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Russia Ukraine War Highlights: War crimes were committed in Ukraine, says UN

Russia-Ukraine War Highlights, September 23, 2022: Voting in the Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia provinces, representing about 15% of Ukrainian territory, is due to run from Friday to Tuesday.

Russia | Ukraine | Russia Ukraine WarRussia-Ukraine War News Live: Ukrainian soldiers fire in the recently retaken Kupiansk in the Kharkiv region, Ukraine, Sept. 22, 2022. (AP)

Russia Ukraine War Highlights: War crimes including rape, torture and confinement of children have been committed in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine, the head of a U.N.-mandated investigation body said on Friday, reports Reuters. Ukraine and its Western allies allege a litany of rights abuses by Russian soldiers since the Feb. 24 invasion, but Moscow denies that as a smear campaign. “Based on the evidence gathered by the Commission, it has concluded that war crimes have been committed in Ukraine,” Erik Mose, who heads the Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, told the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.

In other updates, four areas of Ukraine controlled by Russia and pro-Moscow forces began voting Friday on referendums on joining Russia, votes widely condemned by the West as illegitimate and a precursor to illegal annexation. Voting in the Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia provinces, representing about 15% of Ukrainian territory, is due to run from Friday to Tuesday.

The voting comes days after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a military draft to enlist 3 lakh troops to fight in Ukraine. While Russia argued that it is an opportunity for people in the region to express their view, Ukraine said that Russia intends to frame the referendum results as a sign of popular support, and then use them as a pretext for annexation, similar to its takeover of Crimea in 2014, which the international community has not recognised.

 

Live Blog

Russia Ukraine War Highlights: India calls for an end to war; Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia vote; areas represent about 15% of Ukraine territory; referendums face widespread international criticism. Check out the latest updates here.

16:46 (IST)23 Sep 2022
Why telling Russia to abandon war is in India’s interest

Forty years ago, on September 21, 1982, India and the Soviet Union agreed that the primary task before the world was to avert a nuclear war. Meeting in the Kremlin, then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev agreed on the need to reduce tension by strengthening detente and promoting trust.

While the Indian PM called upon the superpowers to desist from stockpiling weapons, Brezhnev proposed that the NATO and the Warsaw Pact declare that they would refrain from extending their sphere of activity to Asia, Africa and Latin America. Read more.

15:23 (IST)23 Sep 2022
UN rights experts cite signs of war crimes in Ukraine

A team of experts commissioned by the U.N.’s top human rights body to look into rights violations in Ukraine said Friday its initial investigation turned up evidence of war crimes in the country following Russia’s invasion nearly seven months ago.

The experts from the Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, mandated by Human Rights Council earlier this year, have so far focused on four regions – Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Sumy.Presenting their most extensive findings so far, they cited testimonies by former detainees of beatings, electric shocks and forced nudity in Russian detention facilities, and expressed grave concerns about executions in the four regions.

“We were struck by the large number of executions in the areas that we visited. The commission is currently investigating such deaths in 16 towns and settlements,” Erik Mose, the commission's chairman, said, without specifying who or which side in the war allegedly committed the killings. He told the members of the Human Rights Council on Friday that his team had received and was documenting “credible allegations regarding many more cases of executions.” (AP)

12:56 (IST)23 Sep 2022
Finland says traffic on border with Russia remains busy

Traffic into Finland across its southeastern border with Russia was busy on Friday, the border guard told Reuters, adding that the number of Russians who entered the previous day was more than double the number who arrived the week before.

Finland is considering barring most Russians from entering as traffic arriving from its eastern neighbour "intensified" on Thursday following President Vladimir Putin's order for a partial military mobilisation.

"This morning it remains busy ... maybe increasing a little bit from yesterday," a spokesperson for the border guard said early on Friday. (Reuters)

11:21 (IST)23 Sep 2022
Moscow-held regions of Ukraine vote whether to join Russia

Voting began Friday in Moscow-held regions of Ukraine on referendums to become part of Russia, Russian-backed officials there said.

