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Ukraine Russia War – live updates: Putin set to seize Ukrainian territories ‘three days before his birthday’

Volodymyr Zelensky rules out talks with Russia over land annexation

Russia is set to annex around 15% of Ukrainian territory within days after claiming that four disputed provinces voted to secede from Kyiv and join Moscow.

There were celebrations in Moscow where a giant screen in Red Square displayed messages like “Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson – Russia!”

The Kremlin could integrate the four separatist-held territories into the Russian Federation on October 4, just three days before Vladimir Putin’s 70th birthday, the head of Russia’s upper house of parliament has said.

“It should happen within a week,” said Rodion Miroshnik, the Russian-installed ambassador to Moscow from the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic.

This is despite the West’s continued denunciation of referendums held in these territories, sometimes at gunpoint, as “illegal” and a “sham”.

Volodymyr Zelensky has said his embattled country will never accept Russian attempts to take over the land, while his counterpart Mr Putin has threatened to deploy nuclear weapons to protect the new “Russian” territory from attack.

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18 Russian soldiers killed, military vehicles and ammunition destroyed – Ukraine

A total of 18 Russian soldiers have been killed in the past 24 hours, the Southern Ukraine Operational Command said in a war update today.

He added that Ukrainian troops on Wednesday destroyed two tanks, three Orlan-10 drones and six armored and military vehicles, reported Kyiv Independent.

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Residents of occupied territories say ‘nobody voted’ in referendum

Residents of Russian-held areas in Ukraine said the vote in the referendum to join Moscow saw no active participation and that ‘nobody’ came to vote in the exercise that was described as a ‘sham’ by Kyiv and its allies.

Lyubomir Boyko, 43, speaking from a village in Russian-controlled Kherson province, said officials were going house to house but no one was coming out.

“They can advertise whatever they want. No one voted in the referendum except a few people who switched sides. They went from house to house but no one came out,” he said.

Videos of the voting exercise showed Russian-installed officials transporting ballot boxes from house to house with gunmen in tow.

Some residents who fled to areas controlled by Ukraine said people were being forced at gunpoint to mark ballots in the street.

Russia has claimed a high turnout across the board and an overwhelming vote for annexation in referendums.

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Putin’s mobilization causes a “massive brain drain” in Russia – MoD

The UK Ministry of Defense has said the number of Russian men escaping Vladimir Putin’s mobilization order is likely to exceed the total invasion force Russia deployed in February this year.

“In the seven days since President Putin’s announcement of ‘partial mobilization’, there has been a massive exodus of Russians seeking to escape the call,” the ministry said in its latest update. intelligence day.

“Although the exact numbers are unclear, they likely exceed the size of the total invasion force that Russia deployed in February 2022,” the ministry added.

The “better off and well educated” are “overrepresented among those trying to leave Russia”, the ministry said.

“When combined with the reservists who are mobilised, the national economic impact of reduced labor availability and accelerating ‘brain drain’ is likely to become increasingly significant” , the UK Ministry of Defense said today.

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Gas leaks continue to bubble up in the Baltic Sea

Gas leaks continued to bubble in the Baltic Sea for the third day in a row after explosions tore through Nord Stream 2 undersea pipelines.

The damage to the pipelines is being investigated by Russia’s FSB security service as “international terrorism”, according to the Interfax news agency citing the attorney general’s office.

NATO and the European Union on Wednesday warned of the need to protect critical infrastructure from what they called “sabotage”.

Read more about the gas leak in the Baltic Sea here:

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Zelensky warns against capturing Ukrainian lands by Russia

Volodymyr Zelensky said that Ukraine is now preparing to respond to the referendum aimed at reducing the territory of the country.

“Our main task now is to coordinate actions with partners in response to the mock referendums organized by Russia and all related threats.

We are not in 2014. Everything is clear for everyone. And there will definitely be action,” Mr. Zelensky said in his Wednesday evening speech.

The Ukrainian president said he held a series of negotiations with world leaders, including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, British Prime Minister Liz Truss, Secretary General of the UN Antonio Guterres and EU Council President Charles Michel.

“Thank you all for your clear and unequivocal support. Thank you all for understanding our position. Ukraine cannot and will not tolerate any attempt by Russia to seize any part of our territory,” Zelensky said in his address.

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Russia set to retake Ukrainian territories ‘within a week’

Senior Russian officials have said that the four breakaway Ukrainian territories – Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson – will separate from Kyiv and join Moscow within a week.

The Russian-backed administrations in these four provinces have formally requested the Kremlin to be enthroned in Russia.

“It should happen within a week,” said Rodion Miroshnik, the Russian-installed ambassador to Moscow from the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic.

“The main thing has already happened since the referendum took place. Therefore, let’s say: the locomotive has already started and it is unlikely to be stopped,” he said.

Russian parliament officials said they plan to bring in the four partially occupied regions on October 4, just three days before Vladimir Putin turns 70.

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Hello, welcome to our coverage of the war in Ukraine on Thursday, September 29.


The Independent Gt

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