Tuesday, November 29

Russia-Ukraine war live news: Biden and Zelenskiy reject expected annexations ahead of Putin speech | Ukraine


It’s now 7.50am in Ukraine. Here are the latest developments:

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  • Vladimir Putin is expected to preside over a ceremony to formally annexe swathes of Ukraine today. The Russian president is expected to sign into law the annexations of four Ukrainian regions – Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk and Luhansk. Russia has held fake referendums over the past week in order to claim a mandate for the territories.

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  • The UN secretary general has warned Russia that annexing Ukrainian regions would mark a “dangerous escalation” that would jeopardise the prospects for peace in the region. António Guterres said any decision to proceed with the annexation of the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions “would have no legal value and deserves to be condemned”.

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  • The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, warned of a “very harsh” response by Ukraine if Russia went ahead with the annexations.

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  • There are indications that Russia might limit the movement of Ukrainians living in the occupied territories after it announces their annexation. Ukrainians have been told that from Saturday they will need to apply for a pass from the occupying authorities. This comes as the exiled Luhansk regional governor, Serhiy Haidai, said Russia had prevented about 1,000 Ukrainians from crossing the border into Latvia.

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  • Russian forces may face “imminent defeat” in the key north-eastern city of Lyman as Ukrainian soldiers continue their counteroffensive in the east of the country, according to a US thinktank. The Institute for the Study of War, citing Russian reports, said the defeat would allow Ukrainian troops to “threaten Russian positions along the western Luhansk” region. Alexander Petrikin, the pro-Russian head of the city administration, admitted the situation had grown “difficult” for Russian forces trying to hold the territory.

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  • Ukrainian forces have secured all of Kupiansk and driven Russian troops from their remaining positions on the east bank of the river that divides the north-eastern Ukrainian city. Most of Kupiansk, a strategic railway junction, was recaptured earlier this month as part of a counteroffensive by Ukrainian troops. AFP reported that those Russian troops who held out on the east bank of the Oskil river have been driven out.

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  • Finland is closing its border to Russian tourists after Putin’s partial mobilisation order prompted large numbers of people to flee the country. From midnight Thursday Finnish time (9pm GMT), Russian tourists holding an EU Schengen visa will be turned away unless they have a family tie or a compelling reason to travel.

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  • More than half of Russians felt fearful or anxious after Putin’s mobilisation announcement, according to a new poll. The poll by the independent Levada Centre showed 47% of respondents said they had felt anxiety, fear or dread after hearing that hundreds of thousands of soldiers would be drafted to fight in Ukraine.

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  • Nato vowed a “determined response” to what it described as “deliberate, reckless and irresponsible acts of sabotage” after leaks were discovered in the two Nord Stream pipelines. Swedish authorities have reported a fourth leak on one of the pipelines. The two leaks in Swedish waters were close to each other.

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  • Gas is likely to stop leaking from the damaged Nord Stream 1 pipeline on Monday, according to the pipeline’s operator. A spokesperson for Nord Stream AG said it was not possible to provide any forecasts for the pipeline’s future operation until the damage had been assessed.

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  • The Kremlin has said incidents on the Nord Stream pipelines look like an “act of terrorism”. The Kremlin spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, said a foreign state was probably responsible. Russia’s foreign ministry claimed the “incident on the Nord Stream occurred in a zone controlled by American intelligence”.

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  • The European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, announced an eighth package of sanctions – including a draft sanctions law seen by the Guardian – designed to “make the Kremlin pay” for the escalation of the war against Ukraine. Hungary “cannot and will not support” energy sanctions in the package, said Gergely Gulyas, chief of staff to the prime minister, Viktor Orbán. An EU official said an agreement on the next sanctions package was expected before next week’s EU summit, or at least major parts of the package.

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  • Russia is escalating its use of Iranian-supplied “kamikaze” drones in southern Ukraine, including against the southern port of Odesa and the nearby city of Mykolaiv.

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  • Oleg Deripaska, one of Russia’s most powerful oligarchs, has been indicted by the US Department of Justice for criminal sanctions violations. Deripaska previously had deep links to British establishment figures.

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Key events

Some newly mobilized Russian reservists have been ordered to source their own first aid supplies and advised that female sanitary products are a cost-effective solution, according to the latest briefing by the UK Ministry of Defence.

