Joe Biden condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a “brutal, needless war” in a speech to the United Nations general assembly hours after Vladimir Putin threatened to use Moscow’s atomic weapons in response to what he called the West’s “nuclear blackmail”.
The US president said Russia “attempted to erase a sovereign state from the map, and “shamelessly violated the core tenets of the United Nations charter”.
Mr Putin earlier announced a partial mobilisation of 300,000 troops to shore up his forces, which have been pushed back in recent weeks by the Ukrainian army.
He also accused the West of considering the use of nuclear weapons against Russia and warned Moscow would “use all the means at our disposal” if threatened by the US, UK or EU.
“This is not a bluff. And those who try to blackmail us with nuclear weapons should know that the weathervane can turn and point towards them.”
Britain said the mobilisation of Russia’s military reservists by President Putin is a “clear admission” his invasion of Ukraine is failing.
Biden says Putin is making ‘overt nuclear threats’
Putin announces partial military mobilisation in address to Russia
Russia has admitted it's losing war, says UK
Zelenksy to address UNGA today virtually from Kyiv
World leaders ‘will not accept any peace dictated by Russia’
Russia called for referendums over ‘imminent Ukrainian attack’ – MoD
Liz Truss and EU chief unite in condemnation of Putin’s war
17:19 , Liam James
Liz Truss and Ursula von der Leyen have jointly condemned Vladimir Putin’s “failing” invasion of Ukraine, after meeting at the UN in New York.
The prime minister and the European Commission president said the Russian president’s partial military mobilisation was a “sign of weakness” and redoubled their commitment to support Ukraine for “as long as it takes”.
Good discussion with Prime Minister @trussliz on EU-UK relations and Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
We condemn Putin’s actions and agree that his calls to mobilise parts of the population are a sign of weakness.
Russia's invasion is failing. pic.twitter.com/b1Q3oZVmMn
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) September 21, 2022
As the pair met, Ms Truss told the EU chief “it’s very nice to see you” and Ms von der Leyen nodded and smiled in response.
Biden says Putin is making ‘overt nuclear threats’ against Europe
16:57 , Liam James
President Joe Biden has told the UN General Assembly that Russian President Vladimir Putin is making “overt nuclear threats” against Europe.
Mr Biden said the war was “chosen by one man, to be very blunt”.
“President Putin has made overt nuclear threats against Europe, and a reckless disregard for the responsibilities of a non-proliferation regime. Now Russia is calling up more soldiers to join the fight, and the Kremlin is organizing a sham referendum,” Mr Biden said.
The president said the referendums in the east of Ukraine in areas controlled by Russia were an attempt to “annex parts of Ukraine, an extremely significant violation of the UN charter”.
More on this from Gustav Kilander here.
Biden condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a ‘brutal, needless war’ in UN address
16:25 , Liam James
Joe Biden condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a “brutal, needless war” in a speech to the United Nations general assembly.
The president said Russia “attempted to erase a sovereign state from the map, and has “shamelessly violated the core tenets of the United Nations charter.”
Mr Biden’s remarks came hours after Russian president Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilisation of 300,000 troops to shore up his forces, which have been pushed back in recent weeks by the Ukrainian army.
Truss accuses Putin of ‘sabre rattling'
15:55 , Emily Atkinson
Liz Truss has accused Vladimir Putin of “sabre rattling” after the Russian president declared a partial military mobilisation.
Speaking to the bosses of major American firms in New York, the Prime Minister said: “I thought it was very important that I came to the UN General Assembly this year, because we are facing such a difficult international situation, with the war in Ukraine started by Vladimir Putin.
“We’ve heard more sabre rattling from him this morning but also we need to get the global economy back on its feet after Covid, and really ensure democracy prevails.
Watch: Vladimir Putin's 'Iron Doll' says Russia should have nuked Queen’s funeral
15:41 , Emily Atkinson
Biden to announce $2.9 bn in food security funding, says White House
15:19 , Emily Atkinson
President Joe Biden will announce $2.9 bn in additional U.S. funding to address global food insecurity during an address to the United Nations General Assembly, the White House said.
The announcement builds on $6.9 bn in US food security funding already committed this year, the White House said.
During his speech on Wednesday morning, Biden is also expected to deliver a rebuke of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Watch: Putin warns west 'I'm not bluffing' over nuclear weapons as he declares partial mobilisation
15:07 , Emily Atkinson
Putin’s ‘referendum playbook’ a ‘blatant sham’, says Cleverly
14:52 , Emily Atkinson
Foreign secretary James Cleverly said the UK would never recognise the results of “sham referendums” held in occupied Ukraine.
He said Vladimir Putin’s “referendum playbook” was a “blatant sham designed to seize Ukraine‘s land”.
“Any votes held at the barrel of a gun cannot be free or fair.
“We will never recognise the results of any sham referendums or attempts to annex Ukraine‘s sovereign territory.”
Stoltenberg accuses Putin of making ‘a big miscalculation'
14:37 , Emily Atkinson
Vladimir Putin’s mobilisation of thousands of extra troops will escalate the conflict and his threat to use nuclear weapons was “dangerous and reckless rhetoric,” Nato’s secretary general has said.
