Kremlin says attacks on any part of Ukraine Russia is about to annex is an attack on Russia itself
Attacks on any part of Ukraine that Russia is about to annex will be considered an attack on Russia itself, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to officially declare the annexations of four Ukrainian regions at a ceremony today, for which celebrations are planned in Red Square.
The classification raises the stakes of the conflict as Putin has threatened to use nuclear weapons in the event of attacks on Russian territory. And just as the annexations are to be announced, Ukrainian forces have surrounded thousands of Russian troops in the strategic town of Lyman in northern Donetsk, one of the territories to be annexed.
The situation raises the question of exactly which parts of these territories — Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia — Russia can effectively annex and control. In total, they make up about 18% of Ukrainian territory.
Peskov said all of Donetsk would be under Ukrainian control, but did not specify whether all of Kherson of Zaporizhzhia would be.
“We will clear everything today,” he said.
Russian forces face imminent defeat at Lyman in Ukraine
Ukrainian soldiers rest at their position near Lyman in eastern Ukraine on April 28, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (
Yasuyoshi Chiba | AFP | Getty Images
Ukrainian forces have almost completely surrounded Russian troops occupying Lyman, a town in northern Ukraine’s Donetsk province, raising the possibility of another Russian casualty just as President Vladimir Putin prepares to announce the annexation of the province.
“The Ukrainian troops have probably almost completed the encirclement of the Russian grouping into Lyman and cut critical ground lines of communication (GLOCS) supporting Russian troops in the Drobysheve-Lyman area,” read a tweet from the Institute for the Study of War. Around 5,500 Russian troops are believed to be in the city, which has been occupied. Since May.
The city is home to a strategic rail hub. Ukrainian forces have made rapid advances in the area in recent days and are now positioned to fire on the only road out of Lyman.
It’s part of the huge swath of eastern and southern Ukrainian territory, encompassing four regions, that Putin is set to annex after staging a mock referendum entirely controlled by Russia that won a majority of votes to join the Russian Federation.
Putin warned that any threat to Russia’s territory would justify its use of nuclear weapons.
Russian strikes hit civilian convoy several times outside Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine says
Russian strikes hit a civilian convoy several times outside the city of Zaporizhzhia, Ukrainian officials said.
The strikes, which hit a convoy of people heading to Russian-occupied territory to pick up their loved ones, killed at least 23 people and injured at least 28, Zaporizhzhia regional governor Oleksandr Starukh said. in a message on Telegram.
“There are dead and injured. Rescuers, medics and all relevant services are currently working at the site,” Starukh wrote.
Ukrainian Governor of Luhansk Serhiy Haidai wrote on Telegram: “Near Zaporizhzhia the Russians fired rockets at a convoy heading towards the occupied territory. It should be noted that the departure of 34 vehicles with residents of the Lugansk region was planned. More detailed information about the victims is being clarified.”
CNBC was unable to independently verify the details. Images posted by Starukh and others on social media show disturbing scenes of burnt cars and bodies on the road.
A Russian-appointed leader from occupied Zaporizhzhia, Volodymyr Rogov, was quoted by Russian state news agency RIA as blaming Ukrainian forces for the attack, saying “Ukrainian militants hit a convoy with dozens of civilian cars queuing”.
Putin will officially announce the annexations of Ukraine at a ceremony
A view shows banners and constructions ahead of an expected event, devoted to the results of the referendums on the accession of four self-declared Ukrainian regions to Russia, near the Kremlin wall and the State Historical Museum in Red Square, in the center of Moscow, Russia, September 28, 2022. The banners read: “Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson. Together forever!”
Evgenia Novozhenina | Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin is due to hold a ceremony today officially declaring the annexation of four regions of Ukraine, where fake referendums were held by Russian-appointed authorities last week.
The referendum results, which were rejected by much of the international community, showed large majorities in each territory – Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia – voting to join the Russian Federation. The regions, constituting the eastern and southern flanks of the country, form about 18% of the Ukrainian territory.
A municipal worker casts her vote during a referendum on the secession of Zaporizhzhia region from Ukraine and its joining with Russia, in the Russian-held city of Melitopol in Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine, September 26, 2022.
Alexander Ermoshenko | Reuters
There have been numerous reports of forced votes at gunpoint and organized votes.
Government spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin will sign Kremlin membership documents and then deliver a speech. A music concert is also planned in Moscow’s Red Square.
Analysts and world leaders fear that Putin’s annexation will make him feel justified in using nuclear weapons to defend the territories against anyone trying to take them over, as he hinted in his speech last week if the “territory of Russia” was threatened.
‘The United States does not and will never recognize’ Russia’s bogus referendums, says Blinken
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks after viewing the “Burma’s Path To Genocide” exhibit at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC on March 21, 2022.
Kevin Lamarque | AFP | Getty Images
Secretary of State Antony Blinken criticized Russia’s “land grab attempt in Ukraine” and said the United States would never recognize the results of the Kremlin’s “bogus referendums”.
“The results were orchestrated in Moscow and do not reflect the will of the Ukrainian people. The United States does not and will never recognize the legitimacy or outcome of these sham referendums or Russia’s purported annexation of Ukrainian territory” , Blinken wrote in a statement.
“This show carried out by Russia’s proxies is illegitimate and violates international law,” he added.
Biden’s top diplomat said the United States will continue to “stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes.”
The Kremlin has previously declared the results of referendums held in four regions of Ukraine to be legitimate.
‘It can still be stopped,’ says Zelenskyy of Russian attempts to annex parts of Ukraine
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Lviv, Ukraine, August 18, 2022.
Emin Sansar | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has criticized Russia’s attempt to annex additional swathes of his country.
“Russia will not get new territory in Ukraine,” Zelenskyy said in Russian in an overnight address on the Telegram messaging app. “It can still be stopped,” he added.
“The price of one person in Russia wanting to continue this war will be that all of Russian society will be left without a normal economy, without a decent life and without respect for human values,” Zelenskyy said, according to NBC News. Translation.
“To stop this, you have to stop the one in Russia who wants war more than life. Your life, Russian citizens,” Zelenskyy said without naming Russian President Vladimir Putin.