Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine

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Ukrainian mayor urges residents of Russian-occupied areas not to cooperate in referendums

The Ukrainian mayor-elect of the city of Melitopol urges residents of Russian-occupied areas not to participate in the so-called “referendums” organized by the Russian authorities.

“We call on residents of the occupied territories not to participate in the pseudo-referendum in any way,” Ivan Fedorov wrote via Telegram.

“Participating in it means supporting the bloody plan to escalate the war against Ukraine, voluntarily integrating into a closed totalitarian society, assuming part of the responsibility for war crimes, accepting the mobilization of elderly men from 16 to 55 years old to replenish the cannon fodder of the Russian army, to commit a criminal offense.”

“Do not open the door to agitators. Do not go to polling stations. Completely ignore the whole electoral process. Stay as far away as possible from Russian military and enemy equipment. Our heroic Armed Forces of Ukraine will definitely liberate all occupied territories of racism,” Federov said, adding that “most importantly, participating in a pseudo-referendum is the worst betrayal.”

—Natasha Turak

Voting on referendums begins in Russian-occupied Ukrainian territories

People arrive to receive Russian passports at a center in Kherson after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree making it easier for residents of Kherson and Melitopol regions to obtain passports in Kherson, Kherson Oblast , in Ukraine, on July 21, 2022.

Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Voting begins on referendums in Russian-occupied areas, Russian state media reported.

“Voting started at 08:00 in the DPR and LPR, as well as in the Kherson region and the liberated territories of the Zaporozhye region,” the official Tass news agency said.

Western and Ukrainian officials have denounced the “referendums” as a sham. Many fear that Russia will rig the votes in its favor and then use the result as justification to annex these territories as Russian and subsequently use nuclear or other unconventional weapons against Ukrainian forces trying to recover them. .

—Natasha Turak

Putin’s nuclear ultimatum to the West increases disaster risk

Speaking in a rare televised address on Wednesday, Putin warned that if Russia’s territorial integrity were threatened, the Kremlin would “certainly use all means at our disposal to protect Russia and our people. This is not a bluff”.

Gavriil Grigorov | AFP | Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s nuclear threats against the West increase the risk of a nuclear conflict, analysts and activists have warned.

This comes shortly after Putin called in additional forces for the war in Ukraine and warned that if Russia’s territorial integrity were threatened, the Kremlin would “certainly use all means at our disposal to protect Russia and our people”. It’s not a bluff.”

Beatrice Fihn, Nobel laureate and executive director of the International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons, told CNBC that Putin’s “incredibly dangerous and irresponsible” threats greatly increase the risk of escalation into nuclear conflict.

Read the full story here.

—Sam Meredith

Zelensky urges Russians to protest Putin’s mobilization order

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visits the Kharkiv region for the first time since Russia launched the attacks on his country on February 24, in Kharkiv region, Ukraine, May 29, 2022. (Ukrainian Presidency Photo/ Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Ukrainian Presidency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukrainian President Voldomyr Zelensky has urged Russians to protest President Vladimir Putin’s announcement that he would mobilize 300,000 Russian troops for the war.

“I will explain what happens to Russians in Russian,” said Zelenskyy, speaking Russian in a nightly address on Telegram messaging app.

“55,000 Russian soldiers died in this war in six months. Tens of thousands are injured and maimed. Do you want more ? Nope ? So protest. ” he added.

Zelenskyy said Russia’s mobilization of additional troops, the first since World War II, is proof that the Kremlin’s mighty army has faced stiff resistance from Ukrainian forces.

“The Russian leadership is reacting precisely to the fact of Ukrainian strength by changing tactics and trying to draw even more Russian citizens and resources into the war,” he said.

—Amanda Macias

Russian Foreign Minister leaves UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine early

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov gives an annual press conference on Russian diplomacy in 2021, in Moscow on January 14, 2022.

Dimitar Dilkoff | AFP | Getty Images

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov left a United Nations Security Council meeting shortly after defending his country’s war in Ukraine.

Lavrov, who arrived late for the meeting and missed remarks by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other US allies, accused Kyiv of openly threatening Russia’s security.

“Over the past few years, the Kyiv regime has carried out a frontal attack on the Russian language. It has brazenly violated the rights of Russians and Russian speakers in Ukraine,” Lavrov said.

“Everything I said today simply confirms that the decision to carry out the special military operation was inevitable,” he added, using the Kremlin term for his invasion.

After he finished speaking, he left the UN chamber, and his deputy Sergey Vershinin remained on duty.

—Amanda Macias

Read CNBC’s previous live coverage here:

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