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    Moscow prepares annexation, Russians flee mobilization

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    THE ESSENTIAL

    In the aftermath of the announcement of the mobilization of 300,000 additional soldiers, and the threats of recourse to nuclear weapons made by Vladimir Putin, Russia, through the voice of its Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, should defend in the Security Council of the UN its annexation plan and its invasion of Ukraine, as the offensive enters its 211th day. Ukraine’s Russian-held territories and Moscow have claimed that Russia’s annexation votes scheduled to start on Friday would go ahead despite international outcry over them.

    Information to remember:

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    – Annexation referendums organized in four Ukrainian regions from Friday

    – Putin ready to use “all means” in his arsenal

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    – Russia should defend its invasion of Ukraine in the UN Council

    – Demonstrations in Russia after the announcement of the partial mobilization

    The four regions of Ukraine subject to annexation referendums

    From Friday to Tuesday, four regions of southern and eastern Ukraine under total or partial control of Moscow will vote in elections organized in an emergency to be annexed by Russia, “simulacra” of referendums denounced in the West. . Even China, close to Moscow, has issued criticisms, calling for respect for the territorial integrity of States. The pro-Russian authorities installed in these territories and Moscow nevertheless promised that the procedure would go ahead.

    “The vote starts tomorrow and nothing can prevent it,” Vladimir Saldo, head of the occupation administration for the Kherson region in southern Ukraine, told Russian television. The electoral body of pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk, in the east, indicated that “for security reasons” the ballot would be organized almost door-to-door, “in front of homes” for four days, polling stations opening “only on the last day”, i.e. September 27.

    The former Russian president and number two of the country’s Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, told him on Telegram that the separatist regions of Lugansk and Donetsk (east), which form the Donbass basin, as well as Kherson and Zaporizhia (south ), “will integrate Russia”. He added that his country is ready for a nuclear strike on the West if necessary: ​​”Russian hypersonic missiles are capable of reaching their targets in Europe and the United States much faster” than Western weapons.

    Russians try to leave the country

    In Russia, the announcement of the mobilization caused an influx of Russians wishing to leave the country, with queues reported at the land borders with several countries. No estimate of the number was available. A person who passed through Mongolia told AFP on condition of anonymity that he had to wait “for twelve hours” to cross the border by car. Finnish border guards said they observed an increase in crossings, which remains however moderate. Russians need visas to get there.

    While Poland and the Baltic countries have taken measures in recent weeks to drastically restrict the entry of Russians into their territory, Germany for its part said on Thursday ready to welcome deserters from the Russian army “threatened severe repression”. “Whoever bravely opposes Putin and thus puts himself in great danger can apply for political asylum in Germany,” said German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser.

    Upon arrival at Yerevan airport in Armenia, Russians interviewed by AFP admitted to having fled the mobilization. Dmitri, 45 and carrying a small bag, says he left his wife and children behind. “I don’t want to die in this senseless war. It’s a fratricidal war,” he said, on condition of anonymity.

    Putin ready to use “all means” in his arsenal

    In an address to the nation, the Russian president said on Wednesday he was ready to use “all means” in his arsenal against the West, which he accused of wanting to “destroy” Russia. “It’s not a bluff,” he assured. Russian military doctrine provides for the possibility of resorting to nuclear strikes if territories considered Russian by Moscow are attacked, which could be the case with annexed areas.

    Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that because of Western military aid to Ukraine, Russia is “de facto confronted by the NATO bloc”.

    Russia deaf to international criticism

    Moscow therefore remains unsurprisingly deaf to criticism, starting with that of the American Joe Biden who, speaking at the United Nations General Assembly, insisted on Wednesday that Putin’s war “annihilates Ukraine’s right to to exist”. After him, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on the world to “punish” Russia.

    Frenchman Emmanuel Macron called on him to resist the “blackmail” of Vladimir Putin: “Our duty is to hold our line”. On the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, the head of state called on the international community to “put maximum pressure” on the Russian president. “I deeply regret President Putin’s choice to drag his country, especially the youth, into war,” he added.

    Nine missiles hit the city of Zaporizhia, local authorities say

    On the ground, the missiles continued to rain, while Vladimir Putin seems to have accelerated his annexation project and announced the mobilization of 300,000 reservists after having suffered severe setbacks in September in the face of a counter-offensive in the regions of Kharkiv (north -east), in the Donbass (east) and in Kherson (south).

    Among other strikes, the city of Zaporijjia (south), under Ukrainian control, was hit by nine missiles, according to local authorities, which notably reached a hotel, killing at least one person. Pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk have accused kyiv of firing into a market, killing six, with local media broadcasting images of a charred bus and a bloody corpse on the road. In addition, Russia has confirmed a very large exchange of prisoners with Ukraine, and the arrival in Russia of the 55 Russian soldiers concerned.

    Release of 215 Ukrainians

    The day before, President Zelensky had celebrated the release of 215 Ukrainians, including defense chiefs from the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol (southeast), a symbol of Ukrainian resistance, and whom Moscow describes as “neo-Nazis”. The separatist leader of the Donetsk region, Denis Pushilin, has confirmed the release of a wealthy Ukrainian politician close to Vladimir Putin, Viktor Medvedchuk. This former deputy had been arrested in mid-April in Ukraine, suspected of treason in favor of Moscow.

    While the announcement of the mobilization of 300,000 reservists triggered a rush on plane tickets to leave the country according to many media, the Kremlin denied the extent of the phenomenon. “Information about a commotion at airports is greatly exaggerated,” swept Dmitri Peskov.

    Upon arrival at Yerevan airport in Armenia, Russians admit to having fled the mobilization. Dmitri, 45 and carrying only a small bag, says he left his wife and children behind. “I don’t want to die in this senseless war. It’s a fratricidal war,” he said, on condition of anonymity. Across Russia, the announcement of the mobilization triggered improvised demonstrations and at least 1,332 people were arrested on Wednesday.

    Source: Europe1

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