“This is the will of millions of people,” Mr Putin said. “People living in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson region and Zaporizhzhia region are becoming our compatriots for ever.”
At a ceremony that Kyiv called a “Kremlin freak show” devoid of legal meaning, the Russian leader accused the West of “sheer Satanism”, before the Russian-backed heads of the four entities chanted “Russia! Russia!” in unison and a standing ovation.
Ukraine and Western governments said the referendums had been conducted at gunpoint and were bogus and illegitimate.
The US and the head of the United Nations had all said the annexation ceremony would have no legal value.
Meanwhile, one of Russia’s main garrisons, in Lyman in eastern Ukraine, north of Donbas, has been surrounded, marking a potential big defeat for Moscow.
In Zaporizhzhia, at least 25 people were killed and 50 injured in a Russian missile strike on a humanitarian convoy.
Putin claims four Ukrainian regions now Russian in annexation ceremony
Kyiv applies for accelerated Nato membership
Ukraine 'encircling Russian units in Lyman stronghold’
Biden vows to rally nations to hold Moscow accountable
US announces new Russian sanctions
Annexation is most serious escalation of war, says Nato chief
Friday 30 September 2022 04:32 , Arpan Rai
Good morning, welcome to our coverage of the Ukraine war on Friday, 30 September.
Putin recognises independence of two Ukrainian regions
Friday 30 September 2022 05:03 , Arpan Rai
Vladimir Putin recognised the “independence” of two occupied Ukrainian regions – Zaporizhzhia and Kherson – late last night.
The presidential decree, which is a precursor to annexing the regions into the Russian Federation, read: “I order the recognition of the state sovereignty and independence” of the regions of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson, located in southern Ukraine, reported AFP.
The other two regions that will be annexed by Russia today – Donetsk and Luhansk – were already recognised by Moscow as “independent” from Ukraine several weeks ago.
Putin to deliver major speech today after claiming four Ukrainian regions
Friday 30 September 2022 05:27 , Arpan Rai
Vladimir Putin is expected to host a ceremony today at Moscow’s Red Square announcing the annexation of four regions of Ukraine.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Mr Putin would deliver an address at the Square and that the annexation of the four areas would be formalised at the ceremony.
The Russian president has warned the world against attacking these regions and threatened to use nuclear weapons to defend them.
He will also meet leaders of the self-styled and Russian-backed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) as well as the Russian-installed leaders of the parts of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia that Russian forces occupy.
It is not clear if Mr Putin will attend the Red Square concert, as he did a similar event in 2014 after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region.
43 Russian soldiers killed, two fighter jets downed - Ukraine
Friday 30 September 2022 05:38 , Arpan Rai
The Ukrainian army says it attacked the Russian command post in Kherson’s Beryslavsky district and destroyed the drone control point in Davydiv Brid in the same region on Thursday.
At least 43 Russian soldiers have been killed in the last 24 hours, the southern operational command of the Ukrainian military said.
It added four tanks, four Msta-B and Msta-S howitzers, two self-propelled Hyacinth-S guns and 2 two Grad missile launchers were also destroyed in the military offensive.
Two Russian Su-25 fighter jets were downed in Mykolaiv oblast, the Ukrainian military said.
Russia will annex itself to catastrophe – Zelensky
Friday 30 September 2022 05:58 , Arpan Rai
Volodymyr Zelensky has renounced Russia’s “attempted annexation” and said it will fill the occupied territory with graves.
“Everyone in the world understands well what such an attempted annexation would actually mean. It will not mean what the Kremlin hopes for,” Mr Zelensky said in his nightly address.
The wartime president added: “Russia will not get a new territory of Ukraine. Russia will annex itself to the catastrophe that it has brought to the occupied territory of our country.
“Russia will equate itself with the so-called ‘DPR’ and ‘LPR’, and will completely finish off those institutions of normal statehood that still remained in Russia.”
Russia will fill the occupied territory of Ukraine with graves, he said, and added that: “There are more and more graves on the territory of Russia itself.
“The occupier sets up torture chambers in the occupied territory - and will fill the entire territory of Russia with torture chambers.
This is the only way the Russian police and Russian special services will work now,” he said.
Medical training, first-aid for Russian soldiers in Ukraine poor - MoD
Friday 30 September 2022 06:40 , Arpan Rai
Russian soldiers deployed in Ukraine by Moscow are facing deteriorating medical provision and their first-aid awareness is likely poor, the British defence ministry said today.
“Medical provision for Russian combat troops in Ukraine is probably growing worse. Some newly mobilised Russian reservists have been ordered to source their own combat first aid supplies, with the advice that female sanitary products are a cost-effective solution,” the ministry said, referring to reports where Russian men have been asked to use tampons for treating bullet wounds.
Medical training and first-aid awareness is likely poor, the ministry said in its latest intelligence update on the Ukraine war.
“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,” it added.
This is “almost certain to hamper or render impossible the timely application of tourniquet care in the case of catastrophic bleeding on the battlefield”.
Faced with poor medical provision, the Russian troops’s lack of confidence in the aid “is almost certainly contributing to a declining state of morale and a lack of willingness to undertake offensive operations in many units in Ukraine.”
Latest Defence 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 Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) September 30, 2022
Too soon to say who caused Nord Stream pipeline ruptures - Pentagon
Friday 30 September 2022 07:08 , Arpan Rai
It is too soon to speculate who could have caused the Nord Stream pipeline ruptures, the US defence secretary Lloyd Austin said.
“In terms of the attack - or the damage to the pipeline, at this point I think there’s a lot of speculation. But quite frankly, until a complete investigation is done, no one will be able to really determine for certain what happened,” the top Pentagon official said on Thursday.
He added that the incident has been discussed with Denmark.
“Until we get further information, or are able to do further analysis, we won’t speculate on who may have been responsible,” Mr Austin said.
Missiles strike civilian convoy in Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia city
Friday 30 September 2022 07:32 , Arpan Rai
Russian missiles have struck a convoy of civilians near the Ukrainian city Zaporizhzhia early today, officials said.
Casualties have been reported from the missile attack, regional governor Oleksandr Starukh said, adding that Russia targeted the besieged city’s outskirts.
“There are dead and wounded, rescuers are operating,” he wrote on the Telegram messaging app.
In photos: Moscow ready for incorporating 4 Ukrainian areas amid international condemnation
Friday 30 September 2022 07:51 , Arpan Rai
Death toll for civilian convoy strike
Friday 30 September 2022 08:10 , Zoe Tidman
A death toll has been announced for a Russian missile strike that hit a humanitarian convoy on Friday.
At least 23 people were killed and 28 more wounded in the attack on civilian vehicles near the southern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia, according to the regional governor.
ICYMI: Russian war dead have their sins forgiven, Russian Orthodox Church says
Friday 30 September 2022 08:25 , Zoe Tidman
Russian soldiers who die in the line of duty in Ukraine have all of their sins forgiven, the patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church proclaimed in a sermon, comparing their sacrificial death to that of Jesus.
Here is a reminder of what happened earlier this week:
‘Serving Russia is a real job,’ St Petersburg billboard says
Friday 30 September 2022 08:43 , Zoe Tidman
Here is an image from St Petersburg today. The billboard carries the slogan: “Serving Russia is a real job.”
Russia ‘must defend’ people in Donbas, Putin supporter claims
Friday 30 September 2022 09:02 , Zoe Tidman
Evgeny Popov, a Putin supporter and member of the Russian Dumas, has just been on Sky News talking about annexation and the Ukraine war.
When asked about warnings from Western leaders the annexation would be illegal, Mr Popov said it was considered “legal for Russia” and claimed his country “must defend” people in the Donbas. “They have been living under Ukrainian shelling for the last eight years,” he claimed.
The politician was also asked about reports of Russians fleeing the country after being called up for military service. “Yes, some people are fleeing Russia. But much more people – hundred thousand people – are joining the army now,” he told Sky News.
‘We are just telling you we have nuclear weapons,’ Russian politician says
Friday 30 September 2022 09:18 , Zoe Tidman
Evgeny Popov also outlined what he considers Russia’s approach to nuclear weapons.
“We are not threatening anybody with our nuclear weapon. We just tell you we have nuclear weapons,” he claimed.
The Dumas member said Russia would not use them first, but only in response to a nuclear attack on its territory.
“Using nuclear weapon in 21st century, it is an insane decision. We are not insane,” Mr Popov said.
Annexation ‘breach of international law’, UK PM says
Friday 30 September 2022 09:37 , Zoe Tidman
Liz Truss has accused Vladimir Putin of breaching international law, as the Russian President plans to formally annex four Ukrainian regions.
In a statement, the Prime Minister said: “Vladimir Putin has, once again, acted in violation of international law with 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.
“Putin cannot be allowed to alter international borders using brute force. We will ensure he loses this illegal war.”
