Ukraine war – live: Zelensky demands ‘just punishment’ for Putin as hundreds arrested at Moscow protest

·27 min read

Volodymyr Zelensky called for the “just punishment” of Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and torture and killing of hundreds of civilians, as he addressed the UN General Assembly late last night.

“A crime has been committed against Ukraine, and we demand just punishment. The crime was committed against our state borders. The crime was committed against the lives of our people. The crime was committed against the dignity of our women and men,” the Ukrainian wartime president said.

His video address came on the same day his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin ordered the mobilisation of Moscow’s reserve forces and threatened to use nuclear weapons.

Mr Zelensky called on the world leaders gathered at the UNGA to bring retribution against Russia for causing “catastrophic turbulence” to their own economies with its “illegal war”.

Meanwhile, police arrested more than 1,300 people at protests held across Russia in response to Mr Putin’s order for as many as 300,000 military reservists to prepare for service in his country’s struggling campaign against its neighbour.

Key Points

  • Zelensky lays down red lines for peace deal with Russia

  • More than 1,300 arrests at Russian anti-mobilisation protests

  • Russian protests: In pictures

  • Five British prisoners of war released, including man sentenced to death

  • Putin has admitted Russia is losing war, says UK

Uzbeks warned against joining foreign armies

08:20 , Andy Gregory

Prosecutors in Uzbekistan have warned citizens against joining foreign armies, after Moscow offered fast-track citizenship to those who sign up and Ukraine said it had captured Uzbeks fighting alongside Russians.

Those fighting in military conflicts abroad faced criminal prosecution under Uzbek law, the ex-Soviet nation’s prosecutor general’s office warned on Wednesday.

A video circulated on Ukrainian social media this month showed two captured Uzbeks, who said they had been recruited in Moscow.

Hundreds of thousands of Uzbeks live in or regularly travel to Russia to find work and provide for their families at home; some work illegally and risk being deported.

Russian arrivals at Finnish border ‘intensifies’ overnight

07:57 , Andy Gregory

Traffic arriving at Finland’s eastern border with Russia has “intensified” during the night, the Scandinavian country’s border guard said early this morning.

Finland is closely monitoring the situation in Russia following Vladimir Putin’s order of military mobilisation, Finland’s defence minister Antti Kaikkonen said on Wednesday.

Border guards were ready at nine checkpoints after 4,824 Russians arrived in Finland via the eastern border, up from 3,133 a week earlier, the border guard’s head of international affairs Matti Pitkaniitty said.

However, the number of people crossing the border on Wednesday was lower than during the weekend, he told Reuters.

Hungary’s Orban says EU sanctions against Russia should be scrapped

07:44 , Andy Gregory

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban has reportedly told his party Fidesz that sanctions against Russia imposed by the European Union should be scrapped

His comments at a behind-doors meeting on Wednesday were reported by the pro-government newspaper Magyar Nemzet late on Wednesday and later confirmed to Rueters by a government spokesperson.

Mr Orban was quoted as saying – without giving a source – that the EU sanctions have driven up gas prices and inflation, and if these measures were to be scrapped, gas prices would drop by 50 per cent immediately while inflation would also fall.

Without sanctions, Europe could regain strength and could avoid a looming recession, the report quoted Mr Orban as saying, reiterating his earlier stance that the sanctions were hurting Europe more than Russia.

On his Facebook page, Orban posted from the party meeting: “The Brussels sanctions have pushed Europe into an energy crisis.”

In July, Orban said the EU had “shot itself in the lungs” with ill-considered economic sanctions on Russia, which, unless rolled back, risked destroying the European economy.

Russia’s Sergei Lavrov readies for showdown at UN summit

07:36 , Andy Gregory

A diplomatic showdown is looming later today when the UN Security Council meets over atrocities committed in Ukraine, with Kyiv demanding that Russia be punished for its invasion and stripped it of its security council veto.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky yesterday called for special United Nations tribunal to impose “just punishment” on Russia and for Moscow to be stripped of its Security Council veto – a power which has stopped the council from taking any meaningful action over the war.

In what will be at least the 20th time the council has met on Ukraine this year, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov will face off with his Ukrainian and Western counterparts as the UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres and International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim Khan brief the 15-member council.

