Ukraine Daily Summary - Friday, September 23

Russian fleeing mobilization could apply for asylum in Germany -- Russian government plans to mobilize 1 million people against Ukraine -- Russian troops stage 'terrorist attack' in Melitopol to blame Ukraine -- Putin gives directions to generals in the field himself -- Slovak Defense Ministry: Mobilization will lead to Putin's end -- and more

Ukraine Daily

Friday, September 23

Russia’s war against Ukraine


Svitlana, 60, cries after fleeing the front lines of Kupiansk and losing her home to shelling, on board a refugee bus headed to Kharkiv on September 22, 2022 in the Kharkiv region, Ukraine. In recent weeks, Ukrainian forces have reclaimed villages east and south of Kharkiv, as Russian forces have withdrawn from areas they’ve occupied since early in the war. (Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

Zelensky: Russia’s mobilization is admission of failure. President Volodymyr Zelensky called on Russians to “protest, fight back, run away or surrender to Ukraine,” in his daily address. “You are already complicit in all these crimes, murders, and torture of Ukrainians because you remain silent. It’s time for you to choose, for men to choose to die or to live,” Zelensky said.

Poll: Most Ukrainians don’t want to permanently move to US, EU. Asked if they would permanently move to the European Union or the U.S. if they were granted citizenship there without conditions, 91% of Ukrainians said “no,” according to a recent poll by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology. In October 2020, 69% said “no.”

Novaya Gazeta: Russian government plans to mobilize 1 million people against Ukraine. The seventh paragraph of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decree on mobilization, intended for internal use, states that up to one million people can be drafted into the army, Russian media Novaya Gazeta reported on Sept. 22, citing unnamed sources in the Kremlin. “They changed the figure several times and eventually settled on a million,” the source said.

Mayor: Russian troops stage ‘terrorist attack’ in Melitopol to blame Ukraine. Russian forces have staged a “terrorist attack,” setting off an explosion in central Melitopol, Zaporizhzhia Oblast, to accuse Ukraine of launching terror attacks before a pseudo-referendum there, Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov reported on Sept. 22. Three Russian soldiers were killed as a result of the explosion; casualties among civilians are to be clarified, according to Fedorov.

Kuleba: France, Ukraine working on new Caesar howitzers delivery. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba met with his French counterpart Catherine Colonna on Sept. 22 to discuss a wide range of topics, including support for Ukraine and the shipment of additional arms.

Blinken: Russia ‘shredded’ international order, can’t get away with it. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sept. 22 during a UN meeting that the world “can’t let President (Vladimir) Putin get away with (war).” He added that “wherever the Russian tide recedes, we’ve discovered the horror that’s left in its wake,” referring to Bucha, Irpin, and Izium, where torture chambers and mass graves have been discovered.

ISW: Kremlin likely downplays prisoner swap with Ukraine. The Institute for the Study of War reports that an unexpected prisoner swap which was announced the same day as partial mobilization, is “deeply unpopular” among Russian nationalists and military bloggers. The Kremlin exchanged 215 Ukrainian prisoners of war, including captured foreign nationals and some of the members of the National Guard’s Azov regiment. The experts noted that far-right Russian military bloggers criticized the exchange and asked if the Kremlin had given up on the ”de-Nazification” of Ukraine, one of the stated goals of the Russian February invasion.

CNN: Putin gives directions to generals in the field himself. Two undisclosed sources told CNN that Russian President Vladimir Putin was giving tactical orders himself, hinting at a “dysfunctional command structure,” the U.S. media reported. Russian officers were heard complaining in intercepted conversations to friends and relatives about decision-making, CNN reported.

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Ukraine war latest: Kremlin plans to hastily annex occupied regions as Russians rush abroad in wake of mobilization. Russia’s hastily-planned sham “referendums” in occupied parts of eastern and southern Ukraine are set to start on Sept. 23, paving the way for illegal annexation.

Photo: Getty Images

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‘Rotterdam plus’ case reopened by top prosecutor. The infamous “Rotterdam plus” case is being reopened by Ukraine’s new top anti-corruption prosecutor.

Photo: Vincent Mundy/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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Mykolaiv theater lives on from bunker amid shelling. The bunker under the Mykolaiv academic theater was packed, with the last preparations well underway for an evening show 30 kilometers west of the front line.

Photo: Alexander Query

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The human cost of Russia’s war

Governor: 5 civilians killed, 12 injured in Donetsk Oblast on Sept. 21. Over the past day, Russian troops have killed two civilians in Kurakhove, one in Bakhmut, one in Avdiivka, one in Karlivka, and wounded 12 people in Donetsk Oblast, said Pavlo Kyrylenko, the oblast governor. Since Feb. 24, Russia has killed 873 civilians in Donetsk Oblast, not including Mariupol and Volnovakha.

