President Putin orders a partial mobilisation of reservists in Russia and the Ukrainian nuclear operator accuses Russia of again striking the Zaporizhzhia atomic plant in southern Ukraine on the 210th day of the conflict.
Wednesday, September 21, 2022
Zelenskyy says does not believe Putin will use nuclear arms
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that he does not believe Russia will use nuclear weapons, after President Vladimir Putin said Moscow would use all means to protect its territory.
"I don't believe that he will use these weapons," Zelenskyy told the TV station of Germany's Bild newspaper, referring to nuclear arms. "I don't believe that the world will allow him to use these weapons."
The Ukrainian leader warned against giving in to Putin's threats.
"Tomorrow, Putin can say - as well as Ukraine, we want part of Poland, otherwise we will use atomic weapons. We cannot make these compromises," he said.
Putin's nuclear threat a 'dangerous' escalation: NATO
President Vladimir Putin's thinly veiled threat to use nuclear weapons after Russian setbacks in Ukraine was "dangerous and reckless rhetoric," NATO's secretary general said, adding that the only way to end the war was to prove Moscow will not win on the battlefield.
Jens Stoltenberg also said that in an interview that Putin's announcement of Russia's first military mobilisation since World War Two would escalate the conflict and cost more lives.
But, the NATO chief added, it also represented evidence that Putin had made a "big mistake" with Russia's decision to attack its neighbour on February 24.
Macron urges world to put 'maximum pressure' on Putin
French President Emmanuel Macron has urged the world to ramp up pressure on Vladimir Putin after the Russian leader called up reservists for the war on Ukraine.
The French leader, speaking on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, where condemnation of Moscow's attack has reverberated, said the West should use "all the means" at its disposal to get Putin to change course.
Putin's decisions will only "serve to isolate Russia further," and the international community must "put maximum pressure on President Putin to stop this war that no longer makes any sense," he said.
I deeply regret the choice of President Putin to drag his country, especially the youth, into the war.
US says taking Putin's 'irresponsible' nuclear threats 'very seriously'
The US is taking Russian President Vladimir Putin's "irresponsible" threats to use nuclear weapons "very seriously," the White House said.
National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said that if the Russian leader should use doomsday weapons "there will be severe consequences," without laying out specific actions the US would take.
"Not only will he be that much more a pariah on the world stage, but there will have to be severe consequences from the international community," he said during an interview with ABC News.
'Russia's invasion is failing'
President Vladimir Putin's decision to order a partial Russian mobilisation to fight in Ukraine is a sign of weakness, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen and British Prime Minister Liz Truss said in a joint statement.
"Russia's invasion is failing", they said after meeting at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
US President Joe Biden declares at the United Nations that Russia has “shamelessly violated the core tenets" of the UN with its "brutal, needless war” in Ukraine https://t.co/QosGy7pV6j— TRT World (@trtworld) September 21, 2022
War crimes evidence guide unveiled in nod to Ukraine
The International Criminal Court and Europe's judicial arm issued a set of guidelines to help civil society workers record international atrocities including war crimes and crimes against humanity, specifically in Ukraine.
Launched in The Hague, where both the ICC and Eurojust are located, the guidelines give practical tips, including how to take statements from witnesses and how to store information for later use in ICC prosecutions.
"With the war in Ukraine... accountability for core international crimes and violations of human rights is more than ever essential for international criminal justice," Eurojust's president Ladislav Hamran said.
Russian foreign minister, IAEA chief discuss Zaporizhzhia crisis in New York talks
Russia’s foreign minister met the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on the sidelines of the 77th UN General Assembly in New York.
Sergey Lavrov and Rafael Grossi exchanged views on the safety of nuclear facilities in Ukraine, including the situation around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Lavrov reiterated Moscow’s “intention to continue close cooperation with the IAEA in order to force the Kiev regime to immediately stop the shelling” of Zaporizhzhia and its adjacent territories, the statement said.
More grain ships leave Ukraine under Istanbul deal: Türkiye
Eight more ships have left Ukrainian ports under the landmark Ankara-brokered Istanbul grain export deal, the Turkish National Defence Ministry said.
A ministry statement did not disclose the ships’ points of departure or destinations.
Journalist Jack Parrock reports on EU's reaction to Putin's partial military call-up pic.twitter.com/WQBULuwjrA— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) September 21, 2022
Ukraine accuses Russia of again shelling Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant
The Ukrainian nuclear operator Energoatom has accused Russia of again striking the Zaporizhzhia atomic power plant in southern Ukraine.
The strike damaged a power line at the plant causing the stoppage of several transformers of the number six reactor and forcing a brief launch of emergency generators, Energoatom said on Wednesday.
"Russian terrorists shelled the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant again" during the night, Energoatom said on Telegram.
Putin sets partial military call-up, won’t ‘bluff’ on nukes
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a partial mobilisation of reservists in Russia, in a measure that appeared to be an admission that Moscow’s offensive against Ukraine isn't going according to plan after nearly seven months of fighting and amid recent battlefield losses for the Kremlin's forces.
The Russian leader, in a televised address to the nation on Wednesday, warned the West that he isn't bluffing over using all the means at his disposal to protect Russia's territory, in what appeared to be a veiled reference to Russia’s nuclear capability.
