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Ukraine news latest: Finland shuts off border to Russian tourists as Kremlin to annex four occupied areas tomorrow

-Zelensky defies Putin’s nuclear threat
- Russian man ‘breaks’ friend’s leg to avoid conscription
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MOSCOW will annex four Russia-occupied regions of Ukraine at a Kremlin ceremony tomorrow after Putin won so-called referendums.

The Russian leader will claim victory in the Ukrainian regions of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia following sham referendums over recent days.

Kremlin spokesman Dimitry Peskov said: "Tomorrow in the Georgian Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace at 15:00 (1200 GMT) a signing ceremony will take place on the incorporation of the new territories into Russia."

It comes as European countries will ramp up security around pipelines after the suspected sabotage of the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2.

World leaders have suggested the damage between Russia and Germany was deliberate, however Russia have not been blamed directly.

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

  • Louis Allwood

    Finland will close border to Russian tourists

    Russian tourists will be stopped from crossing the boarder into Finland from from midnight local time (9pm GMT).

    Those entering on family visits and those who are working and studying will still be allowed to travel however.

    The government said the move is expected to lead to a significant drop in cross-border traffic. 

    In the past couple of days there have been huge queues at the Russia-Finland border as many Russian try to flee following the military mobilisation announcement.

  • Louis Allwood

    Russia confirm ceremony tomorrow

    Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, has confirmed that Russian President Vladimir Putin will attend a ceremony in the Kremlin on Friday.

    The four regions of Ukraine controlled by Russian forces will be officially folded into Russia tomorrow.

    Mr Peskov told reporters that the heads of the four regions will sign treaties to join Russia during the ceremony.

  • Louis Allwood

    Putin to address Russian parliament on Friday

    According to the British Ministry of Defence, Putin will address the Russian parliament this Friday, where he will likely announce the formal accession of the captured Ukrainian territories.

    The MoD statement reads: “President Putin is scheduled to address both houses of the Russian parliament on Friday 30 September.

    “There is a realistic possibility that Putin will use his address to formally announce the accession of the occupied regions of Ukraine to the Russian Federation."

  • Louis Allwood

    NATO release statement after Nord Stream 'sabotage'

    There have been investigations ongoing to determine the cause of the Nord Stream gas line leaks.

    "All currently available information indicates that this is the result of deliberate, reckless, and irresponsible acts of sabotage," NATO said in a statement.

    "We, as Allies, have committed to prepare for, deter and defend against the coercive use of energy and other hybrid tactics by state and non-state actors.

    "Any deliberate attack against Allies' critical infrastructure would be met with a united and determined response," it said. 

  • Joseph Gamp

    Kremlin confirms Putin will hold signing ceremony on Friday

    Vladimir Putin will hold a signing ceremony in the Kremlin on Friday to add four territories of Ukraine into Russia, his spokesman said.

    Kremlin puppet Dmitry Peskov said a signing ceremony would take place at 3pm Moscow-time (12pm GMT) on Friday]

    Peskov also said the ceremony was taking place "on agreements on the accession of new territories into the Russian Federation."

    Agreements will be signed "with all four territories that held referendums and made corresponding requests to the Russian side," Peskov said.

    The votes were cast in the West as illegal and illegitimate.

  • Joseph Gamp

    BREAKING: Kremlin says 4 regions of Ukraine to be incorporated into Russia tomorrow

    The Kremlin says the four regions of Ukraine that held referendums on joining Russia will be incorporated into the country on Friday.

    Dmitry Peskov said that Russian President Vladimir Putin will attend a ceremony in the Kremlin at which they will be officially folded into Russia.

    Peskov told reporters Thursday that the heads of the four regions where the five-day voting wrapped up Tuesday will sign treaties to join Russia during Friday's ceremony at the Kremlins St. Georges Hall.

    Ukraine and the West have denounced the votes as a sham.

  • Louis Allwood

    Liz Truss spoke to Zelensky yesterday

    Prime Minister Liz Truss has spoken with Volodymyr Zelensky as Moscow looks set to annex occupied areas in Ukraine.

    Liz Truss also thanked him for helping secure the release of five British nationals & discussed ways to protect Ukraine's gas supplies.

