The Russian-installed “mayor” of Mariupol in southeast Ukraine, Konstantin Ivashchenko, visits a polling station, September 27, 2022

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Tuesday’s Coverage: Putin to Annex Occupied Territory on Friday?

Source: Institute for the Study of War


Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, normally an ally of Vladimir Putin, says he will not recognize the results of the Russian “referenda” in occupied areas of Ukraine.

Serbia…will not recognise that (referendums) as it adheres to international law, the United Nations Charter and UN resolutions….

We are protecting our own territorial integrity and it is in our best interest to protect the territorial integrity of other internationally recognised countries.


European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has announced the European Union’s 8th set of proposed sanctions on Russia.

Von der Leyen explained that the measures are “to make the Kremlin pay” for pursuit of invasion and occupation through mobilization and “sham referenda that are an illegal attempt to grab land and change international borders by force”.

The package includes further import bans on Russian products, cutting Moscow’s revenues by €7 billion ($6.74 billion). Export bans are extended on military technology, aviation items, electronic components, and specific chemical substances.

She also said the legal basis is being established for an oil price cap and ban on EU citizens from sitting on governing bodies of Russian State-owned companies.

UPDATE 1430 GMT: Moscow’s children’s rights commissioner has defended the forced transfer of Ukrainian children to Russia.

Maria Lvova-Belova said:

When we brought them to the Moscow region so they could get their strength back, at first they were negative about the President and said nasty things. They sang the Ukrainian anthem and that sort of thing….

But later that negative attitude turned into love for Russia.


The Russian region of North Ossetia has confirmed that it is instituting security measures to stop people leaving the country.

Many Russian men have crossed the North Ossetian border with Georgia since Vladimir Putin’s “partial mobilization” on September 20.

The head of the region, Sergey Menyaylo, wrote:

The decision to introduce a high alert regime is a forced temporary measure: the situation cannot be left to chance….

In the last two days alone, more than 20,000 people have entered Georgia through our section of the border. We will not be physically able to ensure order and security if this flow continues to grow.

Menyaylo added, “At the entrances to the republic and at the checkpoint, mobile task forces are organized – they will check those entering the republic. If a citizen is subject to conscription, in accordance with the federal list, he will be handed a summons on the spot.”

Earlier today (see 0714 GMT) the State security service FSB said that it is deploying armored vehicles to establish checkpoints on the Georgian border.


Ireland’s Defense Minister Simon Coveney says Dublin “will never recognize the results of Russia’s sham referendums in Eastern Ukraine”, as they are “illegal and illegitimate”.

Israel confirmed that it will “not accept the results of the referendum in the eastern districts” and that it “recognises the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine”.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in a call that Berlin will never accept the results of the “sham” referenda.

UK Prime Minister Liz Truss also spoke with Zelenskiy “to underline the UK’s steadfast support in light of Russia’s sham referendums in Ukraine”.


A video confirming that Vladimir Putin’s “partial mobilization” is calling up men with serious medical conditions:


Austria has joined the international condemnation of the Russian “referenda” in occupied territory in Ukraine.

The Foreign Ministry said “the illegal sham referenda to justify the annexation of Ukrainian territories” is “yet another serious attack”.

With the violent attempt of the Russification of Ukraine, unacceptable nuclear threats and the partial mobilisation announced last week, the Russian Federation continues to escalate its illegal war of aggression.


The three remaining Turkish banks in Russia’s Mir payments system are withdrawing amid the prospect of US sanctions.

Turkiye Halk Bankası, TC Ziraat Bankası, and Turkiye Vakıflar Bankasi are leaving after similar decisions by two of Turkey’s leading private banks last week.

The Mir system, developed by Russia from 2015 to bypass sanctions, is widely used by Russian tourists in Turkey.

Banks in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan have already withdrawn, leaving Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Vietnam, and South Korea among the few countries that still accept Mir cards.


Vladimir Putin appears to have delayed any formal announcement of annexation of occupied areas of Ukraine.

Putin could have made the announcement at a joint session of the Russian Parliament on Friday. However, the upper house, the Federation Council, has delayed the proceeding until next Tuesday.

The Ukraine Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday morning:

The Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson regions, like the Ukrainian Crimea, remain the sovereign territories of Ukraine. Ukraine has every right to restore its territorial integrity by military and diplomatic means, and will continue to liberate the temporarily occupied territories. Ukraine will never agree to any Russian ultimatums.