Images from deadly Russian strike on civilian convoy
Friday 30 September 2022 09:56 , Zoe Tidman
Images are now coming out of the deadly Russian strike on a civilian convoy in southeastern Ukraine.
At least 23 people were killed in the attack on vehicles in Zaporizhzhia, which is set to officially be declared as part of Russia later today.
Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the Ukrainian president’s office, said four Russian missiles struck a car market as well as an area where civilians had gathered leaving to pick up relatives.
Full story: Putin set to formally annex four regions today
Friday 30 September 2022 10:30 , Zoe Tidman
Vladimir Putin is set to formally announce the annexation of four regions in Ukraine as Western leaders insist they will refuse to consider them part of Russian territory.
He is expected to declare Russia has absorbed areas of eastern and southern Ukraine on Friday following referendums considered a sham by Kyiv and beyond.
Convoy strike death toll rises
Friday 30 September 2022 10:53 , Zoe Tidman
The death toll of the Russian strike on a civilian convoy in southern Ukraine is reported to have risen.
The general prosecutor’s office said 25 people were killed and 50 wounded in the attack in Zaporizhzhia.
Finland closes border to Russians with tourist visas
Friday 30 September 2022 11:50 , Zoe Tidman
Finland’s border with Russia has closed to Russians with tourist visas, curtailing one of the last easily accessible routes to Europe for Russians trying to flee military mobilisation.
Long queues were reported until midnight at the border crossings.
Among the last to enter Finland were two cyclists who arrived a little before 11 pm, according to Finnish broadcaster YLE.
Attack on annexed regions would be attack on Russia, Kremlin says
Friday 30 September 2022 11:49 , Zoe Tidman
The Kremlin has warned it would consider an attack by Ukraine on regions set to be annexed an attack against Russia itself.
“It would not be anything else,” Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin’s spokesperson, said.
It came as Ukraine and the West refused to recognise the annexation of four regions in Ukraine that was set to go ahead on Friday.
What are the four regions set to be annexed by Russia?
Friday 30 September 2022 12:08 , Zoe Tidman
Russia is set to formally annex four areas of southern and eastern Ukraine.
The regions - Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia - make up around 15 per cent of Ukraine’s land area.
Here is a look at where they are:
And is some more informations on the four regions:
The Donbas: Donetsk and Luhank
Two Russian-backed breakaway entities - the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic - have been fighting Ukrainian government forces since 2014.
Vladimir Putin recognised both as “independent states”.
With these two proxy authorities, Russia controls nearly all of the Ukrainian Luhansk region but only about 60 per cent of Donetsk.
The two regions, with a combined population of about six million before the invasion, are collectively known as the Donbas, a mostly Russian-speaking centre of coal mining and heavy industry until their economies were wrecked by the fighting from 2014 onwards.
The Kremlin said this week that what it calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine would continue at least until the full “liberation” of the Donetsk region.
Kherson, with a pre-war population of only a million, lies just north of Russian-annexed Crimea, and Russian forces control almost the entire region.
Kherson is the focus of a counter-offensive that Ukraine has been building for weeks, in part by bombing bridges over the Dnipro River to sever Russia’s supply lines and attempt to cut off some of its forces.
Civilians in Kherson staged a series of protests after Russia captured the regional capital, the city of Kherson, in the early days of the war, and pro-Russian officials have been the targets of bomb attacks.
Russia has also said it is incorporating the small portion of Ukraine’s adjoining Mykolayiv province that it occupies into the Kherson region, for the purposes of annexation.
Zaporizhzhia became the centre of world attention after fighting in the vicinity of its nuclear power plant, the biggest in Europe, disrupted power supplies to the facility and raised fears of a radiation disaster.
Russia controls the nuclear plant and roughly 70 per cent of the province as a whole - but not the regional capital, also called Zaporizhzhia, which accounted for about half the region’s pre-war population of 1.6 million.
Abducted, beaten, tortured: The Ukrainians who refused to vote
Friday 30 September 2022 12:41 , Jane Dalton
Ukrainians have told how pensioners and other residents were abducted at gunpoint from their homes, held in solitary confinement and tortured for refusing to vote in Russia’s referendums.
Volunteers with pro-referendum leaflets physically dragged people to polling stations, they said.
“Gunmen came to my house and arrested me and took me to a solitary confinement cell in a detention centre for three days,” says Olena, a 70-year-old woman.
