Ukraine news – live: Putin makes nuclear threat as he declares ‘partial mobilisation’

·30 min read

Russian president Vladimir Putin has ordered a partial military mobilisation in Russia and threatened to use nuclear weapons against the West in a major escalation of his war on Ukraine.

Mr Putin also warned western leaders that Moscow would use “all the means” at its disposal to “protect” itself, saying: “It’s not a bluff.”

In a national address, the president accused western leaders of engaging in “nuclear blackmail” against Moscow - and said he has “lots of weapons to reply.”

He also backed the call for referenda in eastern and southern Ukraine on becoming integral parts of Russia as he blamed the west for turning Ukrainians into “cannon fodder.”

His decree for partial mobilisation will see 300,000 additional personnel called upon to support the war in Ukraine, the country’s defence minister said.

Top UK and US officials have said Mr Putin’s mobilisation and “sham referenda” are an “admission that his invasion is failing.”

Key Points

  • Putin announces partial military mobilisation in address to Russia

  • Zelenksy to address UNGA today virtually from Kyiv

  • World leaders say they ‘will not accept any peace dictated by Russia’

  • Russia called for referendums over ‘imminent Ukrainian attack’ - MoD

  • In challenge to West, Russia unfurls plan to annex swathes of Ukraine

  • More than 14,500 civilian casualties in Ukraine war

  • Putin’s troops clearly in panic mode, says Zelensky

Watch: 'Absolutely clear' Putin's nuclear threat serious for western countries, says Sergei Markov

11:12 , Emily Atkinson

Why did Putin start the Russia Ukraine conflict?

10:47 , Emily Atkinson

Russia’s long-feared invasion of Ukraine continues to rage on from Vladimir Putin’s announcement of his “special military operation” against the country in the early hours of 24 February, the Russian leader declaring, groundlessly, a need to “demilitarise and de-Nazify” the neighbouring state after eight years of fighting in the Donbas.

What are the key issues behind the conflict, where did it all begin and how might the crisis unfold? Joe Sommerlad and Thomas Kingsley report:

Why did Putin start the Russia Ukraine conflict?

Russia attempting to ‘destroy’ Ukraine, says Poland

10:36 , Emily Atkinson

Russia will attempt to destroy Ukraine and change its borders, Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki said, commenting on a partial mobilisation order announced by president Vladimir Putin.

“We will do all we can with our allies, so that Nato supports Ukraine even more so that it can defend itself,” Morawiecki said, urging more help for Kyiv from western allies.

‘No way back to business as usual’: The Baltic nations seek to counter Russia’s threat

10:25 , Emily Atkinson

On the border with Russia on the edge of Nato’s eastern flank, the people of Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia are nervously watching events in Ukraine while the leaders of each nation call for support from the international community.

Bel Trew reports from Vilnius and the ‘Suwalki gap’:

‘No way back to business as usual’: The Baltics seek to counter Russia’s threat

Latvia says it won't offer refuge to Russians fleeing mobilisation

10:16 , Emily Atkinson

Latvia, which borders Russia, will not offer refuge to any Russians fleeing Moscow’s mobilisation of troops, Latvian foreign minister Edgars Rinkevics said.

A translation of his tweet reads: “Due to security reasons, Latvia will not issue humanitarian or other types of visas to those Russian citizens who avoid mobilisation, nor will it change the border crossing restrictions for Russian citizens with Schengen visas.”

Truss, Johnson and Biden ‘responsible’ for war in Ukraine

10:08 , Emily Atkinson

Prime Minister Liz Truss and her predecessor Boris Johnson, as well as US President Joe Biden, “are fully responsible for the war in Ukraine” and the possible threat of nuclear war, a former adviser to Vladimir Putin has claimed.

Political scientist Sergei Markov was asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme if Russia thinks a nuclear war could be won.

He said: “I would say that everybody in this world now is thinking about nuclear war.

“This nuclear war could be a result of the crazy behaviour of the president of the United States Joe Biden and prime ministers of Great Britain Boris Johnson and Liz Truss.

“Biden, Johnson and Truss are fully responsible for the war in Ukraine.”