Russia to struggle with mustering 300,000 troops in new mobilisation move, claims UK

07:09 , Arpan Rai

Russia is likely to struggle in gathering the 300,000 personnel to support its war in Ukraine, the British defence ministry said today.

“Russia is likely to struggle with the logistical and administrative challenges of even mustering the 300,000 personnel. It will probably attempt to stand up new formations with many of these troops, which are unlikely to be combat effective for months,” the ministry said in its latest intelligence update.

Vladimir Putin announced a ‘partial mobilisation’ to support operations in Ukraine yesterday amid major setbacks in its invasion of Ukraine.

Shortly after, Russian defence minister Shoigu said that the move would involve the mobilisation of 300,000 reservist troops.

“Even this limited mobilisation is likely to be highly unpopular with parts of the Russian population. Putin is accepting considerable political risk in the hope of generating much needed combat power,” the British MoD said.

It added that the move is “effectively an admission that Russia has exhausted its supply of willing volunteers to fight in Ukraine.”

North Korea says did not send arms to Russia, calls US intelligence ‘fake’

06:34 , Arpan Rai

North Korea has denied exporting any weapons to Russia during the ongoing war in Ukraine and said it does not intend on sending any, dubbing the US intelligence reports of weapon trade as “rumours” and “fake”.

An unnamed North Korean defence official has asked the US to stop making “reckless remarks” and to “keep its mouth shut”, according to a state media report.

Export and import of military equipment is a "lawful right peculiar to a sovereign state," the official said, even as such a transfer would violate United Nations resolutions banning the country from importing or exporting weapons.

"But we take this opportunity to make clear one thing. We have never exported weapons or ammunition to Russia before and we will not plan to export them," said the official, working as a vice director general of the national defence ministry’s general equipment bureau.

"It is not sure from where the rumour originated which the US is spreading, but it is aimed at tarnishing the DPRK’s image," the official said.

Russia, Ukraine exchange around 300 prisoners

06:12 , Arpan Rai

Officials in Russia and Ukraine successfully carried out a prisoner swap and exchanged around 300 people, out of which Kyiv received 215 fighters from key battles of Azov and Mariupol.

“We are bringing our people home. Exchange has just finished. Today we have 215 pieces of good news. 215!” announced Mr Zelensky in his late night address.

He lauded several fighters and said the country has received 188 “heroes” from the bloodied fight in Azovstal.

This is the largest prisoner swap carried out since the war began and also included 10 foreigners and commanders who prolonged Ukrainian defence in Mariupol before it fell to Russia.

“These are warriors of the national guard, our army, the navy, border guards, policemen, warriors of the territorial defence, employees of the security service of Ukraine and others,” Mr Zelensky said.

EU leaders to press more sanctions on Russia, send arms to Ukraine

05:32 , Arpan Rai

EU foreign ministers are looking to launch fresh sanctions on Russia and boost weapon deliveries to Ukraine in response to Vladimir Putin’s order of the first wartime mobilisation since the Second World War.

A formal meeting will take place between the EU ministers next month where they are set to discuss the sanctions package and formalise the restrictions to be imposed on Moscow.

EU chief Josep Borrell said there will be “unanimous” support among the bloc for the upcoming measures.

Putin’s military mobilisation, nuke threat sign of failing Ukraine invasion - Trudeau

04:37 , Arpan Rai

Vladimir Putin’s military mobilisation order and his nuclear threat confirm that Russia’s invasion in Ukraine is failing, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau said in New York where world leaders have gathered for the United Nations general assembly.

"Canada condemns Putin’s irresponsible escalation of the war, his partial military mobilisation, his nuclear threats, as well as Russia’s rushed referendums to try to annex parts of Ukraine are unacceptable," Mr Trudeau said.

"Putin’s behaviour only goes to show that his invasion is failing,” he added.

The conscription order issued by the Russian leader was "a step closer to admitting what he has not wanted to admit to Russians ... an example of things not going to his plan," Mr Trudeau said.

Russia releases Ukrainian prisoners – Suspline

03:10 , Liam James

Russia has released some of the Ukrainian fighters it took prisoner after a protracted battle for the port city of Mariupol earlier this year, Ukrainian public broadcaster Suspline said on Wednesday.

Suspline, citing the Azov battalion unit that did much of the fighting, said an exchange had happened near the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv. It gave no details.

