Moscow reiterates its nuclear threats on the last day of annexation votes in Ukraine | War in Ukraine

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Moscow reiterates its nuclear threats on the last day of annexation votes in Ukraine | War in Ukraine

City employee votes in referendum on secession of Zaporizhia region from Ukraine and joining Russia , in Melitopol, a city under Russian control, on September 26, 2022.

Russia again threatened to use nuclear weapons on Tuesday, on the last day of annexation referendums it is organizing in four regions of Ukraine, denounced as “simulacra” by kyiv and its allies.

The former president and number two of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev assured that Moscow will defend these new territories which it intends to incorporate into the #x27;outcome of these elections, including with strategic nuclear weapons.

I will repeat it one more time for deaf ears […]: Russia has the right to use nuclear weapons if necessary, he added.

Asked if these statements represented the official position of the Kremlin, its spokesman Dmitry Peskov recalled the Russian military doctrine, which provides for the possibility of nuclear strikes if territories considered Russian by Moscow are attacked.

However, after the referendums, in these territories, there will be cardinal changes from the legal point of view, from the point of view of international law and because of all the respective consequences [of the measures taken] to ensure security, indicated Ms. .Peskov.

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These nuclear threats, which are taken seriously in the West, come on the last day of annexation votes organized by Moscow in the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk (east) and those under Russian occupation of Kherson and Zaporizhia (south). The results could be announced as early as Tuesday evening or Wednesday.

These elections, organized in an emergency in the face of the success of the Ukrainian counter-offensive launched in early September, follow the pattern of the annexation of Crimea in 2014.

These five regions represent just over 20% of the surface of Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin assured Tuesday that these votes were aimed at saving the local populations, Moscow justifying its invasion by accusing kyiv of Nazism and of orchestrating an alleged genocide of Russian speakers.

Countries of the G7 have vowed never to recognize their results, while Washington has promised a harsh response through additional economic sanctions.

The EU considers these referendums illegal and all those who participated in their organization will be sanctioned, said the spokesman for the head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell. Even China, Russia's main partner, has made criticisms without going so far as to denounce them.

The authorities put in place by Moscow in the areas to be annexed have assured for their part that provisional results should be announced no earlier than Tuesday evening or in the days that follow. The Russian Parliament will then have to vote on a text formalizing the integration of the four regions into Russia.

What do we expect from this event? Stability, economic stability and confidence in the future, said the leader of the Luhansk separatists, Leonid Passechnik.

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, was she in kyiv on Tuesday in support of Ukraine to meet President Volodymyr Zelensky in particular.

At the same time, Russia continues to mobilize its reservists to recruit 300,000 fighters for its invasion of Ukraine, seeking relief from the counter-offensive of Ukrainian troops who have, strong deliveries of Western weapons , recaptured thousands of square kilometers of territory in early September.

This recruitment campaign, carried out at times in a chaotic manner, has pushed many Russians to leave the country, an exodus confirmed on Tuesday by two neighbors of the country, Georgia and Kazakhstan, while an influx is also observed at the borders from Mongolia and Finland.

Georgia has reported 10,000 Russians crossing the border every day since the mobilization was announced. Kazakhstan has reported 98,000 Russian citizens who have arrived since September 21.

I'm not cannon fodder, I'm not a murderer, Nikita, a 23-year-old Russian boy who passed through the Georgian side at the Kazbegi border post, told AFP.

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has promised to protect Russians fleeing to Kazakhstan, Russia's traditional ally, but which has distanced itself from the invasion of Ukraine.

On the ground in Ukraine on Tuesday, kyiv claimed new territorial gains with the capture of the localities of Borivshchyna, on the left bank of the Oskil River in the Kharkiv region, as well as the Kupinask-Vouzlovy logistics and railway hub.

Moscow for its part continued to claim to inflict heavy losses on its adversary.

In recent days, Russian attacks by drones from Iranian manufacturing intensified, especially above Odessa, a major port on the Black Sea, where two suicide bombers hit military infrastructure on Monday, causing a major fire and detonations of ammunition.

On the economic side of the war, the Nord Stream gas pipelines built to deliver Russian gas to Europe have been hit by unexplained leaks reported by the Nordic countries. The Kremlin said it was extremely concerned, saying it did not rule out any hypothesis, including that of sabotage.

If these two tubes did not work, one for technical reasons invoked by Russia, the other due to European sanctions, they were still filled with gas.

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