Pope Francis criticises the savageness, monstrosities and torture’ faced by Ukrainians

09:56 , Emily Atkinson

Pope Francis has lent his voice to calls for a descalation of tensions in Ukraine, but fell short of mentioning Russia or its president.

Speaking at the end of his general audience in St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday, the pontiff said that Ukrainians were being subjected to savageness, monstrosities and torture, calling them a “noble” people being martyred.

He told the crowd of a conversation he had on Tuesday with Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, his charity chief who is delivering aid in Ukraine.

Vatican media said Krajewski, who is Polish, came under light gunfire last week while delivering aid. He also visited mass graves.

UK could fall under Putin’s nuclear threat, says his former adviser in bizarre rant

09:34 , Emily Atkinson

Russia may be ready to use nuclear weapons against western countries including Britain, a former adviser to Vladimir Putin has claimed.

Political scientist Sergei Markov was asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme if he believed the Russian leader had made a clear threat not just to use tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine but also to start a general nuclear war that would kill everyone.

He replied “not everyone” but added it “could kill a lot of people in the western countries”.

Mr Markov said: “It was absolutely clear that Russia has no war against Ukraine. Russia has no reason to use technical nuclear weapons against Ukrainians. Ukrainians are our brothers but Ukrainians are occupied by western countries.

“It is western countries who are fighting against (the) Russian army using Ukrainian soldiers as their slaves.”

Putin attempting to ‘frighten' Ukraine and west into ‘abandoning’ efforts to retake Donbas

09:20 , Emily Atkinson

Vladimir Putin’s mobilisation and referenda orders in the Donbas are about “frightening the west and Zelensky into abandoning the aim of reconquering those parts of Ukraine”, a top British defence journalist has explained.

Taking to Twitter this morning, Mark Urban, the diplomatic editor for BBC Newsnight, called Putin’s latest wave of announcements “an attempt to lock conquered areas of Ukraine (in 4 southern + eastern districts) into Russia via sham referenda, and to deter Ukraine and the west from efforts to re-take those areas.”

He continues: “The logic of this morning’s announcements is about Putin’s desire to make permanent the conquest of 15 [per cent] of a neighbouring country in complete violation of the post 1945 order.”

Read his thread in full here:

US joins UK in calling Putin’s mobilisation order a sign of Russian ‘failure’

09:14 , Emily Atkinson

The US has now joined the UK in calling Vladimir Putin’s mobilisation and “sham referenda” orders a sign of “Russian failure.”

Posting on Twitter this morning, the US ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink called Moscow’s announcement “signs of weakness, of Russian failure.

“The United States will never recognize Russia’s claim to purportedly annexed Ukrainian territory, and we will continue to stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes.”

UK defence secretary Ben Wallace earlier said that Putin’s mobilisation order was an “admission that his invasion is failing,” the UK defence secretary has said.

Putin’s new call to arms an ‘admission that his invasion is failing’

08:55 , Emily Atkinson

Vladimir Putin’s order for Russia’s first mobilisation since the Second World War is an “admission that his invasion is failing,” the UK defence secretary has said.

Ben Wallace accused the Russian president and his defence minister, Sergei Shogui, of sending “tens of thousands of their own citizens to their deaths, ill equipped and badly led.”

“No amount of threats and propoganda can hide the fact that Ukraine is winning this war, the international community are united and Russia is becoming a global pariah,” he concludes.

08:46 , Emily Atkinson

Commentary on Putin’s announcement of partial mobilsation has erupted on social media, stirring up much division and disagreement as to whether the fresh call to arms will escalate Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, and its implications beyond the border.

Listed below is some useful analysis of Russia’s new military order:

China urges dialogue to address security concerns of ‘all parties

08:42 , Emily Atkinson

China’s foreign ministry urged all parties to engage in dialogue and consultation and find a way to address the security concerns of all parties after Russian president Vladimir Putin warned the West over what he described as “nuclear blackmail”.

China’s position on Ukraine is consistent and clear, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said.

Partial mobilisation was ‘predictable’ and shows Russian war effort failing, Ukraine says

08:24 , Emily Atkinson

Russia‘s partial mobilisation was a predictable step that will prove extremely unpopular and exemplifies that the war is not going according to Moscow’s plan, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak says.

He told Reuters that president Vladimir Putin was trying to shift the blame for starting an “unprovoked war” and Russia‘s worsening economic situation onto the West.

Putin ‘refuses to understand Ukraine’, says ambassador to Kyiv

08:15 , Emily Atkinson

Melinda Simmons, Britain’s ambassador to Ukraine, is the latest top British official to denounce Vladimir Putin’s military announcement

She wrote on Twitter: “Watched Putin’s speech. He still refuses to understand Ukraine. Partial mobilisation and sham referenda don’t change that essential weakness.”

Shoigu gives updated fatality figure

08:06 , Emily Atkinson

Russia’s Defence Minister has given the first official Russian fatality figure since March.

Sergei Shoigu says 5,937 Russian soldiers have died in Ukraine, up from 1,351 in Russia’s last official update on 25 March.

Western intelligence suggests, however, that the true number of Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine is significantly higher.

Vladimir Putin accuses the west of ‘nuclear blackmail’ in rare national address

07:57 , Emily Atkinson

Vladimir Putin has accused the west of engaging in “nuclear blackmail” against Russia.

The president also announced partial military mobilisation as he made a rare national address on Wednesday.

Our video team has more:

Vladimir Putin accuses the west of ‘nuclear blackmail’ in rare national address

300,000 reservists will be mobilised, Russia‘s defence minister says

07:52 , Emily Atkinson

President Vladimir Putin’s decree on partial mobilisation would see 300,000 additional personnel called upon to support military efforts in Ukraine, the country’s defence minister has said.

Sergei Shoigu said in an interview with Russian state televisionon Wednesday that students and those who served as conscripts would not be called up, and that the majority of Russia‘s millions-strong reserves would not be drafted.

UK urges calm in face of Putin’s nuclear threat

07:38 , Emily Atkinson

Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s announcement of a partial mobilisation in Russia is a “worrying escalation,” a Foreign Office minister has said.

Gillian Keegan also urged for calm in the face of Mr Putin‘s threat in his speech to use nuclear weapons.

The Russian leader earlier accused the West of engaging in “nuclear blackmail” against Russia - and said he has “lots of weapons to reply”.

Ms Keegan told Sky News: “Some of the language there was quite concerning at the end and obviously we would urge for calm.”

The Chichester MP also said: “It’s something that we should take very seriously because, you know, we’re not in control.

“I’m not sure he’s in control either really. I mean, this is obviously an escalation and, of course, for the Russian people now they will be conscripted into this war.”

Putin blames west for wanting to destroy Russia in rare national address

07:28 , Arpan Rai

Vladimir Putin announced he has signed a decree on partial mobilisation as he claimed he was defending Russian territories from western nations in a television address today.

The Russian president said that his aim was to “liberate” east Ukraine’s Donbas region.

“We do not have the moral right to give up these people [in Ukraine],” Mr Putin said.

Most people in these historic areas in Ukraine do not want to be under the yoke of “neo-Nazis”, he claimed in a rare television address since the start of the war in Ukraine.

In a coordinated political challenge to the West, four Russian-controlled regions in Ukraine all announced they will hold referendums later this week on officially becoming part of Russia.

Russian-installed separatists in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, Luhansk and occupied parts of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia provinces all made calls on Tuesday for lightning votes to officially leave Ukraine and be controlled by Moscow instead.

Read the full story here:

Putin announces partial military mobilisation in Russia

BREAKING: Putin backs referendum in separatist regions

07:14 , Arpan Rai

Vladimir Putin announced a partial military mobilisation today in his national address to Moscow, Russian state-owned news agency TASS reported.

He also blamed the west for turning Ukrainians into “cannon fodder” in his first address in months since the start of the war.

Zelenksy to address UNGA today virtually from Kyiv

06:53 , Arpan Rai

Volodymyr Zelensky will be addressing the world leaders gathered at the UN general assembly in New York today and is expected to seek more support for the besieged country.

“I will participate in the general debate of the United Nations general assembly. Obviously, in a video format. But no matter what the format is, the position of our state will sound, as always, clearly and strongly,” he said.

“Especially since the visit of the first lady of Ukraine to the United States has already begun, meetings within the UN General Assembly have begun,” Mr Zelensky added.

Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin is expected to deliver a national address to Russians today after it was postponed last night.

