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At the UN General Assembly on Saturday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused the West of “grotesque” Russophobia. That same day, Vladimir Putin signed amendments toughening punishment for voluntary surrender and refusal to fight by up to 10 years in prison, just days after ordering a partial mobilization. Follow our live blog for all the latest developments. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).
8:05pm: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accuses the West of ‘grotesque’ Russophobia during UN speech
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov bitterly criticised Western nations Saturday for their “grotesque” fear of Russia, telling the United Nations that such states were seeking to “destroy” his country.
“The official Russophobia in the West is unprecedented, now the scope is grotesque,” Lavrov said in a fiery UN General Assembly speech. “They are not shying away from declaring the intent to inflict not only military defeat on our country but also to destroy and fracture Russia.”
6:27pm: Over 700 detained in anti-mobilization protests across Russia
Russian authorities on Saturday detained more than 700 people at protests against partial mobilization ordered this week by President Vladimir Putin, according to the independent monitoring group OVD-Info.
The police monitoring group counted at least 707 people detained in 32 cities across Russia, nearly half of them in Moscow, at rallies following the partial mobilization designed to bolster Russia’s operation in Ukraine.
3:59pm: Russia toughens penalty for voluntary surrender, refusal to fight
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday signed amendments toughening punishment for voluntary surrender and refusal to fight by up to 10 years in prison, just days after ordering a partial mobilization.
A separate law, also signed on Saturday, facilitates access to Russian citizenship for foreigners who enlist in the Russian army, following the mobilization designed to increase the ranks of his army fighting a military operation in Ukraine.
3:10pm: Videos circulating showing ballot boxes being taken home by armed men in the Luhansk region
Serhiy Haidai, the Luhansk regional governor, has described the so-called referendums happening in the Kremlin-held regions of eastern and southern Ukraine as “an opinion poll conducted at gunpoint”. FRANCE 24’s Gulliver Cragg tells us more.
1:34pm: Russia replaces top general in charge of logistics amid mobilization
Russia announced on Saturday it replaced its highest ranking general in charge of logistics as its military operation in Ukraine runs into widespread logistical problems. “Army General Dmitry Bulgakov has been relieved of the post of deputy minister of defense” and will be replaced by Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev, the Russian defense ministry said on Telegram.
11:40am: Russian missile hits residential building in Zaporizhzhia causing casualties
A Russian missile hit a residential building in Zaporizhzhia causing casualties, the town’s acting major told media. According to Zaporizhzhia Oblast Governor Oleksandr Starukh on Sept. 24 a Russian rocket was fired at a residential area of the city, causing a fire in a multi-story building.
️Russian attack on Zaporizhzhia kills 1, injures 7.
Zaporizhzhia Oblast Governor Oleksandr Starukh said 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.
Photo: Oleksandr Starukh/ Telegram pic.twitter.com/CKcMmR0Nrg
— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) September 24, 2022
8:35 am: Russian-occupied regions in Ukraine hold second day of ‘referendum’ on joining Russia
Kremlin-held regions of eastern and southern Ukraine entered the second day of voting to become part of Russia on Saturday. The voting on whether Russia should annex four regions of Ukraine started Friday, dramatically raising the stakes seven months after Moscow’s troops invaded.
Ukrainian officials said people were banned from leaving some occupied areas until the four-day vote was overarmed groups were going to homes to force people to cast ballots, and employees were threatened with the sack if they did not participate. Reuters could not immediately verify reports of coercion.
The votes in the provinces of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia were hastily organized after Ukraine recaptured large swathes of the northeast in a counter-offensive
6:28 am: US President Biden vows ‘swift and severe’ costs if Russia annexes Ukraine regions in ‘sham’ referendums
US President Joe Biden on Friday warned Russia there will be “swift and severe” costs if Moscow uses its “sham” referendums to annex more of Ukraine. “Russia’s referenda are a sham – a false pretext to try to annex parts of Ukraine by force in flagrant violation of international law,” Biden said in a statement. “We will work with our allies and partners to impose additional swift and severe economic costs on Russia.”
“The United States will never recognize Ukrainian territory as anything other than part of Ukraine,” he said.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP & Reuters)
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