The Telegram account of Andriy Biletsky, original founder of the Azov battalion, showed him giving a victory sign with the caption “In service” as he held one of the captives. Reuters was not immediately able to verify when the photo had been taken.

Earlier in the day, Saudi Arabia said Russia had released 10 foreign prisoners of war captured in Ukraine following mediation by Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. Five British nationals were among the freed.

Putin makes nuclear threat to West

01:50 , Liam James

In a dramatic escalation of Russia’s war in Ukraine, Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilisation of military forces in a special address to the nation on Wednesday (David Harding writes).

Putin said members of the military reserve, some 300,000 people, especially those with experience of active duty, would be called up, a move which comes after Moscow has faced a number of military setbacks seven months after it invaded Ukraine.

And in an apparent threat to the West, he warned against “nuclear blackmail”, threatening to respond with the might of his own vast arsenal. He said he was not 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.

“We are talking about partial mobilisation, that is, only citizens who are currently in the reserve will be subject to conscription, and above all, those who served in the armed forces have a certain military speciality and relevant experience,” Putin said.

His address alarmed many across the world and caused thousands of Russians to try and flee the country.

Putin makes nuclear threat to West

Truss and Biden condemn Putin in first private meeting

Thursday 22 September 2022 00:35 , Liam James

Liz Truss and Joe Biden condemned Vladimir Putin’s recent statements on Ukraine and discussed energy security at a meeting at the UN in New York, a Downing Street spokesperson said.

In a statement following the pair’s first private meeting, the spokesperson said the leaders agreed Mr Putin’s belligerence showed “the need for allies to continue their economic and military support to Ukraine. The prime minister updated President Biden on her recent announcement that the UK will recommit to at least the same level of defensive support for Ukraine next year.

“Both leaders discussed the increased threat posed by autocracies to our values and the international system. The prime minister updated President Biden on the UK’s plans to update the Integrated Review to ensure the UK is fully equipped to tackle the evolving challenge from countries like China and Russia.

“The leaders stressed the need to end over-reliance on authoritarian states in terms of our energy, technology and manufacturing supply chains.

“They agreed to redouble bilateral efforts to reduce energy dependence on Russia and to increase the amount of renewable and other forms of energy flowing from democratic states. Both leaders reiterated their commitment to reaching net zero, and the UK outlined the UK’s plans to be a net energy exporter by 2040, in large part thanks to renewable energy.

“The prime minister and President Biden also discussed a number of global challenges which the UK and US are working closely together to resolve, including efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.”

Russian-backed forces release five Britons held captive, Truss says

Wednesday 21 September 2022 23:40 , Liam James

Five British nationals captured in Ukraine and held by Russian-backed forces are being returned to their families, prime minister Liz Truss has revealed (Jane Dalton writes).

“Hugely welcome news that five British nationals held by Russian-backed proxies in eastern Ukraine are being safely returned, ending months of uncertainty and suffering for them and their families,” she tweeted.

Aiden Aslin, a British fighter who had been sentenced to death by a pro-Russian court, is among those freed, his MP Robert Jenrick said.

He tweeted: “Aiden’s return brings to an end months of agonising uncertainty for Aiden’s loving family in Newark who suffered every day of Aiden’s sham trial but never lost hope. As they are united as a family once more, they can finally be at peace.”

Mr Aslin, 28 moved to Ukraine in 2018 and later joined the nation’s armed forces.

Five Britons held in Ukraine by Russian-backed forces released, Truss says

Zelensky lays down red lines for peace deal with Russia

Wednesday 21 September 2022 23:11 , Liam James

Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukrainian neutrality in the war with Russia was out of the question, as he laid down his red lines for a negotiated end to the conflict.

In a recorded address to the United Nations, the Ukrainian president said a crime had been committed against his nation and Kyiv wanted “just punishment” for Russia.

He presented what he said were five non-negotiable conditions for peace. These included punishment for Russian aggression, restoration of Ukraine’s security, and territorial integrity and security guarantees.

Zelensky addresses the UN on Wednesday (AFP/Getty)
Zelensky addresses the UN on Wednesday (AFP/Getty)

UK’s Cleverly to condemn Russian atrocities in meeting with Moscow’s top diplomat

Wednesday 21 September 2022 22:45 , Liam James

Britain’s foreign secretary is to condemn Moscow’s atrocities in Ukraine when he meets his Russian counterpart for the first time at a New York summit tomorrow.

