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Heavy fighting as Russian referendums enter last day – follow live


Ukraine war: Putin’s proposed referendums are ‘sham,’ says James Cleverly

Ukrainian and Russian forces were locked in heavy fighting in different parts of Ukraine as Moscow-backed referendums in four regions entered its last day.

Nearly four million people in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, are being asked to participate in referendums on joining Russia as Ukraine and western nations dismissed it as a sham.

None of the provinces are fully under Moscow’s control and fighting has been underway, with Ukrainian forces reporting more advances since they routed Russian troops in a fifth province, Kharkiv, earlier this month.

There were clashes in the Kharkiv region in the northeast, with Ukrainian Armed Force’s southern command saying that its counter-offensive in Kherson resulted in enemy losses of 77 servicemen, six tanks, five howitzers, three anti-aircraft installations and 14 armoured vehicles.

Meanwhile, Russia’s call-up of some 300,000 reservists has been the first sustained protest since the invasion began, with one monitoring group estimating at least 2,000 people to have been arrested so far. All public criticism of Russia’s “special military operation” is banned.

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Heavy fighting as annexation vote in Ukraine enters final day

Ukrainian and Russian forces were locked in heavy fighting in different parts of Ukraine today as Russian-organised referendums in four regions Moscow hopes to annex drew to a close.

Moscow hopes to annex the provinces of Kherson, Luhansk, Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia, in the east and south, which make up about 15 per cent of Ukraine.

None of the provinces are fully under Moscow’s control and fighting has been underway along the entire front line, with Ukrainian forces reporting more advances since they routed Russian troops in a fifth province, Kharkiv, earlier this month.

A Ukrainian serviceman examines a rifle of a fallen soldier of the National Guard of Ukraine found at military positions near the village of Dementiivka, Kharkiv region, on 26 September 2022

(AFP via Getty Images)

Russian president Vladimir Putin has issued a veiled threat to use nuclear weapons to protect Russian soil, which would include the four provinces if annexed.

Voting on whether to join Russia began on Friday in the regions and is due to end on Tuesday, with the Russian parliament possibly approving the annexation within days.

Kyiv and the west have dismissed the referendums as a sham and pledged not to recognise the results.

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Welcome to The Independent’s blog on the war in Ukraine for Tuesday, 27 September 2022.


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