Russia called for referendums over ‘imminent Ukrainian attack’ - MoD

06:38 , Arpan Rai

Russia announced it would hold referendums at short notice in a number of separatist regions because it fears “imminent” attacks by Ukrainian troops seeking to shrink occupied territory in the east, according to the UK’s MoD.

“[Vladimir] Putin is accepting greater political risk by undermining the fiction that Russia is neither in a war nor a national crisis in the hope of generating more combat power,” the British defence ministry said today.

“This urgency is likely driven by fears of imminent Ukrainian attack and an expectation of greater security after formally becoming part of Russia,” the defence ministry said, shortly after officials from Ukraine’s Russian-occupied Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions announced they will conduct referendums on accession to the Russian Federation.

“These referendums follow the Russian Duma’s formal recognition of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics on 21 February 2022,” the ministry noted.

Additionally, the British ministry said that the troops sent by Moscow in Ukraine continue to experience personnel shortages.

“The Russia Duma voted on 20 September 2022 to amend a law which extends punishments for defaulting troops,” it said.

“This is likely intended to limit the number of desertions and refusals and thereby to mitigate some of the immediate pressures,” the ministry said in its latest intelligence update.

It added: “The Russian civilian and military leadership has faced significant pressure over the last two weeks. These new measures have highly likely been brought forwards due to public criticism and mark a further development in Russia’s strategy.”

Biden to offer full-throated condemnation of Russian invasion of Ukraine

06:27 , Arpan Rai

Joe Biden will offer a “firm rebuke” to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin against the country’s invasion in Ukraine as he joins the world leaders in New York today at the UN general assembly.

Mr Biden will underline how Moscow’s “naked aggression” is an affront to the core of what the global body stands for, top White House officials said.

Mr Biden will “offer a firm rebuke of Russia’s unjust war in Ukraine and make a call to the world to continue to stand against the naked aggression that we’ve seen these past several months,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said ahead of the US president’s address at the UN today.

The US president’s visit to the UN this year will see a full-throated condemnation of Russia’s invasion as the war in Europe inches closer to the seven-month mark, he added.

World leaders corner Putin at UN meet: ‘Will not accept any peace dictated by Russia’

05:03 , Arpan Rai

Leaders from France, Germany, Japan and the US came down heavily on Moscow at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, condemning the invasion of Ukraine which will soon reach seven months.

German chancellor Olaf Scholz said Vladimir Putin will only give up his “imperial ambitions” that risk destroying Ukraine and Russia only if he recognises he cannot win the war he launched.

“This is why we will not accept any peace dictated by Russia and this is why Ukraine must be able to fend off Russia’s attack,” Mr Scholz said in his first ever address at the UNGA.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine “tramples the philosophy and principles of the UN charter” and “it should never be tolerated,” Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida said.

He also pushed for reform of the United Nations Security Council, saying the global body’s credibility is endangered by the actions of a permanent member in Europe.

French leader Emmanuel Macron denounced the move by pro-Russian separatists who have called for referendums on breaking away from Ukraine 23-27 September in the contested regions of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia provinces.

If the referendum plan “wasn’t so tragic, it would be funny,” he said ahead of the assembly in New York.

More than 14,500 civilian casualties in Ukraine war

04:42 , Arpan Rai

The war on Ukraine by Russia has killed at least 5,916 civilians and injured at least 8,616 as of 18 September — almost seven months into the war, the UN said.

Officials at the UN human rights agency have said they believe the actual toll and casualties are considerably higher because of delays in receiving ground zero information from war-battered cities like Mariupol, Izyum, Lysychansk, Popasna, and Sievierodonetsk.

They added many reports of civilian casualties still need to be confirmed.

Russia revamps Kalashnikov to speed up firing - report

04:40 , Arpan Rai

Russia has modified the design of the Kalashnikov AK-12 weapon used by its troops in Ukraine to speed up firing and help soldiers gain more control over firing modes, Russian state news agency RIA reported today.

The AK-12 model, inducted in the Russian armed forces in 2018, will no longer have its two-round burst cut-off and instead will get a two-way control of firing modes.

The rifle will also have an adjustable cheek rest, Kalashnikov Concern’s President Alan Lushnikov told RIA.

