Here is the situation as it stands on Saturday, September 24.

Diplomacy

  • Russia has launched referendums aimed at annexing four occupied regions of Ukraine, drawing condemnation from Kyiv and Western countries that have called the votes a “sham” and pledged not to recognize the results.
  • Ukrainian officials said people were banned from leaving certain occupied areas until the end of the four-day vote, armed groups were going into homes to force people to vote and employees were threatened with layoffs. they weren’t participating.
  • The votes in the provinces of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhia were hastily organized after Ukraine recaptured large swaths of the northeast in a counter-offensive.
  • Ukraine, Western leaders and the United Nations have condemned the votes as an illegitimate precursor to illegal annexation. There are no independent observers and much of the pre-war population has fled.
  • Russia maintains that the referendums offer the inhabitants of the region the opportunity to express their views.
  • The United States is prepared to impose additional economic costs on Russia in conjunction with its American allies if Moscow goes ahead with annexing parts of Ukrainian territory, the White House has said.
  • NATO will step up aid to Kyiv in response to the “sham” referendums, the alliance’s secretary general has said.
  • British music stars Harry Styles and Ed Sheeran, American basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal and other celebrities will donate personal items for a campaign launched to support healthcare in Ukraine.

Abuses

  • A UN-mandated commission of inquiry says it has found evidence of war crimes, including executions, rape, torture and kidnapping of children in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine after visits to 27 areas and interviews with over 150 victims and witnesses.
  • Russia denies deliberately attacking civilians in the conflict and says the abuse charges are a smear campaign. He did not immediately comment on the report.

Struggle

  • Ukraine has said it will downgrade diplomatic ties with Iran over its decision to supply drones to Russian forces.
  • Russia struck the Pechenihy dam on the Siverskyi Donets river in northeastern Ukraine this week using short-range ballistic missiles or similar weapons, the British military said.
  • Russian commanders may try to hit the floodgates of the dams in order to flood Ukrainian military crossings, the British Ministry of Defense has said.
  • A Russian missile hit a residential building in Zaporizhzhia, causing casualties, the city’s acting mayor said.
  • Ukraine said two drones killed a woman and destroyed a building in the port of Odessa. An Iranian-made Shahed-136 drone, designed to ram into its targets, was destroyed over the Black Sea by air defenses.
  • The White House says the United States sees no reason to adjust its nuclear posture after Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the West he was not bluffing when he said he would be ready to use nuclear weapons to defend Russia.
  • Some conscription-age Russians have traveled abroad to escape their country’s biggest conscription drive since World War II.

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