KIYV, Ukraine — Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov is warning that any Ukrainian attack on the four regions that are set to be incorporated into Russia will be viewed by Moscow as an act of aggression against the country’s sovereign territory.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to sign the treaties making the regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia part of Russia at Friday’s ceremony in the Kremlin following the Kremlin-orchestrated “referendums” that were condemned internationally as a sham.

The separatist Donetsk and Luhansk regions in eastern Ukraine have been backed by Moscow since declaring independence in 2014, weeks after the annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. The southern Kherson region and part of neighboring Zaporizhzhia were captured by Russia its Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.

Peskov told reporters in a call Friday the Donetsk and Luhansk regions will be incorporated into Russia in their entirety. He noted that Russia will “liberate” the part of the Donetsk region that is now under the Ukrainian control. But he wouldn’t immediately say if all of the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions will be made part of Russia, or only those parts now under Russian military control.

The Kremlin spokesman wouldn’t comment on the possibility of Russia using nuclear weapons, noting that Western statements about it have been “irresponsible.”


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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has called the Nord Stream pipelines accident as an “unprecedented act of state terrorism” that requires a thorough international investigation.

Speaking to reporters in a call Friday, he wouldn’t comment on a statement by Russian foreign intelligence chief Sergei Naryshkin said that his agency has information indicating Western involvement in the accident.

Asked if at least one pipeline could come onstream again, Peskov said a damage assessment would be required and that would only be possible once the gas leaks stop.


KYIV — An analyst says the Kremlin’s hasty push to formally annex occupied Ukrainian lands aims to compensate for the fact that Moscow can’t do much to counter Kyiv’s gains on the battlefield.

Former Kremlin speechwriter Abbas Gallyamov told the Associated Press in an interview Friday that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recognition of the the “independence” of Ukraine’s Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions coincided with reports of Ukrainian troops encircling Russian forces in Lyman.

Gallyamov said Russia’s answer to Ukrainian gains “looks quite pathetic” as the Kremlin “is building some kind of a virtual reality, incapable of responding in the real world.”

He said although the Kremlin will try to put on a show of the illegitimate annexations, the Russian public understands that the battlefield dynamics are much different in Ukraine than they were in Crimea in 2014 and as a result, Russians will be less enthusiastic.


KYIV — Ukraine’s president has condemned Russian missile strikes that killed at least 25 people in Zaporizhzha and struck targets in Mykolaiv and Dnipropetrovsk as the work of a “terrorist state.”

Volodymyr Zelenskyy posted on his Telegram channel Friday that only “terrorists” would target civilians and accused Russia of trying to seek revenge against Ukraine for its “steadfastness” and to make up for its own battlefield failures.

He said the “enemy” Russia “cynically destroys peaceful Ukrainians because he lost everything human a long time ago” and warned that the country would answer “for every lost Ukrainian life.”

Ukraine’s Prosecutor’s Office said another 50 people were injured in S-300 missile attack on a convoy of vehicles on Zaporizhzhia’s outskirts that officials said planned to ferry relatives back to safety from Russian-occupied territory.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of Zelenskyy’s office said four of 16 S-300 missiles that were launched had struck the convoy area, causing impact craters several meters (feet) deep near cars whose windows had all been blown out. Some of the dead lay on the ground covered by trash bags, blankets and towels, while others remains in their vehicles.

The missile attack came as Moscow prepares to annex four regions into Russia following an internationally condemned, Kremlin-orchestrated “referendum” vote.


KYIV — The Russian-backed separatist leader of the Donetsk region says Russian forces were no longer controlling the villages of Yampil and Drobysheve, southeast and to the north of the city of Lyman.

Denis Pushilin referred Friday to “worrying news” about Lyman itself, saying that it was “half-encircled” by the Ukrainian forces.

Pushilin was quoted to Russian state news agency RIA Novosti as saying that Ukraine’s armed formations were “trying very hard to spoil our celebration.”


KYIV— Ukraine’s military says Russia is upgrading military airfields, barracks and warehouses in Belarus, suggesting the country may intend to use them for renewed strikes on Ukraine.

Oleksii Hromov, deputy dhief of the Main Operational Department of the Ukrainian army’s General Staff said Friday work was ongoing at the Lunynets and Zyabrivka bases which are near the Ukrainian border. Iskander tactical missile units were also active in Osypovichi, about 180 kilometers from Ukraine, while Belarussian railways are preparing to transport troops.


KYIV — Ukrainian officials in the Zaporizhzhia region have declared Oct 1 as a day of mourning for the 25 civilians who were killed following the Russia missile strike on a car convoy on the outskirts Zaporizhzhia. lUkraine’s Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights Dmytro Lubinets also said in an online statement Friday there were no military facilities or equipment situated in the Zaporizhzhia area, “just cars and peaceful civilians.”


KYIV — Russian state media are accusing Ukraine of carrying out the Zaporizhzhia attack on its own citizens, without providing any evidence to support the claim.

Russian forces have repeatedly targeted Ukrainian civilians in the fighting since the war began in February.


KYIV — Russian-installed officials in the southern Kherson region said Thursday that a Ukrainian missile strike on the city of Kherson killed a deputy head of the region’s pro-Kremlin administration. A report in Russian state news agency RIA Novosti offered no details as to when the alleged strike took place, saying only that it hit the center of Kherson. Officials in Kyiv have not commented on the alleged attack.


KYIV — Russian and Western analysts say Ukrainian forces have likely encircled the Russian-occupied city of Lyman as Kyiv pushes on in an eastern offensive.

Lyman, a city some 160 kilometers (100 miles) southeast of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, had been a key node for ground communications and Russian military operations in the region.

Analysts said Friday it appears Russia faces a last stand with reservists and some tank units as Ukraine has cut off all routes out of the city.

The Washington-based Institute for the Study of War, citing Russian reports, said the situation had become “extremely difficult” for the BARS-13 detachment and the 752nd Motorized Rifle Regiment of the 20th Combined Arms Army in the area.

If Ukraine takes Lyman, that allows Kyiv to push into Russian-occupied Luhansk, which just took part in Moscow’s internationally criticized, gunpoint referendums.


KYIV — The British military says newly mobilized Russian troops coming into Ukraine are equipped with poor medical supplies with them.

The British Defense Ministry said Friday medical knowledge and supplies remain low, with some soldiers having to buy their own modern tourniquets. That mirrors videos and photos online suggesting some soldiers are being supplied with Soviet-era first aid kits.

The ministry added that the Russian troops’ lack of confidence in sufficient medical provision is “almost certainly contributing to a declining state of morale and lack of willingness to undertake offensive operations in many units in Ukraine.”


KYIV — Russia struck other Ukrainian cities overnight with heavy rocket barrages including the city of Dnipro where Iskander missiles struck a transportation company.

Valentin Reznichenko, head of the Dnipropetrovsk region, said at least one person was killed and five others were wounded.

Mikolaiv region Chief Vitaliy Kim said Russian missile strike on Mikolaiv damaged a high rise and wounded eight people.

Ukraine’s air force said Russia again launched Iranian-made suicide drones around the Black Sea port city of Odesa and the city of Nikolaev, some of which air defense shot down and others that struck targets.


UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. Security Council has scheduled a vote for Friday afternoon on a resolution that would condemn Russia for its “illegal so-called referenda” in four Ukrainian regions and declare that they “have no validity.”

The U.S.- and Albanian-sponsored resolution would call on all countries not to recognize any alterations to the status of Ukraine’s Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions. It would reaffirm the U.N. commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence within its internationally recognized borders.

The Kremlin has announced plans to move on annexing Russian-controlled areas of the four regions Friday, and Russia is certain to veto the resolution.

U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said earlier this week that if that happens the U.S. and Albania will put the resolution to a vote in the 193-member General Assembly where there are no vetoes.

The draft resolution, obtained late Thursday by The Associated Press, would order Russia to “desist and refrain from actions aimed at the partial or total disruption of the national unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

It would also demand the withdrawal of all Russian troops from Ukraine.


WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is denouncing the referendums underpinning Russia’s planned annexation of four Ukrainian regions as a “sham” and vows that the United States will never recognize the land as Russian territory.

Speaking Thursday to Pacific island leaders in Washington, Biden said: “The so-called referenda was a sham, an absolute sham. The results were manufactured in Moscow.”

He called the hastily arranged election a “flagrant, flagrant violation of the U.N. charter.”

Biden commented a day after his administration said it has concluded that Moscow falsified results of the referendums and forced people to cast ballots under duress.

— Follow the AP’s coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine


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