The Kremlin-orchestrated referendums, which have been widely denounced by Ukraine and the West as shams without any legal force, are seen as a step toward annexing the territories by Russia. The votes are being held in the Luhansk, partly Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions.

In Kherson, which is almost fully controlled by Moscow, the balloting was also expected to get underway on Friday morning. The vote, which asks residents if they want their regions to be part of Russia, is certain to go Moscow’s way.  (AP)

10:12 (IST)23 Sep 2022
Four Ukraine regions prepare to hold referendums on joining Russia

Four areas of Ukraine controlled by Russia and pro-Moscow forces are preparing to hold referendums Friday on joining Russia, votes widely condemned by the West as illegitimate and a precursor to illegal annexation. Voting in the Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia provinces, representing about 15% of Ukrainian territory, is due to run from Friday to Tuesday.

The voting comes days after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a military draft to enlist 3 lakh troops to fight in Ukraine. While Russia argued that it is an opportunity for people in the region to express their view, Ukraine said that Russia intends to frame the referendum results as a sign of popular support, and then use them as a pretext for annexation, similar to its takeover of Crimea in 2014, which the international community has not recognised. (Reuters)

10:08 (IST)23 Sep 2022
Column | Message from Moscow

Moscow has decided to draw out the United States into the open from the low-cost proxy war it has been waging against Russia on Ukrainian soil throughout the past quarter century. President Putin’s speech on Wednesday underscored that this is an existential struggle and the Kremlin is determined to defend the Fatherland, no matter what it takes. He explicitly warned Washington, London and Brussels that Moscow “will certainly make use of all weapon systems available to us,” in the period ahead.

The obfuscations in the Western narrative — this is about aggression, national sovereignty, UN Charter, democracy versus authoritarianism, etc — are no longer sustainable. Pared to the bone, a titanic power struggle looms ahead. Both sides are preparing to fight tooth and claw, the outcome of which will phenomenally affect world politics and fundamentally alter the world order. For Russia, the struggle is no less than its survival as a civilisational state, while for the US, this boils down to the preservation of its global hegemony — the “rules-based order”. (Read more)

09:48 (IST)23 Sep 2022
‘Profound concern’: At UNSC, India calls for immediate end to Ukraine war

Against the backdrop of Russian President Vladimir Putin pushing more forces into Ukraine to annex territories and hinting the use of nuclear weapons if needed, India Thursday told the UN Security Council that the need of the hour is to end the conflict in Ukraine and return to dialogue.

“The trajectory of the Ukraine conflict is a matter of profound concern for the entire international community. The future outlook appears even more disturbing. The nuclear issue is a particular anxiety,” External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said in the 15-nation UN Security Council as quoted by news agency PTI.

“We have all experienced its consequences in terms of surging costs and actual shortages of food grains, fertilizers and fuel…..on this core too, there are good grounds to be worried about what awaits us,” he said. (Read more)

22:02 (IST)22 Sep 2022
India strongly reiterates need for immediate cessation of all hostilities, return to dialogue, diplomacy: EAM Jaishankar on Ukraine conflict

India on Thursday told the UN Security Council that the need of the hour is to end the conflict in Ukraine and return to dialogue and said the nuclear issue is a particular anxiety, underlining Prime Minister Narendra Modi's assertion to Russian President Vladimir Putin that this cannot be an era of war.

'The trajectory of the Ukraine conflict is a matter of profound concern for the entire international community. The future outlook appears even more disturbing. The nuclear issue is a particular anxiety,' External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar told the 15-nation UN Security Council briefing on Ukraine ‘Fight against impunity'.