James Cleverly will face Sergei Lavrov on Thursday during a special meeting of the United Nations Security Council, where foreign ministers are due to discuss the war.

Mr Cleverly will commit to working with allies on holding Russia accountable and seeking justice for victims.

He will also argue that Moscow plans to fix the results of referendums on becoming parts of Russia due to be held in Russian-controlled regions in eastern and southern Ukraine.

Later on Thursday, Mr Cleverly will join a meeting focused on accountability for war crimes in Ukraine.

Cleverly meets US secretary of state Antony Blinken in New York (AP)
Cleverly meets US secretary of state Antony Blinken in New York (AP)

More than 1,300 arrests in Russian anti-mobilisation protests

Wednesday 21 September 2022 22:06 , Liam James

Security forces detained more than 1,300 people in Russia at protests denouncing mobilisation, a rights group said, hours after Vladimir Putin ordered Russia’s first military draft since World War Two.

The independent OVD-Info protest monitoring group said that according to information it had collated from 38 Russian cities, more than 1,311 people had been held by late evening – including at least 502 in Moscow and 524 in St Petersburg, Russia’s second most populous city.

Unsanctioned rallies are illegal under Russia’s anti-protest laws. Russian Interior Ministry official Irina Volk, in a statement quoted by Russian news agencies, said police had cut short attempts to stage what it called small protests.

“In a number of regions, there were attempts to stage unauthorised actions which brought together an extremely small number of participants,” Volk was quoted as saying.

“These were all stopped. And those persons who violated laws were detained and taken to police stations for investigation and establish their responsibility.”

Below are some pictures from a St Petersburg protest, we brought you pictures from Moscow earlier [see here]

 (EPA)
(EPA)
 (EPA)
(EPA)
 (EPA)
(EPA)

Navalny says Putin’s mobilisation order will result in ‘massive amount of deaths’

Wednesday 21 September 2022 21:39 , Liam James

Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has accused president Vladimir Putin of trying to “smear hundreds of thousands of people” in a “criminal war” after he ordered a partial mobilisation of Russian reserves (Emily Atkinson writes).

The Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny made the remark via a video message recorded from prison, which he had published by his lawyers. He warned Putin’s new martial order would lead to “massive tragedy”.

Mr Navalny, who is serving more than a 10 years in prison, said: “This will result in a massive tragedy, in a massive amount of deaths … in order to keep his personal power, Putin went into a neighbouring country, killed people there and is now sending a huge quantity of Russian citizens into this war.

“It is clear that the criminal war is getting worse, deepening, and Putin is trying to involve as many people as possible in this. He wants to smear hundreds of thousands of people in this blood.”

Navalny says Putin’s mobilisation order will result in ‘massive amount of deaths’

From the frontline: Ukrainian troops in Donetsk

Wednesday 21 September 2022 21:14 , Liam James

Some pics below have come through of Ukrainian troops en route to the frontline in Donetsk.

Russia is pressing on with attacks in Donetsk, one of the territories of Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, after losing land in Luhansk to the Ukrainian counteroffensive last week.

Military analysts say Russia still aims to fully capture Donetsk, which, like Luhansk, has been partly claimed by Russian-backed separatists for years.

 (AFP/Getty)
(AFP/Getty)
 (AFP/Getty)
(AFP/Getty)
 (AFP/Getty)
(AFP/Getty)

One-way flights out of Russia sell out after Putin orders call-up for thousands

Wednesday 21 September 2022 20:56 , Liam James

One-way flight tickets out of Russia were selling out fast after President Vladimir Putin ordered the partial mobilisation of Moscow’s reserves in a major escalation of his war on Ukraine (Emily Atkinson writes).

The Russian leader addressed the nation on Wednesday morning and said 300,000 extra military personnel would be conscripted to fight the war in Ukraine.

The announcement has apparently raised fears among those of a fighting age that they would not be allowed to leave the country unless they fled quickly.

Google Trends data seen by Reuters showed a spike in searches for Aviasales, which is Russia’s most popular website for purchasing flights.

