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Ukraine-Russia war latest: Kyiv condemns Russian ‘illusion’ referendums as Ukrainians coerced into voting

- Putin's thinly-veiled threat to nuke the West
- Russian men flee to avoid conscription
- Help support Ukraine by donating your clothes

UKRAINIANS across Russian occupied territory are being told to participate in a "fake" referendum under "gun barrels".

The Russian military are forcing Ukrainians living in Zapporizhzhia, Luhansk, Donetsk and Kherson into an "illusion" of democratic votes.

The governor of Donetsk, Pavlo Kyrylenko, said the people left are "cheated and scared" of the Russians, while the rest "voted with their feet" by fleeing the region

Luhansk governor Serhiy Haidai said the referendums “looked more like an opinion survey under the gun barrels,” reported CNBC.

Russian gunmen have been filmed pounding on the doors of Ukrainian homes, forcing them to come out and vote or face being killed, The Telegraph reported.

Read our Ukraine-Russia live blog below for the latest udpates...

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    The Russian dictator has eased the laws for those joining the Russian military.

    Foreigners can now apply for citizenship without presenting a residence permit.

  • Lauren Cole-Lomas

    700 protestors DETAINED in Russia over forced mobilisation

    It has been reported that locals are angry that those who do not meet the conscription criteria are being sent to war.

    One man wrote: “Mobilise yourself, you lice-infested rat,” in Khabarovsk, and was detained.

  • Lauren Cole-Lomas

    Bodies of mutilated victims discovered in Ukraine

    Ukraine has confirmed that victims of Russian torturers have been mutilated so badly that it is difficult to tell what gender they were.

    They are among 430 bodies that have now been exhumed after Putin’s troops retreated from the city of Izyum following a Ukrainian advance.

    Shocking evidence has emerged of torture chambers alongside the graves.

    Click here to read more.

  • Lauren Cole-Lomas

    Russia replaces it’s highest ranking military general

    Dmitry Bulgakov was “relieved” of his post.

    It was revealed via Telegram today that the Army General will no longer be the deputy minister of defence.

  • Lauren Cole-Lomas

    Nigerian president says the UN prioritises certain global issues

    He was referencing the ongoing conflicts in Europe that were sparked firstly in 1915, and are still continuing in Ukraine today.

    Muhammadu Buhari said: Were we equally resolute during the tragedies of Syria, Libya, Yemen?

    “And didn’t the West return to ‘business as usual’ after wars in Congo and the Horn of Africa?

    “While condemning the invasion of Ukraine, do we give equal weight to fighting mercenaries who seek to destabilise the Sahel and threaten many other states in Africa?”

  • Lauren Cole-Lomas

    Iran claims it regrets Kyiv’s downgrading of ties following drone strike

    An Iranian ministry foreign spokesperson has said his country was regretful over Ukraine’s decision to downgrade diplomatic ties following a Russian drone strike.

    Al-Jazeera reports that ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani “advised” Ukraine to “refrain from being influenced by third parties who seek to destroy relations between the two countries”.

  • Lauren Cole-Lomas

    Al-Jazeera correspondent: Hard to know what’s happening with referendums

    Al Jazeera’s Gabriel Elizondo said: “There are no independent international election monitors. Their media is very tightly controlled … also it’s happening in a war zone.

    “So it’s very hard for people on the Russian side, or the Ukrainian side of the front lines to go back and forth to get a better sense of what is happening behind the Russian front lines where this voting is taking place.

    “With that said, Russia is claiming that voting is going ahead as planned. And there are some videos that Russia is putting out, showing what appears to be orderly voting taking place – but you’re also seeing videos from Telegram and other sources on social media that purport to show Russian-appointed officials going door to door with Russian military personnel knocking on people’s doors, forcing them to vote.”

  • Lauren Cole-Lomas

    Referendum voting proceeds in occupied regions

    Moscow-backed referendums are continuing in occupied Ukrainian areas.

    Election officials flanked by police officers lifted ballots to homes and established mobile polling stations in the eastern Luhansk and Donetsk regions and Kherson and Zaporizhzhia in the south.

    Voting ends on Tuesday.

  • Lauren Cole-Lomas

    Iran’s embassy presence in Ukraine reduced due to Russian drone attacks

    Iran’s ambassador will have his credentials stripped because Russia has been using Iranian drones to initiate attacks, claims Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

    Al-Jazeera reports that eight Iranian drones were shot down by Ukrainian forces.

    ”Today the Russian army used Iranian drones for its attacks on Dnipropetrovsk region and Odesa. I instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to strongly react to this fact,” Zelenskyy said in his address.

    “Six of these Iranian drones were downed by our air defences of the East and South commands. One more was brought to ground by air defences of the navy … And just now I am being told about the downing by air defences of the South command of another strike Iranian drone,” he said.

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    Ukrainian special forces fully disguised for combat

    The specialist soldiers were covered in foliage, leaves and branches to hide their silhouetes.

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    Zelensky hits out at Russia, declaring it ‘hates freedom’

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    President Zelensky said: “Russia caused a humanitarian catastrophe in Ukraine as it hates freedom.

    “But the world sees what Russia attacks & what Ukraine defends. Freedom, respect & life.”

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    What happens to the Russians refusing to serve in the military

    A new law has been passed in Russia telling people what will happen if they don’t come when called.

