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7 mins ago
The Upper House of the Russian Parliament approves the accession of four Ukrainian regions, violating international law
By Anna Chernova, Radina Gigova
Legislators from the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation listen to the national anthem as they attend a session in Moscow, Russia, on Oct. 4.
(Photo: Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation/AP)
The Upper House of the Russian Parliament on Tuesday unanimously sanctioned the accession of four Ukrainian regions to Russia, violating international law.
The Federation Council approved the constitutional laws on the illegal annexation of the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), the Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) and the Kherson and Zaporizhia regions.
The lower house, the State Duma, also voted unanimously to authorize the illegal annexation on Monday, the Russian state news agency TASS reported.
The four accession documents - one for each region - will now go to the table of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
According to the laws, the residents of the new entities were recognized as Russian citizens from September 30, when the formal accession agreements between the Russian Federation and the four regions were signed in the St. George Hall of the Kremlin.
Following the results of the so-called referendums, Putin delivered a formal speech at Friday's ceremony, declaring that the millions of people living in the four regions would be Russian citizens "forever."
Annexation fails to hide the gulf between what Putin wants and what his forces can sustain
Russian-backed leaders have held votes in all four regions in recent weeks.
The votes are illegal under international law and were rejected by Kyiv and Western leaders as a "farce".
Residents of the new regions can acquire Russian citizenship by filing applications and taking an oath as Russian citizens, according to TASS.
According to the laws, the DPR and the LPR will maintain their status as republics after their accession to Russia and Russian will be their official language.
The Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions will also join Russia as constituent entities and will continue to be called "regions," TASS reported.
The borders of the republics and regions will be the same as they existed on the day of their creation and accession to Russia, and their borders with other countries will be considered as the state borders of Russia, according to TASS.
The DPR and LPR join Russia under the 2014 borders outlined in their "constitutions," according to TASS.
The moves in the Russian parliament contradict the state of the war on the ground in Ukraine, where Kyiv has scored sweeping victories in the country's east and south and forced Moscow to withdraw from several positions in areas the Kremlin has declared annexation.
10 mins ago
Elon Musk provokes the reaction of the Ukrainian authorities with an unsolicited "peace" plan
By Catherine Thorbecke
Elon Musk on Monday drew backlash from Ukrainian officials, including President Volodymyr Zelensky, for his unsolicited advice on how to achieve "peace" amid Russia's ongoing invasion of the country.
In a Twitter poll, Musk suggested a path to "peace between Ukraine and Russia" that included holding elections again "under UN supervision" in regions of the country recently illegally annexed by Russia.
The land grab, which covers nearly a fifth of Ukraine, followed referendums that have been widely dismissed as "sham" by much of the world.
Tesla's billionaire CEO also suggested making Crimea, a region Russia invaded and annexed from Ukraine in 2014, "formally part of Russia."
He added: "Crimea's water supply is assured" and "Ukraine remains neutral."
- Redo elections of annexed regions under UN supervision.
Russia leaves if that is will of the people.
- Crimea formally part of Russia, as it has been since 1783 (until Khrushchev's mistake).
- Water supply to Crimea assured.
- Ukraine remains neutral.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 3, 2022
Ukraine and most of the world reject any implication of Russian sovereignty over the regions it has invaded, and Ukraine has promised to take back its territory.
"It started in Crimea, and it will end in Crimea, and this will be an effective revival of the international legal order," Zelensky told the Crimean Platform summit in August.
Zelensky has consistently maintained that Ukraine will not cede any territory to Russia.
The majority of those polled on Twitter voted "No" in response to Musk's poll.
In a subsequent tweet, Musk appeared to blame these results on a "bot attack."
14 mins ago
Ukrainian forces advance in Luhansk region, say pro-Russian officials
Ukrainian soldiers ride a tank in Ukraine on September 17.
(Photo: Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images)
After retaking Ukraine's key eastern city of Lyman over the weekend, Ukrainian forces continued their counter-offensive and have pushed deeper into the Luhansk region, according to pro-Russian officials and propagandists.
"The Ukrainian Armed Forces managed to cross the administrative border of the LPR and gain a foothold in the direction of the Lisychansk settlement," Andrey Marochko, a military leader of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic (LPR), said on Telegram on Monday.
Russia controls almost the entire Ukrainian region of Luhansk;
Ukrainian forces liberated the town of Bilohorivka in late September.
Ukrainian forces continued their offensive towards the Russian-occupied towns of Svatove and Kreminna in the Luhansk region, according to a pro-Russian journalist, military blogger and analyst.
"Given the threat that hangs over our group in the Borova settlement area, it has been decided to withdraw it to the Zherebets river line, which has been done tonight," Yuriy Podolyaka wrote on Telegram.
"In the Kreminna area, the enemy is also not particularly active today, but the concentration of troops suggests that any day a new offensive should start in this direction (towards Svatove and Kreminna)," he said.
Kyiv is now advancing towards the Luhansk region, according to the military representative of the so-called People's Militia of the Luhansk People's Republic.
"Now the Ukrainian media have begun to very actively share the information that the Armed Forces of Ukraine have crossed the administrative border of the LPR, and they are happy," Andrey Marochko was quoted by the Luhansk Media Center as saying. .
"But in reality, now there are no administrative borders for the military, in fact, the Ukrainian troops entered the "pocket of fire" and are actively being destroyed by our troops."
16 mins ago
Ukraine makes new gains in south, including capturing city on Dnipro river bank, Ukrainian official says
By Olga Voitovych, Mick Krever
Ukrainian forces made new gains in the south of the country, gaining ground towards the occupied city of Kherson and capturing the town of Zolota Balka on the west bank of the Dnipro River, according to a regional official and a pro-Russian military blogger.
"Our Armed Forces are strongly advancing right along the Dnipro bank, closer to Berislav," Serhii Khlan, adviser to the head of the military administration of Ukraine's Kherson region, told a news conference.
The head of the Russian-appointed administration in Kherson, for his part, acknowledged that Ukrainian forces were advancing along the Dnipro River.
"What can I say, my friends?" Kirill Stremousov said on Telegram.
"The Nazi forces advanced a bit more, but our defense is working."
"We are repelling all attacks and, to be fair, those panicking on social media today need to pause. This is not Kharkiv, this is not Lyman. We are holding our lines of defence."
Boris Rozhin, a Russian military blogger, said that Russian forces were trying to contain Ukraine's offensive.
"There are artillery duels between Zolota Balka and Dudchan," he said on Telegram.
"The Ukrainian Armed Forces are equipping the fortresses in the occupied positions.
war in ukraine