Ukraine news latest: Russia accused of forcing hospital patients in Donetsk into combat


The Missing: The Ukrainians abducted in Putin’s war

Russia has been accused of forcing hospital patients in occupied territories of Ukraine to take part in combat.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said that Vladimir Putin’s army has been forcing injured and ill men into battle to compensate for the losses suffered by the troops.

It wrote on social media: “Forced mobilisation is currently underway on the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine. In Donetsk, Russian occupiers have found a new ‘source’ to replenish losses in manpower.

“For example, recently, representatives of the Russian occupation army have started arriving at local hospitals and forcibly ‘discharging’ patients.

“In particular, they ‘discharge’ men of conscription age who are receiving treatment for various illnesses or injuries, including from taking part in hostilities.”

In the past day, about 300 Russian soldiers had been “liquidated” amid the ongoing invasion and the total number of Russian soldiers’ deaths since February is now in the region of 49,800 – the Ukrainian defence ministry said today.


UN “gravely concerned” by Zaporizhzhia situation

The United Nations remains “gravely concerned” by the “dangerous situation” in and around the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine, Ben Wallace has said.

The Defence Secretary told the Commons: “Under the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) an inspection was carried out, and they have left a team behind.

“They have already drawn attention to the violation and I quote ‘the violation of its physical integrity’, and the United Nations remains gravely concerned by the dangerous situation in and around the plant.

“We will continue to monitor it and ensure that we engage with Ukrainian partners to also ensure no one’s safety is put at risk.”


Wallace says Russia hasn’t achieved any of its objectives

Russia has yet to achieve any of its strategic objectives, Ben Wallace has said.

Making his statement in the Commons, the Defence Secretary told MPs: “Russia continues to lose significant equipment and personnel. It is estimated to date that over 25,000 Russian soldiers have lost their lives, and in all if you include killed casualties, captured, or the now reported tens of thousands of deserters over 80,000 dead or injured and the other categories.

“This will have long-lasting impact on Russia’s army and its future combat effectiveness. Russia has yet to achieve any of its strategic objectives. And we are now on day 194 of what was envisaged in total to be a month-long campaign.”


Borrell says EU will support Ukraine ‘whatever the threat’

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said that “the European Union will continue supporting Ukraine, whatever threat, whatever blackmail Russia can put on us,” and that for “as long as it takes and as much as needed.”

But Borrell had warned earlier Monday that weapons stocks in the EU are running low and he urged member countries to better coordinate their spending on military materiel.

“The military stocks of most member states has been, I wouldn’t say exhausted, but depleted in a high proportion, because we have been providing a lot of capacity to the Ukrainians,” he said in a debate with European parliamentarians.

“It has to be refilled. The best way of refilling is doing that together. It will be cheaper,” he said.


Ukraine’s prime minister urges EU to stand firm against Russian energy “blackmail”

Ukraine’s prime minister has urged the European Union to stand firm against Russian energy “blackmail” and appealed for more weapons, including aircraft, for the war-ravaged country even as EU armament stocks run low.

“Russia wages a hybrid war in the European continent against the European Union. The gas blackmail, the oil blackmail, creation of the food crisis, migrant crisis, misinformation, cyberattacks,” Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said

“But abandoning Ukraine alone against Russia — that would just be one of those steps for the further movement of Russia deeper into Europe. The only salvation is for Europe to be united,” he told reporters in Brussels after a meeting with senior EU officials.

The EU’s 27 member nations have been funneling weapons, ammunition and other assistance into Ukraine since Russia invaded the country on Feb. 24.

The bloc has provided billions of euros in economic and refugee support. Sanctions are also gradually taking their toll on Russia’s economy, but concern is mounting that EU resolve may falter as inflation and energy prices rise.

However, Shmyhal insisted that Ukraine, which has been accepted as a candidate for future EU membership, still needs more help.“Unfortunately, we see no signs that Russia is willing to stop the war.

This is why we need more modern weapons, such as air defense, missile defense, anti-ship defense” as well as armored vehicles and aircraft, he said.


US accuses Russia of using Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline closure as ‘weapon’

A White House official has accused Russia of using energy as a weapon after it stopped exporting gas to Europe through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline that is connected to Germany.

The official said that US sanctions on Moscow do not prevent the major supply route to Europe from operating.