    Russian soldiers who refuse to fight, desert, disobey or surrender to the enemy could now face up to 10 years behind bars, Russian media outlets reported.

  • Lauren Cole-Lomas

    Bodies of mutilated victims discovered in Ukraine

    Ukraine has confirmed that victims of Russian torturers have been mutilated so badly that it is difficult to tell what gender they were.

    They are among 430 bodies that have now been exhumed after Putin’s troops retreated from the city of Izyum following a Ukrainian advance.

    Shocking evidence has emerged of torture chambers alongside the graves.

    Click here to read more.

  • Lauren Cole-Lomas

    Russia uses mobile incinerators to hide number of casualties

    Data from the Kremlin of how many Russian soldiers have been killed in the invasion has not been totally accurate, one expert explains why.

    It is claimed that the Russian military incinerate the bodies of fallen soldiers, and then report them as "missing" instead of counting them as dead.

    Dr Patrick Bury, a senior lecturer in security at the University of Bath told the Express: "The Russian army have mobile incinerators. Only a percentage of the casualties that are killed come back.”

    He added: “I have also read first hand accounts that said when a Russian soldier is reported killed, the unit still posts them as missing. 

    “One, they don’t have to count it as a casualty and, two, the family don’t get paid the bounty which would be due for a dead relative.”

  • Lauren Cole-Lomas

    Dmytro Kuleba meets with China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs

    Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs has met with China’s counterpart Wang Yi.

    They discussed relations between the countries and China reaffirmed their “respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

    Dmytro Kuleba also said how China spoke of its “rejection of the use of force as a means of resolving differences”.

  • Lauren Cole-Lomas

    700 protestors DETAINED in Russia over forced mobilisation

    It has been reported that locals are angry that those who do not meet the conscription criteria are being sent to war.

    One man wrote: “Mobilise yourself, you lice-infested rat," in Khabarovsk, and was detained.

  • Lauren Cole-Lomas

    Putin eases citizenship laws for foreigners in the military

    The Russian dictator has eased the laws for those joining the Russian military.

    Foreigners can now apply for citizenship without presenting a residence permit.

  • Lauren Cole-Lomas

    UN investigators claim war crimes have been committed

    UN investigators have said that war crimes have been committed in the Ukraine conflict.

    They claim that this is due to Russian bombings of civilians areas, numerous executions, torture and horrific sexual violence.

    The head of a high-level Commission of Inquiry told the UN Human Rights Council: “Based on the evidence gathered by the Commission, it has concluded that war crimes have been committed in Ukraine.”

  • Lauren Cole-Lomas

    Ukrainian aid worker doesn't fear nuclear attack risk

    The worker said that if Russia did engage in nuclear war it would have "political destruction”.

    Dimko Zhluktenko, an aid worker based in Lviv, told the PA news agency that it would have no strategic effect for the Russians.

    She said: “Even if it were to happen, it wouldn’t have a massive effect,” the 23-year-old told the PA news agency.

    “If they do a tactical nuke strike, that will be pure terrorism and that will lead to the absolute destruction of Russia.

    “It wouldn’t grant any strategic advantage to Russian forces because they wouldn’t be able to advance to capture new territories.

    “And at the same time, politically they would be destroyed because they would most likely get strikes back and face total isolation from other nations.”

  • Lauren Cole-Lomas

    Over half of anti-war protesters in Russia are women, report claims

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    Wednesday saw 1,300 Russian arrested for protesting Putin’s draconian new mobilisation policy.

  • Lauren Cole-Lomas

    Russia has reached a 'dangerous moment' in it's invasion of Ukraine

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    He told BBC: “Certainly it’s a dangerous moment because the Russian army has been pushed into a corner, and Putin’s reaction – threatening to use nuclear arms – it’s very bad."

    A diplomatic solution that “preserves the sovereignty and territorial integrity” of Ukraine must be reached, he added.

  • Lauren Cole-Lomas

    What happens to Russians who refuse to serve in the military

    A new law has been passed in Russia telling people what will happen if they don't come when called.

    Russian soldiers who refuse to fight, desert, disobey or surrender to the enemy could now face up to 10 years behind bars, Russian media outlets reported.

  • Lauren Cole-Lomas

    Russia replaces it's highest ranking military general

    Dmitry Bulgakov was "relieved" of his post.

    It was revealed via Telegram today that the Army General will no longer be the deputy minister of defence.

  • Lauren Cole-Lomas

    Nigerian president says the UN prioritises certain global issues

    He was referencing the ongoing conflicts in Europe that were sparked firstly in 1915, and are still continuing in Ukraine today.

    Muhammadu Buhari said: Were we equally resolute during the tragedies of Syria, Libya, Yemen?

    "And didn’t the West return to 'business as usual' after wars in Congo and the Horn of Africa?

    "While condemning the invasion of Ukraine, do we give equal weight to fighting mercenaries who seek to destabilise the Sahel and threaten many other states in Africa?”

  • Iran claims it regrets Kyiv’s downgrading of ties following drone strike

    An Iranian ministry foreign spokesperson has said his country was regretful over Ukraine’s decision to downgrade diplomatic ties following a Russian drone strike.

    Al-Jazeera reports that ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani “advised” Ukraine to “refrain from being influenced by third parties who seek to destroy relations between the two countries”.

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