“In the shortest possible time, we selected technical solutions, made a prototype and demonstrated it to representatives of the Russian ministry of defence,” the official said.

However, he did not specify when the redesigned version of the rifle would enter service and said that the design is in the documentation stage.

Developed by Kalashnikov, the AK-12 assault rifle is a general issue weapon of the Russian armed forces using 5.45 millimetres (mm) calibre bullets and is said to boast improved accuracy over earlier versions, among others.

Russia must leave Ukraine and pay ‘proper recompense’, says Truss

03:23 , Liam James

Vladimir Putin must leave Ukraine and pay “proper recompense” for his invasion before he can ever return to the international fold, Liz Truss has said.

The British prime minister made the comment ahead of launching an update to the integrated review of defence and foreign policy to counteract the threat of authoritarian regimes such as Russia and China.

Ms Truss was also doubling down on her campaign trail commitment to increase defence spending to 3 per cent of UK GDP by the end of the decade.

She aims to use her first foreign trip as prime minister to rally United Nations allies in New York to keep up the pressure on Russia.

Russia and Putin must leave Ukraine and pay ‘proper recompense’, says Truss

Volodymyr Zelensky says front line success shows war is Ukraine’s

02:40 , Liam James

Volodymyr Zelensky said the situation on the front line with Russian forces clearly showed the initiative belonged to Ukraine.

The Ukrainian president made his comments a day after Russian-installed leaders in occupied areas of four Ukrainian regions set out plans for referendums on joining Russia, a move that could sharply escalate the war.

Ukrainian forces reclaimed large amounts of territory from Russia in the east last week, driving Moscow to reassess its strategy in the near seven-month war.

Turkish president Erdogan says Putin wants to end war ‘as soon as possible’

01:27 , Liam James

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he believes Vladimir Putin wants to end the war in Ukraine, following recent talks he had with the Russian president (Maryam Zakir-Hussain writes).

He said his impression from Putin was that he wanted to end the conflict “as soon as possible” after comprehensive discussions at a summit in Uzbekistan last week.

It comes as Ukraine has recaptured increasingly large amounts of occupied territory, with the most recent victory the village of Bilohorivka in the Luhansk region. This latest setback for Kremlin means they no longer have full control over the province.

Turkish president Erdogan says Putin wants to end war ‘as soon as possible’

Canada condemns Russian referendums

Wednesday 21 September 2022 00:20 , Liam James

Planned referendums in occupied regions of Ukraine to join Russia are “unacceptable” and Canada would never recognize such territories as part of Russia, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau said.

Russian-backed leaders in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia provinces announced referendums for 23-27 September which are seen as attempts to falsely claim legitimate power over captured Ukrainian territory.

Macron urges countries against neutrality over Ukraine

Tuesday 20 September 2022 23:15 , Liam James

French president Emmanuel Macron has told countries not to stay neutral about condemning Russia‘s war in Ukraine as he declared Moscow’s invasion to be a new form of imperialism.

The war in Ukraine – and its effects on food prices, fuel costs, Ukrainian nuclear power plants, and the larger context of tensions between Russia and the West – is looming over the annual gathering of presidents, prime ministers, monarchs and other dignitaries at the UN in New York.

Mr Macron made the war the centrepiece of his speech, asking:“Who here can defend the idea that the invasion of Ukraine justifies no sanction?

“Who of you here can consider that the day when something similar with a more powerful neighbour happens to you, there’ll be silence from the region, from the world?”

Mr Macron called on the United Nations’ member countries “to act so that Russia rejects the path of war,” and he said that staying out of the matter is not an option. Previous votes at the UN general assembly opposing the war have seen dozens of countries abstain, including China, India and South Africa.

Macron addresses the UN today (Reuters)
Macron addresses the UN today (Reuters)

EU wouldn’t recognise referendum results, says Borrell

Tuesday 20 September 2022 22:25 , Liam James

The European Union strongly condemns Russia’s plans to hold referenda in parts of Ukraine and will not recognise the results of the votes, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Russia, its political leadership, and all those involved in these ‘referenda’ and other violations of international law in Ukraine will be held accountable, and additional restrictive measures against Russia would be considered,” Borrell said.