Direct flights from Moscow to Istanbul in Turkey and Yerevan in Armenia, both destinations that allow Russians to enter without a visa, were almost sold out on Wednesday, according to the site data.

One-way flights out of Russia sell out after Putin orders call-up for thousands

Two US veterans among prisoners released by Russia

Wednesday 21 September 2022 20:26 , Liam James

Two US military veterans who disappeared while fighting Russia with Ukrainian forces have been released after about three months in captivity, relatives said.

Alex Drueke, 39, and Andy Huynh, 27, went missing in the Kharkiv region of northeastern Ukraine near the Russian border on 9 June. Both had traveled to Ukraine on their own and became friends because both are from Alabama.

The families announced their release in a joint statement from Dianna Shaw, an aunt of Drueke.

“They are safely in the custody of the US embassy in Saudi Arabia and after medical checks and debriefing they will return to the states,” the statement said.

Saudi Arabia announced that 10 detainees had been released by Russia after a prisoner swap deal brokered by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Five British nationals have been confirmed among them, while Saudi Arabia said there were also US, Swedish, Croatian and Moroccan nationals.

Drueke, left, and Huynh (social media)
Drueke, left, and Huynh (social media)

Biden and Truss in meeting to discuss Ukraine war

Wednesday 21 September 2022 19:58 , Liam James

Joe Biden and Liz Truss are currently in a meeting at the UN in New York where they will discuss the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the energy crisis it has provoked.

At a reception with reporters present before their private meeting, Mr Biden congratulated Ms Truss on becoming prime minister, adding: “I look forward to working closely with you. You’re our closest ally in the world and there’s a lot we can continue to do together.”

Ms Truss told the president the UK and the US are “steadfast allies” as she thanked him for his support following the death of the Queen.

Mr Biden said their “full agenda” for the meeting includes Ukraine’s defence against Vladimir Putin’s invasion, China and preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. They will also discuss Northern Ireland.

Both leaders remained seated and silent, Mr Biden with a straight face and Ms Truss smiling. Details of their discussions have yet to be released.

Earlier in the day, Ms Truss issued a joint statement with Ursula von der Leyen condemning Russia’s war after a meeting with the EU chief.

Truss and Biden at the UN building in New York (PA)
Truss and Biden at the UN building in New York (PA)

More than 800 Russians arrested in anti-mobilisation protests

Wednesday 21 September 2022 19:33 , Liam James

More than 800 Russians have been arrested in anti-war protests in 37 Russian cities, including Moscow and St Petersburg, according to the Associated Press.

Protests were called today in opposition to Vladimir Putin’s announcement that Russia would partially mobilise its military reserves to bolster its forces in Ukraine after losing swathes of territory in recent weeks.

The Moscow prosecutor’s office warned that organising or participating in protests could lead to up to 15 years in prison.

Riot police detain protesters in Moscow (AP)
Riot police detain protesters in Moscow (AP)
Hundreds have been reported arrested across Russia today (Reuters)
Hundreds have been reported arrested across Russia today (Reuters)
Protests were called in resopnse to Putin’s mobilisation announcement (AP)
Protests were called in resopnse to Putin’s mobilisation announcement (AP)
Associated Press reporters saw at least 12 arrests within quarter of an hour in a Moscow protest (Reuters)
Associated Press reporters saw at least 12 arrests within quarter of an hour in a Moscow protest (Reuters)

British foreign secretary thanks Saudis and Zelensky for prisoner release

Wednesday 21 September 2022 19:01 , Liam James

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly welcomed the release of British nationals detained by Russian forces, thanking the Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky for their help.

He said: “I welcome the safe return of Ukrainian prisoners of war and one civilian, including five British nationals. Prisoners of war from other countries held by Russia-backed proxies have also been returned. This brings to an end many months of uncertainty and suffering, including the threat of the death penalty, for them and their families, at the hands of Russia.

“Tragically that was not the case for one of those detained and our thoughts remain with the family of Paul Urey.”

The British aid volunteer died earlier this year while being detained by Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine.

Aiden Aslin, who was one of two British mercenaries sentenced to death by separatists in Donetsk, was among the released. We have not received confirmation of the identities of the other freed prisoners.