Medical provision for Russian combat troops in Ukraine is likely to grow worse, it says, adding that “medical training and first-aid awareness is likely poor”.

Latest Defense Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine – 30 September 2022

Find out more about the UK government’s response: https://t.co/Y8S1k3So8J

🇺🇦 #StandWithUkraine 🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/BHmCsXHR8G

— Ministry of Defense 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) September 30, 2022

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Here is some further detail from the UK MoD’s update:

Some Russia troops have obtained their own modern, Western-style combat tourniquets but have stowed them on their equipment using cable-ties, rather than with the Velcro provided – probably because such equipment is scarce and liable to be pilfered.

This is almost certain to hamper or render impossible the timely application of tourniquet care in the case of catastrophic bleeding on the battlefield.

Russian troops’ lack of confidence in sufficient medical provision is almost certainly contributing to a declining state of morale and a lack of willingness to undertake offensive operations in many units in Ukraine.

Star Wars actor Mark Hamill has become an ambassador for United24, Ukraine’s crowdfunding platform, and will help raise funds to support its war efforts.

The Star Wars actor said he was “honoured” to take on the role.

Honored to be an Ambassador for the Army of Drones and to help President Zelenskyy and the people of Ukraine in any way possible 🇺🇦@ZelenskyyUA @U24_gov_ua pic.twitter.com/1JafSR7Nny

— Mark Hamill (@MarkHamill) September 29, 2022

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He will help raise funds to support Ukrainian defenders, the Drone Army, a project set up by the Ukrainian government to procure unmanned drones to assist the war effort.

The Army of Drones will be used to monitor the 2,470km front line and provide an effective response to enemy attacks.

The president’s official Instagram page also shared the news, writing:

American actor who played Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, Mark Hamill became the ambassador of the United24 fundraising platform.

He is the first ambassador to help raise funds to support our defenders, the Drone Army.

This is a difficult yet very important mission. Mark, we are sure you will definitely handle it. Thank you for supporting the Ukrainian people in our struggle for freedom.”

Putin has called for mistakes in Russia’s ongoing military mobilization for the offensive in Ukraine to be “corrected”.

Here is a report on his comments, and growing discontent over the conscription, from AFP:

Russian media and social networks have reported cases of the mobilization of elderly people, students, the sick or conscripts without military experience.

Opposition to the drive has also sparked protests and the flight of thousands of men abroad.

“This mobilization raises many questions. We must correct all the mistakes and ensure that they do not happen again,” Putin said during a videoconference with his security council broadcast on Russian television on Thursday.

The president gave the example of fathers of large families, people suffering from serious illnesses or very old people being summoned, despite these groups being legally exempted.

“If a mistake has been made, it must be corrected and those who were summoned without an appropriate reason should come home,” Putin said.

On Monday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov admitted there had been “mistakes” in the mobilisation, which was supposed to focus on 300,000 reservists with military experience or useful skills, such as truck drivers.

More than 2,400 people have been detained in demonstrations against the mobilization in Russia since it was announced on 21 September, according to the OVD-Info organisation.

Many Russians have also chosen to flee the country, causing large queues at the borders of Georgia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Finland.

Many flights were also booked up.

Reuters has published the following summary on developments relating to the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, which EU leaders believe was the target of sabotage at the start of the week.

  • The cause of damage to the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines under the Baltic Sea, built to carry Russian gas to Europe though already shut, has not yet been identified. Sweden’s coastguard said it found a fourth leak.

  • Western countries said the pipelines were sabotaged while stopping short of openly ascribing blame. Russia, which has denied involvement, said it looked like acts of state-sponsored terrorism and that the US stood to gain. Washington has denied any involvement.

  • US defense secretary Lloyd Austin said it was too soon to speculate who might have been behind the pipeline ruptures.

  • Nato also called the pipeline leaks sabotage and said it would respond robustly to any deliberate attempt to target infrastructure of alliance members.

As mentioned below, Vladimir Putin is due to host a ceremony today formally announcing the annexation of four regions of Ukraine.

According to his spokesman Dmitry Peskov, Putin will sign accession documents at the Kremlin before delivering a speech. A pop concert is also planned on Red Square, where a stage and screens have been set up.

The territory Russia controls in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia amounts to about 15% of Ukraine’s total area.

