Saturday, September 24
Russia’s war against Ukraine
Russia’s proxies announce start of sham referendums on occupied Ukrainian territories. Russia’s proxies in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia oblasts announced the start of pseudo-referendums on joining Russia on Sept. 23. For four days, “voting” will be held at people’s homes “for security reasons,” Russian state-controlled news agency RIA Novosti wrote. On the last day of the “referendums,” on Sept. 27, locals will be asked to go to “polling stations.”
Governor: Armed Russian proxies knock on doors, demand locals to ‘vote’ on joining Russia. Russia’s proxies in occupied Luhansk Oblast come to locals’ houses accompanied by armed men and force them to take part in the pseudo-referendum on joining Russia, Serhii Haidai, the oblast governor, said on Sept. 23. “If a person doesn’t open the door, (Russian forces) threaten to break in. When a person ticks ‘no’ in the ‘ballot,’ they make notes,” Haidai said.
Media: People rally against sham referendum in occupied Snihurivka, Mykolaiv Oblast. Residents of the occupied village of Snihurivka have gathered for a protest against the pseudo-referendum organized by Russia’s proxies in Mykolaiv Oblast, local news outlet Prestupnosti Net reported on Sept. 23. “Snihurivka has always been and will be Ukraine. We never wanted and will not want to join the Russian Federation,” protesters said at the rally.
President’s Office: Today’s sham referendums nothing but ‘propaganda show.’ Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to the President’s Office, has called pseudo-referendums Russia’s proxies started on occupied Ukrainian territories on Sept. 23 a “propaganda show” to aid Russian conscription efforts. Ukraine’s occupied territories “need an immediate release,” Podolyak wrote on Twitter.
General Staff: Ukraine liberates Yatskivka in Donetsk Oblast. Ukraine’s Armed Forces have established control over the village of Yatskivka in Donetsk Oblast and regained previously lost positions in the Bakhmut direction, the General Staff reported on Sept. 23. Russian troops continue to conduct offensive actions to dislodge Ukrainian units from taken positions around Bakhmut, but Ukraine’s military is holding their defense, according to Deputy Chief of Ukraine’s General Staff Oleksii Hromov.
Meduza: Russia plans to mobilize 1.2 million conscripts for war against Ukraine. Meduza, a Russian media outlet, cited a government source. In Moscow, the authorities seek to mobilize up to 16,000 people, according to a source close to Moscow’s City Hall. On Sept. 21, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that the army planned to mobilize 300,000 conscripts for the war against Ukraine.
Meduza: At least 5 recruitment offices set on fire in Russia amid mobilization. Two military enlistment offices were set on fire in Khabarovsk and in Amur Oblast on the night of Sept. 22, Russian news outlet Meduza reported. Since Sept. 21, when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced mobilization against Ukraine, Russians have tried to burn at least five recruitment offices in the country, including in Saint Petersburg; some local administration buildings have also been under attack, according to Meduza.
Lukashenko: ‘There will be no mobilization in Belarus.’ Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko said that his government doesn’t plan to mobilize Belarusians, state-controlled news agency Belta reported on Sept. 23. However, Belarus regularly holds military drills to be able to respond to “possible threats and terrorist attacks,” Belta reported, citing Lukashenko.
Media: Men can’t leave Russian-occupied Crimea without military permission. Men must obtain permits from local military enlistment offices before leaving the peninsula, Crimea-based news agency Kryminform reported, citing the Russian occupation government of Ukraine’s Crimea. Permits can be issued to men who have reasons to leave Crimea, such as business trips, education, or medical treatment.
Zelensky: Russia trying to mobilize ‘as many men as possible’ among Crimean Tatars. Ukraine has evidence that Russian occupying forces are trying to find and mobilize men among the Crimean Tatar population in Russian-occupied Crimea for Russia’s war against Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his evening address. Zelensky’s representative to Russian-occupied Crimea Tamila Tasheva wrote on Facebook on Sept. 22 that Crimean Tatar men have received at least 1,000 mobilization notices on the peninsula.
UK intelligence: Ukraine’s military assault Lyman, secure bridgeheads on east bank of Oskil. Ukraine has secured bridgeheads on the east bank of the Oskil River, which Russian troops tried to integrate into “a consolidated defensive line” after their withdrawals from Kharkiv Oblast, the U.K. Defense Ministry reported on Sept. 23. In Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine’s forces assault the town of Lyman. “Ukraine is now putting pressure on territory Russia considers essential to its war aims,” wrote the ministry.