It comes after Russia blamed sanctions by “the collective West” for the problems in gas supply.

On Friday, the Kremlin said Nord Stream 1 will be closed indefinitely as sanctions on Russia hindered state-owned company Gazprom from maintaining the pipeline.

The unidentified US official said: “Russia is using energy as a weapon and it is choosing to shut down the pipeline.

“The US and Europe have been collaborating to ensure sufficient supplies are available. As a result of these efforts, European gas storage will be full by the critical winter heating season. We have more work to do.”


Russia sentences journalist Ivan Safronov to 22 years in prison

A Russian court today sentenced a former journalist to 22 years in prison for treason.

Prosecutors accused Ivan Safronov of disclosing state secrets about Russia’s arms sales in the Middle East to the Czech Republic’s foreign intelligence arm.

His supporters said the ruling was a harsh punishment that underlined the lack of press freedom in Russia.

Mr Safronov, a former defence reporter for the Kommersant and Vedomosti newspapers turned adviser to the head of Russia’s space agency, was arrested in 2020 and accused of disclosing classified information.

Ivan Safronov in court on 16 July 2020

(Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP)

His lawyers said they would appeal the verdict. His supporters say the case is retribution for his reporting which exposed details of Russia’s international arms deals.

Human rights lawyer Pavel Chikov said the sentence was a “savage, demonstratively cruel punishment, corresponding to the current state of Russia.”

He said he could not find any examples of any treason cases leading to such a lengthy sentence, let alone against a journalist.

Mr Safronov has denied the charges and last month rejected a plea deal that would have seen him serve a 12-year prison sentence.


‘Winter is coming,’ Iran taunts Europe amid energy crisis

Iran has poked fun at Europe over its worsening energy crisis by quoting the Game of Thrones catchphrase “winter is coming” after Russia further reduced gas exports to the continent.

Tehran, with its tongue firmly in its cheek, offered the prospect of Iranian gas exports if a nuclear deal with Western powers is restored and sanctions are scrapped.

Read the full story here by international correspondent Borzou Daragahi


Russian occupiers’ referendum in Kherson postponed over security fears

Russia-appointed officials in the Kherson region of southern Ukraine have postponed a referendum on joining Russia on security grounds.

The referendum is being “paused” because of security concerns – said Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the Russian-appointed administration.

Recently, the Ukrainian army has shelled the Antonovskiy Bridge and vehicles can no longer cross the Dnipro river.

Footage on social media shows the bridge coming under fire with the use of HIMARS rocket-launching systems.

Speaking on Russian state TV, Mr Stremousov said barges transporting civilians across the river were also coming under Ukrainian fire.

Ukraine’s deputy PM Iryna Vereshchuk urged civilians to leave Kherson as combat intensifies in the region.

She has also warned that anyone who votes in the Russian referendum is liable to face prosecution by Ukraine.


ICYMI: Russia says relations with UK could get worse as Liz Truss elected PM

Russia said it could not rule out the possibility that the country’s dire relations with Britain would get even worse under new prime minister Liz Truss.

Before Ms Truss was announced to be Boris Johnson’s successor, the Kremlin dismissed any suggestion that relations with the UK would improve under her or her rival Rishi Sunak’s leadership.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was asked by reporters if Moscow expected a change in its relations with the UK – to which he said: “I wouldn’t like to say that things can change for the worse because it’s hard to imagine anything worse.

“But unfortunately, this cannot be ruled out, given that the contenders for the post of British prime minister competed with each other in anti-Russian rhetoric, in threats to take further steps against our country, and so on.

“Therefore, I don’t think that we can hope for anything positive.”

Read the full story here by foreign editor David Harding


‘Russia could send more gas via other pipelines but is choosing not to’ – EU

Russia could send more gas to Europe through other routes to compensate for the closure of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, but Moscow is choosing not to do this, a European Commission spokesman said today.

“If there was a technical problem which was impeding supplies via Nord Stream 1, there would be a possibility, if there was willingness, to deliver gas to Europe through other pipelines,” the spokesman said.

“That’s something we’re not seeing happening.”

The spokesman added that this behaviour was proof of Russia “weaponising” its gas supplies to Europe. Russian gas giant Gazprom has blamed the Nord Stream 1 closure on Western sanctions and technical issues.

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