Four areas of Ukraine controlled by Russia and pro-Moscow forces were preparing to hold referendums on Friday on joining Russia, a move widely condemned by the West as illegitimate and a precursor to illegal annexation. Russian-installed leaders on Tuesday announced plans for the votes, a challenge to the West that could sharply escalate the war. The results are seen as a foregone conclusion in favour of annexation, and Ukraine and its allies have already made clear they will not recognise the results. Voting in the Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia provinces, representing around 15% of Ukrainian territory, is due to run from Friday to Tuesday. Kyiv this month launched a counteroffensive that has recaptured large swathes of territory, seven months after Russia invaded Ukraine and launched a war that has killed thousands, displaced millions and damaged the global economy. The referendums had been discussed for months by pro-Moscow authorities, but Ukraine’s recent victories prompted a scramble by officials to schedule them.
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UN Climate Change Conference must make progress, says UN chief
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Egypt (COP27) must make broad progress. “COP27 must demonstrate that the world is making progress on all pillars of the Paris Agreement. We urgently need to address loss and damage in a meaningful and credible way,” he said in a video message for the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) leaders’ breakfast.
Oil prices rise as Iran deal stalls, Russian supply amid conflict
- Oil prices rose in early Asian trade on Friday on the prospect that a stalled Iran nuclear agreement and Moscow’s new mobilization campaign in its invasion of Ukraine would further restrict global supplies.
- Brent crude futures gained 16 cents, or 0.2%, to $90.62 per barrel by 0020 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 22 cents to $83.71 per barrel.
Anywhere but Russia
- Military-age men clogged airports and border crossings trying to flee, and some ended up in distant cities like Istanbul and Namangan, Uzbekistan. “We decided that we don’t want to live in this country anymore,” one reservist said after arriving in Turkey.
Thousands of Russians across the country receive draft papers
- Putin’s escalation of the war effort was reverberating across the country, according to interviews, Russian news reports and social media posts. As the day wore on, it became increasingly clear that Putin’s decision had torn open the cocoon shielding much of Russian society from their leader’s invasion of a neighbor.
- Mothers, wives and children were saying tearful goodbyes in remote regions as officials — in some cases, ordinary schoolteachers — delivered draft notices to houses and apartment blocks. In mountainous eastern Siberia, the Russian news media reported, school buses were being commandeered to move troops to training grounds.
Mad rush to leave Russia
Prices for air tickets from Moscow soared above $5,000 for one-way flights to the nearest foreign locations
Many Russians flee Ukraine conscription
Some draft-age Russians rushed to leave the country on Thursday to escape their country’s biggest conscription drive since World War II. Surveys in Russia have suggested widespread domestic backing for Moscow’s intervention in Ukraine. But mass conscription, intended to enlist 300,000 troops, may be a risky move for Putin after past Kremlin promises it would not happen and a string of battlefield failures in Ukraine.
Russia to begin annexation votes in Ukrainian regions
Russia will on Friday begin its plan to annex around 15% of Ukrainian territory via referendums in four regions controlled by Russian forces. The self-styled Donetsk (DPR) and the Luhansk People’s Republics (LPR), which Putin recognised as independent just before the invasion, and Russian-installed administrations in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions will hold votes.