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UKRAINE UPDATE: 29 SEPTEMBER 2022

EU announces new sanctions to target Russia; Putin’s draft order sparks exodus

EU announces new sanctions to target Russia; Putin’s draft order sparks exodus
Russian conscripted men say goodbye to relatives at a recruiting office during Russia's partial military mobilisation in Moscow, Russia, 27 September 2022. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Yuri Kochetkov)

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced an eighth package of sanctions that will target Russia over its attempt to annex more territory in Ukraine. The measures will include a price cap on Russian oil exports. ‘We intend to make the Kremlin pay [for this further escalation],’ she said.

European allies were considering how to respond to a disruption of the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline as Russia threatened to cut off the last gas supplies to them via Ukraine. Jens Stoltenberg, secretary-general of the Nato military alliance, said after meeting Danish Defence Minister Morten Bodskov that they discussed “the protection of critical infrastructure.”

Western accusations that Russia sabotaged the Nord Stream pipeline system were “rather expected” and also “stupid” and “absurd,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call.  

Key developments 

On the ground

Russia pounded Ukraine’s second largest city Kharkiv on Tuesday evening, the regional governor, Oleh Synyehubov, said on Telegram, adding that there were no casualties according to preliminary information. Air-defence forces shot down Russian missiles in the Mykolaiv, Odesa and Dnipropetrovsk regions, the Ukrainian military’s southern command said on Facebook. 

Ukrainian troops repelled Russian attacks near eight settlements, Ukraine’s General Staff reported in its morning update. The Washington-based Institute for the Study of War said in its latest report that Ukrainian forces had consolidated positions on the eastern bank of the Oskil river and advanced further on the outskirts of Lyman in the Donetsk region, while continuing to target Russian supply lines as part of a southern counteroffensive. 

Putin’s draft order sparks exodus of Russians 

At least 200,000 Russians left the country after President Vladimir Putin’s mobilisation order in a dash for safety that’s causing turmoil at the borders and stirring fears in neighbouring states about potential instability from the influx.

While Russia hasn’t released official data, statistics from Georgia, Kazakhstan and the European Union showed the scale of the departures amid fears among conscription-age men that the Kremlin may close the border for them. The total is likely to be an underestimate as other nearby countries popular with Russians including Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey haven’t disclosed arrival figures.

Read More: Putin’s draft order sends 200,000 Russians fleeing to the border

Scholz rejects Russia’s ‘pretend referenda’  

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz held another telephone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and reiterated that the government in Berlin would “never recognise” the results of what he called “pretend referenda” in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine.

Scholz “stressed that Germany would not stop providing concrete political, financial and humanitarian support to Ukraine, as well as in the defence of its sovereignty and territorial integrity, including with weapons supplies”, according to an emailed statement from his spokesperson.

 

 

 

EU announces new sanctions package against Russia 

The European Union proposed a new round of sanctions targeting Russia after Moscow announced a partial mobilisation and staged widely condemned referendums on annexations in Ukrainian territory it’s occupying.

In addition to imposing a price cap on Russian oil, the measures will include an import ban on Russian products that will deprive Moscow of €7-billion in revenue as well as export restrictions on aviation products, electronic components and chemical substances, Von der Leyen told reporters in Brussels. 

Sanctions need to be approved unanimously by the EU’s 27 member states before they can be imposed.

Read more: EU plans new Russia import bans, tech curbs over Putin land grab 

Lithuania to mull over further security measures for infrastructure  

Lithuania, which stepped up security for its strategic energy infrastructure in February when Russia invaded Ukraine, said the government would discuss whether additional measures were needed following the Nord Stream disruption. Energy Minister Dainius Kreivys said consultations would be held with the defence ministry and army officials. 

 

 

 

Kremlin rejects claims Russia sabotaged Nord Stream 

Spokesman Peskov said it was necessary to wait for an investigation to show whether “it was an explosion or a rupture”. He said Putin plans to meet with leaders of the occupied regions of Ukraine following the annexation votes, but declined to say when this would happen.

Zelensky wants preventive measures against annexation, nuclear blackmail 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, speaking to Harvard University students via video link, called for “preventive actions” — primarily sanctions — against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, attempts to annex territories and nuclear blackmail. 

“Russian propagandists say that they expect strikes and annexations not only in Ukraine but also in other countries — from Kazakhstan to the Baltic states, from Georgia to Moldova and Poland,” Zelensky said. “The Russian president is again saying that he wants to break the grain initiative, which provides food security for tens of millions of people,” Zelensky said, adding that Russia was doing all this because it sees a lack of preventive measures. 

Finland considers building fence on Russian border  

Finland’s Border Guard called for a fence to be built to secure the riskiest spots along the 1,300km border with Russia.

Finland should build as much as 260km of fence to help prevent potential uncontrolled mass-scale entry from the east, the Border Guard said in a press release. A physical barrier is “necessary” to slow and control any crowds, it said. The fence could cost “hundreds of millions of euros” with a final decision on funding resting with the government. DM

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