Russia’s attacks kill 1 in Zaporizhzhia, 1 in Nikopol. In the past day, Russian forces have launched nine missiles on Zaporizhzhia, damaging infrastructure objects and residential buildings, one person has been killed, Zaporizhzhia Oblast Governor Oleksandr Starukh reported on Sept. 22. Russia has also shelled Nikopol, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, with a Grad multiple launch rocket system, damaging 17 houses and killing a man, according to Valentyn Reznichenko, the governor of this oblast.

Unexploded landmines wound 8 in Kharkiv Oblast. A 67-year-old resident of the village of Hrakove and a 52-year-old resident of the village of Chkalovske are among the wounded, the Kharkiv Oblast police reported.

Governor: Russia fires around 130 projectiles, injuring 4 civilians in Sumy Oblast. Sumy Oblast Governor Dmytro Zhyvytskyi reported that Russian forces shelled the communities of Shalyhyne, Velyka Pysarivka, Bilopillia, Krasnopillia, Znob-Novhorodske, Esman, Khotin, Yunakivka, Seredyna-Buda, and Myropillia. As a result of Russian shelling, four civilians were injured, and two dozen houses, two businesses, seven cars, a school, power lines, a kindergarten, and a cultural center were damaged, Zhyvytskyi reported. Fragments of Russian shells killed some chickens, he added.

Prosecutor General’s Office: Russian shelling of Toretsk kills 2 civilians, injures 6 on Sept. 22. According to Prosecutor General’s Office, Russian shells hit a two-story building, a shop, private houses and a car. As a result of the shelling, two civilians were killed, and six residents, including a 15-year-old girl, were wounded.

International response

Liz Truss: Putin’s nuclear threats will not work. U.K. Prime Minister Liz Truss, in her address to the U.N. General Assembly, called Vladimir Putin’s threats to use nuclear weapons “saber-rattling” and said “this will not work,” the Guardian reported on Sept. 22. Truss has encouraged the world leaders not to make any compromises in Russia’s favor, despite concerns about soaring energy prices.

Slovak Defense Ministry: Mobilization will lead to Putin’s end. Slovakia’s Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad has called Vladimir Putin’s address to the nation “pitiful” and said that mobilization “will end up in the overthrow of Putin as president of the Russian Federation,” Euractiv reported on Sept. 22. Nad also reacted to Russia’s plans to hold pseudo-referendums on occupied territories, saying they are “only a pretext for future Russian claims about Ukrainians attacking ‘Russian soil,’” reported Euractiv, citing the official.

G7 to react to sham referendums with new sanctions on Russia. The G7 nations will not recognize the pseudo-referendums that Russia is preparing to hold in the occupied territories of Ukraine, said German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Sept. 22. The G7 members will also “pursue further targeted sanctions” on Russia if the “referendums” take place, she said.

Finland seizes assets of Russian businessmen Arkady Volozh, gas tycoons Boris and Arkady Rotenberg. Finnish media Helsingin Sanomat reported that Finnish authorities seized the holdings of Russia’s largest technology company Yandex after the EU added the company’s founder and CEO Arkady Volozh to its sanctions list. Meanwhile, Russian oligarchs Boris and Arkady Rotenberg, close allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin, had extensive business interests in Finland. They had their assets seized by the state.

Kazakhstan won’t issue residency permits to Russians without Kremlin approval. Kazakhstan’s parliament speaker Maulen Ashimbaev said on Sept. 22 that the country wouldn’t deliver permanent residence permits to Russians without the Kremlin’s agreement. Some Russians began leaving for Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, and Kazakhstan, where Russians can enter without visas, after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced “partial mobilization” on Sept. 21.

Frankfurter Allgemeine: Russian fleeing mobilization could apply for asylum in Germany. Interior Ministry Nancy Faeser told the newspaper that Russians who oppose the regime and flee the country could be accepted as those running from “political persecution.” “As a rule, deserters threatened by severe repression receive international protection in Germany,” Faeser said, adding that granting asylum is a case-by-case decision.

Pentagon: Putin’s nuclear rhetoric will not affect aid to Ukraine. U.S. Defense Department press secretary Patrick Ryder said on Sept. 22 that Russia’s announcement would not influence the U.S. and its allies’ support for Ukraine. “We will continue to have those conversations, and we’ll continue to think through not only what they need in the medium to long term, but also what they need now,” Ryder said.

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Today’s Ukraine Daily was brought to you by Denys Krasnikov, Dinara Khalilova, Oleksiy Sorokin, Alexander Query, Olena Goncharova, and Anastasiya Gordiychuk.

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