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Ukraine news latest: Vladimir Putin to face ‘extremely serious’ sanctions as Russia claims win in ‘SHAM’ referendums

-Zelensky defies Putin’s nuclear threat
- Russian man ‘breaks’ friend’s leg to avoid conscription
- Help support Ukraine by donating your clothes

RUSSIA claims to have won the 'SHAM' referendums as voting ended in Russian-held regions of Ukraine.

Moscow-installed officials in the regions are now claiming almost total support among those who took part as Russian sources reported that 96% of voters want to join Putin's regime.

The ballots closed in Donetsk and Lugansk in the east and Kherson and Zaporizhzhia in the south, as Putin desperately attempts to consolidate his gains in Ukraine.

Western leaders have already slammed the votes, with President Zelensky branding them "illegal."

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called on the EU to impose "extremely serious" sanctions on Russia.

Read our Ukraine-Russia live blog below for the latest updates...

  • Henry Moore

    Draft papers handed to men fleeing Russia

    Draft papers will be handed to men fleeing Russia via the Georgian border, according to Russian state news agency RIA Novosti.

    This comes as thousands of Russians attempt to flee Putin’s regime, following the announcement of his partial mobilisation policy.

    Putin hopes to draft a staggering 300,000 extra soldiers in the coming weeks, a policy that has caused mass protests throughout Russia.

  • Louis Allwood

    Ukrainian forces 'moving in the right direction'

    Ukrainian forces have managed to capture Russian machinery and equipment whilst their counter offensive continues.

    Ukraine's Ministry of Defence have released a video showing the moment a captured Russian T-80U tank operated by the Ukrainian servicemen tows a captured Russian Msta-B 152 mm howitzer in the Kharkiv region.

  • Louis Allwood

    German navy is helping out with the investigation

    Germany's Defence Minister has confirmed that their navy is helping out with the investigation into the Nord Stream gas line leaks.

    Christine Lambrecht said that those involved with causing it to leak need to be identified.

    Lambrecht said in a statement: "The presumed sabotage of the Baltic Sea pipelines is yet another reminder that we are dependent on critical infrastructure, underwater too."

  • Louis Allwood

    Putin being watched 'more closely'

    One US official, who has access to intelligence on Moscow’s nuclear forces, told Politico: "We’re watching it more closely."

    There are other subtle signs Putin might be getting ready to hit the nuke button.

    Intelligence officers will be looking at whether units with the means of delivering small nukes start behaving unusually by pulling back some forces or equipment, but not others.

    "We might think, ‘huh that’s a little bit different from the way they normally operate," the official said.

    "They are sending in this one unit, but pulling everybody else back. That’s really different. That’s strange'."

  • Louis Allwood

    UK's MoD intelligence map update

    According to the MoD Ukraine has pressed its offensive operations in the north-east of the country over the last few days.

    They have also confirmed that units are making slow advances on at least two axes east from the line of the Oskil and Siverskyy Donets rivers, where forces had consolidated following their previous advance earlier in the month.

  • Louis Allwood

    'Those responsible will be held fully accountable'

    The president of the European Council, Charles Michel, said that the Nordstream sabotage will need to face "thorough investigation".

    He said: "Nordstream sabotage acts appear to be an attempt to further destabilize energy supply to EU.

    "We need an urgent and thorough investigation.

    "Those responsible will be held fully accountable and made to pay.

    "Our efforts to diversify energy supply away from Russian gas continue."

  • Louis Allwood

    Russia claims to have won 'sham referendums'

    Putin's puppet officials declared 99.23 per cent approval after all votes were counted in Donetsk, in the far east, while the figure was 98.42 per cent in neighbouring Luhansk.

    In the southern region of Kherson - where there has been a major fightback in recent weeks - officials claimed 87.05 per cent voted to join Russia.

    And in Zaporizhzhia some 93 per cent of residents were allegedly in favour.

  • Louis Allwood

    Zelensky vows Ukraine will retake land

    In an address shortly after results from the sham votes were released, Zelensky said: "We will act to protect our people: both in the Kherson region, in the Zaporizhia region, in the Donbass, in the currently occupied areas of the Kharkiv region, and in the Crimea.