Jens Stoltenberg told Reuters that Putin’s moves demonstrated “that the war is not going according to his plans” and it was clear that the Russian president had made “a big miscalculation.”
Russian banks urged to offer payment holidays on loans to reservists
14:21 , Emily Atkinson
Russia‘s central bank has recommended that banks offer payment holidays on loans to any reservists called up under president Vladimir Putin’s decree on partial mobilisation.
Watch: Vladimir Putin's national TV address 'chilling', says Gillian Keegan
14:10 , Emily Atkinson
Zelensky says Putin wants to ‘drown Ukraine in blood’, including that of Russian soldiers
13:58 , Emily Atkinson
Speaking to the German newspaper, Bild, the Ukraine president said Putin did not care if he was killing Russians as well as Ukrainians.
“He wants to drown Ukraine in blood, including the blood of his own soldiers,” said Zelensky.
David Harding reports:
Navalny accuses Putin of trying to 'smear hundreds of thousands of people' in a 'criminal war'
13:37 , Emily Atkinson
Alexei Navalny has accused president Vladimir Putin of trying to “smear hundreds of thousands of people” in a “criminal war” after he ordered a partial mobilisation of Russian reserves.
The jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny made the remark via a video message recorded from prison, which he had published by his lawyers.
He warned Putin’s new marital order would lead to “massive tragedy”.
Navalny, who is serving more than a 10 years in prison, said: “This will result in a massive tragedy, in a massive amount of deaths … in order to keep his personal power, Putin went into a neighbouring country, killed people there and is now sending a huge quantity of Russian citizens into this war.
“It is clear that the criminal war is getting worse, deepening, and Putin is trying to involve as many people as possible in this. He wants to smear hundreds of thousands of people in this blood.”
Putin is lashing out with huge repercussions
13:18 , Jane Dalton
The Ukrainians may not only get back parts of the Donbas in Ukrainian hands but also retake land taken by Russia in 2014.
Backed into a corner, Mr Putin becomes even more dangerous, with repercussions for the world, writes Kim Sengupta:
Putin move admission war failing, says No 10
13:12 , Jane Dalton
Vladimir Putin’s mobilisation of Russia’s military reservists is a “clear admission” his invasion of Ukraine is failing, Downing Street says.
A No 10 spokeswoman said: “Putin’s speech this morning and his move to mobilise the Russian population are a clear admission that his invasion is failing.
“The UK, alongside our international partners, stand united in condemning the Russian government’s reprehensible actions.
“We will continue to support the Ukrainian government in the face of this assault on their sovereignty.”
Pope condemns Putin’s nuclear threat
12:58 , Jane Dalton
Pope Francis has described even thinking of using nuclear weapons as “madness”.
The pontiff also said Ukrainians were being subjected to savageness, monstrosities and torture, calling them a “noble” people being martyred.
The pope, discussing his trip to Kazakhstan last week, praised the central Asian country for giving up nuclear weapons after its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
“This was courageous. At a time in this tragic war where some are thinking of nuclear weapons - which is madness - this country said ‘no’ to nuclear weapons from the start,” Francis said.
Nuclear plant 'damaged by shell’
12:55 , Jane Dalton
Russia’s defence ministry says a large-calibre shell damaged a technical water pipe at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine, Russian state-owned news agency RIA reported.
The plant, captured by Russian forces in March, remains close to the front line, and has come under fire repeatedly in recent months, raising fears of a nuclear catastrophe. Both Ukraine and Russia blame each other for shelling it.
One-way flights out of Russia sell out
12:34 , Jane Dalton
Google Trends data showed a spike in searches for Russia’s most popular website for purchasing flights. Report by Emily Atkinson:
Raids on German homes of Putin oligarch with former ties to Arsenal and Everton
12:20 , Emily Atkinson
The Munich state prosecutor said comprehensive raids had taken place at the residence of a Russian citizen and four other suspects. Media reports claimed other properties belonging to Usmanov across Germany had been raided.
Authorities searched 24 properties across four states, including Bavaria, with 250 officers involved in the operation, the prosecutor said.
German broadcasters BR and MDR reported that one of the locations targeted was Usmanov‘s villa on Tegernsee lake in the southern state.
David Harding reports:
Ukraine must demine 12,000 km2 of liberated areas in Kharkiv region, says official
12:07 , Emily Atkinson
Ukraine is beginning work to demine 12,000 square km (4,633 square miles) of territory wrested back from Russian control in the eastern Kharkiv region, an emergency service official has said.
Roman Prymush also said in a briefing that it could take several years to demine the area, which is bigger than the state of Qatar, and that the United States, Britain and Canada would help with the work.
Watch: White House slams proposed Russian-backed votes in Ukraine as 'sham referenda'
11:51 , Emily Atkinson
Flight prices out of Moscow soar amid exodus from country
11:40 , Emily Atkinson
Flight prices out of Moscow have skyrocketed as people rush to leave the country under the new partial mobilisation order.
The Independent reviewed ticket purchasing options on the Aviasales wesbite, and found that the cheapeast flight to Yerevan as of 11am would set travellers back just over 82,000 roubles (£1,200), where yesterday the same ticket cost in the ball park of 8900 roubles (£130).
