Ukraine war news live updates: Zelensky demands ‘just punishment’ for Putin as hundreds arrested at Russia protests today

Full speech: Zelensky tells UN Ukraine is ready for ‘true, honest and fair peace’

Volodymyr Zelensky called for the “just punishment” of Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and torture and killing of hundreds of civilians, as he addressed the UN General Assembly late last night.

“A crime has been committed against Ukraine, and we demand just punishment. The crime was committed against our state borders. The crime was committed against the lives of our people. The crime was committed against the dignity of our women and men,” the Ukrainian wartime president said.

His video address came on the same day his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin ordered the mobilisation of Moscow’s reserve forces and threatened to use nuclear weapons.

Mr Zelensky called on the world leaders gathered at the UNGA to bring retribution against Russia for causing “catastrophic turbulence” to their own economies with its “illegal war”.

Meanwhile, police arrested more than 1,300 people at protests held across Russia in response to Mr Putin’s order for as many as 300,000 military reservists to prepare for service in his country’s struggling campaign against its neighbour.


Russia, Ukraine exchange around 300 prisoners

Officials in Russia and Ukraine successfully carried out a prisoner swap and exchanged around 300 people, out of which Kyiv received 215 fighters from key battles of Azov and Mariupol.

“We are bringing our people home. Exchange has just finished. Today we have 215 pieces of good news. 215!” announced Mr Zelensky in his late night address.

He lauded several fighters and said the country has received 188 “heroes” from the bloodied fight in Azovstal.

This is the largest prisoner swap carried out since the war began and also included 10 foreigners and commanders who prolonged Ukrainian defence in Mariupol before it fell to Russia.

“These are warriors of the national guard, our army, the navy, border guards, policemen, warriors of the territorial defence, employees of the security service of Ukraine and others,” Mr Zelensky said.


EU leaders to press more sanctions on Russia, send arms to Ukraine

EU foreign ministers are looking to launch fresh sanctions on Russia and boost weapon deliveries to Ukraine in response to Vladimir Putin’s order of the first wartime mobilisation since the Second World War.

A formal meeting will take place between the EU ministers next month where they are set to discuss the sanctions package and formalise the restrictions to be imposed on Moscow.

EU chief Josep Borrell said there will be “unanimous” support among the bloc for the upcoming measures.


Putin’s military mobilisation, nuke threat sign of failing Ukraine invasion – Trudeau

Vladimir Putin’s military mobilisation order and his nuclear threat confirm that Russia’s invasion in Ukraine is failing, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau said in New York where world leaders have gathered for the United Nations general assembly.

“Canada condemns Putin’s irresponsible escalation of the war, his partial military mobilisation, his nuclear threats, as well as Russia’s rushed referendums to try to annex parts of Ukraine are unacceptable,” Mr Trudeau said.

“Putin’s behaviour only goes to show that his invasion is failing,” he added.

The conscription order issued by the Russian leader was “a step closer to admitting what he has not wanted to admit to Russians … an example of things not going to his plan,” Mr Trudeau said.


Russia releases Ukrainian prisoners – Suspline

Russia has released some of the Ukrainian fighters it took prisoner after a protracted battle for the port city of Mariupol earlier this year, Ukrainian public broadcaster Suspline said on Wednesday.

Suspline, citing the Azov battalion unit that did much of the fighting, said an exchange had happened near the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv. It gave no details.

The Telegram account of Andriy Biletsky, original founder of the Azov battalion, showed him giving a victory sign with the caption “In service” as he held one of the captives. Reuters was not immediately able to verify when the photo had been taken.

Earlier in the day, Saudi Arabia said Russia had released 10 foreign prisoners of war captured in Ukraine following mediation by Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. Five British nationals were among the freed.


Putin makes nuclear threat to West

In a dramatic escalation of Russia’s war in Ukraine, Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilisation of military forces in a special address to the nation on Wednesday (David Harding writes).

Putin said members of the military reserve, some 300,000 people, especially those with experience of active duty, would be called up, a move which comes after Moscow has faced a number of military setbacks seven months after it invaded Ukraine.

And in an apparent threat to the West, he warned against “nuclear blackmail”, threatening to respond with the might of his own vast arsenal. He said he was not bluffing over using all the means at his disposal to protect Russia’s territory, in what appeared to be a veiled reference to Russia’s nuclear capability.

“We are talking about partial mobilisation, that is, only citizens who are currently in the reserve will be subject to conscription, and above all, those who served in the armed forces have a certain military speciality and relevant experience,” Putin said.