    "This farce in the occupied territory cannot even be called an imitation of referendums.

    "And as for the front, I will say it briefly and for now without details, although they will be good: we are moving forward and liberating our land"

  • Louis Allwood

    Ukraine's MoD confirm '400 Russians eliminated'

    Ukraine's Ministry of Defence have released their latest figures on Russian losses.

    A further 400 Russian troops have been eliminated according to Ukrainian officials taking the total to 58,150.

    They have also lost a further six tanks and eight armoured vehicles.

  • Louis Allwood

    Ukraine 'is winning' this war

    Zelensky has confirmed that Kozacha Lopan has been "liberated" during Ukraine's counteroffensive.

    He added that "dark times" are now behind the loacals of Kozacha Lopan.

    Zelensky said: "Story of one of the front-line villages: Kozacha Lopan. It has been occupied in first hours of Russian invasion and liberated only during Kharkiv counteroffensive.

    "Dark times are behind for locals, Ukraine is winning, freedom is everything."

  • Louis Allwood

    UK's MoD release latest intelligence update

    The UK's Ministry of Defence have released their latest intelligence update today.

    The Ministry claimed that Russia are positioning and preparing a more "substantive defence" as Ukrainian units are making "slow advances".

    The MoD added: "Heavy fighting also continues in the Kherson region where the Russian force on the right bank of the Dnipro remains vulnerable.

    "Russia continues its grinding attempts to advance near Bakhmut in the Donbas even while it faces severe pressure on its northern and southern flanks.

    "This is likely due to political pressure as Russia is using forces that could otherwise reinforce the other flanks."

  • Joseph Gamp

    Russian state TV warns defectors of traps

    Since Vladimir Putin mobilised 300,000 troops, many Russian men have been fleeing the country in fear of conscription.

    There have been reports of protests and violent demonstrations, including one man who set himself on fire and nearly 3,000 arrests.

    The Daily Beast's Julia Davis tweeted how Russian propaganda TV has warned the state will be planning "various traps" to capture those attempting to evade conscription.

  • Joseph Gamp

    New Italian prime minister pledges support to Ukraine

    Ukraine can count on the support of Italy's new government, Giorgia Meloni said in a message to President Volodymyr Zelensky.

    "You know that you can count on our loyal support for the cause of freedom of Ukrainian people. Stay strong and keep your faith steadfast!" Meloni tweeted in English late Tuesday.

    She was responding to a message sent by Zelensky congratulating her on her Brothers of Italy party's historic victory in general elections on Sunday.

    "We appreciated Italy's constant support for Ukraine in the fight against Russian aggression. We are counting on a productive partnership with the new Italian government," he had tweeted in Italian.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Ukraine says it will 'never agree to Russian ultimatums'

    Ukraine has blasted Russian-staged votes in four Ukrainian regions on becoming part of Russia as"null and worthless".

    Kyiv said it would press on with efforts to liberate Ukrainian territory occupied by Russian forces.

    Urging its international partners to impose tough new sanctions on Moscow and provide Kyiv with more military aid, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said in a statement: "Ukraine will never agree to any ultimatums."

  • Joseph Gamp

    Kyiv urges 'significant' military aid boost after annexation votes

    Kyiv is urging the West to "significantly" increase its military aid to Ukraine after pro-Kremlin authorities in four Moscow-held regions of Ukraine declared victory in annexation votes.

    The foreign ministry said in a statement: "Ukraine calls on the EU, NATO and the Group of Seven to immediately and significantly increase pressure on Russia, including by imposing tough sanctions and significantly increase their military aid to Ukraine."

  • Henry Moore

    Russians flock to Montenegro as they flee Putin’s brutal mobilisation policy

    Russian men are fleeing to Montenegro, as they desperately try and avoid Putin’s new partial mobilisation policy.

    Alexander, 30, told Reuters in Montenegro: “This is not our war.

    “We are attacking our neighbours, brothers, we are trying to occupy territories that are not ours. I definitely will not fight for that, let alone die for it.

    “I am afraid many more will leave unless they [Russian government]finally shut borders. I am afraid we will have no friends left in Russia,” he added.

