2022-09-28

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Russia-Ukraine war latest: what we know on day 211 of the invasion – The Guardian

Volodymyr Zelenskiy urges UN to adopt five-point plan for peace in Ukraine; more than 1,300 people arrested in anti-mobilisation rallies throughout Russia
Security forces detained more than 1,300 people in Russia overnight at protests denouncing mobilisation, a rights group said, hours after President Vladimir Putin ordered Russia’s first military draft since the second world war.
The independent OVD-Info protest monitoring group said that according to information it had collated from 38 Russian cities, more than 1,311 people had been held by late evening. It said those figures included at least 502 in Moscow and 524 in St Petersburg, Russia’s second most populous city. Unsanctioned rallies are illegal under Russia’s anti-protest laws.
Russian interior ministry official Irina Volk, in a statement quoted by Russian news agencies, said officers had cut short attempts to stage what it called small protests. “In a number of regions, there were attempts to stage unauthorised actions which brought together an extremely small number of participants,” Volk was quoted as saying. “These were all stopped.”
The Moscow Times is carrying a report that a Russian military recruitment office and an administration building were attacked overnight in two separate locations during the anti-mobilisation protests.
The Kremlin has dismissed reports of an exodus of Russian men of fighting age following Vladimir Putin’s announcement of a partial mobilisation as “exaggerated”. Flight sales data showed flights from Moscow to the capitals of Georgia, Turkey and Armenia, all destinations that allow Russians to enter without a visa, were sold out within minutes of Putin’s announcement on Wednesday. Russian national airline, Aeroflot, said it would refund people who were unable to fly as planned if they were called up.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov declined to deny Russian media reports that some anti-mobilisation protesters detained on Wednesday night had been given draft papers.
The UK’s ministry of defence has described the mobilisation as an admission that Russia has “exhausted its supply of willing volunteers to fight in Ukraine”. It said “Russia is likely to struggle with the logistical and administrative challenges of even mustering the 300,000 personnel. It will probably attempt to stand up new formations with many of these troops, which are unlikely to be combat effective for months.”
Dmitry Medvedev, former Russian president and prime minister, and currently deputy chairman of the Security Council of Russia, has threatened attacks on Europe and US, saying “Referendums will be held, and the Donbas republics and other territories will be admitted to Russia. Any Russian weapons, including strategic nuclear weapons and weapons based on new principles, could be used [to protect them]. Therefore, various retired idiots with generals’ stripes do not need to scare us with talk about a Nato strike on Crimea. Hypersonic is guaranteed to be able to reach targets in Europe and the United States much faster.”
Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has described Joe Biden’s speech on Wednesday at the UN as “indecent”, and accused the US president of mis-quoting his Russian counterpart over nuclear threats.
Biden had denounced Vladimir Putin’s threats to use nuclear weapons as “reckless” and “irresponsible” and called Russia’s planned annexation of more regions of Ukraine as “an extremely significant violation” of the UN charter. The US president was speaking to the UN general assembly on Wednesday, where he sought to galvanise the outrage of UN member states at the threat that Putin’s actions and “imperial ambitions” posed to the UN’s founding values.
The UN secretary general, António Guterres, speaking at Thursday’s UN security council meeting, said Russia’s war on Ukraine “shows no sign of letting up”. Guterres said talk of a nuclear conflict was “totally unacceptable”. Any annexation of a state’s territory by another state through the threat or use of force is a violation of the UN charter and international law, he continued.
The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, shrugged off Russian moves to escalate the war, saying his country’s forces would continue their counteroffensive, not giving Russia breathing space to mobilise and dig in on Ukrainian soil. “We can return the Ukrainian flag to our entire territory. We can do it with the force of arms, but we need time,” Zelenskiy said in a recorded broadcast to the UN general assembly on Wednesday, which Russia had tried to stop but was overwhelmingly voted down by member states.
Zelenskiy on Thursday thanked Turkey and Saudi Arabia for their roles in recent prisoner exchanges. This included a Briton who was threatened with execution after being captured by Russian forces during the siege of Mariupol, who has been released alongside four other Britons and five international prisoners after the intervention of Saudi Arabia. Aiden Aslin was released alongside the two fighters he was sentenced to death with at a controversial trial in Russian-held eastern Ukraine in June – Shaun Pinner, and a Moroccan named Brahim Saadoun.
Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said the prisoner swap carried out by Russia and Ukraine, involving almost 300 people and mediated by Turkey, was an important step towards ending the war
The general staff of the Ukraine army has issued updated figures of the losses it claims to have inflicted on Russia and pro-Russia forces within occupied areas of Ukraine, raising it to ~55,510. On Wednesday, Russia’s defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, spoke of losses amounting to just under 6,000 personnel during what he termed Russia’s “special military operation”.
North Korea has denied it is providing arms to Russia, state media said, weeks after the US said Moscow was turning to Pyongyang to replenish its stocks depleted by invading Ukraine.
Poland has distributed iodine tablets to regional fire departments to give to people in the event of radioactive exposure, after concerns about fighting around Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
Uzbekistan’s state prosecutors warned citizens against joining foreign armies after Russia offered fast-track citizenship to those who sign up and Ukraine said it had captured Uzbeks fighting alongside Russians.
The head of the UN nuclear watchdog agency said Wednesday he met with Ukraine’s and Russia’s foreign ministers in a bid to establish a safety and security zone around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

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