Russia escalates threats of nuclear war

In the wake of Vladimir Putin's barely veiled nuclear threat upon announcing a mobilization of Russia's reserve forces to reverse his recent losses in Ukraine on Sept. 21, official and semi-official Moscow commentators have made such menacing completely explicit. Later that same day, former Putin advisor Sergei Markov was interviewed by BBC Radio, whose anchor politely began with "Good morning to you." Markov replied: "It's not a good morning for everybody. In Russia there's partial mobilization and for Western countries, for your British listeners, I would say that Vladimir Putin told you that he would be ready to use nuclear weapons against Western countries, including nuclear weapons against Great Britain. Your cities will be targeted." (Daily Beast, Indy100)

Russian-backed separatists in Russian-occupied Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia are currently holding "referendums" on becoming part of Russia. The Russian parliament could move to formalize the annexation within days. By incorporating the four areas into Russia, Moscow could portray Ukrainian attempts to retake them as attacks on Russia itself, meeting Moscow's stated criteria for use of nuclear weapons. (Al Jazeera)

This was made clear by former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, who stated: "The Donbas republics and other territories will be accepted into Russia... Russia has announced that not only mobilization capabilities but also any Russian weapons, including strategic nuclear weapons and weapons based on new principles, could be used for such protection." (Reuters)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in his terse comments before walking out on the UN General Assembly meeting in New York on Sept. 23 again displayed the propaganda trick of fascist pseudo-anti-fascism, saying that Ukraine has "become a completely totalitarian, Nazi-like state, where the norms of international humanitarian law are trampled upon. Therefore, there is no surprise that their armed forces...are using peaceful civilians as human shields." (Economic Times, Asian News Internatonal)

Russian-occupied regions vote 'overwhelmingly' to join Russia

Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reports that the Russian-occupied Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia have voted "overwhelmingly" to join Russia. Leaders from the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics were traveling to Moscow to complete the procedure of joining Russia. (Jurist)

Putin announces annexation of Ukrainian oblasts

Calling the movie "an anti-colonial liberation movement against unipolar hegemony," Putin announced in an extensive speech Russian annexation of the four Ukrainian oblasts. He pledged that Russia will defend them "with all the forces and means at our disposal." (USNW, NYT)

Putin signs laws to formally annex Ukraine regions

The Kremlin on Oct. 5 announced that Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed ratifying the accession of Kherson region, Zaporozhye region, the Donetsk People's Republic and the Luhansk People's Republic to the Russian Federation. Under the laws, each region is a "New Constituent Entity of the Russian Federation" based on the "free and voluntary expression of will by the people." The government of Ukraine said it is an "obvious truth" that the regions are still Ukraine.

The EU called the votes "illegal" and a "blatant violation of the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine." In a Sept. 21 speech to the UN General Assembly, US President Joe Biden called the referenda a "sham" and "an extremely significant violation of the UN Charter." (Jurist)

Putin introduces martial law in Russia-occupied territories

President Vladimir Putin Oct. 19 held a meeting of Russia's Security Council to instate martial law in the four Russian-occupied territories that were annexed following sham referendums in Ukraine last month. Martial law involves the temporary substitution of military authority for civilian rule and is usually invoked in times of war, rebellion, or natural disaster. (Jurist)