Networks of “informers” reported to the occupying forces any citizens believed to be against annexation. Report by Bel Trew:
Ukraine 'encircling Russian units in Lyman stronghold’
Friday 30 September 2022 13:08 , Jane Dalton
A Ukrainian military operation is under way to encircle Russian forces in the area of the eastern stronghold of Lyman, and has all the logistics routes into the area under fire control, a military spokesperson has told the Suspilne public broadcaster.
“All the approaches and logistic routes of the enemy, through which they delivered ammunition and manpower, are in fact under fire control (of the Ukrainian army),” Serhii Cherevatyi, a spokesperson for eastern Ukrainian forces was quoted as saying.
Putin opens annexation ceremony
Friday 30 September 2022 13:31 , Jane Dalton
Vladimir Putin has opened a Kremlin ceremony to start the process of absorbing parts of Ukraine into Russia, defying international law.During the annexation ceremony in the Kremlin’s opulent white-and-gold St George’s Hall, the heads of the four regions of Ukraine will sign treaties for them to join Russia, in a sharp escalation of the seven-month conflict.The separatist Donetsk and Luhansk regions in eastern Ukraine have been backed by Moscow since declaring independence in 2014, weeks after the annexation of Ukraine‘s Crimean Peninsula.
The southern Kherson region and part of the neighboring Zaporizhzhia were captured by Russia soon after Putin sent troops into Ukraine on 24 February.Both houses of the Kremlin-controlled Russian parliament will meet next week to rubber-stamp the treaties for the regions to join Russia, sending them to Putin for his approval.
Russia has four new regions, Putin claims at annexation event
Friday 30 September 2022 13:37 , Jane Dalton
Vladimir Putin has declared that Russia has “four new regions” in a speech in the Kremlin in which he outlined Russia’s annexation of four Ukrainian regions.
“Our brothers and sisters in Ukraine” are part of one people, the Russian president claimed.
And he urged Ukraine to sit down for talks but warned that Moscow would not give up the newly incorporated regions.
In a speech from the Kremlin to hundreds of Russia’s top politicians, Putin said Russia would defend its new territory with all the means at its disposal, remarks that could signal an escalation in the conflict.
As he signed the documents, he declared it was “the will of the people”.
Putin denounces ‘satanism’ of West and calls on Ukraine to lay down arms
Friday 30 September 2022 13:49 , Jane Dalton
Vladmir Putin has declared there are “four new regions of Russia” as he presided over a ceremony in the Kremlin to announce Moscow was claiming the Ukrainian regions of Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, Luhansk and Kherson.
In a rambling speech, Putin called on Ukraine to lay down its arms and end a war “they began in 2014”. David Harding reports:
Citizens will be Russian for ever, claims Putin
Friday 30 September 2022 13:56 , Jane Dalton
Vladimir Putin told the top politicians gathered in the Kremlin: “People living in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson region and Zaporizhzhia region are becoming our compatriots for ever.”
He claimed the people of the four annexed regions had chosen to “be with their people, the motherland”.
Putin’s speech: ‘We will defend out land with all our means'
Friday 30 September 2022 14:20 , Jane Dalton
These are extracts from President Putin’s speech, translated by Reuters:
“Referendums have taken place ... their results are well-known.”
“People have made their choice ... This is an inalienable right, which is enshrined in Article 1 of the UN Charter.”
“People living in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson region and Zaporizhzhia region are becoming our compatriots for ever.”
“We call on the Kyiv regime to immediately cease hostilities and return to the negotiation table.”
“We will defend our land with all our strength and all our means”.
“After the collapse of the USSR, the West decided that the world would forever have to put up with its dictates ... the West expected that Russia would not be able to cope with such dictates and fall apart ... but Russia has been reborn and strengthened.”
“The West continues to look for new chances to weaken and destroy Russia.”
Putin attacks West, accusing it of breaking promises to Russia
Friday 30 September 2022 14:22 , Jane Dalton
Presenting a long list of grievances against the West in his speech, Putin accused the United States and its allies of waging a “hybrid war” against Russia and the separatist administrations it backed in eastern Ukraine.
He said the West had broken its promises to Russia and had no moral right to talk about democracy, and that the countries of the West were acting as the imperialist states that they had “always been”.
Putin accuses US and allies of sabotaging gas pipelines
Friday 30 September 2022 14:28 , Jane Dalton
Putin directly accused the United States and its allies of blowing up the Nord Stream pipelines.
“The sanctions were not enough for the Anglo-Saxons: they moved onto sabotage,” he said. “It is hard to believe but it is a fact that they organised the blasts on the Nord Stream international gas pipelines.