Jaishankar told the Council that in a globalised world, the impact of the conflict is being felt even in distant regions. 'We have all experienced its consequences in terms of surging costs and actual shortages of food grains, fertilizers and fuel.' 'On this core too, there are good grounds to be worried about what awaits us,' he added. (PTI)

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21:58 (IST)22 Sep 2022
US: Security Council must tell Russia to stop nuke threats

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on every UN Security Council member to “send a clear message" to Russia that it must stop its nuclear threats in the war in Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier this week that his nuclear-armed country “certainly use all means available to us” if its territory is threatened and to defend the country and its people. Blinken used a council session Thursday to criticise Russia's invasion and press other countries to join in their forceful condemnations of the conflict. "Every council member should send a clear message that these reckless nuclear threats must stop immediately," he said.

A day after President Joe Biden assailed Russian leader Vladimir Putin for what he called egregious violations of the UN Charter and international law, the US made the case at the UN Security Council that Russia should face further censure and isolation for its invasion. (AP)

19:49 (IST)22 Sep 2022
Ukraine's Zelenskyy lays out his case against Russia to UN

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy Thursday laid out a detailed case against Russia's invasion at the United Nations and demanded punishment from world leaders in a speech delivered just hours after Moscow made an extraordinary announcement that it would mobilise some reservists for the war effort.

Buoyed by a counteroffensive that has retaken swaths of territory that the Russians seized, Zelenskyy vowed in a video address Wednesday that his forces would not stop until they had reclaimed all of Ukraine. “We can return the Ukrainian flag to our entire territory. We can do it with the force of arms,” the president said in a speech. “But we need time.”

Video speeches by Zelenskyy in an olive green T-shirt have become almost commonplace. But this speech was one of the most keenly anticipated at the U.N. General Assembly, where the war has dominated.The topic popped up in speeches by leaders from all over the world who deplored the invasion not least because they said it was not consistent with the cornerstone principles of the United Nations — including respect for sovereignty. (AP)

19:46 (IST)22 Sep 2022
Russian call-up sparks exodus by some men as air fares soar

Some Russian men rushed for the borders on Thursday after President Vladimir Putin ordered a partial mobilisation, with traffic at frontier crossings with Finland and Georgia surging and prices for air tickets from Moscow rocketing.

Putin on Wednesday ordered Russia's first mobilisation since World War Two and backed a plan to annex swathes of Ukraine, warning the West he was not bluffing when he said he'd be ready to use nuclear weapons to defend Russia.

Prices for air tickets out of Moscow soared above $5,000 for one-way tickets to the nearest foreign locations, with most air tickets sold out completely for coming days. Social media groups popped up with advice on how to get out of Russia while one news site in Russian gave a list of "where to run away right now from Russia." There were long tailbacks at border crossings with Georgia. (Reuters)

19:43 (IST)22 Sep 2022
Ukraine, US energy ministers discuss sanctions on Rosatom - Ukrainian energy ministry

Ukraine's energy minister German Galushchenko discussed the possibility of sanctions on Russia's nuclear power supplier Rosatom with U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm at takls in the United States, Ukraine's energy ministry said on Thursday.

'German Galushchenko emphasized that the Russian state corporation Rosatom takes direct part in the aggression against Ukraine and covers up acts of nuclear terrorism,' the ministry wrote on its website.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said last month it was 'not normal' that Western countries have not yet imposed sanctions on Rosatom. (Reuters)

19:41 (IST)22 Sep 2022
Poland distributes iodine pills as fears grow over Ukraine nuclear plant

Poland, concerned about fighting around Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, has distributed iodine tablets to regional fire departments to give to people in the event of radioactive exposure, a deputy minister said on Thursday.

Iodine is considered a way of protecting the body against conditions such as thyroid cancer in case of radioactive exposure. Shelling at the site of Zaporizhzhia - Europe's biggest nuclear power plant - has damaged buildings close to its six reactors and cut power cables, risking a nuclear catastrophe that would affect neighbouring countries. Russia and Ukraine blame each other for the shelling around the plant.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has put former Soviet satellite states on edge, and President Vladimir Putin's threat of using nuclear weapons had already sent residents scrambling to stock up on iodine in the war's earlier stages. Russia's military fired nine missiles on the city of Zaporizhzhia, hitting a hotel and a power station, regional governor Oleksandr Starukh said on Thursday. (Reuters)

19:37 (IST)22 Sep 2022
Erdogan says prisoner exchange is important step towards ending Ukraine war

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said the prisoner swap carried out by Russia and Ukraine, involving almost 300 people and mediated by Turkey, was an important step towards ending the war, Turkish broadcaster NTV reported on Thursday.