Mr Borrell said the referendum votes cannot be considered “as the free expression of the will of the people” in these regions.

Russian-backed leaders in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia provinces announced referendums for 23-27 September which are seen as attempts to falsely claim legitimate power over the regions captured in the war.

Moscow already considers Luhansk and Donetsk, which together make up the Donbas region partially occupied by Russia in 2014, to be independent states. Ukraine and the West consider all parts of Ukraine held by Russian forces to be illegally occupied.

Bosnian Serb separatist leader meets Putin

Tuesday 20 September 2022 21:26 , Tom Batchelor

Bosnian Serb separatist leader Milorad Dodik met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Tuesday days after he endorsed Moscow’s aggression against Ukraine, Russian and Serbian media reported.

During a rare visit to Moscow by a politician from Europe, the Russian president praised his country’s “strategic partnership” with Serbia.

The visit came amid repeated warnings from the European Union that Serbia must align its foreign policies with the bloc if it really wants to become a member.

Putin’s address to nation delayed to Wednesday - reports

Tuesday 20 September 2022 20:41 , Tom Batchelor

Vladimir Putin’s address to the nation has reportedly been delayed until Wednesday.

Sky News said Sergei Markov, a former close advisor to the Russian president, took to Telegram to announce that the speech had been delayed. No reason was given.

US warns Russia over annexation plan

Tuesday 20 September 2022 20:24 , Tom Batchelor

The United States has also rejected plans to hold referendums in Ukraine and said it would never recognise any Russian claims to annex parts of Ukraine.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters Moscow may be making the move to recruit troops in those areas after suffering extensive losses on the battlefield.

Mr Sullivan called the referendums an affront to principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity. He said President Joe Biden, at his speech on Wednesday at the United Nations General Assembly, will issue a “firm rebuke” to Russia for its war against Ukraine.

“If this does transpire, the United States will never recognise Russia‘s claims to any purportedly annexed parts of Ukraine. We will never recognise this territory as anything other than a part of Ukraine. We reject Russia‘s actions unequivocally,” Mr Sullivan told reporters.

Putin speech delayed

Tuesday 20 September 2022 19:55 , Tom Batchelor

Putin’s speech this evening has been delayed (by an unknown length of time) from its previously billed start time of 8pm Moscow time, 6pm BST.

It is not clear why. Speculation has ranged from an attempt to distract from the UN meetings currently happening in New York, to chaos in the Kremlin.

Referendums ‘cynical’, says Macron

Tuesday 20 September 2022 19:30 , Tom Batchelor

Referendums planned in Russian-occupied Ukrainian regions on joining Russia will not be recognized by the international community, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday, as he called the plans “cynical” and “a parody.”

“If the Donbas referendum idea wasn’t so tragic it would be funny,” he told reporters.

Speaking in New York, Macron said the referendum proposals for eastern Ukraine were an additional provocation following Russia‘s invasion of its neighbor.

“I think what was announced by Russia is a parody,” Macon said. “This is cynicism, and obviously it won’t be recognized by the international community.”

Olaf Scholz hits out at ‘fake referenda'

Tuesday 20 September 2022 19:05 , Tom Batchelor

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said any referenda held in eastern Ukrainian territories that had been seized by Russian forces were “fake referenda” that could not be accepted.

He also said it sounded like Russia might try once more to stop Ukrainian wheat exports.

Germany ‘irritated’ at Turkey’s attempts to join Russian-backed security group

Tuesday 20 September 2022 18:46 , Tom Batchelor

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Tuesday said he was “very irritated” about Turkey’s attempts to join a Central Asian security body dominated by Russia and China.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday he was targeting membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation for Turkey, which is also a member of the Nato defence alliance.

“This is not an organisation that is delivering an important contribution to a good global coexistence,” Mr Scholz said at the UN General Assembly in New York after meeting with Mr Erdogan.

“So I’m very irritated about this development. But at the end, it’s important to agree on what is driving us to make clear that the Russian war on Ukraine may not be successful,” he said according to a transcript of a news conference.”

Turkish president Erdogan says Putin wants to end war ‘as soon as possible’

Tuesday 20 September 2022 18:22 , Tom Batchelor

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he believes Vladimir Putin wants to end the war in Ukraine, following recent talks he had with the Russian president.