“They began to destroy the pan-European energy infrastructure,” Putin said.
“It is clear to everyone who benefits from this. Of course, he who benefits did it.”
Kyiv condemns ‘Kremlin freak show'
Friday 30 September 2022 14:35 , Jane Dalton
Kyiv dubbed the annexation ceremony “Kremlin freak show” devoid of legal meaning.
After a 37-minute diatribe against the West, in which Mr Putin accused it of “sheer Satanism”, he signed the treaty documents with the Russian-backed heads of the four entities.
They then all clasped hands and chanted “Russia! Russia!” in unison with the hundreds of dignitaries present, who rose in a standing ovation.
Ukrainian officials dismiss Putin’s claims
Friday 30 September 2022 14:45 , Jane Dalton
Ukrainian officials dismissed President Putin’s remarks, saying the future of Ukraine was being decided on the battlefield.
“We continue to work and liberate Ukrainian territories. And we don’t pay attention to those whose time to take pills has come,” said Andrii Yermak, head of the Ukrainian president’s office.
“The army is working, Ukraine is united. Only moving forward.”
Russian stronghold surrounded in key move for Ukraine
Friday 30 September 2022 15:00 , Jane Dalton
One of Russia’s main garrisons has been surrounded, marking one of Russia’s worst battlefield defeats of the war, which threatened to overshadow the Kremlin’s annexation ceremony.
Pro-Russian officials acknowledged that Russian troops were on the verge of encirclement in Lyman in eastern Ukraine, their main garrison in the north of Donetsk province.
Defeat there could open the way for Ukraine to recapture swathes of the territory that Putin has now declared to be part of Russia.
A Ukrainian presidential adviser said Russia would have to appeal to Kyiv for Moscow’s encircled troops to be allowed out of the stronghold of Lyman if it was concerned about them.
Speech ‘fraud and disgrace’, says Boris Johnson
Friday 30 September 2022 15:11 , Jane Dalton
Former prime minister Boris Johnson has condemned Putin’s speech as “a fraud and a disgrace”.
“The world must never accept your sham referendums or your cruel and illegal attempt to colonise Ukraine,” he tweeted.
“We stand with the people of Ukraine and will support them without flinching until their country is whole and free.”
Vladimir Putin your speech is a fraud and a disgrace. The world must never accept your sham referendums or your cruel and illegal attempt to colonise Ukraine. We stand with the people of Ukraine and will support them without flinching until their country is whole and free.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) September 30, 2022
Ukraine applies for accelerated Nato membership
Friday 30 September 2022 15:21 , Jane Dalton
Ukraine’s president says his country is submitting an accelerated application to join the Nato military alliance.
Volodymyr Zelensky said: “We are taking our decisive step by signing Ukraine‘s application for accelerated accession to Nato.”
Ukraine was already de facto part of the alliance, he said in a video address outdoors.
Zelensky response: He says Ukraine is de facto part of NATO alliance. “Today, Ukraine is applying to make it de jure… We are taking our decisive step by signing Ukraine's application for accelerated accession to NATO.” pic.twitter.com/8Bb8G8xnaF
— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) September 30, 2022
US announces new Russian sanctions
Friday 30 September 2022 15:35 , Jane Dalton
The US Treasury, Commerce and State Departments have announced new sanctions on Russia intended as what a White House official called “swift and severe consequences” for Moscow’s annexation of the Ukrainian regions of Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, Luhansk and Kherson:
We will ensure Putin loses war, vows Truss
Friday 30 September 2022 15:50 , Jane Dalton
Britain’s prime minister has vowed to ensure Putin loses the war after Russia’s annexation of Ukrainian regions.
Liz Truss said: “Putin cannot be allowed to alter international borders using brute force. We will ensure he loses this illegal war.
“Putin has, once again, acted in violation of international law with 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.”
We want talks - but with a new Russian leader, says Zelensky
Friday 30 September 2022 16:05 , Jane Dalton
Ukraine is ready for negotiations with Russia, but with a different Russian president, Volodymyr Zelensky has said.
He made his comments in a video that appeared intended as a forceful rebuttal to the Kremlin after Putin’s ceremony in Moscow.
“We are taking our decisive step by signing Ukraine’s application for accelerated accession to Nato,” Mr Zelensky said in a video on Telegram.
The video showed him announcing the decision and then signing a document, flanked by his prime minister and the speaker of parliament.
