Russia-Ukraine War Update

Anthony O'Brien, Staff Writer

Despite public outcry, Russia is planning to annex Ukrainian territories occupied by the Russian military. On Tuesday, Russian-installed election officials claimed that residents in state-managed referendums voted overwhelmingly to join Russia. However, the West have dismissed these referendums as illegitimate.

The referendums asked residents in four occupied regions in southern and eastern Ukraine whether or not they supported Russian annexation. Armed officials went door-to-door in these regions in order to collect the votes.

This Friday, the four regions where the referendums took place (Zaporizhzhya, Kherson, Luhansk and Donetsk) are expected to be formally annexed. Russian President Vladimir Putin is also expected to address the referendums to the Russian parliament and lawmakers will consider formal annexation legislation.

Because of these state-managed referendums, Washington stated it will impose further sanctions on Russia, focusing on oil revenue and arms supplies. These sanctions seek to double down on Russia’s global arms procurement networks that help replenish weapons and technology to be used in the war in Ukraine.

U.S. and European officials are working on a system of price caps on Russian maritime oil exports, aiming to keep Russian oil on the world market while forcing down the price Russia gets for exports. This system is designed to avoid driving up oil prices.

In other areas of Russia, Russian nationals are fleeing the country out of fear of being drafted into war. Over 194,000 Russians have fled to neighboring countries such as Georgia, Kazakhstan and Finland. This mass exodus began on September 21st, upon Putin’s address to the nation. Airline tickets drastically spiked in price and long queues have been observed in border crossings in Georgia and Kazakhstan.

To combat this mass exodus, Russian authorities are citing mobilization laws and preventing some men from leaving the country. In order to intercept some of the men who are fleeing, draft offices have been set up in border regions.

One of these border regions, North Ossetia, has a draft office at the Verkhy Lars border crossing and has restricted many passenger cars from entering the region. A state of “high alert” was declared as food, water, warming stations and other aid is needed for people who have spent days in queues.

The Finnish government also said that it would significantly limit passenger traffic on the Russia-Finland border, imposing a ban on Russian citizens traveling with tourist visas from entering the country, effective Friday.

Sources: Associated PressBBC