  • Louis Allwood

    Liz Truss spoke to Zelensky yesterday

    Prime Minister Liz Truss has spoken with Volodymyr Zelensky as Moscow looks set to annex occupied areas in Ukraine.

    Liz Truss also thanked him for helping secure the release of five British nationals & discussed ways to protect Ukraine's gas supplies.

  • Louis Allwood

    Liz Truss blames Ukraine war for economy chaos

    Liz Truss blames the war in Ukraine for the British economy chaos.

    The PM said the situation in UK was caused by Putin's war in Ukraine..

    She told BBC Radio Norfolk: "As Prime Minister I have to do what I believe is right for the country and what's going to help move our country forward... what I think nobody is arguing with is that we had to take action to deal with what is a very, very difficult economic situation and this situation has been caused by Putin's appalling war in Ukraine."

  • Louis Allwood

    Moscow's Red Square giant video screens set up

    On Moscow's Red Square, a stage with giant video screens has been set up, with billboards proclaiming "Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson - Russia!"

    The head of the upper house of the Russian parliament said it could consider the incorporation of the four partially occupied regions on October 4.

  • Louis Allwood

    UK's Ministry of Defence release latest intelligence update

    The UK's Ministry of Defence have released their latest intelligence update this morning claiming that "there has been a considerable exodus of Russians seeking to evade call-up".

    The Ministry said: "In the seven days since President Putin announced the ‘partial mobilisation’ there has been a considerable exodus of Russians seeking to evade call-up. Whilst exact numbers are unclear, it likely exceeds the size of the total invasion force Russia fielded in February 2022.

    "The better off and well educated are over-represented amongst those attempting to leave Russia.

    "When combined with those reservists who are being mobilised, the domestic economic impact of reduced availability of labour and the acceleration of ‘brain drain’ is likely to become increasingly significant."

  • Louis Allwood

    Fourth Nord Stream pipeline leak discovered 

    A fourth gas leak on the damaged Nord Stream pipelines has been discovered by the Swedish coast guard.

    The suspected sabotage was a "premeditated act using underwater explosives" aiming to cripple Europe's gas supply, a defence source has claimed.

  • Louis Allwood

    Vladimir Putin’s puppet leaders demand areas ANNEXED

    Putin's separatist leaders demand that four Russian-held regions of Ukraine are annexed after gaining "99%" of the votes in "SHAM" referendums.

    Moscow-installed officials in the regions are now claiming almost total support among those who took part after Russian sources earlier reported that 99% of voters want to join Putin's regime.

    The ballots closed on Tuesday in Donetsk and Lugansk in the east and Kherson and Zaporizhzhia in the south, as Putin desperately attempts to consolidate his gains in Ukraine.

    President Zelensky has slammed the results of these so-called referendums, stating: “This farce in the occupied territory cannot even be called an imitation of referendums.”

    Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called on the EU to impose "extremely serious" sanctions on Russia.

  • Louis Allwood

    German navy is helping out with the investigation

    Germany's Defence Minister has confirmed that their navy is helping out with the investigation into the Nord Stream gas line leaks.

    Christine Lambrecht said that those involved with causing it to leak need to be identified.

    Lambrecht said in a statement: "The presumed sabotage of the Baltic Sea pipelines is yet another reminder that we are dependent on critical infrastructure, underwater too."

  • Louis Allwood

    Putin being watched 'more closely'

    One US official, who has access to intelligence on Moscow’s nuclear forces, told Politico: "We’re watching it more closely."

    There are other subtle signs Putin might be getting ready to hit the nuke button.

    Intelligence officers will be looking at whether units with the means of delivering small nukes start behaving unusually by pulling back some forces or equipment, but not others.

    "We might think, ‘huh that’s a little bit different from the way they normally operate," the official said.

    "They are sending in this one unit, but pulling everybody else back. That’s really different. That’s strange'."

  • Louis Allwood

    'Those responsible will be held fully accountable'

    The president of the European Council, Charles Michel, said that the Nordstream sabotage will need to face "thorough investigation".

    He said: "Nordstream sabotage acts appear to be an attempt to further destabilize energy supply to EU.

    "We need an urgent and thorough investigation.

