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US warns of catastrophic consequences if Russia uses nuclear weapons in Ukraine

Sunday’s (25 September) warning by the United States was issued after Russia’s foreign minister stated that regions with widely criticized referendums would be granted full protection if Moscow annexes them.

Votes were held in four regions of eastern Ukraine for a third time, with the aim to annexe territory Russia had taken forcefully. Within days, the Russian parliament could formalize the annexation.

Moscow could use the Luhansk and Donetsk areas, Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson to incorporate them into Russia to portray attempts to retake them, as an attack on Russia and a warning to Kyiv, its Western allies.

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan stated that the United States would respond to any Russian use of nuclear weapons against Ukraine. He also warned Moscow of the “catastrophic” consequences.

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Sullivan said that Russia crossing this line will have catastrophic consequences for Russia on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ television program. “The United States will react decisively.”

This latest US warning came after a vaguely-veiled nuclear threat that President Vladimir Putin made on Wednesday (21 September). Putin stated that Russia would use all weapons to defend its territory.

After a speech to UN General Assembly, Sergei Lavrov made this point at a news conference. He repeated Moscow’s false claims that the invaders invading Kyiv had legitimately installed a neo Nazi government and was illegitimate.

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Lavrov answered that Russia could use nuclear weapons to defend annexed areas if it had the right.

Liz Truss, the British prime minister, said that Britain and its allies should not listen to threats from Putin. She called it a strategic error because he hadn’t anticipated the strength of West’s reaction.

Truss stated that we shouldn’t listen to his sabre-rattling or his bogus threats in a CNN interview on Sunday.

“We should continue to place sanctions on Russia and support the Ukrainians.”

The referendums were dismissed by Ukraine and its allies as a fraud designed to justify an escalation in the war and a mobilization drive by Moscow following recent battlefield losses.

Russian news agencies reported that unidentified sources claimed that the Russian parliament could discuss bills to include the new territories as early as Thursday. State-run RIA Novosti stated that Putin could address the parliament on Friday (30 September).

Russia claims that the referendums, which were organized quickly after Ukraine retook territory in a counteroffensive earlier this month, allow people living in these regions to voice their opinions.

The Luhansk regional governor stated that Russian-backed officials went door to door carrying ballot boxes. If residents did not vote correctly, their names were removed.

In an online interview, Serhiy Gaidai, Luhansk Governor, said that a woman was walking down the street carrying what appears to be a karaoke mic and asking everyone to participate in the referendum.

“Representatives from the occupation forces are moving from apartment to apartment with ballot box. It is a secret ballot.”

The area controlled by Russian forces in these four regions is approximately 15% of Ukraine. It is roughly equal to Portugal. This would increase Crimea, which Russia claims it annexed in 2014.

Some territory remains under Ukrainian control in each region, including around 40% of Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk’s provincial capital. The fighting was intense along the entire front, particularly in northern Donetsk as well as in Kherson.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy insists that Ukraine will regain its entire territory. He said that some clashes had produced “positive results” for Kyiv.

“This is the Donetsk area, this is our Kharkiv Region. He said this in nightly video comments.

The general staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces stated that Russia had launched four missiles and seven air strikes, and 24 instances, of shelling, on targets in Ukraine over the past 24 hours. This included dozens of villages in and around Donetsk, Kherson, and other regions.

Reuters was unable to independently verify the accounts.

RUSSIA PROTESTS OVER DRAFT

Putin directed Russia’s first military mobilization after World War Two on Wednesday. This order sparked protests in Russia and many military-age men fled.

Two of Russia’s most powerful lawmakers addressed a series of mobilization complaints on Sunday (25 September), directing regional officials to quickly resolve “excesses” that were igniting public anger.

According to OVD-Info, more than 2,000 people were detained in Russia for protests against draft laws. Demonstrations are among the first signs that discontent has been shown in Russia since the beginning of the war, even though criticism is prohibited.

At least 100 people were detained after clashes between police and protesters in the Dagestan region of southern Russia, which is Muslim-majority.

Zelenskiy acknowledged protests in his video address.

He said: “Keep fighting so your children won’t be sent to their death – all those who can be drafted through this criminal Russian mobilization.”

“Because you will come to take the lives of our children, and I am speaking as a father, we will not allow you get away with it.”

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