The call-up came as Moscow-held regions of Ukraine are to vote in coming days on whether to become part of Russia in referendums that have been called an unlawful land grab by Kyiv and its allies.
“I don’t want to die in this senseless war. This is a fratricidal war.”
“And now it’s time for you to choose: for men in Russia, this is a choice to die or live, to become a cripple or to preserve health.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Source: AAP / Ukrinform/ABACA/PA
“For women in Russia, the choice is to lose their husbands, sons, grandchildren forever, or still try to protect them from death, from war, from one person (Putin),” he continued.
There were also reports of a mass exodus following the announcement.
On Thursday the Kremlin dismissed as “fake” reports that Russians eligible for mobilisation were rushing for the exit.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday demanded Mr Putin be held to account as he faced Russia in a Security Council session in which the United Nations catalogued abuses in Ukraine.
“There’s an attempt today to impose on us a completely different narrative about Russian aggression as the origin of this tragedy,” Mr Lavrov told the Security Council.
Russian police officers detain detain a protester during an unsanctioned rally on 21 September. Source: Getty / (Photo by Contributor/Getty Images)
Mr Lavrov was only in the council chamber to deliver his address to the meeting of the 15-member body, which was attended by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Mr Lavrov did not listen to anyone else speak.
The council, which was meeting on Ukraine for at least the 20th time this year, has been unable to take meaningful action because Russia is a permanent veto-wielding member along with the United States, France, Britain and China.
Mr Lavrov said countries supplying weapons to Ukraine and training its soldiers were parties to the conflict, adding that “the intentional fomenting of this conflict by the collective West remained unpunished”.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov leaves after speaking at the UN Security Council meeting on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Source: Getty / (Photo by BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP via Getty Images)
The confrontation on the diplomatic stage escalated as Kremlin-installed officials in Ukrainian regions controlled by Moscow’s forces vowed on Thursday to press ahead with annexation polls this week.
Vladimir Saldo, the Moscow-installed head of Kherson, which fell early into the Russian invasion, said the referendum would go ahead in his region regardless of the criticism.
Speaking at the UN, US President Joe Biden accused Mr Putin of “shamelessly” violating the UN Charter with a war aimed at “extinguishing Ukraine’s right to exist as a state”.
‘Anyone would want to leave’
Former Russian leader Dmitry Medvedev said in a statement on social media that those means included “strategic nuclear weapons”. He predicted the voting regions “will integrate into Russia”.
Election officials in the Donetsk region, which has been partially controlled since 2014 by Moscow-backed separatists, said that voting would take place door-to-door for the first days. But it would only be possible in polling stations on the final day, Tuesday.
A woman reacts after a rocket attack, leaving 6 civilians dead, at a market in Donetsk Oblast of Ukraine on 22 September, 2022 as Russia-Ukraine war continues. Source: Getty / (Photo by Leon Klein/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Mr Putin’s move this week to call up reservists for Ukraine sparked protests across Russia and mass arrests.
“The situation in Russia would make anyone want to leave,” he told AFP on condition of anonymity.
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