Zelenskyy says does not believe Putin will use nuclear arms

Putin announced early Wednesday the mobilisation, as Ukraine mounts a lightning counter-offensive and seizes back swathes of territory, and also hinted that Moscow could use atomic arms over the conflict.

Annexation referendums set to be held in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine were “sham referendums”, Zelenskyy said, adding 90 per cent of states would not recognise them.

The Ukrainian leader said his nation’s forces would push on with their military campaign and “free our territory”.

He reiterated that Kyiv wants Germany to send battle tanks to aid Ukraine in the fight against Russia, heaping fresh pressure on Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government.

While Berlin has sent some armaments to Ukraine, they have so far refused to transfer the tanks that Kyiv is urgently appealing for.

“Give us these weapons,” Zelenskyy said. “Battle tanks mean that more people’s lives can be saved.”

He criticised the German government’s position that it does not want to “go it alone”, as no other ally has transferred Western-made battle tanks to Ukraine.

“You are an independent state … don’t say ‘First the US, then Poland, and so on’.”

Zelenskyy also said he believes Putin has “already lost the war”.

“From the first day of the invasion of Ukraine’s territory, he had lost this war. No one will forgive him.”