The cheapest flight to Istanbul – a nine hour trip requiring a stopover in Antalya – weighed in at 100,600 roubles (equivalent to almost £1500).
Some routes with stopovers, including those from Moscow to Tbilisi, were also unavailable, while the cheapest flights from the capital to Dubai were costing more than 300,000 roubles ($5,000).
One-way flights out of Russia sell out, data shows
11:27 , Emily Atkinson
One-way flight tickets out of Russia were selling out fast after President Vladimir Putin ordered the partial mobilisation of Moscow’s reserves in a major escalation of his war on Ukraine.
The announcement raised fears that some men of fighting age would not be allowed to leave the country.
Google Trends data showed a spike in searches for Aviasales, which is Russia’s most popular website for purchasing flights.
Direct flights from Moscow to Istanbul in Turkey and Yerevan in Armenia, both destinations that allow Russians to enter without a visa, were sold out on Wednesday, according to the site data.
Watch: 'Absolutely clear' Putin's nuclear threat serious for western countries, says Sergei Markov
11:12 , Emily Atkinson
Why did Putin start the Russia Ukraine conflict?
10:47 , Emily Atkinson
Russia’s long-feared invasion of Ukraine continues to rage on from Vladimir Putin’s announcement of his “special military operation” against the country in the early hours of 24 February, the Russian leader declaring, groundlessly, a need to “demilitarise and de-Nazify” the neighbouring state after eight years of fighting in the Donbas.
What are the key issues behind the conflict, where did it all begin and how might the crisis unfold? Joe Sommerlad and Thomas Kingsley report:
Russia attempting to ‘destroy’ Ukraine, says Poland
10:36 , Emily Atkinson
Russia will attempt to destroy Ukraine and change its borders, Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki said, commenting on a partial mobilisation order announced by president Vladimir Putin.
“We will do all we can with our allies, so that Nato supports Ukraine even more so that it can defend itself,” Morawiecki said, urging more help for Kyiv from western allies.
‘No way back to business as usual’: The Baltic nations seek to counter Russia’s threat
10:25 , Emily Atkinson
On the border with Russia on the edge of Nato’s eastern flank, the people of Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia are nervously watching events in Ukraine while the leaders of each nation call for support from the international community.
Bel Trew reports from Vilnius and the ‘Suwalki gap’:
Latvia says it won't offer refuge to Russians fleeing mobilisation
10:16 , Emily Atkinson
Latvia, which borders Russia, will not offer refuge to any Russians fleeing Moscow’s mobilisation of troops, Latvian foreign minister Edgars Rinkevics said.
A translation of his tweet reads: “Due to security reasons, Latvia will not issue humanitarian or other types of visas to those Russian citizens who avoid mobilisation, nor will it change the border crossing restrictions for Russian citizens with Schengen visas.”
Drošības apsvērumu dēļ Latvija neizsniegs humānās vai cita veida vīzas tiem Krievijas pilsoņiem, kuri izvairās no mobilizācijas, kā arī nemainīs kopš 19.septembra ieviestos robežšķērsošanas ierobežojumus Krievijas pilsoņiem ar Šengenas vīzām
— Edgars Rinkēvičs (@edgarsrinkevics) September 21, 2022
Truss, Johnson and Biden ‘responsible’ for war in Ukraine
10:08 , Emily Atkinson
Prime Minister Liz Truss and her predecessor Boris Johnson, as well as US President Joe Biden, “are fully responsible for the war in Ukraine” and the possible threat of nuclear war, a former adviser to Vladimir Putin has claimed.
Political scientist Sergei Markov was asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme if Russia thinks a nuclear war could be won.
He said: “I would say that everybody in this world now is thinking about nuclear war.
“This nuclear war could be a result of the crazy behaviour of the president of the United States Joe Biden and prime ministers of Great Britain Boris Johnson and Liz Truss.
“Biden, Johnson and Truss are fully responsible for the war in Ukraine.”
Pope Francis criticises the savageness, monstrosities and torture’ faced by Ukrainians
09:56 , Emily Atkinson
Pope Francis has lent his voice to calls for a descalation of tensions in Ukraine, but fell short of mentioning Russia or its president.
Speaking at the end of his general audience in St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday, the pontiff said that Ukrainians were being subjected to savageness, monstrosities and torture, calling them a “noble” people being martyred.
He told the crowd of a conversation he had on Tuesday with Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, his charity chief who is delivering aid in Ukraine.
Vatican media said Krajewski, who is Polish, came under light gunfire last week while delivering aid. He also visited mass graves.
UK could fall under Putin’s nuclear threat, says his former adviser in bizarre rant
09:34 , Emily Atkinson
Russia may be ready to use nuclear weapons against western countries including Britain, a former adviser to Vladimir Putin has claimed.
Political scientist Sergei Markov was asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme if he believed the Russian leader had made a clear threat not just to use tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine but also to start a general nuclear war that would kill everyone.
He replied “not everyone” but added it “could kill a lot of people in the western countries”.
Mr Markov said: “It was absolutely clear that Russia has no war against Ukraine. Russia has no reason to use technical nuclear weapons against Ukrainians. Ukrainians are our brothers but Ukrainians are occupied by western countries.
