Here is the situation as it stands on Wednesday, September 21.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced a partial military mobilisation in Russia as the war in Ukraine continues for nearly seven months.
- World leaders meeting at the United Nations in New York denounced Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as Moscow-installed leaders in occupied areas of four Ukrainian regions announced plans to hold referendums on joining Russia in the coming days.
- In the apparently coordinated move, pro-Russian figures announced referendums for September 23-27 in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhia provinces, representing about 15 percent of Ukrainian territory, or an area about the size of Hungary.
- Some pro-Kremlin figures framed the referendums as an ultimatum to the West to accept Russian territorial gains or face an all-out war with a nuclear-armed foe.
- Reframing the fighting in occupied territory as an attack on Russia could give Moscow a justification to mobilise its two-million-strong military reserves.
- US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Washington rejected any such referendums “unequivocally”. French President Emmanuel Macron and Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda both described the planned votes as “parody”.
- EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the bloc would not recognise the outcome of the referendums.
- US President Joe Biden will try to rally the world against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly, saying Moscow’s war against its neighbour violates the tenets of the UN charter.
- German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Putin will only give up his “imperial ambitions” that risk destroying Ukraine and Russia if he recognises he cannot win the war.
- In Kherson, where the regional capital is the only major city Russia has so far captured intact since the invasion, Ukraine has launched a major counter-offensive.
- Ukraine’s armed forces regain control of the village of Bilohorivka, preparing to retake all of Luhansk province from Russian occupiers, provincial Governor Serhiy Haidai said.
- The village is only 10km (6 miles) west of Lysychansk city, which fell to the Russians after weeks of grinding battles in July.
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