War News – Day 216 of Russia’s invasion in Ukraine
Russia's "referendums" in Ukraine, which have the possibility of resulting in Moscow annexing 15% of the country's territory, are due to conclude on Tuesday (today). Western countries have vowed not to recognize the results of the voting in the eastern regions of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia, which started on Friday.
The Kremlin claimed that it had made no decision to close Russia's borders as the country's first mobilization since WWII drove hoards of people to flee.
Nord Stream possible leak
On Monday, pressure in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline suddenly fell. Authorities in Germany are investigating what caused the abrupt decrease in pressure in the defunct pipeline, with the operator's spokeswoman suggesting it may have been a leak.
Shooting at a conscription office
A Russian man shot the head of the local military conscription committee in a Siberian village after informing him he would refuse to fight in Ukraine. The shooter, who was dressed in camouflage, was seen shooting at the official from close range while other possible draftees for the Russian invasion left the room.
Mongolia – a safe haven
Long lines of cars developed at the Russian-Mongolian border crossing as citizens rushed to escape the Kremlin's mobilization order. According to the commander of a checkpoint in Altanbulag, more than 3,000 Russians have entered Mongolia at the border since Wednesday.
NATO air forces are conducting drills over the Baltic Sea. Member states such as the United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy have participated in the military exercises, both on land and at sea, in an attempt to strengthen eastern defenses.
The Netherlands has expanded military assistance to Ukraine. In reaction to Russia's mobilization and referendums, Prime Minister Mark Rutte has imposed fresh sanctions.
The United States has promised Ukraine $457.5 million in civilian security assistance. The aid is intended to "save lives" and "bolster" Ukrainian law enforcement, according to Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
According to the patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, Russian troops who die on the battlefield will have their sins absolved. Patriarch Kirill, a close friend of President Vladimir Putin and an outspoken advocate of the Ukraine invasion, said that "sacrifice washes away all sins."
Even more sanctions
In reaction to Russia's "sham referendums" in Ukraine, the United Kingdom announced 92 further sanctions. The punishments are aimed at individuals responsible for the fraudulent votes, as well as oligarchs and board members.
Shelter for dissidents
Germany is contemplating whether to allow Russian war refuseniks shelter. Nancy Faeser, the interior minister, said that the government was possibly willing to provide protection to deserters who faced punishments if they refused to fight, but that each case would be considered on an individual basis due to security considerations.
IAEA fights for demilitarization of Nuclear Power Plants
The United Nations Atomic Energy Agency says it is ready to begin negotiations about establishing a protective zone around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station. Last week, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency met with the foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine at the United Nations General Assembly to examine the prospect.
The nuclear problem
If Russia follows through on its thinly veiled threats to employ nuclear weapons, the United States has warned of devastating repercussions. Any use of the weapons, according to Antony Blinken, would have a "catastrophic" global effect.
Additional US aid
Negotiators in the US Congress have agreed to add roughly $12 billion in fresh military and economic assistance to Ukraine. According to the sources, the cash would comprise $4.5 billion for Ukraine's defense capabilities and equipment, as well as $4.5 billion in direct assistance to the Kyiv government.
Ukraine says that some Russian conscripts drafted as part of the Kremlin's mass mobilization are being deployed to the frontlines without training. Among them were freshly recruited soldiers in Crimea as well as conscripts in the Luhansk area who had just received conscription summonses.
As Russia continues with its ostensible referendum in seized parts of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskiy has pledged to free the whole nation. Ukraine's president said that the country's armed forces will repel Russian forces and react against "every attack of the invader."