“It is western countries who are fighting against (the) Russian army using Ukrainian soldiers as their slaves.”
Putin attempting to ‘frighten' Ukraine and west into ‘abandoning’ efforts to retake Donbas
09:20 , Emily Atkinson
Vladimir Putin’s mobilisation and referenda orders in the Donbas are about “frightening the west and Zelensky into abandoning the aim of reconquering those parts of Ukraine”, a top British defence journalist has explained.
Taking to Twitter this morning, Mark Urban, the diplomatic editor for BBC Newsnight, called Putin’s latest wave of announcements “an attempt to lock conquered areas of Ukraine (in 4 southern + eastern districts) into Russia via sham referenda, and to deter Ukraine and the west from efforts to re-take those areas.”
He continues: “The logic of this morning’s announcements is about Putin’s desire to make permanent the conquest of 15 [per cent] of a neighbouring country in complete violation of the post 1945 order.”
Read his thread in full here:
To sum up: today's Kremlin moves are about trying to lock in territorial gains and bring this phase of the war to an end on terms to Putin's liking. It is about frightening the west and Zelensky into abandoning the aim of reconquering those parts of Ukraine lost since 2014 8/END
— Mark Urban (@MarkUrban01) September 21, 2022
US joins UK in calling Putin’s mobilisation order a sign of Russian ‘failure’
09:14 , Emily Atkinson
The US has now joined the UK in calling Vladimir Putin’s mobilisation and “sham referenda” orders a sign of “Russian failure.”
Posting on Twitter this morning, the US ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink called Moscow’s announcement “signs of weakness, of Russian failure.
“The United States will never recognize Russia’s claim to purportedly annexed Ukrainian territory, and we will continue to stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes.”
UK defence secretary Ben Wallace earlier said that Putin’s mobilisation order was an “admission that his invasion is failing,” the UK defence secretary has said.
Sham referenda and mobilization are signs of weakness, of Russian failure. The United States will never recognize Russia's claim to purportedly annexed Ukrainian territory, and we will continue to stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes.
— Ambassador Bridget A. Brink (@USAmbKyiv) September 21, 2022
Putin’s new call to arms an ‘admission that his invasion is failing’
08:55 , Emily Atkinson
Vladimir Putin’s order for Russia’s first mobilisation since the Second World War is an “admission that his invasion is failing,” the UK defence secretary has said.
Ben Wallace accused the Russian president and his defence minister, Sergei Shogui, of sending “tens of thousands of their own citizens to their deaths, ill equipped and badly led.”
“No amount of threats and propoganda can hide the fact that Ukraine is winning this war, the international community are united and Russia is becoming a global pariah,” he concludes.
— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) September 21, 2022
08:46 , Emily Atkinson
Commentary on Putin’s announcement of partial mobilsation has erupted on social media, stirring up much division and disagreement as to whether the fresh call to arms will escalate Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, and its implications beyond the border.
Listed below is some useful analysis of Russia’s new military order:
Shoigu has announced that Russia will call up 300,000 reservists. The number of bodies able to be called up was never Russia's problem. It is effectively readying and equipping these reservists. Russia already has problems equipping its professional armed forces.
— Oliver Alexander (@OAlexanderDK) September 21, 2022
It takes months and months to turn civilians into soldiers.
— Dr Mike Martin 🔶 (@ThreshedThought) September 20, 2022
Putin’s play seems to be to run scam elections in occupied areas in Ukraine so he can formally annex the Donbas, & areas in the south which offer a buffer zone for Crimea, & then threaten NATO with a nuclear retaliation for assaults on ‘Russian’ territory. It’s a big escalation.
— Paul Danahar (@pdanahar) September 21, 2022
China urges dialogue to address security concerns of ‘all parties
08:42 , Emily Atkinson
China’s foreign ministry urged all parties to engage in dialogue and consultation and find a way to address the security concerns of all parties after Russian president Vladimir Putin warned the West over what he described as “nuclear blackmail”.
China’s position on Ukraine is consistent and clear, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said.
Partial mobilisation was ‘predictable’ and shows Russian war effort failing, Ukraine says
08:24 , Emily Atkinson
Russia‘s partial mobilisation was a predictable step that will prove extremely unpopular and exemplifies that the war is not going according to Moscow’s plan, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak says.
He told Reuters that president Vladimir Putin was trying to shift the blame for starting an “unprovoked war” and Russia‘s worsening economic situation onto the West.
Putin ‘refuses to understand Ukraine’, says ambassador to Kyiv
08:15 , Emily Atkinson
Melinda Simmons, Britain’s ambassador to Ukraine, is the latest top British official to denounce Vladimir Putin’s military announcement
She wrote on Twitter: “Watched Putin’s speech. He still refuses to understand Ukraine. Partial mobilisation and sham referenda don’t change that essential weakness.”
Watched Putin’s speech. He still refuses to understand Ukraine. Partial mobilisation and sham referenda don’t change that essential weakness.
— Melinda Simmons (@MelSimmonsFCDO) September 21, 2022
Shoigu gives updated fatality figure
08:06 , Emily Atkinson
Russia’s Defence Minister has given the first official Russian fatality figure since March.
