Russia-Ukraine war: List of key events, day 219

Here is the situation as it stands on Friday, September 30.

Annexation

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin took the intermediary step of signing decrees declaring the “independence” of the partially occupied Ukrainian regions of Kherson and Zaporizhia.
  • The two regions are set to be incorporated into Russia along with the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk at a lavish ceremony in the Kremlin.
  • Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the president would sign the accession documents in an ornate Kremlin hall and give a speech. A pop concert is planned on Red Square.
  • The United Nations chief said on Thursday the annexation of the Ukrainian regions would be a “dangerous escalation”.
  • “Any decision to proceed with the annexation of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia regions of Ukraine would have no legal value and deserves to be condemned,” Antonio Guterres told reporters.

Fighting

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy promised a strong response to the annexations and summoned his defence and security chiefs for an emergency meeting.
  • In the United States, Democratic and Republican lawmakers denounced the annexation plan and said they wanted to continue the flow of money and weapons to Ukraine.
  • More than half of Russians felt fearful or anxious after hearing that the Kremlin was drafting hundreds of thousands of people to fight in Ukraine, according to a poll released by the independent Levada Centre.

Sanctions

  • Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska was charged with violating US sanctions imposed after Russia invaded Ukraine, federal prosecutors said.
  • Separately, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen proposed an eighth package of sanctions against Russia. It includes punitive measures on trade and Russian oil.
  • “We propose sweeping new import bans on Russian products. This will keep Russian products out of the European market and deprive Russia of an additional 7 billion euros [$6bn] in revenues,” von der Leyen said.
  • Finland has closed its border to Russian tourists following a surge in arrivals after Moscow’s recent mobilisation order. From Friday, Russian tourists holding a European Union Schengen visa will not be allowed in the country unless they enter for work, study and family visits.

Gas leak

  • The cause of the damage to the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines under the Baltic Sea – built to carry Russian gas to Europe, though already shut – has not yet been found. Sweden’s coastguard said it found a fourth leak.
  • Western countries said the pipelines were sabotaged while stopping short of openly ascribing blame. Russia, which has denied involvement, said it looked like acts of state-sponsored “terrorism” and that the United States stood to gain. Washington has denied any involvement.
  • US defence chief Lloyd Austin said it was too soon to speculate who might have been behind the pipeline ruptures.
  • The NATO military alliance also called the pipeline leaks sabotage and said it would respond robustly to any deliberate attempt to target the infrastructure of its members.

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