    "Those responsible will be held fully accountable and made to pay.

    "Our efforts to diversify energy supply away from Russian gas continue."

  • Louis Allwood

    Russia claims to have won 'sham referendums'

    Putin's puppet officials declared 99.23 per cent approval after all votes were counted in Donetsk, in the far east, while the figure was 98.42 per cent in neighbouring Luhansk.

    In the southern region of Kherson - where there has been a major fightback in recent weeks - officials claimed 87.05 per cent voted to join Russia.

    And in Zaporizhzhia some 93 per cent of residents were allegedly in favour.

  • Zelensky vows Ukraine will retake land

    In an address shortly after results from the sham votes were released, Zelensky said: "We will act to protect our people: both in the Kherson region, in the Zaporizhia region, in the Donbass, in the currently occupied areas of the Kharkiv region, and in the Crimea.

    "This farce in the occupied territory cannot even be called an imitation of referendums.

    "And as for the front, I will say it briefly and for now without details, although they will be good: we are moving forward and liberating our land"

  • Ukraine's MoD confirm '400 Russians eliminated'

    Ukraine's Ministry of Defence have released their latest figures on Russian losses.

    A further 400 Russian troops have been eliminated according to Ukrainian officials taking the total to 58,150.

    They have also lost a further six tanks and eight armoured vehicles.

  • Ukraine 'is winning' this war

    Zelensky has confirmed that Kozacha Lopan has been "liberated" during Ukraine's counteroffensive.

    He added that "dark times" are now behind the loacals of Kozacha Lopan.

    Zelensky said: "Story of one of the front-line villages: Kozacha Lopan. It has been occupied in first hours of Russian invasion and liberated only during Kharkiv counteroffensive.

    "Dark times are behind for locals, Ukraine is winning, freedom is everything."

  • Russian state TV warns defectors of traps

    Since Vladimir Putin mobilised 300,000 troops, many Russian men have been fleeing the country in fear of conscription.

    There have been reports of protests and violent demonstrations, including one man who set himself on fire and nearly 3,000 arrests.

    The Daily Beast's Julia Davis tweeted how Russian propaganda TV has warned the state will be planning "various traps" to capture those attempting to evade conscription.

  • New Italian prime minister pledges support to Ukraine

    Ukraine can count on the support of Italy's new government, Giorgia Meloni said in a message to President Volodymyr Zelensky.

    "You know that you can count on our loyal support for the cause of freedom of Ukrainian people. Stay strong and keep your faith steadfast!" Meloni tweeted in English late Tuesday.

    She was responding to a message sent by Zelensky congratulating her on her Brothers of Italy party's historic victory in general elections on Sunday.

    "We appreciated Italy's constant support for Ukraine in the fight against Russian aggression. We are counting on a productive partnership with the new Italian government," he had tweeted in Italian.

  • Ukraine says it will 'never agree to Russian ultimatums'

    Ukraine has blasted Russian-staged votes in four Ukrainian regions on becoming part of Russia as"null and worthless".

    Kyiv said it would press on with efforts to liberate Ukrainian territory occupied by Russian forces.

    Urging its international partners to impose tough new sanctions on Moscow and provide Kyiv with more military aid, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said in a statement: "Ukraine will never agree to any ultimatums."

  • Kyiv urges 'significant' military aid boost after annexation votes

    Kyiv is urging the West to "significantly" increase its military aid to Ukraine after pro-Kremlin authorities in four Moscow-held regions of Ukraine declared victory in annexation votes.

    The foreign ministry said in a statement: "Ukraine calls on the EU, NATO and the Group of Seven to immediately and significantly increase pressure on Russia, including by imposing tough sanctions and significantly increase their military aid to Ukraine."

  • Kremlin plans to complete annexations in the 'nearest future'

    Following the conclusions of "sham" referendums across Ukraine, the Kremlin plans to fulfil its "aspirations" of annexation very soon.

    "In the nearest future, a crucial stage lies ahead in our joint actions to fulfil the aspirations of the residents (of the four regions) to be together with Russia," Russia’s foreign ministry said.

    Russia is claiming that over 99% of occupied Ukrainians voted to join Putin's regime, a figure widely dismissed by western leaders.