© Reuters. Ukrainian servicemen drive near Bakhmut, as Russia’s attack in Ukraine continues, in Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, September 7, 2022. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
(Reuters) – Ukrainians who help Russian-backed referendums to annexe large swathes of the country will face treason charges and at least five years in jail, Ukraine’s presidential adviser said, as voting in four regions entered its last day.
European countries scrambled to investigate unexplained leaks in two Russian gas pipelines running under the Baltic Sea near Sweden and Denmark, infrastructure at the heart of an energy crisis since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
* Russian President Vladimir Putin is likely to announce the accession of occupied regions of Ukraine to the Russian Federation during his address to parliament on Sept. 30, the British Ministry of Defence said on Tuesday.
* One of President Vladimir Putin’s allies explicitly raised the spectre of a nuclear strike on Ukraine, saying that the U.S.-led military alliance would still stay out of the conflict for fear of a nuclear apocalypse. It was the latest such warning from Moscow as it prepares to annex territory in Ukraine.
* The use of nuclear weapons is a question of global security – this is no longer just about Ukraine, presidential adviser Mikhailo Podolyak told the Swiss Blick newspaper.
* Employees of the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhya nuclear power station in southern Ukraine are trying to leave the region, Ukraine’s general staff said, without saying how many or giving any further details.
* Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy described the military situation in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region as difficult and said late on Monday that it was the country’s “No. 1 goal” because it was also Russia’s No. 1 goal.
* Ukraine also reported fierce fighting in Kherson in the south, where it is trying to cut off Russian occupying forces.
It was not possible to verify the battlefield reports.
RUSSIAN MOBILISATIONThousands of Russians have fled into Mongolia across its northern frontier in a bid to evade conscription to Ukraine, putting further pressure on the government in Ulaanbaatar and its efforts to distance itself from the conflict.
“If other countries would attack Russia, we would fight for our country. But why are we going to Ukraine? For what?” a young man who identified himself as Aleksey said in Mongolia.