Only those with relevant combat and service experience will be mobilised, Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Wednesday.
Sham ‘referendums’ will not change anything. Neither will any hybrid ‘mobilization’. Russia has been and remains an aggressor illegally occupying parts of Ukrainian land. Ukraine has every right to liberate its territories and will keep liberating them whatever Russia has to say.— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) September 20, 2022
Pope says Ukraine subjected to savageness, monstrosities, torture
Pope Francis said that Ukrainians were being subjected to savageness, monstrosities and torture, calling them a "noble" people being martyred.
Speaking at the end of his general audience in St. Peter's Square on Wednesday, Francis, who did not name Russia, 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.
Russia modifies Kalashnikov weapon to speed up firing: RIA
Russia has modified the Kalashnikov AK-12 weapon its forces use in Ukraine to speed up firing and give soldiers more control over firing modes, RIA state news agency reported, citing the weapon maker's president.
The AK-12 version, which entered service in 2018, will have its two-round burst cut-off disabled and will have a two-way control of firing modes, as well as an adjustable cheek rest, Kalashnikov Concern's President Alan Lushnikov told RIA on Wednesday.
"In the shortest possible time, we selected technical solutions, made a prototype and demonstrated it to representatives of the Russian Ministry of Defence," Lushnikov said.
Defence minister says 5,937 Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine
Russia's Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu said that 5,937 Russian soldiers have died in Ukraine since the February military intervention, in a rare admission of military losses from Moscow.
"Our losses for today are 5,937 dead," Shoigu said in televised remarks on Wednesday, adding that Russia is "fighting not so much Ukraine as the collective West" in Ukraine.
China calls for negotiations, cease-fire in Ukraine after Russia's military mobilisation announcement
China called for a cease-fire in Ukraine as Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial military mobilisation seen as an escalation in the conflict that began in February.
Beijing “calls for a cease-fire through negotiations and solutions that answer all parties’ security concerns,” said a Wang Wenbin spokesperson of China’s Foreign Ministry, according to the state-run Global Times newspaper.
"Every country’s reasonable security concerns should be valued, and all efforts conducive to resolving the crisis peacefully should be supported. China calls for dialogue and consultation to resolve the divergences," Wang added.
Russia mobilisation a ‘sign of weakness’: US Ukraine ambassador
The partial mobilisation ordered by President Vladimir Putin is a sign of "weakness", the US ambassador in Ukraine said.
"Sham referenda and mobilisation are signs of weakness, of Russian failure," Bridget Brink wrote in a Twitter message on Wednesday.
"The United States will never recognise Russia's claim to purportedly annexed Ukrainian territory, and we will continue to stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes," she 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
Ukrainian ex-serviceman claims Russians tortured him in eastern city of Izyum
Ukrainian ex-serviceman Alexander Glushko says he spent the last fortnight of the Russian occupation of his hometown of Izyum in northeast Ukraine jailed by Russian soldiers in the dank ruins of a police station where he was tortured with electric wires.
He said he was also beaten during an earlier five-day stint in Russian captivity in May. When Russian troops withdrew from the town on September 9 and 10, he wept with joy as he and other detainees were suddenly set free.
While the discovery of burial sites with around 450 bodies has triggered investigations, Glushko is one of the first to speak out about surviving torture he says he endured under Russia's occupation of Izyum.
Scholz: Putin must recognise he cannot win Ukraine fight
Russian President Vladimir Putin will only give up his "imperial ambitions" that risk destroying Ukraine and Russia if he recognises he cannot win the war, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said.
"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," Scholz said in his first address to the United Nations General Assembly.
"Do we watch helpless as some want to catapult us back into a world order where war is a common means of politics, independent nations must join their stronger neighbors or colonial masters, and prosperity and human rights are a privilege for the lucky few?" Scholz asked.
Japan: 'Russia's invasion' of Ukraine tramples UN charter
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, addressing the United Nations General Assembly, has condemned Russia's assault on Ukraine as destabilising the international order to its core and said the rule of law, not coercion by power, should prevail.
"Russia's invasion of Ukraine is a conduct that tramples the philosophy and principles of the UN charter ... It should never be tolerated," Kishida said.
Kishida, who hails from Hiroshima, the first city to ever suffer an atomic bombing, also denounced the threat of nuclear weapons by Russia.
"The threat of nuclear weapons, like what Russia did this time, let alone the use of them, are serious threats to peace and safety of the international community, and are never be acceptable," Kishida said.
Zelenskyy hails Western support against Russian annexation referendums
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has hailed Western allies for their condemnation of plans by authorities in pro-Moscow regions of Ukraine to hold referendums on joining Russia.
"I thank all the friends and partners of Ukraine for their massive and firm condemnation of Russia's intentions to organise yet more pseudo-referendums," he said in his daily address.
Zelenskyy, speaking in a video address, said the situation on the front line with Russian forces clearly showed the initiative belonged to Ukraine.
The regions –– Luhansk, Kherson, Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia –– will stage the referendum vote on Friday, regional leaders have said.
For live updates from Tuesday (September 20), click here