  • Henry Moore

    Danish PM brands Nord Stream leaks ‘deliberate actions’

    The Prime Minister of Denmark, Mette Frederiksen, told CNN yesterday that her government believes the leaks that occurred on the Nord Stream pipeline on Tuesday were “deliberate actions.”

    Massive gas leaks struck the pipeline, which provides Europe with energy, yesterday, with many European leaders accusing Russia of sabotage.

    When asked if she sees this potential attack as a declaration of war, she said “No…we do not see a direct military threat against Denmark.”

  • Henry Moore

    Putin to address Russian parliament on Friday

    According to the British Ministry of Defence, Putin will address the Russian parliament this Friday, where he will likely announce the formal accession of the captured Ukrainian territories.

    The MoD statement reads: “President Putin is scheduled to address both houses of the Russian parliament on Friday 30 September.

    “There is a realistic possibility that Putin will use his address to formally announce the accession of the occupied regions of Ukraine to the Russian Federation. The referendums currently underway within these territories are scheduled to conclude on 27 September.

    “Russia’s leaders almost certainly hope that any accession announcement will be seen as a vindication of the ‘special military operation’ and will consolidate patriotic support for the conflict.

    “This aspiration will likely be undermined by the increasing domestic awareness of Russia’s recent battlefield sets-backs and significant unease about the partial mobilisation announced last week.”

  • Henry Moore

    Draft papers handed to men fleeing Russia

    Draft papers will be handed to men fleeing Russia via the Georgian border, according to Russian state news agency RIA Novosti.

    This comes as thousands of Russians attempt to flee Putin’s regime, following the announcement of his partial mobilisation policy.

    Putin hopes to draft a staggering 300,000 extra soldiers in the coming weeks, a policy that has caused mass protests throughout Russia.

  • Russian losses continue to mount as Putin calls on 300,000 reservists

    As Putin desperately calls on his reserve forces, leading to massive protests throughout Russia, his army has continued to lose troops.

    According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence, Russian losses have reached 57,750.

    On top of this, Putin’s forces have lost 4,881 tanks and 261 jets.

  • Swedish authorities begin investigation into Russian sabotage

    Following the explosions recorded near the Nord Stream pipelines yesterday, Swedish authorities have begun an investigation into Russian sabotage.

    “We have established a report and the crime classification is gross sabotage,” a national police spokesperson said, according to Reuters.

    Russia has also accused Europe of sabotaging the pipeline.

  • President Zelensky brands Russian referenda ‘illegal’

    Taking to Twitter, the steadfast Ukrainian President condemned the “sham” referenda enacted by Russia in Ukraine this week.

    Zelensky deemed these votes “illegal.”

    The leader also revealed he has been discussing battlefield developments with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

  • UN ‘deeply disturbed’ by thousands arrested during protests

    The UN voiced alarm on Tuesday at credible reports of nearly 2,400 arrests in less than a week of protests in Russia against the draft ordered by President Vladimir Putin.

    “We are deeply disturbed by the large number of people who have reportedly been arrested,” United Nations rights office spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told reporters in Geneva.

    Russian authorities have cracked down on criticism of the war in Ukraine, arresting thousands of protesters since the beginning of the conflict in February.

    But the arrests have sky-rocketed since Putin announced last Wednesday a partial military mobilisation to bolster troops in Ukraine.

    Shamdasani pointed to “credible reports (that) some 2,377 demonstrators had been arrested… in various locations across the country”.

    “It is unclear how many people remain in detention,” she said.

  • A visual update on the war in Ukraine

    The British Ministry of Defence has provided another visual overview of the situation in Ukraine.

    Ukraine continued its advance in Kharkiv this week, while “sham” referenda took place in Russian-occupied regions.

    This Friday may see Putin announce that all occupied regions are being absorbed into Russia, a move that would be a massive escalation in this conflict.

  • Voting ends in ‘sham’ referenda

    Voting has now come to a close across the four occupied territories in Ukraine.

    These so-called referenda have been deemed a “sham” by Western governments, as Putin desperately attempts to consolidate his gains in Ukraine.

    Russian media has already released preliminary results for these votes, with the decision to join Russia gaining “96%” of the votes cast.

    These referenda have taken place in Donetsk and Lugansk in the east and Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.