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Ukraine’s mayor urges residents of Russian-occupied territories not to cooperate in referendum

The Ukrainian-elected mayor of the city of Melitopol in the Russian-occupied region of the country is urging people not to take part in a so-called “referendum” held by Russian authorities.

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

“Participation in this is supporting the bloody plan to escalate the war against Ukraine, voluntarily becoming part of a closed totalitarian society, accepting responsibility for war crimes, agreeing to conscript men aged 16-55 to resupply. Russian army cannon fodder to commit criminal offences.” .”

“Don’t open the doors to the protesters. Don’t go to the polls. Completely ignore the entire election process. Stay away from the Russian military and enemy equipment as much as possible. Our heroic armed forces of Ukraine must liberate all occupied territories. Apartheid,” Federov said, adding, “Most importantly, participating in a pseudo-referendum is the worst betrayal.”

– Natasha Turak

Referendums begin in Russian-occupied Ukrainian regions

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

Anadolu Agency Getty Images

Russian state media reported that referendums are starting in Russian-occupied territories.

“Voting began at 08:00 in the DPR and LPR as well as in the Kherson region and the free zone of Zaporozhye region,” state news agency Tass reported.

Western and Ukrainian officials denounced the “referendum” as a sham. Many fear that Russia will rig the vote in its favor and then use the result as justification to annex those territories as Russian and later try to reclaim them using nuclear or other unconventional weapons against Ukrainian forces.

– Natasha Turak

Putin’s nuclear ultimatum to the West raises the risk of disaster

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

Gavril Grigorov AFP | Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s nuclear threat raises the risk of nuclear conflict for the West, analysts and campaigners have warned.

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

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

Read full details here.

— Sam Meredith

Zelensky called on Russians to protest Putin’s mobilization order

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visits the Kharkiv region of Ukraine on May 29, 2022, for the first time since Russia launched an offensive against his country on February 24.

Ukrainian Presidency Anadolu Agency Getty Images

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

“I will explain in Russian to the Russians what is happening to the Russians,” Zelensky said, speaking in Russian in a nightly address on the Telegram messaging app.

“In six months this war has killed 55,000 Russian soldiers. Thousands more wounded and maimed. Want more? No? Then protest. Go back. Run away. Or surrender to Ukrainian forces. This is your choice to survive,” he added. .

Zelensky said Russia’s additional troop deployment, the first since World War II, was evidence that the Kremlin’s powerful military was facing stiff resistance from Ukrainian forces.

“The Russian leadership is reacting precisely to the reality of Ukraine’s power in changing its strategy and trying to draw more Russian citizens and assets into the war,” he said.

— Amanda Macias

Russia’s foreign minister stormed out of a UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov delivers 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 walked out of a UN Security Council meeting after defending his country’s war in Ukraine.

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

“Over the past few years, the Kyiv regime has waged a frontal assault on the Russian language. It has shamelessly trampled the rights of Russian and Russian-speaking people in Ukraine,” Lavrov said.

“Everything I said today confirms that the decision to launch a special military operation was inevitable,” he added, using the term for the Kremlin’s aggression.

Once he finished his speech, he left the UN chamber and his deputy, Sergei Vershinin, took the position.

— Amanda Macias

Read CNBC’s previous live coverage here:

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