Ukraine Daily Summary - Wednesday, September 21

Russian proxies in Donetsk Oblast seek to mobilize 500 factory workers -- Russian parliament approves longer jail terms for refusal to serve and surrender, lists 'mobilization' as aggravating factor -- Another burial site discovered in Kyiv Oblast -- Sham referendums won't change anything -- and more

Ukraine Daily

Wednesday, September 21

Russia’s war against Ukraine


A serviceman of the National Guard of Ukraine inspect destroyed military equipment abandoned at a position formally held by the Russian army in the north of the Kharkiv region, on September 20, 2022. (Photo by SERGEY BOBOK/AFP via Getty Images)

General Staff: Russian proxies in Donetsk Oblast seek to mobilize 500 factory workers. The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported on Sept. 20 that Russian proxies in Donetsk Oblast canceled the mobilization deferment of around 500 factory workers of the Yenakiyeve Metallurgical Factory. The General Staff also reported that men are no longer allowed to leave Russian-occupied Crimea without the permission of military commissariats.

Reintegration Ministry: Ukraine returns bodies of 25 fallen soldiers. According to the Ministry for Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories, the bodies of 25 killed Ukrainian soldiers were retrieved in compliance with the Geneva Convention.

Governor: Bilohorivka is completely destroyed. According to Governor Serhiy Haidai, the city and its surroundings are left without running water because of significant destruction. “About a million residents of occupied Luhansk Oblast are without water,” he added.

Russian parliament approves longer jail terms for refusal to serve and surrender, lists ‘mobilization’ as aggravating factor. Russian lawmakers have adopted amendments to the Criminal Code, introducing longer jail terms – 10-15 years in prison – for surrender and looting. The new law now lists mobilization, martial law and wartime as aggravating circumstances, a label which leads to harsher penalties for a crime. These terms are new to Russia’s Criminal Code.

Another burial site discovered in Kyiv Oblast. Ukrainian authorities found the bodies of two more civilians killed by Russian forces in Kyiv Oblast, the Prosecutor General’s Office reported on Sept. 20. The deceased were found with their hands tied behind their backs and scotch tape around their necks in a forest near Bucha.

Russian parliament simplifies citizenship acquisition on foreigners serving in Russia’s military. Russian lawmakers on Sept. 20 passed a bill to make it quicker for foreigners serving in the Russian army to obtain citizenship. The simplified procedure is now available for foreign citizens who sign a one-year contract with the Russian military. Before, they had to serve for three years to be eligible for it.

Kuleba: ‘Sham referendums won’t change anything.’ Despite Russia’s plans to hold pseudo-referendums on occupied Ukrainian territories on Sept. 23-27, Ukraine will continue its counteroffensive, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Sept. 20. “Ukraine has every right to liberate its territories and will keep liberating them whatever Russia has to say,” said Kuleba.

Poll: Most Ukrainians want to join EU, NATO. Ninety-two percent of Ukrainians would like to see their country in the European Union, while 79% want it to join NATO by 2030, according to a poll conducted by the KIIS and the National Democratic Institute on Aug. 2-9. For reference: In December 2021, 58% of Ukrainians said they wanted to join the EU, and 48% – NATO.

Vereshchuk: Over 2,000 Ukrainian children illegally deported to Russia. Russia has illegally deported more than 2,000 Ukrainian children, depriving them of parental care, Suspilne reported on Sept. 20, citing Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk. While Ukrainian authorities are trying to return the kids, Russia prepares some of them for “adoption,” Vereshchuk said. On July 13, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said there’s evidence that between 900,000 to 1.6 million Ukrainians have been forcibly deported to Russia.

President’s Office: There will be no diplomacy if Russia holds pseudo-referendums. Russia’s plans to hold sham referendums on occupied territories will not affect the position of President Volodymyr Zelensky and Ukraine’s Armed Forces, Zelensky’s spokesman Serhii Nykyforov told on Sept. 20. These “referendums,” instead, will negate the slightest possibility of ending the war through diplomacy, according to him. “All internationally-recognized Ukrainian territories will be liberated,” Nykyforov added.

General Staff: Russia to transfer paratroopers from Syria to Ukraine. Due to a lack of personnel, the Russian authorities have decided to withdraw units of its 217th Airborne Regiment from Syria and transfer them to the frontline in Ukraine, the General Staff reported on Sept. 20.

ISW: Putin’s annexation of occupied Ukrainian territory to broaden legal definition of ‘Russian’ territory. The Institute for the Study of War said in its latest assessment that the Kremlin will use the falsified results of sham referenda to illegally annex all occupied parts of Ukraine and is likely to announce unoccupied parts of Donetsk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia oblasts as part of Russia.