Saudis release pic of freed British prisoners

Wednesday 21 September 2022 18:53 , Liam James

Saudi Arabia’s official news agency, SPA, has released pictures reportedly showing prisoners of war released by Russia today disembarking a plane.

The man in the black t-shirt near the centre of the second picture appears to be Aiden Aslin, who was confirmed to be among the released by his MP Robert Jenrick.

The indentities of the other freed prisoners has yet to be revealed. Liz Truss said five British nationals were among them.

Aiden Aslin: Brit sentenced to death among Russian prisoners released

Wednesday 21 September 2022 18:45 , Liam James

Aiden Aslin – one of two British mercenaries sentenced to death after being captured in Ukraine – was among the prisoners of war released by Russia today after an intervention by Saudi crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

Mr Aslin’s release was confirmed by his MP, Robert Jenrick, who said he was “delighted” by the development.

“Aiden’s return brings to an end months of agonising uncertainty for Aiden’s loving family in Newark who suffered every day of Aiden’s sham trial but never lost hope. As they are united as a family once more, they can finally be at peace,” the Nottinghamshire MP said.

Mr Aslin was sentenced to death in the breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic in eastern Ukraine in June alongside fellow Briton Shaun Pinner and Moroccan Brahim Saadoun, supposedly for “mercenary activities”.

The release of the three men, along with other foreign prisoners of war, was the subject of monthslong international diplomatic efforts.

Five British nationals were confirmed released today by UK authorities, while Saudi Arabia said 10 prisoners of war were released in total, including a Moroccan, along with American, Swedish and Croatian nationals.

Aiden Aslin behind bars in Donetsk on 9 June (AP)
Aiden Aslin behind bars in Donetsk on 9 June (AP)

Five British prisoners of war released by Russia

Wednesday 21 September 2022 18:34 , Liam James

We have now had confirmation that five British nationals captured by Russia in Ukraine were released today.

Liz Truss has welcomed the action, which followed a mediation by Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“Hugely welcome news that five British nationals held by Russian-backed proxies in eastern Ukraine are being safely returned, ending months of uncertainty and suffering for them and their families,” she said on Twitter.

“Russia must end the ruthless exploitation of prisoners of war and civilian detainees for political ends.”

Saudi Arabia said 10 prisoners of war were released in total, including American, Swedish, Croatian and Moroccan nationals.

Russians detained at protests against Putin’s mobilisation

Wednesday 21 September 2022 17:45 , Liam James

Police arrested scores of people at antiwar protests held across Russia in response to Vladimir Putin’s mobilisation of troops for the war in Ukraine.

The Vesna opposition movement called for nationwide protests, although it was unclear how many would act, given Russia’s harsh laws against criticising the military and the war.

“Thousands of Russian men – our fathers, brothers and husbands – will be thrown into the meat grinder of the war. What will they be dying for? What will mothers and children be crying for?” the group said.

Avtozak, a Russian group that monitors protests, reported demonstrations attracting dozens of people in cities, including the Siberian cities of Ulan-Ude and Tomsk, and Khabarovsk in the Far East, with some arrests.

As protest calls circulated online, the Moscow prosecutor’s office warned that organising or participating in such actions could lead to up to 15 years in prison.

Police officers detain a man in Moscow following calls to protest (AFP/Getty)
Police officers detain a man in Moscow following calls to protest (AFP/Getty)
Police officers detain a woman in Moscow (AFP/Getty)
Police officers detain a woman in Moscow (AFP/Getty)
More from Moscow (AFP/Getty)
More from Moscow (AFP/Getty)

Russia releases prisoners of war after Saudi meeting – claim

Wednesday 21 September 2022 17:35 , Liam James

Russia today released 10 prisoners of war captured in Ukraine following a mediation by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a Saudi official said.

The list includes American, British, Swedish, Croatian and Moroccan nationals, the official said, adding that a plane carrying the prisoners landed in the kingdom.

The Independent has reached out to the Foreign Office for confirmation of that any British prisoners of war were released.

Liz Truss and EU chief unite in condemnation of Putin’s war

Wednesday 21 September 2022 17:19 , Liam James

Liz Truss and Ursula von der Leyen have jointly condemned Vladimir Putin’s “failing” invasion of Ukraine, after meeting at the UN in New York.

