Ukrainians can use US-supplied weapons to regain territory, US secretary of state says
From CNN's Jennifer Hansler
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken vowed that Ukrainians would be able to use weapons provided by the United States to regain its territory, including in the regions that are expected to be annexed by Russia soon.
“I've also been equally clear that Ukraine has the absolute right to defend itself throughout its territory, including to take back the territory that has been illegally seized in one way or another by Russia, Blinken said in response to a question from CNN’s Kylie Atwood at a news conference Tuesday.
He added that the US will “never” recognize the four regions that Vladimir Putin may annex following the sham referendums being held in those regions.
“Because there is no change at all in the territory that is being annexed by the Russians as a matter for us or for the Ukrainians, the Ukrainians will continue to do what they need to do to get back the land that has been taken from them. We will continue to support them in that effort,” Blinken said.
The top US diplomat said his country is "prepared and we will impose additional severe and swift costs on Russia for proceeding with the annexations.”
1:33 p.m. ET, September 27, 2022
Number of Russians entering the EU increased by more than 30% in the past week, border agency says
From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite in London
Nearly 66,000 Russian citizens have entered the European Union over the past week (from Sept. 19 to Sept. 25), a more than 30% increase in comparison to the past week, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency Frontex said Tuesday.
The increase follows Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement last week of a partial mobilization of Russian citizens, which has triggered protests and long queues of Russians scrambling to flee the country.
Over the past week, most of the Russians entered the EU through Finnish and Estonian border crossing points, Frontex said in a statement.
"Over the last four days, 30,000 Russian citizens have arrived in Finland," the agency said.
"The majority of them hold residence permits or visas to EU Member States or Schengen Associated Countries, others have dual citizenships. Member States are also reporting entries by Ukrainian citizens in need of temporary protection as they flee the eastern occupied region of Ukraine via Russia," it added.
Fontex estimates that "illegal border crossings are likely to increase if the Russian Federation decides to close the border for potential conscripts."
1:27 p.m. ET, September 27, 2022
US secretary of state: Sabotage of Nord Stream pipeline is "in no one's interest"
From CNN's Jennifer Hansler
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that if the leaks in the Nord Stream pipeline were caused by sabotage, “that’s clearly in no one's interest.”
Speaking at a news conference at the State Department Tuesday, Blinken noted the cause of the leaks is being investigated.
“There are initial reports indicating that this may be the result of an attack or some kind of sabotage, but these are initial reports and we haven't confirmed that yet,” he said. “But if it is confirmed, that's clearly in no one's interest.”
The top US diplomat said it was his understanding that “the leaks will not have a significant impact on Europe's energy resilience.”
“What's critical is that we are working, day in, day out, both on a short term basis and a long term basis to address energy security for Europe and, and for that matter around the world,” he said.
12:13 p.m. ET, September 27, 2022
UN "deeply disturbed" by thousands detained in Russia protests
From CNN's Chris Liakos and Eve Brennan
The United Nations has expressed its concerns over the detention of thousands of demonstrators in Russia protesting against President Putin's partial mobilization order.
“We are deeply disturbed by the large number of people who have reportedly been arrested in the Russian Federation for protesting after the authorities announced a partial mobilization of troops in the context of the armed conflict in Ukraine,” Ravina Shamdasani, a spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a statement Tuesday.
“We stress that arresting people solely for exercising their rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression constitutes an arbitrary deprivation of liberty. We call for the immediate release of all those arbitrarily detained and for the authorities to abide by their international obligations to respect and ensure the rights to freedom of expression and of peaceful assembly,” Shamdasani added.
At least 2,398 people have been detained in various cities across Russia from Sept. 21 to Sept. 26, the latest data on Tuesday by independent protest monitoring group OVD-Info shows.
12:07 p.m. ET, September 27, 2022
US will introduce resolution condemning Russia over so-called referendums at UN Security Council meeting
From CNN's Kylie Atwood
US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield plans to introduce a resolution condemning Russia over the so-called referendums being carried out in four regions of Ukraine and declaring that the UN Security Council does not support the use of force to redraw borders during a security council meeting on Tuesday, a US official told CNN.
The resolution — which will be introduced by the US and Albania jointly — is expected to be largely symbolic as Russia will almost certainly veto it.
Behind the scenes US diplomats will engage with all nations in the security council, including diplomats from China and India, in an effort to get them to vote in favor, the official said.
Thomas-Greenfield will say that Russia intends to annex the territories in an effort to take the territory of another UN member country by force, which the UN charter was designed to prevent, according to the US official. She will ask the members of the security council to join the US in meeting the challenge head-on, the official said.
More context: US officials have repeatedly said they will not accept the outcome of the "sham" referendums, which they believe Russia will use as a pretext to annex those parts of Ukraine. The Biden administration is also preparing a response once Russia annexes the regions, CNN reported Monday.
The introduction of this resolution comes after both President Volodymyr Zelensky and US President Joe Biden called for changes to the UNSC during the UN General Assembly last week. Zelensky called into question why Russia is a permanent member and called on the council to punish Russia.
"Reject the right to vote. Deprive delegation rights. Remove the right of veto -- if it is a Member of the UN Security Council. In order to punish the aggressor within the institutions," Zelensky said.
11:55 a.m. ET, September 27, 2022
"Sham referenda" in Ukraine are "a blatant violation of international law," NATO chief says
From CNN’s Arnaud Siad
The “sham referenda” in Ukraine are a “blatant violation of international law,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday.
“The sham referenda held by Russia have no legitimacy and are a blatant violation of international law. These lands are Ukraine,” the NATO chief wrote on Twitter.
Stoltenberg said he had just spoken with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, with whom he “made clear that NATO Allies are unwavering in [their] support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and right to self-defense.”
See the tweet:
11:56 a.m. ET, September 27, 2022
White House "not going to speculate" on cause of pipeline leaks and stands ready to support European partners
From CNN's Natasha Bertrand
A National Security Council spokesperson says that the White House “is not going to speculate on the cause” of major damage to the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines that has led to leaks in the Baltic Sea.
The spokesperson told CNN that the United States’ European partners are investigating and that “we stand ready to provide support to their efforts.”
“As you know, these pipelines weren’t pumping gas into Europe at this time,” the official added. “NS2 was never operational. Nord Stream 1 has not been operational for weeks because of Russia’s weaponization of energy. This just drives home the importance of our efforts to work together to get alternative gas supplies to Europe and to support efforts to reduce gas consumption and accelerate true energy independence by moving to a clean energy economy.”
Some more context: In September, Russia halted deliveries of gas to Europe through Nord Stream 1 indefinitely, saying it was due to an oil leak at one of its compressor stations.
As CNN has previously reported, US officials have expressed concern that Russia’s weaponization of oil and gas, leading to skyrocketing costs and even potential blackouts across Europe this winter, could successfully force fissures in what up until now has been a largely united European front opposing Russia’s war in Ukraine.
11:31 a.m. ET, September 27, 2022
Swedish seismologists detected explosions in the area close to Nord Stream pipelines
From CNN’s Livvy Doherty, Sharon Braithwaite, Robert North and Chris Liakos
The Swedish National Seismic Network (SNSN) said Tuesday that it detected two explosions on Monday near the area of the Nord Stream pipelines.
The first explosion was recorded at 2:03 a.m. local time in the early hours of Monday and the second one 17 hours later, at 7:04 p.m. on Monday evening, according to SNSN.
SNSN said that one of the underwater explosions resulted in a tremor of 2.3 magnitude.
According to SNSN, the last time a similar seismological event was registered in the area was in 2016. It added that this area is not usually used for defense exercises.
The German geological research centre, GFZ, told CNN that two tremors were registered at similar times at a seismic station on the Danish island of Bornholm, again close to the reported leaks on the pipelines.
Josef Zens, spokesperson for GFZ, told CNN that the first tremor was recorded at 2:03 a.m. local time and a second was recorded 17 hours later.
Zens said that “it could not be said if there was any connection between the tremors and the leaks registered on the Nord Stream pipelines on Tuesday.”
The Swedish National Seismic Network said that warnings about the gas leaks came from the maritime administration at 1:52 p.m. and 8:41 p.m. on Monday, respectively, after ships detected bubbles on the surface.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Swedish Maritime Authority told CNN that three leaks have been identified in pipelines for Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 near Bornholm, warning vessels to maintain a distance of 5 miles (8 kilometers) from the leaks and issuing a warning for aircraft, with a safety altitude of 1,000 meters.
The Danish Defense Command said in a statement Tuesday that “following the three gas leaks on the Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea, prohibition zones have been established around the leaks for the sake of the safety of ship and air traffic.”
Nord Stream AG, the operator of the pipelines, in safety documents published before any news emerged of three separate pipeline leaks in one day, had said that the probability of a pipeline failure or leakage is “as low as one damage event every 100,000 years”.
The operator also said that pipeline repairs were “not expected to be necessary during Nord Stream’s minimum operational lifespan of 50 years.”
Nord Stream 1 became operational in 2012, and Nord Stream 2 was completed in 2021, but never became operational.
11:20 a.m. ET, September 27, 2022
Speaker of Russia's upper house says the admission of new regions may be considered on Oct. 4
From CNN's Uliana Pavlova
Russia's Federation Council — the upper house of the parliament — may consider requests from new regions to join Russia on Oct. 4, according to the Council's Speaker, Valentina Matvienko.
Referring to the so-called referenda being staged in four occupied regions of Ukraine, Matvienko said: "We respect the will of the residents of the DPR [Donetsk], LPR [Luhansk], Zaporizhzhia and Kherson, and if such is the will on their part, we will certainly support [their] joining Russia."
She said there was no need for an extraordinary meeting of the council before then.
"The scheduled meeting of the Federation Council on October 4. I believe that on the 4th, if everything is confirmed, we will be ready to consider (laws on the entry of new regions into the Russian Federation)," Matvienko said.