Among those swapped, five senior Ukrainian commanders have arrived in Turkey, where they will remain until the end of the war, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy hailing them as "superheroes".

Erdogan was quoted as telling reporters in New York that the exchange occurred as a result of the diplomatic traffic which he conducted with Zelenskiy and Russian President Vladimir Putin. "Turkey has now received the result of its belief in the power of dialogue and diplomacy," he was cited as saying at the end of his visit to the United States.

NATO member Turkey has close ties with both Russia and Ukraine and has sought to balance relations through the war, rejecting Western sanctions on Moscow while also criticising the Russian invasion and supplying Kyiv with armed drones. (Reuters)

17:55 (IST)22 Sep 2022
US to step up its criticism of Russia at UN Security Council

The United States and its allies plan to ramp up criticism of Russia for its war in Ukraine on Thursday and press other countries to join in their forceful condemnations of the conflict.

A day after President Joe Biden assailed Russian leader Vladimir Putin for what he called egregious violations of the U.N. Charter and international law, the U.S. will make the case at the U.N. Security Council that Russia should face further censure and isolation for its invasion, senior U.S. officials said. The officials said Secretary of State Antony Blinken will confront his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov at a council meeting with a litany of allegations of war crimes and other atrocities and call on countries that have yet to speak out forcefully against them as an affront to international order.

One official said Blinken would lay out what the Biden administration believes is a compelling case that the war has not only caused massive destruction to Ukraine and the Ukrainian people but exacerbated multiple other global crises, including potential famines and energy shortages, as well as distracted from efforts to improve international health, combat climate change and reduce poverty. (AP)

16:54 (IST)22 Sep 2022
PM Modi has influential voice on world stage, welcome his intervention: UK on his 'not era of war' remark to Putin

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a powerful, influential voice on the world stage and the Russian leadership respects India’s position on the global arena, UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has said, emphasising that London hopes President Vladimir Putin listens to those voices who are calling for peace amid the Ukraine conflict.

Cleverly was responding to a question on the Russian-Ukraine conflict and Modi telling Putin last week on the sidelines of the 22nd meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in Uzbekistan’s Samarkand that “today’s era is not of war”.

“Prime Minister Modi has a powerful, influential voice on the world stage. We know the Russian leadership respects India’s voice and position on the world stage. I think Prime Minister Modi’s intervention is very, very welcome. And we really hope that Vladimir Putin listens to those voices who are calling for peace and for de-escalation. So we very much welcome Prime Minister Modi’s intervention,” Cleverly told PTI in an interview. Read more

16:25 (IST)22 Sep 2022
No let-up in hostilities in Ukraine despite prisoner swap

Russian missile strikes in the southern city of Zaporizhzha left one person dead and five others wounded, Ukrainian officials said Thursday, while officials in the Russian-controlled city of Donetsk said Ukrainian shelling killed at least five people. It was a stark signal that hostilities haven't diminished despite a high-profile prisoner swap just hours earlier.

Zaporizhzhia Governor Oleksandr Starukh said Russian forces targeted infrastructure facilities and also damaged nearby apartment buildings. Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy of the Ukrainian president's office, said a hotel in the central part of the city was struck and rescuers were on the scene trying to free people trapped in the rubble. The Zaporizhzhia region is one of four in which Russia is planning to hold referendums starting Friday on becoming part of Russia, but the city itself is in Ukrainian hands.