The prime minister and the European Commission president said the Russian president’s partial military mobilisation was a “sign of weakness” and redoubled their commitment to support Ukraine for “as long as it takes”.

As the pair met, Ms Truss told the EU chief “it’s very nice to see you” and Ms von der Leyen nodded and smiled in response.

Truss and von der Leyen in New York (Reuters)
Truss and von der Leyen in New York (Reuters)

Biden says Putin is making ‘overt nuclear threats’ against Europe

Wednesday 21 September 2022 16:57 , Liam James

President Joe Biden has told the UN General Assembly that Russian President Vladimir Putin is making “overt nuclear threats” against Europe.

Mr Biden said the war was “chosen by one man, to be very blunt”.

“President Putin has made overt nuclear threats against Europe, and a reckless disregard for the responsibilities of a non-proliferation regime. Now Russia is calling up more soldiers to join the fight, and the Kremlin is organizing a sham referendum,” Mr Biden said.

The president said the referendums in the east of Ukraine in areas controlled by Russia were an attempt to “annex parts of Ukraine, an extremely significant violation of the UN charter”.

More on this from Gustav Kilander here.

Biden condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a ‘brutal, needless war’ in UN address

Wednesday 21 September 2022 16:25 , Liam James

Joe Biden condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a “brutal, needless war” in a speech to the United Nations general assembly.

The president said Russia “attempted to erase a sovereign state from the map, and has “shamelessly violated the core tenets of the United Nations charter.”

Mr Biden’s remarks came hours after Russian president Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilisation of 300,000 troops to shore up his forces, which have been pushed back in recent weeks by the Ukrainian army.

Biden condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a ‘brutal, needless war’ in UN address

Truss accuses Putin of ‘sabre rattling'

Wednesday 21 September 2022 15:55 , Emily Atkinson

Liz Truss has accused Vladimir Putin of “sabre rattling” after the Russian president declared a partial military mobilisation.

Speaking to the bosses of major American firms in New York, the Prime Minister said: “I thought it was very important that I came to the UN General Assembly this year, because we are facing such a difficult international situation, with the war in Ukraine started by Vladimir Putin.

“We’ve heard more sabre rattling from him this morning but also we need to get the global economy back on its feet after Covid, and really ensure democracy prevails.

Watch: Vladimir Putin's 'Iron Doll' says Russia should have nuked Queen’s funeral

Wednesday 21 September 2022 15:41 , Emily Atkinson

Biden to announce $2.9 bn in food security funding, says White House

Wednesday 21 September 2022 15:19 , Emily Atkinson

President Joe Biden will announce $2.9 bn in additional U.S. funding to address global food insecurity during an address to the United Nations General Assembly, the White House said.

The announcement builds on $6.9 bn in US food security funding already committed this year, the White House said.

During his speech on Wednesday morning, Biden is also expected to deliver a rebuke of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Watch: Putin warns west 'I'm not bluffing' over nuclear weapons as he declares partial mobilisation

Wednesday 21 September 2022 15:07 , Emily Atkinson

Putin’s ‘referendum playbook’ a ‘blatant sham’, says Cleverly

Wednesday 21 September 2022 14:52 , Emily Atkinson

Foreign secretary James Cleverly said the UK would never recognise the results of “sham referendums” held in occupied Ukraine.

He said Vladimir Putin’s “referendum playbook” was a “blatant sham designed to seize Ukraine‘s land”.

“Any votes held at the barrel of a gun cannot be free or fair.

“We will never recognise the results of any sham referendums or attempts to annex Ukraine‘s sovereign territory.”

Stoltenberg accuses Putin of making ‘a big miscalculation'

Wednesday 21 September 2022 14:37 , Emily Atkinson

Vladimir Putin’s mobilisation of thousands of extra troops will escalate the conflict and his threat to use nuclear weapons was “dangerous and reckless rhetoric,” Nato’s secretary general has said.

Jens Stoltenberg told Reuters that Putin’s moves demonstrated “that the war is not going according to his plans” and it was clear that the Russian president had made “a big miscalculation.”

Russian banks urged to offer payment holidays on loans to reservists

Wednesday 21 September 2022 14:21 , Emily Atkinson

Russia‘s central bank has recommended that banks offer payment holidays on loans to any reservists called up under president Vladimir Putin’s decree on partial mobilisation.