictable appeal, which looks more like an attempt to justify their own failure," Podolyak wrote, giving the first reaction by Ukraine's presidential office.

"The war is clearly not going according to Russia's scenario and therefore required Putin to make extremely unpopular decisions to mobilize and severely restrict the rights of people."

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Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Writing by Matthias Williams; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne

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