Meanwhile, Donetsk city mayor Alexei Kulemzin said at least five people where killed when Ukrainian shelling Thursday hit a covered market and a passenger minibus. (AP)

15:50 (IST)22 Sep 2022
Blast hits Russian-controlled Ukrainian city of Melitopol on eve of referendums

A blast hit a crowded market in the southeastern Ukrainian city of Melitopol on Thursday, Ukrainian and Russian-installed officials said, on the eve of referendums that could see four regions effectively annexed by Russia.

Melitopol was one of the first cities to fall into Russian hands after Moscow launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February. It is in the Zaporizhzhia region, one of the four where a referendum will be held on joining Russia.

Ukrainian and Russian-installed officials traded blame for the explosion. Melitopol's exiled mayor Ivan Fedorov said the attack had been deliberately staged by the occupying Russian forces in order to accuse Ukraine of terrorism. Fedorov said it had killed three soldiers, while the number of civilian casualties was not clear. (Reuters)

15:33 (IST)22 Sep 2022
Zelenskyy hails commanders freed in prisoner swap as 'superheroes'

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy hailed as 'superheroes' the senior Ukrainian commanders, including those who led the dogged defence of Mariupol, who were freed by Russia as part of an unexpected prisoner swap involving almost 300 people, including foreigners.

Under the terms of the deal, which Turkey helped to broker, 215 Ukrainians — most of whom were captured after the fall of the port city — were released on Wednesday. In exchange, Ukraine sent back 55 Russians and pro-Moscow Ukrainians. Ten foreigners were also freed following mediation by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has maintained close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

'Five superheroes have been exchanged for 55 of those who deserve neither compassion nor pity,' Zelenskyy said in a night-time address that welcomed the broader release as 'a victory for the country'. (Reuters)

15:27 (IST)22 Sep 2022
Russia begins massive war call-up

Russia pushed ahead on Thursday with its biggest conscription since World War Two while Ukraine demanded "just punishment" for a seven-month-old invasion that has shaken the world.

President Vladimir Putin's order to mobilise another 300,000 Russians to fight escalates a war that has already killed thousands, displaced millions, pulverised cities, damaged the global economy and revived Cold War confrontation. (Reuters)

The mass conscription may be the riskiest domestic move of Putin's two decades in power, after Kremlin promises it would not happen and a string of battlefield failures in Ukraine. Anti-war protests in 38 Russian cities saw 1,400 people arrested on Wednesday, a monitoring group said. 

Meanwhile, India Thursday told the UN Security Council that the need of the hour is to end the conflict in Ukraine and return to dialogue and said the nuclear issue is a particular anxiety, underlining Prime Minister Narendra Modi's assertion to Russian President Vladimir Putin that this cannot be an era of war.

After stunning battlefield setbacks, Russia moved to cement its grip on territory it occupies in eastern and southern Ukraine, as Kremlin proxies there announced plans on Tuesday for referendums on annexation to Russia, indicating a possible escalation of the war. The Kremlin signalled that if Russia were to go forward with annexation, any further military action by Ukraine in those regions could be seen as an attack on Russia itself, justifying any military response by the nation with the world’s largest nuclear arsenal.

Russia signals annexation of parts of Ukraine, raising stakes in fighting

A woman collects wood for heating from a destroyed school where Russian forces were based in the recently retaken area of Izium, Ukraine, Sept. 19, 2022. (AP)

After stunning battlefield setbacks, Russia moved to cement its grip on territory it occupies in eastern and southern Ukraine, as Kremlin proxies there announced plans on Tuesday for referendums on annexation to Russia, indicating a possible escalation of the war.

The Kremlin signalled that if Russia were to go forward with annexation — even if no other countries recognised it — any further military action by Ukraine in those regions could be seen as an attack on Russia itself, justifying any military response by the nation with the world’s largest nuclear arsenal.

“Encroaching on the territory of Russia is a crime, the commission of which allows you to use all the forces of self-defense,” Dmitry Medvedev, the former Russian president and the vice chairman of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Security Council, wrote on the Telegram social network Tuesday, describing the referendums as having “huge significance.” (Read more)

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First published on: 21-09-2022 at 12:32:05 pm
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