Ukraine completes exhumation of bodies at mass burial site in liberated Izium. Kharkiv Oblast Governor Oleh Synehubov said that 436 bodies had been exhumed from the graves, mostly with signs of violent death, including 30 bodies with signs of torture. Only 21 people were soldiers, while the rest were civilians, including children. He said that medical experts recorded bodies with ropes around their necks, bound hands, broken limbs, and gunshot injuries. Several men had missing reproductive organs. “All crimes will be documented, and the guilty will pay for what they did,” said Synehubov.
Zelensky rebukes Israel for ‘zero’ military support, slams China’s ‘ambiguous’ position on war. In an interview with Ouest-France, President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Israel “has not given anything” to Ukraine since Russia launched its al-out invasion on Feb. 24. “I am stunned,” he said. “I don’t understand. Why not give us an air defense system?”
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Russian torture chambers survivor: ‘Every inch of me was in agony.’ Vitaliy Oliia, 40, was targeted by Russian occupying forces for his past military service in Ukraine and held captive for over a month in two separate locations. Kept in subhuman conditions, Oliia says he was subject to several rounds of unimaginably brutal physical and psychological torture.
Photo: Francis Farrell/The Kyiv Independent
Russian missile destroys family house of killed EuroMaidan activist. Eight years ago, his son got killed protesting a pro-Russian president. Then, a Russian missile destroyed his home.
Photo: Oleksandr Khrebet/ The Kyiv Independent
Ukraine war latest: Staged secession voting begins in 4 occupied regions. Russia’s sham “referendums” started in the occupied parts of eastern and southern Ukraine on Sept. 23.
Photo: Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
The human cost of Russia’s war
Russian attack on Zaporizhzhia kills 1, injures 7. Zaporizhzhia Oblast Governor Oleksandr Starukh reported on Telegram that overnight on Sept. 24 a Russian rocket was fired at a residential area of the city, causing a fire in a multi-story building.
Russia’s attacks kill 2 in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, 7 in Donetsk Oblast. In the past 24 hours, Russian forces have fired 30 projectiles on Nikopol and Marhanets, killing two people and wounding nine, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast Governor Valentyn Reznichenko reported on Sept. 23. Russia has also killed seven and injured 17 civilians in Donetsk Oblast over the past day, said Pavlo Kyrylenko, the oblast governor.
Prosecutor General’s Office: Russia’s war has killed 391 children, injured 771 since February. The largest number of casualties was documented in Donetsk Oblast, where 400 children have been killed or injured, Prosecutor General’s Office reported on Sept. 23. The numbers are not final – they do not include casualties in the Russian-occupied territories and areas where hostilities are still ongoing, the statement reads.
G7 leaders say they will never recognize Russia’s ‘scam’ referendums. In a joint statement, the Group of Seven leaders condemned Russia’s illegal referendums on the annexation of occupied Ukrainian territories. “We will never recognize these referenda, which appear to be a step toward Russian annexation, and we will never recognize purported annexation if it occurs,“ the statement reads.
AP: UN rights experts turn up evidence of Russia’s war crimes in Ukraine. A team of experts commissioned by the U.N. Human Rights Council has presented the results of their initial investigation conducted in Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv, and Sumy oblasts, Associated Press reported on Sept. 23. “We were struck by the large number of executions in the areas that we visited,” said Erik Mose, the commission’s chairman. “The commission is currently investigating such deaths in 16 towns and settlements.”
Washington Post: US warns Russia against using nuclear weapons for months. For several months, U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration has been sending private messages to Moscow about “grave consequences” that would follow Russia’s use of nuclear weapons, The Washington Post reported on Sept. 22, citing unnamed U.S. officials. The Biden administration decided to keep those warnings deliberately vague, “so the Kremlin worries about how Washington might respond,” according to the U.S. media.
Finland to introduce entry visa restrictions for Russians. The decision was made on Sept. 23 by Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and the country’s government. The move is a response to the mobilization and annexation of Ukrainian territories announced by Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. It seeks to prevent “serious damage to Finland’s international position.”
Top EU official calls for suspending Russia from UN Security Council. European Council President Charles Michel said that Russia should be suspended for launching an “unprovoked and unjustified war.” Currently, Russia is among the five permanent member states that have a veto right on the UN Security Council. Michel said that the right to veto should be an exemption but it has become the rule - an apparent reference to Russia’s efforts to block Security Council resolutions.
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