His address alarmed many across the world and caused thousands of Russians to try and flee the country.


Truss and Biden condemn Putin in first private meeting

Liz Truss and Joe Biden condemned Vladimir Putin’s recent statements on Ukraine and discussed energy security at a meeting at the UN in New York, a Downing Street spokesperson said.

In a statement following the pair’s first private meeting, the spokesperson said the leaders agreed Mr Putin’s belligerence showed “the need for allies to continue their economic and military support to Ukraine. The prime minister updated President Biden on her recent announcement that the UK will recommit to at least the same level of defensive support for Ukraine next year.

“Both leaders discussed the increased threat posed by autocracies to our values and the international system. The prime minister updated President Biden on the UK’s plans to update the Integrated Review to ensure the UK is fully equipped to tackle the evolving challenge from countries like China and Russia.

“The leaders stressed the need to end over-reliance on authoritarian states in terms of our energy, technology and manufacturing supply chains.

“They agreed to redouble bilateral efforts to reduce energy dependence on Russia and to increase the amount of renewable and other forms of energy flowing from democratic states. Both leaders reiterated their commitment to reaching net zero, and the UK outlined the UK’s plans to be a net energy exporter by 2040, in large part thanks to renewable energy.

“The prime minister and President Biden also discussed a number of global challenges which the UK and US are working closely together to resolve, including efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.”


Russian-backed forces release five Britons held captive, Truss says

Five British nationals captured in Ukraine and held by Russian-backed forces are being returned to their families, prime minister Liz Truss has revealed (Jane Dalton writes).

“Hugely welcome news that five British nationals held by Russian-backed proxies in eastern Ukraine are being safely returned, ending months of uncertainty and suffering for them and their families,” she tweeted.

Aiden Aslin, a British fighter who had been sentenced to death by a pro-Russian court, is among those freed, his MP Robert Jenrick said.

He tweeted: “Aiden’s return brings to an end months of agonising uncertainty for Aiden’s loving family in Newark who suffered every day of Aiden’s sham trial but never lost hope. As they are united as a family once more, they can finally be at peace.”

Mr Aslin, 28 moved to Ukraine in 2018 and later joined the nation’s armed forces.


Zelensky lays down red lines for peace deal with Russia

Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukrainian neutrality in the war with Russia was out of the question, as he laid down his red lines for a negotiated end to the conflict.

In a recorded address to the United Nations, the Ukrainian president said a crime had been committed against his nation and Kyiv wanted “just punishment” for Russia.

He presented what he said were five non-negotiable conditions for peace. These included punishment for Russian aggression, restoration of Ukraine’s security, and territorial integrity and security guarantees.

Zelensky addresses the UN on Wednesday



UK’s Cleverly to condemn Russian atrocities in meeting with Moscow’s top diplomat

Britain’s foreign secretary is to condemn Moscow’s atrocities in Ukraine when he meets his Russian counterpart for the first time at a New York summit tomorrow.

James Cleverly will face Sergei Lavrov on Thursday during a special meeting of the United Nations Security Council, where foreign ministers are due to discuss the war.

Mr Cleverly will commit to working with allies on holding Russia accountable and seeking justice for victims.

He will also argue that Moscow plans to fix the results of referendums on becoming parts of Russia due to be held in Russian-controlled regions in eastern and southern Ukraine.

Later on Thursday, Mr Cleverly will join a meeting focused on accountability for war crimes in Ukraine.

Cleverly meets US secretary of state Antony Blinken in New York



More than 1,300 arrests in Russian anti-mobilisation protests

Security forces detained more than 1,300 people in Russia at protests denouncing mobilisation, a rights group said, hours after Vladimir Putin ordered Russia’s first military draft since World War Two.

The independent OVD-Info protest monitoring group said that according to information it had collated from 38 Russian cities, more than 1,311 people had been held by late evening – including at least 502 in Moscow and 524 in St Petersburg, Russia’s second most populous city.

Unsanctioned rallies are illegal under Russia’s anti-protest laws. Russian Interior Ministry official Irina Volk, in a statement quoted by Russian news agencies, said police had cut short attempts to stage what it called small protests.

“In a number of regions, there were attempts to stage unauthorised actions which brought together an extremely small number of participants,” Volk was quoted as saying.

“These were all stopped. And those persons who violated laws were detained and taken to police stations for investigation and establish their responsibility.”

Below are some pictures from a St Petersburg protest, we brought you pictures from Moscow earlier [see here]




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