McDonald’s resumes work in Ukraine

McDonald’s resumed delivery from some of its restaurants in Kyiv on Sept. 20 after shutting down operations across Ukraine because of Russia’s full-scale invasion. The chain plans to reopen more restaurants in a week and resume its dine-in services in October.

Read our exclusives here

Ukraine war latest: Moscow’s proxies in 4 regions announce dates for ‘referendums’ to join Russia, Ukraine and West denounce the plan. Russian proxies in the occupied territories of four Ukrainian regions claimed they will hold “referendums” on joining Russia on Sept. 23-27.

Photo: Aris Messinis/AFP via Getty Images

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Oksana Bashuk Hepburn: Ukraine’s victory will mean changes in the West and Russia. It appears as though Ukraine’s counteroffensive in the south may lead to the country’s victory over Russia’s horrific war aimed at preventing Ukraine from a democratic path.

Photo: Kostyantyn Chernichkin/The Kyiv Independent

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The human cost of Russia’s war

Governor: 1 killed, 12 injured in Donetsk Oblast on Sept. 19. According to Pavlo Kyrylenko, one civilian was killed, and one was injured in Toretsk. Five people were wounded in Dorozhnie, three were injured in Khromove, and one in Adviivka, Pervomaiske, and Yakovlivka. It is still impossible to establish the exact number of victims in Mariupol and Volnovakha, Kyrylenko said.

General Staff: Russia has lost 54,810 troops in Ukraine since Feb. 24. Ukraine’s General Staff reported on Sept. 20 that Russia had also lost 2,216 tanks, 4,724 armored fighting vehicles, 3,587 vehicles and fuel tanks, 1,323 artillery systems, 318 multiple launch rocket systems, 168 air defense systems, 252 airplanes, 217 helicopters, 925 drones, and 15 boats.

Governor: Russian attack on Kharkiv Oblast kills 2 people. According to Kharkiv Oblast Governor Oleh Syniehubov, a Russian attack on the village of Hrushivka, not far from the recently liberated Kupiansk, injured nine civilians, including four children, on Sept. 20.

UN: 14,532 civilian casualties in Ukraine due to Russia’s war. As of Sept. 18, Russia’s war against Ukraine has killed at least 5,916 civilians and injured at least 8,616, according to the UN count. UN’s human rights agency believes the actual figures are considerably higher because information from some places, including Mariupol, Izium, Lysychansk, Popasna, and Sievierodonetsk, is delayed, and many reports of civilian casualties still need to be confirmed.

International response

UK to spend at least $2.6 billion on Ukraine’s war effort in 2023. The Financial Times reported that UK Prime Minister Liz Truss will make the commitment in her first speech to the UN General Assembly this week. “The UK will continue to be right behind you every step of the way,” Truss said before her trip to New York. According to Truss, the aid provided to Ukraine next year will match or exceed the 2022 numbers.

Erdogan: ‘Lands which were invaded will be returned to Ukraine.’ Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told PBS Newshour that Russian President Vladimir Putin is willing to talk to Ukraine after Kyiv’s lighting counteroffensive pushed Russian troops out of Kharkiv Oblast.

EU Council adopts additional €5 billion assistance for Ukraine. The Council will provide macro-financial assistance “as a matter of urgency.” EU Council said on Sept. 20 that this 5 billion euro assistance package would be delivered to Ukraine through long-term loans “to support Ukraine at this critical juncture.”

Prague to donate 20 trams, two buses to Ukraine. The capital of the Czech Republic will provide Ukraine with used trams to replace those destroyed in Kharkiv by Russian forces, reported news website Novinky, citing Prague Mayor Zdenek Hrib. Prague will also donate two buses to Khmelnytskyi.

Macron calls Russia’s sham ‘referendums’ in occupied Ukrainian areas cynicism and provocation. French President Emmanuel Macron condemned Russia’s plans to hold pseudo-referendums on Sept. 23-27 to annex occupied Ukrainian territories. He said that “referendums” in regions that have been bombed by Russian troops are “a signature of cynicism.”

Bloomberg: EU guidance weakens sanctions on Russian coal. According to Bloomberg, a new guidance by the European Commission says that the transfer of some Russian goods, including coal and related products, “should be allowed to combat food and energy insecurity around the world.” Poland and the Baltic countries have criticized the updated sanctions guidance during meetings between European ministers, asking the commission to “withhold publication of the document until the matter was addressed,” Bloomberg reported, citing its anonymous sources.

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Today’s Ukraine Daily was brought to you by Oleksiy Sorokin, Alexander Khrebet, Denys Krasnikov, Dinara Khalilova, Oleg Sukhov, Daria Shulzhenko, Olena Goncharova, and Anastasiya Gordiychuk.

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