The Ministry called on “the EU, NATO, and the G7 to immediately and significantly increase pressure on Russia, including by imposing new tough sanctions, and significantly increase their military aid to Ukraine”.


The US-based Institute for the Study of War warns that, following the staged “referenda”, Russian officials are “setting conditions to forcibly mobilize or conscript Ukrainian civilians in soon-to-be annexed areas of occupied Ukraine”.

Ukraine’s Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai claimed on Tuesday that Russian officials have began consulting lists of medical school graduates to forcibly mobilize doctors.

Reports are circulating that Russian forces are putting newly-mobilised, untrained men on the frontlines in the Kherson region in the south and the Kharkiv region in the northeast.


Russian security forces are establishing checkpoints at some borders to forcibly mobilize men trying to leave the country.

State media reported that the FSB federal security service sent armored vehicles to the borders. The FSB confirmed the deployment to ensure that reservists not leave the country “without completing border formalities”.

The Internal Affairs Minister for North Ossetia-Alania, Andrey Sergeev, posted on Telegram that, with “seriously increasing” movement into neighboring Georgia, “A mobilization point of the military registration and enlistment office will be deployed at the checkpoint in the near future.”

The Russian Defense Ministry denied that officials asked Georgia, Kazakhstan, and other states to forcibly extradite Russian men who made it across borders.


European leaders say sabotage is the most likely cause of three leaks in the two Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg summarized, “Russia is now weaponizing energy.” European Union foreign policy head Josep Borrell added:

The Swedish and Danish Prime Ministers, Magdalena Andersson and Mette Frederiksen, cited “deliberate actions”. After speaking with Frederiksen, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted:

Carrying gas from Russia to Germany, Nord Stream 1 is operational and Nord Stream 2 is dormant. The Russians have restricted supplies and Vladimir Putin has threatened a complete cut-off.

Denmark’s Geological Survey reported two seismic shocks resembling blasts, rather than earthquakes, on Monday when the leaks from the pipelines were first noticed.

The initial blast was at 0003 GMT, measuring 2.3 on the Richter scale, and the second at 0503 GMT, measuring 2.1.

The Danish military posted an image of gas bubbling on the surface of the Baltic Sea after the “unprecedented” damage.

Amid reports of drone activities in the North Sea, Norway heightened security at oil and gas installations.

“Based on the information we have seen so far, much indicates acts of sabotage,” said Norwegian Oil and Energy Minister Terje Aasland. The government has consulted with the armed forces and operators of oil and gas installations, both land and offshore.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Much of the international community has criticized Russia’s staged annexation “referenda” in occupied areas of eastern and southern Ukraine.

Russian authorities and their proxies completed the rushed process, announced on September 20 by Vladimir Putin and begun three days later, on Tuesday. Russian State media immediately announced overwhelming majorities for annexation by Moscow.

The “referenda” were staged in the Luhansk region and parts of Donetsk in the east and in the Kherson region and parts of Zaporizhzhia in the south. Russia also occupied Crimea, seized in 2014, and still retains a small part of the Kharkiv region in the northeast after a successful Ukrainian counter-offensive earlier this month.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a video on Telegram on Tuesday: “We will act to protect our people, both in the Kherson region, in the Zaporizhzhia region, in the Donbas, in the currently occupied areas of the Kharkiv region, and in the Crimea.”

He was supported by a series of European and North American leaders. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada will introduce further sanctions against Russia, “actively engaging with our international partners and allies to ensure a united rejection”.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reaffirmed that the countries would never recognize the annexation and its place in a “diabolical scheme” by the Kremlin. The American Ambassador at the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, tweeted:

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said, “The sham referenda held by Russia have no legitimacy and are a blatant violation of international law. These lands are Ukraine.”

He spoke with Zelenskiy “and made clear that NATO Allies are unwavering in our support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and right to self-defense”.

European Union foreign policy head Josep Borrell echoed:

In contrast, not a single state gave public support to Moscow’s maneuver.

Putin may formally announce the annexation in an address to both houses of the Russian Parliament on Friday. He is hoping to change the narrative in Russia following widespread discontent over his “partial mobilization”, also announced on September 20.