European leaders dismiss ‘illegal’ annexation
Friday 30 September 2022 16:25 , Jane Dalton
European leaders have also condemned Putin’s move.
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said: “The illegal annexation proclaimed by Putin won’t change anything. All territories illegally occupied by Russian invaders are Ukrainian land and will always be part of this sovereign nation.”
Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte said: “The Netherlands will never recognise this annexation, just as we don’t recognise the annexation of Crimea.”
Italy’s Giorgia Meloni said Putin “once again demonstrates his Soviet-style, neo-imperialist vision that threatens the security of the entire European continent”.
The Greek foreign ministry said: “The decision is illegal as it violates blatantly international law and it is void.”
Poland condemns annexation
Friday 30 September 2022 16:45 , Jane Dalton
Poland condemned the signature of treaties by Mr Putin to annex four Ukrainian regions.
The foreign ministry called for an increase in military support for Kyiv and more sanctions.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemns in the strongest terms the illegal acts of ‘recognition of independence’ and ‘incorporation’ into the Russian Federation of parts of Ukraine’s regions of Kherson, Donetsk, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia,” the ministry said.
UK sanctions Russian bank chief
Friday 30 September 2022 17:00 , Jane Dalton
Britain has sanctioned Russia’s central bank governor Elvira Nabiullina, imposing an asset freeze and travel ban, the Foreign Office says.
Officials said Britain had also imposed new services and goods export bans, targeted at “vulnerable sectors of the Russian economy”, in response to Russia declaring the illegal annexation of four regions of Ukraine.
The United States has imposed Russia-related sanctions on hundreds of individuals and companies.
Britain ramps up sanctions against Russia
Friday 30 September 2022 17:01 , Holly Bancroft
Britain has ramped up sanctions against Russia, with new measures targeting vulnerable sectors of the economy, in response to President Vladimir Putin’s “illegal” annexation of parts of Ukraine.
The Russian ambassador to London, Andrey Kelin, was summoned to the Foreign Office to be told of the UK’s objections to the Kremlin’s actions “in the strongest possible terms”.
Earlier, Prime Minister Liz Truss condemned the move by Russia‘s leader, saying Britain will never accept his claim to the regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia and said they amount to a “violation of international law”.
Under the new sanctions, Russia will lose access to UK services including IT consultancy, architectural services, engineering services, and transactional legal advisory services for certain commercial activity.
Britain is also banning the export of nearly 700 goods crucial to Russia‘s industrial and technological sectors, while the governor of the Russian central bank, Elvira Nabiullina, joins the list of senior figures subject to travel bans and asset freezes.
Announcing the move, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said: “The Russian regime must be held to account for this abhorrent violation of international law.
“That’s why we are working with our international partners to ramp up the economic pressure through new targeted services bans.
“What happens in Ukraine matters to us all and the UK will do everything possible to assist their fight for freedom.”
Pro-Russian hackers temporarily take MI5 website offline with cyber attack
Friday 30 September 2022 17:19 , Holly Bancroft
The Security Service’s website displayed a “website under maintenance” page but was functioning normally within an hour.
A source told The Independent the website was “intermittently unavailable” but had been restored.
“It had absolutely no impact on the organisation’s work,” they added. “It was only the public facing website. There was no threat to security, no secure information was accessed.”
Read the full story from our Home Affairs correspondent Lizzie Dearden here:
War causes food shortages for 345 million people, says IMF
Friday 30 September 2022 17:25 , Jane Dalton
The Ukraine war’s disruptions to grain and fertiliser supplies have prompted the worst food-security crisis since at least the one after the 2007-2008 global financial meltdown, the International Monetary Fund says.
Some 345 million people are facing life-threatening shortages, officials warned.
A new IMF research paper estimates that the 48 countries most exposed to food shortages face a combined increase in their import bills of $9 billion this year and next because of the sudden jump in food and fertiliser prices caused by Russia’s invasion.
“For this year alone, we estimate that highly exposed countries need as much as $7 billion to help the poorest households cope,” IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and other IMF officials said in a blog.
Ukraine was among the top five grain exporters before the war, accounting for some 15 per cent of global corn exports and 12 per cent of wheat exports, and a resumption of shipments from Black Sea ports under a deal with Russia has only partly eased shortages.
Russia, also a top grain exporter, curtailed exports earlier this year to neighbouring former Soviet republics.
The Fund identified Sudan, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, Armenia and Georgia as the most dependent on Ukrainian and Russian food imports as a percentage of their GDP. Countries most dependent on Ukrainian and Russian fertilisers include Moldova, Latvia, Estonia, Paraguay and Kyrgyzstan.