Sergei Shoigu says 5,937 Russian soldiers have died in Ukraine, up from 1,351 in Russia’s last official update on 25 March.
Western intelligence suggests, however, that the true number of Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine is significantly higher.
Vladimir Putin accuses the west of ‘nuclear blackmail’ in rare national address
07:57 , Emily Atkinson
The president also announced partial military mobilisation as he made a rare national address on Wednesday.
Our video team has more:
300,000 reservists will be mobilised, Russia‘s defence minister says
07:52 , Emily Atkinson
President Vladimir Putin’s decree on partial mobilisation would see 300,000 additional personnel called upon to support military efforts in Ukraine, the country’s defence minister has said.
Sergei Shoigu said in an interview with Russian state televisionon Wednesday that students and those who served as conscripts would not be called up, and that the majority of Russia‘s millions-strong reserves would not be drafted.
UK urges calm in face of Putin’s nuclear threat
07:38 , Emily Atkinson
Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s announcement of a partial mobilisation in Russia is a “worrying escalation,” a Foreign Office minister has said.
Gillian Keegan also urged for calm in the face of Mr Putin‘s threat in his speech to use nuclear weapons.
The Russian leader earlier accused the West of engaging in “nuclear blackmail” against Russia - and said he has “lots of weapons to reply”.
Ms Keegan told Sky News: “Some of the language there was quite concerning at the end and obviously we would urge for calm.”
The Chichester MP also said: “It’s something that we should take very seriously because, you know, we’re not in control.
“I’m not sure he’s in control either really. I mean, this is obviously an escalation and, of course, for the Russian people now they will be conscripted into this war.”
Putin blames west for wanting to destroy Russia in rare national address
07:28 , Arpan Rai
Vladimir Putin announced he has signed a decree on partial mobilisation as he claimed he was defending Russian territories from western nations in a television address today.
The Russian president said that his aim was to “liberate” east Ukraine’s Donbas region.
“We do not have the moral right to give up these people [in Ukraine],” Mr Putin said.
Most people in these historic areas in Ukraine do not want to be under the yoke of “neo-Nazis”, he claimed in a rare television address since the start of the war in Ukraine.
Russian-installed separatists in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, Luhansk and occupied parts of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia provinces all made calls on Tuesday for lightning votes to officially leave Ukraine and be controlled by Moscow instead.
Read the full story here:
BREAKING: Putin backs referendum in separatist regions
07:14 , Arpan Rai
Vladimir Putin announced a partial military mobilisation today in his national address to Moscow, Russian state-owned news agency TASS reported.
He also blamed the west for turning Ukrainians into “cannon fodder” in his first address in months since the start of the war.
Zelenksy to address UNGA today virtually from Kyiv
06:53 , Arpan Rai
Volodymyr Zelensky will be addressing the world leaders gathered at the UN general assembly in New York today and is expected to seek more support for the besieged country.
“I will participate in the general debate of the United Nations general assembly. Obviously, in a video format. But no matter what the format is, the position of our state will sound, as always, clearly and strongly,” he said.
“Especially since the visit of the first lady of Ukraine to the United States has already begun, meetings within the UN General Assembly have begun,” Mr Zelensky added.
Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin is expected to deliver a national address to Russians today after it was postponed last night.
Russia called for referendums over ‘imminent Ukrainian attack’ - MoD
06:38 , Arpan Rai
Russia announced it would hold referendums at short notice in a number of separatist regions because it fears “imminent” attacks by Ukrainian troops seeking to shrink occupied territory in the east, according to the UK’s MoD.
“[Vladimir] Putin is accepting greater political risk by undermining the fiction that Russia is neither in a war nor a national crisis in the hope of generating more combat power,” the British defence ministry said today.
“This urgency is likely driven by fears of imminent Ukrainian attack and an expectation of greater security after formally becoming part of Russia,” the defence ministry said, shortly after officials from Ukraine’s Russian-occupied Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions announced they will conduct referendums on accession to the Russian Federation.
“These referendums follow the Russian Duma’s formal recognition of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics on 21 February 2022,” the ministry noted.
Additionally, the British ministry said that the troops sent by Moscow in Ukraine continue to experience personnel shortages.
“The Russia Duma voted on 20 September 2022 to amend a law which extends punishments for defaulting troops,” it said.
“This is likely intended to limit the number of desertions and refusals and thereby to mitigate some of the immediate pressures,” the ministry said in its latest intelligence update.
It added: “The Russian civilian and military leadership has faced significant pressure over the last two weeks. These new measures have highly likely been brought forwards due to public criticism and mark a further development in Russia’s strategy.”
Latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine - 20 September 2022
Find out more about the UK government's response: https://t.co/gmR2GIiKs1
🇺🇦 #StandWithUkraine 🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/svK8sD2icX
— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) September 20, 2022
Biden to offer full-throated condemnation of Russian invasion of Ukraine
06:27 , Arpan Rai
Joe Biden will offer a “firm rebuke” to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin against the country’s invasion in Ukraine as he joins the world leaders in New York today at the UN general assembly.