Russian soldiers stand on Red Square in central Moscow on September 29, 2022, as the square is sealed prior to a ceremony of the incorporation of the new territories into Russia. Banners on the stage read: “Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson – Russia!”. – Russia will formally annex four territories of Ukraine its troops occupy at a grand ceremony in Moscow on Friday, the Kremlin has announced. Photograph: Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images

Summary

It’s now 7.50am in Ukraine. Here are the latest developments:

  • Vladimir Putin is expected to preside over a ceremony to formally annexe swathes of Ukraine today. The Russian president is expected to sign into law the annexations of four Ukrainian regions – Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk and Luhansk. Russia has held fake referendums over the past week in order to claim a mandate for the territories.

  • The UN secretary general has warned Russia that annexing Ukrainian regions would mark a “dangerous escalation” that would jeopardize the prospects for peace in the region. António Guterres said any decision to proceed with the annexation of the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions “would have no legal value and deserves to be condemned”.

  • The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, warned of a “very harsh” response by Ukraine if Russia went ahead with the annexations.

  • There are indications that Russia might limit the movement of Ukrainians living in the occupied territories after it announces their annexation. Ukrainians have been told that from Saturday they will need to apply for a pass from the occupying authorities. This comes as the exiled Luhansk regional governor, Serhiy Haidai, said Russia had prevented about 1,000 Ukrainians from crossing the border into Latvia.

  • Russian forces may face “imminent defeat” in the key north-eastern city of Lyman as Ukrainian soldiers continue their counteroffensive in the east of the country, according to a US thinktank. The Institute for the Study of War, citing Russian reports, said the defeat would allow Ukrainian troops to “threaten Russian positions along the western Luhansk” region. Alexander Petrikin, the pro-Russian head of the city administration, admitted the situation had grown “difficult” for Russian forces trying to hold the territory.

  • Ukrainian forces have secured all of Kupiansk and driven Russian troops from their remaining positions on the east bank of the river that divides the north-eastern Ukrainian city. Most of Kupiansk, a strategic railway junction, was recaptured earlier this month as part of a counteroffensive by Ukrainian troops. AFP reported that those Russian troops who held out on the east bank of the Oskil river have been driven out.

  • Finland is closing its border to Russian tourists after Putin’s partial mobilization order prompted large numbers of people to flee the country. From midnight Thursday Finnish time (9pm GMT), Russian tourists holding an EU Schengen visa will be turned away unless they have a family tie or a compelling reason to travel.

  • More than half of Russians felt fearful or anxious after Putin’s mobilization announcement, according to a new poll. The poll by the independent Levada Center showed 47% of respondents said they had felt anxiety, fear or dread after hearing that hundreds of thousands of soldiers would be drafted to fight in Ukraine.

  • Nato vowed a “determined response” to what it described as “deliberate, reckless and irresponsible acts of sabotage” after leaks were discovered in the two Nord Stream pipelines. Swedish authorities have reported a fourth leak on one of the pipelines. The two leaks in Swedish waters were close to each other.

  • Gas is likely to stop leaking from the damaged Nord Stream 1 pipeline on Monday, according to the pipeline’s operator. A spokesperson for Nord Stream AG said it was not possible to provide any forecasts for the pipeline’s future operation until the damage had been assessed.

  • The Kremlin has said incidents on the Nord Stream pipelines look like an “act of terrorism”. The Kremlin spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, said a foreign state was probably responsible. Russia’s foreign ministry claimed the “incident on the Nord Stream occurred in a zone controlled by American intelligence”.

  • The European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, announced an eighth package of sanctions – including a draft sanctions law seen by the Guardian – designed to “make the Kremlin pay” for the escalation of the war against Ukraine. Hungary “cannot and will not support” energy sanctions in the package, said Gergely Gulyas, chief of staff to the prime minister, Viktor Orbán. An EU official said an agreement on the next sanctions package was expected before next week’s EU summit, or at least major parts of the package.

  • Russia is escalating its use of Iranian-supplied “kamikaze” drones in southern Ukraineincluding against the southern port of Odessa and the nearby city of Mykolaiv.

  • Oleg Deripaska, one of Russia’s most powerful oligarchs, has been indicted by the US Department of Justice for criminal sanctions violations. Deripaska previously had deep links to British establishment figures.




www.theguardian.com

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