Russian consulate in New York vandalised with spray-paint
Friday 30 September 2022 17:42 , Jane Dalton
The Russian consulate in New York was vandalised with red spray-paint hours before Vladimir Putin illegally annexed more occupied areas of Ukraine.
New York Police Department says it is investigating it as a possible bias incident, according to The New York Times:
We’ll win war, Putin tells crowd
Friday 30 September 2022 17:52 , Jane Dalton
Vladimir Putin told spectators watching a televised patriotic pop concert on Moscow’s Red Square that Russia would achieve victory in its seven-month military campaign with Ukraine, and repeated a claim that Russia had created the modern Ukrainian state.
The concert follows the ceremony at which Putin had signed documents to formally annex large swaths of Ukrainian territory.
Putin led the crowd in three cheers of “Hurrah!” for the four annexed territories.
All 30 Nato allies must agree on any membership, says alliance chief
Friday 30 September 2022 18:08 , Jane Dalton
A decision on any new Nato membership has to be taken by all 30 allies by consensus, the alliance’s secretary general Jens Stoltenberg has said.
But Nato’s commitment to Ukraine is unchanged, and the allies support the country’s right to choose its own path.
Ukraine has the right to take back its territory, Mr Stoltenberg said.
If “we let Putin win”, it would be catastrophic for Ukraine and dangerous for the rest of the West, he added.
Putin leads three cheers for annexed regions in Red Square celebration
Friday 30 September 2022 18:14 , Jane Dalton
Vladimir Putin has led spectators in Red Square in three cheers for the newly annexed territories, followed by a rendition of the Russian national anthem.
“Welcome home!” he said, prompting chants of “Russia! Russia!” from the flag-waving crowd in Red Square.
Huge video screens showed the Russian leader claiming people in the newly annexed regions had made a choice to rejoin their “historic motherland”.
Flanked by the leaders of their Russian-backed administrations, with the multicoloured spires of the 16th-century St Basil’s Cathedral as the backdrop, Putin said Russia would do everything to support them, boost their security and rebuild their economies.
Annexation is most serious escalation of war, says Nato chief
Friday 30 September 2022 18:25 , Jane Dalton
Nato has accused Vladimir Putin of provoking “the most serious escalation” of the war in Ukraine since it began, but said he would not succeed in deterring the alliance from supporting Kyiv.
“We have the combination of the mobilisation in Russia, combined with the reckless, dangerous nuclear rhetoric, and then today’s illegal annexation or attempt to annex parts of Ukraine,” secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said.
“Together this is the most serious escalation of the conflict since the start and the aim of President Putin is to deter us from supporting Ukraine. But he will not succeed in that.”
Mr Stoltenberg said Russia’s move was “the largest attempted annexation of European territory by force since the Second World War”, adding that an area roughly the size of Portugal had been illegally seized by Russia at gunpoint.
He said the 30-member military alliance had conveyed to Russia that there would be “severe consequences” if it used nuclear weapons against Ukraine.
Crowds pack Red Square for celebrations
Friday 30 September 2022 18:45 , Jane Dalton
Large crowds packed Red Square to join the celebrations of the annexation of four Ukrainian regions.
Biden slates Kremlin move as illegitimate
Friday 30 September 2022 19:15 , Jane Dalton
Of Putin’s annexation of the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, US president Joe Biden said: “Make no mistake: These actions have no legitimacy.”
He said Putin was showing contempt with its phoney annexation.
He added: “We will rally the international community to both denounce these moves and to hold Russia accountable. We will continue to provide Ukraine with the equipment it needs to defend itself, undeterred by Russia’s brazen effort to redraw the borders of its neighbour.” Andrew Feinberg reports:
Nobody is fooled by farce referendums, says Blinken
Friday 30 September 2022 19:30 , Jane Dalton
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said his country “unequivocally rejects Russia’s fraudulent attempt to change Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders... This is a clear violation of international law and the United Nations Charter.”
He added: “No one is fooled by what Moscow has done.
“The entire process around these sham referenda was a complete farce. This territory is and will remain Ukraine, and Ukraine has every right to defend its land, to defend its people and to take back the territory that Russia has seized from it.”
This suggests the US will support the Ukrainians with weapons and ammunition to help them with military action to retake the annexed areas.
The US has warned Ukraine in the past not to use American weapons against Russian territory.
Mr Blinken also spoke out against Putin’s nuclear threats.
