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UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Russia’s partial military mobilization is a sign it is “failing and flailing” in its invasion of Ukraine, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau charged Wednesday, condemning what he called an escalation of the war.

Trudeau said the activation of some reservists, combined with President Vladimir Putin’s veiled nuclear threats and plans for referendums in occupied areas of Ukraine showed the Russian leader is desperate.

“Putin has fundamentally miscalculated in a whole bunch of different ways,” the prime minister told reporters gathered at U.N. headquarters, where the General Assembly is meeting. “Putin was wrong and he is, right now, failing and flailing in his response to the situation.”

In calling for the mobilization, Putin cited the length of the front line and said Russia is effectively fighting the combined military might of Western countries.

Trudeau vowed Canada would continue to strengthen sanctions on Russia and provide military aid to Ukraine, but offered no details. Putin, he said, was inching closer to “admitting what he has not wanted to admit” that his country is, in fact, at war.

The Canadian leader accused Putin of “war crimes” and said Russia, a founding member of the United Nations, was violating the institution’s basic tenets.

“We continue to ensure that we do everything necessary to make sure Putin and his cronies are held to account,” Trudeau said.

Prodded by reporters to wade into American politics, Trudeau sidestepped on one point and dove in on another. Asked if President Joe Biden was wrong in declaring the COVID-19 pandemic over, Trudeau noted people struggling in hospitals and said “we all want this pandemic to be over as quickly as possible.”

On the subject of the overturning of Roe v. Wade, though, he enthusiastically said Canada would fight for reproductive rights around the world.

“We’ll help the United States if we need to as well,” he said.


AP National Writer Matt Sedensky can be reached at and For more AP coverage of the U.N. General Assembly, visit