Mr Biden will underline how Moscow’s “naked aggression” is an affront to the core of what the global body stands for, top White House officials said.
Mr Biden will “offer a firm rebuke of Russia’s unjust war in Ukraine and make a call to the world to continue to stand against the naked aggression that we’ve seen these past several months,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said ahead of the US president’s address at the UN today.
The US president’s visit to the UN this year will see a full-throated condemnation of Russia’s invasion as the war in Europe inches closer to the seven-month mark, he added.
World leaders corner Putin at UN meet: ‘Will not accept any peace dictated by Russia’
05:03 , Arpan Rai
Leaders from France, Germany, Japan and the US came down heavily on Moscow at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, condemning the invasion of Ukraine which will soon reach seven months.
German chancellor Olaf Scholz said Vladimir Putin will only give up his “imperial ambitions” that risk destroying Ukraine and Russia only if he recognises he cannot win the war he launched.
“This is why we will not accept any peace dictated by Russia and this is why Ukraine must be able to fend off Russia’s attack,” Mr Scholz said in his first ever address at the UNGA.
If we want Putin‘s war to end, then we cannot be indifferent to how it ends.
This is why we will not accept a peace dictated by Russia – and we will not accept any sham referendums either.
This is why #Ukraine must be able to defend itself against Russia’s invasion. #UNGA
— Bundeskanzler Olaf Scholz (@Bundeskanzler) September 21, 2022
The Russian invasion of Ukraine “tramples the philosophy and principles of the UN charter” and “it should never be tolerated,” Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida said.
He also pushed for reform of the United Nations Security Council, saying the global body’s credibility is endangered by the actions of a permanent member in Europe.
French leader Emmanuel Macron denounced the move by pro-Russian separatists who have called for referendums on breaking away from Ukraine 23-27 September in the contested regions of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia provinces.
If the referendum plan “wasn’t so tragic, it would be funny,” he said ahead of the assembly in New York.
More than 14,500 civilian casualties in Ukraine war
04:42 , Arpan Rai
The war on Ukraine by Russia has killed at least 5,916 civilians and injured at least 8,616 as of 18 September — almost seven months into the war, the UN said.
Officials at the UN human rights agency have said they believe the actual toll and casualties are considerably higher because of delays in receiving ground zero information from war-battered cities like Mariupol, Izyum, Lysychansk, Popasna, and Sievierodonetsk.
They added many reports of civilian casualties still need to be confirmed.
Russia revamps Kalashnikov to speed up firing - report
04:40 , Arpan Rai
Russia has modified the design of the Kalashnikov AK-12 weapon used by its troops in Ukraine to speed up firing and help soldiers gain more control over firing modes, Russian state news agency RIA reported today.
The AK-12 model, inducted in the Russian armed forces in 2018, will no longer have its two-round burst cut-off and instead will get a two-way control of firing modes.
The rifle will also have an adjustable cheek rest, Kalashnikov Concern’s President Alan Lushnikov told RIA.
“In the shortest possible time, we selected technical solutions, made a prototype and demonstrated it to representatives of the Russian ministry of defence,” the official said.
However, he did not specify when the redesigned version of the rifle would enter service and said that the design is in the documentation stage.
Developed by Kalashnikov, the AK-12 assault rifle is a general issue weapon of the Russian armed forces using 5.45 millimetres (mm) calibre bullets and is said to boast improved accuracy over earlier versions, among others.
Russia must leave Ukraine and pay ‘proper recompense’, says Truss
03:23 , Liam James
Vladimir Putin must leave Ukraine and pay “proper recompense” for his invasion before he can ever return to the international fold, Liz Truss has said.
The British prime minister made the comment ahead of launching an update to the integrated review of defence and foreign policy to counteract the threat of authoritarian regimes such as Russia and China.
Ms Truss was also doubling down on her campaign trail commitment to increase defence spending to 3 per cent of UK GDP by the end of the decade.
She aims to use her first foreign trip as prime minister to rally United Nations allies in New York to keep up the pressure on Russia.
Volodymyr Zelensky says front line success shows war is Ukraine’s
02:40 , Liam James
Volodymyr Zelensky said the situation on the front line with Russian forces clearly showed the initiative belonged to Ukraine.
The Ukrainian president made his comments a day after Russian-installed leaders in occupied areas of four Ukrainian regions set out plans for referendums on joining Russia, a move that could sharply escalate the war.
Ukrainian forces reclaimed large amounts of territory from Russia in the east last week, driving Moscow to reassess its strategy in the near seven-month war.
Turkish president Erdogan says Putin wants to end war ‘as soon as possible’
01:27 , Liam James
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he believes Vladimir Putin wants to end the war in Ukraine, following recent talks he had with the Russian president (Maryam Zakir-Hussain writes).
He said his impression from Putin was that he wanted to end the conflict “as soon as possible” after comprehensive discussions at a summit in Uzbekistan last week.
It comes as Ukraine has recaptured increasingly large amounts of occupied territory, with the most recent victory the village of Bilohorivka in the Luhansk region. This latest setback for Kremlin means they no longer have full control over the province.
Canada condemns Russian referendums
Wednesday 21 September 2022 00:20 , Liam James
Planned referendums in occupied regions of Ukraine to join Russia are “unacceptable” and Canada would never recognize such territories as part of Russia, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau said.
Russian-backed leaders in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia provinces announced referendums for 23-27 September which are seen as attempts to falsely claim legitimate power over captured Ukrainian territory.
Canada denounces Russia’s planned “referendums” in occupied regions of Ukraine. We will never recognize them. This is a blatant violation of international law. It is a further escalation of war. And it is unacceptable.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) September 20, 2022
Macron urges countries against neutrality over Ukraine
Tuesday 20 September 2022 23:15 , Liam James
French president Emmanuel Macron has told countries not to stay neutral about condemning Russia‘s war in Ukraine as he declared Moscow’s invasion to be a new form of imperialism.
The war in Ukraine – and its effects on food prices, fuel costs, Ukrainian nuclear power plants, and the larger context of tensions between Russia and the West – is looming over the annual gathering of presidents, prime ministers, monarchs and other dignitaries at the UN in New York.
Mr Macron made the war the centrepiece of his speech, asking:“Who here can defend the idea that the invasion of Ukraine justifies no sanction?
“Who of you here can consider that the day when something similar with a more powerful neighbour happens to you, there’ll be silence from the region, from the world?”
Mr Macron called on the United Nations’ member countries “to act so that Russia rejects the path of war,” and he said that staying out of the matter is not an option. Previous votes at the UN general assembly opposing the war have seen dozens of countries abstain, including China, India and South Africa.
EU wouldn’t recognise referendum results, says Borrell
Tuesday 20 September 2022 22:25 , Liam James
The European Union strongly condemns Russia’s plans to hold referenda in parts of Ukraine and will not recognise the results of the votes, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Russia, its political leadership, and all those involved in these ‘referenda’ and other violations of international law in Ukraine will be held accountable, and additional restrictive measures against Russia would be considered,” Borrell said.
Mr Borrell said the referendum votes cannot be considered “as the free expression of the will of the people” in these regions.
Russian-backed leaders in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia provinces announced referendums for 23-27 September which are seen as attempts to falsely claim legitimate power over the regions captured in the war.
Moscow already considers Luhansk and Donetsk, which together make up the Donbas region partially occupied by Russia in 2014, to be independent states. Ukraine and the West consider all parts of Ukraine held by Russian forces to be illegally occupied.
Bosnian Serb separatist leader meets Putin
Tuesday 20 September 2022 21:26 , Tom Batchelor
Bosnian Serb separatist leader Milorad Dodik met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Tuesday days after he endorsed Moscow’s aggression against Ukraine, Russian and Serbian media reported.
During a rare visit to Moscow by a politician from Europe, the Russian president praised his country’s “strategic partnership” with Serbia.
The visit came amid repeated warnings from the European Union that Serbia must align its foreign policies with the bloc if it really wants to become a member.
Putin’s address to nation delayed to Wednesday - reports
Tuesday 20 September 2022 20:41 , Tom Batchelor
Vladimir Putin’s address to the nation has reportedly been delayed until Wednesday.
Sky News said Sergei Markov, a former close advisor to the Russian president, took to Telegram to announce that the speech had been delayed. No reason was given.
US warns Russia over annexation plan
Tuesday 20 September 2022 20:24 , Tom Batchelor
The United States has also rejected plans to hold referendums in Ukraine and said it would never recognise any Russian claims to annex parts of Ukraine.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters Moscow may be making the move to recruit troops in those areas after suffering extensive losses on the battlefield.
Mr Sullivan called the referendums an affront to principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity. He said President Joe Biden, at his speech on Wednesday at the United Nations General Assembly, will issue a “firm rebuke” to Russia for its war against Ukraine.
“If this does transpire, the United States will never recognise Russia‘s claims to any purportedly annexed parts of Ukraine. We will never recognise this territory as anything other than a part of Ukraine. We reject Russia‘s actions unequivocally,” Mr Sullivan told reporters.
Putin speech delayed
Tuesday 20 September 2022 19:55 , Tom Batchelor
Putin’s speech this evening has been delayed (by an unknown length of time) from its previously billed start time of 8pm Moscow time, 6pm BST.
It is not clear why. Speculation has ranged from an attempt to distract from the UN meetings currently happening in New York, to chaos in the Kremlin.
Referendums ‘cynical’, says Macron
Tuesday 20 September 2022 19:30 , Tom Batchelor
Referendums planned in Russian-occupied Ukrainian regions on joining Russia will not be recognized by the international community, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday, as he called the plans “cynical” and “a parody.”
“If the Donbas referendum idea wasn’t so tragic it would be funny,” he told reporters.
Speaking in New York, Macron said the referendum proposals for eastern Ukraine were an additional provocation following Russia‘s invasion of its neighbor.
“I think what was announced by Russia is a parody,” Macon said. “This is cynicism, and obviously it won’t be recognized by the international community.”
Olaf Scholz hits out at ‘fake referenda'
Tuesday 20 September 2022 19:05 , Tom Batchelor
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said any referenda held in eastern Ukrainian territories that had been seized by Russian forces were “fake referenda” that could not be accepted.
He also said it sounded like Russia might try once more to stop Ukrainian wheat exports.
Germany ‘irritated’ at Turkey’s attempts to join Russian-backed security group
Tuesday 20 September 2022 18:46 , Tom Batchelor
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Tuesday said he was “very irritated” about Turkey’s attempts to join a Central Asian security body dominated by Russia and China.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday he was targeting membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation for Turkey, which is also a member of the Nato defence alliance.
“This is not an organisation that is delivering an important contribution to a good global coexistence,” Mr Scholz said at the UN General Assembly in New York after meeting with Mr Erdogan.
“So I’m very irritated about this development. But at the end, it’s important to agree on what is driving us to make clear that the Russian war on Ukraine may not be successful,” he said according to a transcript of a news conference.”
Turkish president Erdogan says Putin wants to end war ‘as soon as possible’
Tuesday 20 September 2022 18:22 , Tom Batchelor
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he believes Vladimir Putin wants to end the war in Ukraine, following recent talks he had with the Russian president.
He said his impression from Putin was that he wanted to end the conflict “as soon as possible” after comprehensive discussions at a summit in Uzbekistan last week.
Read the full story here:
Putin expected to address Russia tonight
Tuesday 20 September 2022 18:11 , Tom Batchelor
Vladimir Putin is expected to make his first national address to the Russian people since the start of the war tonight.
There is speculation that he will announce further measures to shore up his failing military strategy in Ukraine, including the possibility of conscription for Russian nationals.
We will bring updates on what is contained in his speech as soon as we have them.
Russia excluded from Euro 2024
Tuesday 20 September 2022 17:40 , Katy Clifton
Russia’s isolation from international sport continues after UEFA confirmed the country would be excluded from qualification for Euro 2024.
Russia has been banned from UEFA and FIFA competitions since it launched its invasion of Ukraine in February, with the Court of Arbitration dismissing an appeal against that ban in July.
UEFA confirmed Germany would qualify as hosts for the tournament in two years’ time, with the qualifying draw scheduled to take place in Frankfurt on October 9.
Putin says Russian weapons show high efficiency in combat against Ukraine
Tuesday 20 September 2022 17:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain
Vladimir Putin said Russian weapons have shown high efficiency during the fighting in Ukraine and told officials to quickly increase output.
“Our equipment efficiently confronts western types of weapons,” Mr Putin said. “Practically all of Nato weapons stockpiles have been brought to support the current regime in Kyiv.”
He added that Russia should study western weapons to improve its own arsenals.
“We can and must learn about these arsenals, everything they have, everything they use against us to qualitatively increase our potential and improve our equipment, our weapons where we need to do it,” he said.
Mr Putin said he has ordered bigger allocations for new weapons, offered more loans to military industries and approved additional payments to their workers to increase output.
“Structures of the military industrial complex must deliver the required weapons and equipment in the shortest time possible,” he said.
Putin blasts US attempts ‘preserve global domination'
Tuesday 20 September 2022 16:30 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain
Russian President Vladimir Putin has condemned what he described as US efforts to preserve its global domination, saying they are doomed to fail.
Speaking while receiving credentials from foreign ambassadors to Moscow, Mr Putin said: “The objective development toward a multipolar world faces resistance of those who try to preserve their hegemony in global affairs and control everything - Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa.”
He added that “the hegemony has succeeded in doing so for quite a long time, but it can’t go on forever... regardless of the developments in Ukraine“.
He has repeatedly cast his decision to send troops into Ukraine as a response to alleged western encroachment on Russia‘s vital security interests.
The Russian leader said western sanctions against Moscow over its action in Ukraine were part of efforts by the US and its allies to strengthen their positions, but claimed they have backfired against their organisers and also damaged poor countries.
“As for Russia, we won’t deviate from our sovereign course,” he added.
Explained: Referendum of Russian-controlled regions
Tuesday 20 September 2022 16:01 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain
The scheduling of referendums starting Friday in the Luhansk, Kherson and partly Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions came after a close ally of Russian president Vladimir Putin said the votes are needed and as Moscow is losing ground in the invasion it began nearly seven months ago, increasing pressure on the Kremlin for a stiff response.
Former president Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy head of Russia‘s Security Council chaired by Putin, said referendums that fold regions into Russia itself would make redrawn frontiers “irreversible” and enable Moscow to use “any means” to defend them.
Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba denounced the votes as a sham and tweeted that “Ukraine has every right to liberate its territories and will keep liberating them whatever Russia has to say.”
The votes, in territory Russia already controls, are all but certain to go Moscow’s way but are unlikely to be recognized by Western governments who are backing Ukraine with military and other support that has helped its forces seize momentum on battlefields in the east and south.
Russia's referendums 'won't change anything,' Ukraine's Kuleba says
Tuesday 20 September 2022 15:36 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain
Moscow’s planned referendums seeking to annex additional territory in Ukraine will have no impact, Ukraine‘s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Tuesday after Russian-backed officials in some Ukrainian territories unfurled the requests.
“The Russians can do whatever they want. It will not change anything,” Kuleba said in response to reporters’ questions at the start of a meeting with U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield.