President Putin announces annexation of Ukrainian regions under the control of Russia's forces and a strike kills at least 30 people in Zaporizhzhia — one of the four occupied regions — as the conflict enters its 219th day.

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the West that the people of four Moscow-occupied Ukrainian regions were
Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the West that the people of four Moscow-occupied Ukrainian regions were "our citizens forever". (AA)

Friday, September 30, 2022

NATO rejects Russian annexation of Ukrainian lands

NATO has condemned Russia's annexation of four more regions of Ukraine and warned Moscow of "severe consequences" if it uses nuclear weapons in its war against Kiev.

"This land grab is illegal and illegitimate. NATO allies do not and will not recognize any of this territory as part of Russia," NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed the territories occupied by his troops at a grand ceremony in the Kremlin, in a move rejected by the West and UN.

Ukraine reclaims village near Russian-held stronghold of Lyman

Ukraine said that its troops had captured a village near the Russian stronghold of Lyman in the eastern Donetsk region, hours after Moscow-backed forces reported "alarming" news from the area.

The defence ministry tweeted a photo of what it said were Ukrainian troops in Drobysheve, some 10 km (six miles) to the northwest of Lyman, which was taken by Russia in May after an extended battle.

Lyman has been at the centre of renewed fighting since Ukraine routed Russian forces in the nearby Kharkiv region in a lightning counteroffensive this month. 

US, allies not 'intimidated' by Putin: Biden

President Joe Biden said that the United States and NATO will not be "intimidated" by Russia's President Vladimir Putin and warned that the Western alliance would defend "every inch" of its territory.

"America and its allies are not going to be intimidated," he said in remarks at the White House. Putin is "not going to scare us."

Biden then addressed the Kremlin leader directly, warning against any attack on NATO territory. 

Death toll rises to 30 in attack on humanitarian convoy: Ukraine police

Ukraine said at least 30 people including children were killed and dozens injured after a convoy of civilian cars in the Zaporizhzhia region was shelled in an attack Kiev blamed on Moscow.

"Thirty dead and 88 wounded as a result of another Russian war crime in Zaporizhzhia. Among the dead are two children: an 11-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy," Ukraine national police chief Igor Klymenko said on Facebook.

He said that a three-year-old girl was also among the injured.

Ukraine confirms it signed NATO membership bid

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal confirmed that he, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the speaker of parliament had signed a formal fast-track membership application for the NATO military alliance.

Putin says people of occupied Ukrainian regions 'are our citizens forever'

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the West that the people of four Moscow-occupied Ukrainian regions were "our citizens forever" as he prepared to formally annex them at a Kremlin ceremony.

"I want to say this to the Kiev regime and its masters in the West: People living in the Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia (regions) are becoming our citizens forever," Putin said, adding that they had made a "unambiguous choice" to join Russia.

He also urged Kiev to stop all military action in Ukraine saying "We call on the Kiev regime to immediately stop fighting and stop all hostilities... and return to the negotiating table."  

Kremlin: Attack on annexed territory will be an attack on Russia

The Kremlin has said that attacks against any part of the swathe of Ukraine that President Vladimir Putin is about to annex will be considered aggression against Russia itself, adding that Russia will fight to take the whole of the Donbass region.

Moscow is declaring Ukraine's Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, largely or partly occupied by Russian or Russian-backed forces, to be part of Russia.

Asked by reporters if an attack by Ukraine on the territories Russia is claiming as its land would be considered an attack on Russia, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said: "It would not be anything else."

Kremlin calls for international probe into Nord Streams incidents

The Kremlin said there was a need for a thorough international investigation into ruptures of the Russian-led Nord Stream undersea gas pipelines.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on a statement by Russia's top spy that Moscow had materials indicating that the West had a role in the breaches of the Baltic Sea pipelines.

Russia has said that the ruptures appear to be the result of state-sponsored "terrorism".

Ukraine's Zelesnkyy meets military chiefs to discuss 'liberation' plans

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has met military chiefs to discuss "the further plan for liberation" of Russian-occupied Ukrainian territory.

Zelenskyy said on the Telegram messaging app that he and the military chiefs also discussed supplies of weapons for the country's armed forces, as well as Russia's possible further plans following its offensive on Ukraine.

UK ‘will never accept’ Russian annexation of four Ukrainian territories: PM Truss

Prime Minister Liz Truss has accused Vladimir Putin of breaching international law as Russia prepared to formally annex four occupied Ukrainian territories.

Truss criticised the Russian leader for showing "clear disregard for the lives of the Ukrainian people he claims to represent".

"The UK will never ignore the sovereign will of those people and we will never accept the regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia as anything other than Ukrainian territory," she added.

Kremlin says 'needs to clarify' borders of two Ukraine regions

The Kremlin has said it needs to clarify the exact borders of two Ukraine regions that Russia intends to annex, but which its forces have yet to claim complete control over.

"The Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics are recognised by Russia within 2014 borders. As for the territories of the Kherson and the Zaporizhzhia regions, I need to clarify this, I can't answer this question right now," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said.

Zelenksyy calls Russia ‘terrorist state’, ‘bloodthirsty scum’ after Zaporizhzhia strike

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called Russia a "terrorist state" and "bloodthirsty scum" after strikes on a civilian convoy killed at least 25 and wounded 50. 

"Only complete terrorists could do this," Zelenskyy said, after the shelling in the southern Zaporizhzhia region. 

He called Russia a "terrorist state", adding: "Bloodthirsty scum! You will definitely answer. For every lost Ukrainian life!"

Russian forces ‘partially encircled’ in Lyman: Rebel leader

A pro-Russia ally has said that Russian troops have been "partially surrounded" in the Ukrainian town of Lyman and that Kiev's forces are recapturing villages in the area.

"The news from Lyman is disturbing. At the moment, Lyman is partially surrounded," said Denis Pushilin, the pro-Moscow leader in the breakaway region of Donetsk, on social media. Two nearby villages were "not fully under our control," he added.

EU countries provisionally agree new Russia sanctions: Sources

European Union countries have reached an initial agreement on what would be the bloc's eight round of sanctions against Russia, three diplomatic sources have told Reuters news agency.

The EU executive earlier this week recommended that the bloc imposes more trade curbs and individual blacklistings and moves towards — rather than adopting straight away — a price cap for Russian seaborne oil deliveries to third countries, mostly insured by European companies.

The 27 EU countries' national envoys to Brussels discussed the proposal and gave their initial green light, with a final approval expected next week, said the three sources.

EU countries reach deal on mitigating high electricity prices: EU presidency

European Union countries have reached a deal on measures to mitigate high electricity prices, the Czech presidency of the EU has said.

The agreement was reached on "mandatory electricity demand reduction, cap on market revenues from inframarginal electricity producers and solidarity contribution from fossil fuels producers", the presidency said in a tweet. 

Kremlin-backed official blames Ukraine for convoy attack: Agencies

A Kremlin-backed official in the occupied Ukrainian region of Zaporizhzhia has blamed Kiev's forces for a deadly strike on a civilian convoy that killed at least 23 people, denying the Russian army was behind the attack.

"The Kiev regime is trying to portray what happened as shelling by Russian troops, resorting to a heinous provocation," Vladimir Rogov, the official, said on Telegram on Friday.

 "Ukrainian fighters committed yet another terrorist act."

At least 23 killed in Russian missile strike in Ukraine: regional governor

At least 23 people died and 28 were wounded after Russian forces shelled a civilian humanitarian convoy in the southern Ukraine region of Zaporizhzhia, the regional governor said.

"As of now we know about 23 dead and 28 injured. All civilians, local people. Burn in hell damned Russians," Oleksandr Starukh wrote on Telegram on Friday.

Moscow-installed official in Kherson killed in Ukrainian strike: Agencies

A Moscow-installed official in Kherson, a southern Ukrainian region controlled by Russia, was killed in strikes by Kiev's forces, Russia's state-run news agency cited local officials as saying.

"The first deputy head of security in the Kherson administration, Alexei Katerinichev, died as a result of a missile attack by Ukrainian troops in the centre of Kherson," RIA Novosti said on Friday.

Uzbekistan says won’t deport Russians fleeing conscription

Uzbekistan has no plans to deport Russians who are fleeing en masse to Central Asia to evade conscription amid Moscow's military campaign in Ukraine, the Tashkent government said on Friday.

Hundreds of thousands of men, some with families, have left Russia since President Vladimir Putin ordered a partial mobilisation last week; many headed to Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and other Central Asian former Soviet republics.

Some draft dodgers, however, remain concerned about their safety in those countries since their governments have close ties with Moscow.

Russia set to formally annex more of Ukraine 

Russia is formally annexing more of Ukraine in an escalation of the seven-month battle that was expected to isolate the Kremlin further, draw more international punishment and bring Ukraine extra military, political and economic support.

The annexation — and planned celebratory concerts and rallies in Moscow and the occupied territories — would come just days after voters supposedly approved Moscow-backed referendums that Ukrainian and Western officials have denounced as illegal, forced and rigged.

Russian officials said four regions of Ukraine — Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia — would be folded into Russia during a Kremlin ceremony attended by President Vladimir Putin, who is expected to give a major speech.

The regions' Moscow-backed leaders would sign treaties to join Russia in the Kremlin’s ornate St. George's Hall.

UNSC to vote on resolution condemning Russia annexation referendums

The United Nations Security Council is expected to vote on a resolution condemning the referendums on annexing several Russia-occupied regions of Ukraine, the council's current president, France, said.

The resolution -- drafted by the United States and Albania -- has no chance of passing thanks to Moscow's veto power, though it can then be presented to the General Assembly.

The text, seen by the AFP news agency, "condemns the Russian Federation's organisation of illegal so-called referenda" in the Russian-occupied Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson, saying they "have no validity," "cannot form the basis for any alteration of the status of these regions," including "any purported annexation."

The meeting is set for 1900 GMT, ahead of another discussion on the leaks discovered in the Nord Stream gas pipeline, and on the same day that Russian President Vladimir Putin is to hold a formal ceremony at the Kremlin on the annexations.

For live updates from Thursday (September 29), click here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies