VLADIMIR Putin’s vow to mobilise more troops for Ukraine is “an admission he’s losing the war,” according to former defence secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind.

Sir Malcolm told GB News that the decision was “another humiliation for President Putin.”

He said: “First of all, to have any mobilisation at all is an admission that he’s losing the war, that he hasn’t got adequate troops, and also that he has not been able to persuade people to volunteer to join the forces, because they’ve been trying desperately including trying to persuade convicts in the prisons to join the army in order to reduce their sentence.

“What we’ve seen is a complete disaster from the moment the war began because he was forced to withdraw from Kyiv, the capital which he thought he was going to take in a few days.

“He has now lost virtually the whole of the Kharkiv and he’s now having to call out more troops because he knows his existing army is losing every day. That is very bad news for them.”

Speaking to Eamonn Holmes and Isabel Webster, he added: “What’s also clear is there is a huge amount of intelligence that the United States in particular, but also other countries are able to obtain about Russian troop movements, and that is what has helped the Ukrainians in their response.

“They’re doing the fighting but they’re doing it with the help of equipment from other countries, but also intelligence  – and intelligence is crucial, particularly nowadays, when you can see from the air any significant movement of Russian troops on the ground.

“That is part of the practical co-operation that is actually helping Ukrainians take the offensive and recover territory they should never have been forced to lose.

“The Ukrainians now have a prospect of encircling the Russians in Kherson. They’ve already blocked the Russians from reinforcing Kherson, which is in the south near Crimea near the coast.”

Sir Malcolm told GB News: “These are people who have served in national service in Russia, as everyone has to do for a period of time, and they will both be very hostile to being brought back to with the prospect of being killed or injured.

“But they also will be way out of training…it’ll be months before they even begin to have any impact on the conflict.

“I think Putin knows but he’s got to actually demonstrate that he’s doing something more to at least theoretically give the Russians a better chance of recovering the offensive.”

On the potential use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine, he said: “It remains as unlikely as it was 24 hours ago.

“Putin has always been willing to use this sort of blustering language…but he would also entirely lose the support of China and India and other countries in Africa and Asia who have tried to remain more neutral in these matters.

“We saw just a few days ago, India and China trying to say to Putin we have concerns about what’s going on here.

“Now if they’re saying that already, you don’t need me to say how hostile they would be to any suggestion of using nuclear weapons if that came from Moscow.”