He said his impression from Putin was that he wanted to end the conflict “as soon as possible” after comprehensive discussions at a summit in Uzbekistan last week.

Read the full story here:

Turkish president Erdogan says Putin wants to end war ‘as soon as possible’

Putin expected to address Russia tonight

Tuesday 20 September 2022 18:11 , Tom Batchelor

Vladimir Putin is expected to make his first national address to the Russian people since the start of the war tonight.

There is speculation that he will announce further measures to shore up his failing military strategy in Ukraine, including the possibility of conscription for Russian nationals.

We will bring updates on what is contained in his speech as soon as we have them.

Russia excluded from Euro 2024

Tuesday 20 September 2022 17:40 , Katy Clifton

Russia’s isolation from international sport continues after UEFA confirmed the country would be excluded from qualification for Euro 2024.

Russia has been banned from UEFA and FIFA competitions since it launched its invasion of Ukraine in February, with the Court of Arbitration dismissing an appeal against that ban in July.

UEFA confirmed Germany would qualify as hosts for the tournament in two years’ time, with the qualifying draw scheduled to take place in Frankfurt on October 9.

Putin says Russian weapons show high efficiency in combat against Ukraine

Tuesday 20 September 2022 17:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Vladimir Putin said Russian weapons have shown high efficiency during the fighting in Ukraine and told officials to quickly increase output.

“Our equipment efficiently confronts western types of weapons,” Mr Putin said. “Practically all of Nato weapons stockpiles have been brought to support the current regime in Kyiv.”

He added that Russia should study western weapons to improve its own arsenals.

“We can and must learn about these arsenals, everything they have, everything they use against us to qualitatively increase our potential and improve our equipment, our weapons where we need to do it,” he said.

Mr Putin said he has ordered bigger allocations for new weapons, offered more loans to military industries and approved additional payments to their workers to increase output.

“Structures of the military industrial complex must deliver the required weapons and equipment in the shortest time possible,” he said.

Putin blasts US attempts ‘preserve global domination'

Tuesday 20 September 2022 16:30 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Russian President Vladimir Putin has condemned what he described as US efforts to preserve its global domination, saying they are doomed to fail.

Speaking while receiving credentials from foreign ambassadors to Moscow, Mr Putin said: “The objective development toward a multipolar world faces resistance of those who try to preserve their hegemony in global affairs and control everything - Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa.”

He added that “the hegemony has succeeded in doing so for quite a long time, but it can’t go on forever... regardless of the developments in Ukraine“.

He has repeatedly cast his decision to send troops into Ukraine as a response to alleged western encroachment on Russia‘s vital security interests.

The Russian leader said western sanctions against Moscow over its action in Ukraine were part of efforts by the US and its allies to strengthen their positions, but claimed they have backfired against their organisers and also damaged poor countries.

“As for Russia, we won’t deviate from our sovereign course,” he added.


Explained: Referendum of Russian-controlled regions

Tuesday 20 September 2022 16:01 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The scheduling of referendums starting Friday in the Luhansk, Kherson and partly Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions came after a close ally of Russian president Vladimir Putin said the votes are needed and as Moscow is losing ground in the invasion it began nearly seven months ago, increasing pressure on the Kremlin for a stiff response.

Former president Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy head of Russia‘s Security Council chaired by Putin, said referendums that fold regions into Russia itself would make redrawn frontiers “irreversible” and enable Moscow to use “any means” to defend them.

Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba denounced the votes as a sham and tweeted that “Ukraine has every right to liberate its territories and will keep liberating them whatever Russia has to say.”

The votes, in territory Russia already controls, are all but certain to go Moscow’s way but are unlikely to be recognized by Western governments who are backing Ukraine with military and other support that has helped its forces seize momentum on battlefields in the east and south.

Russia's referendums 'won't change anything,' Ukraine's Kuleba says

Tuesday 20 September 2022 15:36 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Moscow’s planned referendums seeking to annex additional territory in Ukraine will have no impact, Ukraine‘s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Tuesday after Russian-backed officials in some Ukrainian territories unfurled the requests.

“The Russians can do whatever they want. It will not change anything,” Kuleba said in response to reporters’ questions at the start of a meeting with U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield.