The order for partial mobilization in Russia with the planned recruitment of 300,000 reservists is primarily interpreted by government and foreign politicians in Germany as a "sign of weakness". At the same time, concerns about a further escalation were raised.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz described the recent decisions by President Vladimir Putin and his government as an "act of desperation". "Russia cannot win this criminal war," said the SPD politician in New York on the fringes of the UN General Assembly. Putin "completely underestimated" the situation from the start. This applies both to the resistance of the Ukrainians and to the unity of the friends of Ukraine.
The Chancellor later confirmed in the ARD "Tagesthemen" that he absolutely wanted to avoid an escalation between Russia and NATO. According to Scholz, Germany has always provided comprehensive support to Ukraine, but at the same time ensured that such an escalation did not occur. "This is exactly the path we will continue to take." Putin's reaction to the military successes of the Ukrainian armed forces shows "that Putin's plans are not going through," said Scholz. "He failed because of the resistance of the Ukrainians, but also because of the very extensive military and financial support given to Ukraine by its friends and allies, including Germany in particular."
Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) spoke of a "sign of military and political weakness". Putin is not only trying to destroy Ukraine, he is also ruining his own country. "Unscrupulously and brutally, he is once again sending thousands of young people to a senseless death in this brutal and criminal war," said the SPD politician. "But Russia should not be mistaken: we will not slacken our support for Ukraine's courageous defence."
FDP defense politician: Escalation conceivable
FDP leader and Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner also spoke of a "sign of weakness". "Ukraine is not intimidated by this and neither should we," said Lindner in Berlin. The partial mobilization shows, however, that we are dealing with a long-lasting conflict. Lindner spoke of supporting Ukraine permanently.
Coalition politicians also expressed concerns. The parliamentary manager of the SPD parliamentary group, Katja Mast, said, "it is also a new escalation". The partial mobilization shows that Putin is willing to take further steps. The FDP defense politician Ulrich Lechte said the order made it clear that Russia had apparently suffered considerable military losses in its war of aggression. "Further escalation is conceivable under these circumstances - regardless of this, we must and will continue to stand firmly by Ukraine's side."
AfD co-boss: "The Third World War is imminent"
The reactions from the opposition were mixed. Union parliamentary group leader Johann Wadephul (CDU) said that Putin was finally dropping his mask. "Ukraine has the opportunity to successfully defend its own country and liberate areas occupied by Russia." But this requires more than just substantial support from the international community in the form of heavy weapons.
CDU leader Friedrich Merz believes that the mood in Russia could change. The step is an escalation to which the West must react "with determination and clarity", said Merz on the "RTL Direkt" program. "I think it could be the tipping point for Putin because he probably won't be able to maintain approval in the country."
AfD co-head Tino Chrupalla warned: "The Third World War is looming, and Germany would be a direct war party because of the traffic light escalation strategy." Arms deliveries to Ukraine led to an escalation and dragged Germany into the war. The federal government must support peace negotiations "and avert a nuclear confrontation." Germany has nothing to gain in the Ukraine war, "but everything to lose."
The co-leader of the left, Janine Wissler, called for refugees from Russia to be admitted. "People who are now fleeing Russia because they reject the war and don't want to be drafted as reservists need protection and asylum. Germany must guarantee quick and uncomplicated admission options," she said "t-online". Human lives are becoming more and more "material to wear out in Putin's criminal war."
Heusgen: Putin is losing support
The head of the Munich Security Conference, Christoph Heusgen, sees the partial mobilization as an "act of desperation" and an indication that Russia's President Vladimir Putin is losing the support of his previous allies. At the most recent summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Council, Putin was "humiliated," Heusgen told WELT television. Chinese President Xi Jinping made it clear to him that he had serious concerns. He was also partly ignored by Central Asian presidents. "His reputation has been damaged and now he has to try somehow, out of desperation, to improve his country's image."
Heusgen spoke of a mass exodus of conscripts who were leaving Russia primarily via Istanbul. That indicates a failure of the mobilization attempt, he commented. "People don't want to serve on this front. They know how bad the armed forces are, how bad the motivation is. And it will be a very difficult operation." "The man is desperate, he's under international pressure, he has to deliver because his base is slowly crumbling away at home," Heusgen continued.