“This kind of loose talk about nuclear weapons is the height of irresponsibility, and it’s something that we take very seriously,” he said.
“To date” he said, the US has not seen that “Russia is actually doing anything that suggests they are contemplating the use of nuclear weapons.”
“I can just tell you that we plan against every possible scenario, including this one.”
State employees ordered to attend celebration
Friday 30 September 2022 19:50 , Jane Dalton
Many people in Red Square waved Russian flags as entertainers from Russia and occupied parts of Ukraine performed patriotic songs.
Russian media reports said employees of state-run companies and institutions were told to attend, and students were allowed to miss classes.
Vladimir Putin was joined on stage by the leaders of the four Ukrainian annexed areas.
Surge in Russians asking about visas at German embassies
Friday 30 September 2022 20:15 , Jane Dalton
Germany’s embassies in countries neighbouring Russia have seen a surge in visa enquiries from Russian citizens since partial mobilisation for the war in Ukraine began in their home country, a source from the German foreign ministry said.
“We can confirm a sharp increase in the number of enquiries sent to our foreign missions in the region, particularly by e-mail and telephone,” the source told Reuters.
In some cases, people were going to the embassies in person.
Der Spiegel news magazine previously reported that German missions in Yerevan, Astana, Tbilisi, Baku and Minsk had registered thousands of requests for entry permits to Germany since Vladimir Putin ordered the partial mobilisation.
An exact figure was not given because it had become impossible to process the requests within set deadlines, the report said, adding that appointments for hearings were no longer being handed out.
The ministry is said to be considering increasing its staff in the five cities.
Missile strike death toll rises to 30
Friday 30 September 2022 20:39 , Jane Dalton
Ukraine’s national police say the death toll from a Russian missile strike on a convoy of cars near Zaporizhzha has risen to 30, including children.
Police said 88 people were wounded wounded in the missile attack on a column of vehicles that Ukrainian officials officials said were to ferry relatives back to safety from Russian-occupied territory.
Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of Zelensky’s office, said four of 16 missiles launched had struck the convoy area, causing impact craters several metres deep near cars whose windows had all been blown out.
Russia vetoes UN vote of condemnation
Friday 30 September 2022 20:49 , Jane Dalton
Russia has vetoed a UN resolution that would have condemned its “illegal” referendums in four Ukrainian regions, declared that they have “no validity” and urged all countries not to recognise any “purported annexation” of the territory by Moscow.
The vote on the resolution in the 15-member Security Council was 10-1, with China, India, Brazil and Gabon abstaining.
US ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said before the vote that in the event of a Russian veto, the US and Albania which sponsored the resolution would take it to the 193-member General Assembly, where there are no vetoes, “and show that the world is still on the side of sovereignty and protecting territorial integrity”.
Watch: Russian New York consulate vandalised with red spray-paint
Friday 30 September 2022 20:59 , Jane Dalton
Russia pumping out lies about pipelines, says Biden
Friday 30 September 2022 21:15 , Jane Dalton
US President Joe Biden has dismissed claims as outlandish claims by Vladimir Putin that the West sabotaged Russia-built natural gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea to Germany.
The claim by Putin came ahead of an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on the attacks on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, and as Norwegian researchers published a map projecting that a huge plume of methane from the damaged pipelines will travel over large swaths of the Nordic region.
“It was a deliberate act of sabotage. And now the Russians are pumping out disinformation and lies. We will work with our allies to get to the bottom (of) precisely what happened,” Mr Biden promised, adding that divers would be sent down to inspect the pipelines.
“Just don’t listen to what Putin’s saying. What he’s saying we know is not true.”
Russian forces ‘on verge of defeat’ in stronghold
Friday 30 September 2022 21:30 , Jane Dalton
Russian forces in Ukraine are reportedly on the verge of one of their worst defeats of the war.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said his country’s military had achieved “significant results” in the east and mentioned Lyman, a Russian-occupied stronghold that pro-Moscow forces are struggling to keep control of.
Ukraine‘s defence ministry said earlier its troops had captured the village of Drobysheve, some 10 km (six miles) to the north west of Lyman, in the eastern Donetsk region.
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.
“We have significant results in the east of our country ... everyone has heard what is happening in Lyman,” Zelensky said in a video address.
“These are steps that mean a lot to us,” he added, but did not give details.
Friday 30 September 2022 21:33 , Holly Bancroft
Thanks for following along with our coverage today. We are closing up the blog for the evening but you can read the latest news on Russia and Ukraine here: