Follow the latest news on Russia's war in Ukraine here and read more about today's developments in the posts below.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke with his Danish counterpart Wednesday and offered support following the leak at the Nord Stream pipeline, a senior defense official said.
“If there’s any support that they need, we’re there for them,” the official told reporters Wednesday.
“We’re, like a number of other countries out there, with capabilities that could certainly assist,” said a senior military official, “but we haven’t been asked to do so.”
Austin’s conversation with Danish Defense Minister Morten Bødskov occurred as the defense secretary was traveling to California and Hawaii.
The government of Finland will “significantly” restrict the right of Russian citizens to enter the country as tourists or as transit when traveling to other parts of the Schengen area, the Finnish government said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Tomorrow, on Thursday 29 September, the Government will adopt a resolution that will significantly restrict the right of Russian citizens to enter Finland as tourists and to use Finland as a transit country when travelling to other parts of the Schengen area, as described in more detail in the resolution,” a statement from the government read.
“In addition, the Government received a briefing on ways to enhance control at the border between Finland and Russia using a border fence,” it added.
More context: Last weekend saw a record number of Russians entering Finland via its land border since Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement of “partial mobilization” of its citizens, with 16,886 Russians arriving in total over Saturday and Sunday, according to the border guard’s head of international affairs, Matti Pitkaniitty.
He added that of those, many were “in transit to other countries.”
Finland shares an 832-mile (1,340 kilometers) border with Russia.
Norway plans to ramp up security in order to protect its oil and gas facilities following the Nord Stream incident, Norwegian authorities said Wednesday.
“In the aftermath of the invasion of Ukraine, the police implemented measures to raise preparedness levels and protect the petroleum industry. These measures will be upheld and strengthened following the explosions which damaged gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea,” the Norwegian police said in a statement.
“The incident in the Baltic Sea gives reason to maintain and strengthen these measures. However, we cannot comment upon the details of the individual measures,” it also said, adding that the situation is “grave” and will be closely monitored.
Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said Wednesday that “there will be increased military presence near the Norwegian oil and gas infrastructure, following the suspected sabotage of the Nord Stream gas pipelines in Swedish and Danish waters,” his office told CNN.
The United States is “sharing information that is in our possession regarding these apparent acts of sabotage” on the Nord Stream pipelines, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Wednesday.
Price said they “have more questions than answers at this point” about the leaks in the undersea pipelines, and noted that “an investigation like this, owing to the nature of the investigation underwater for one, could well take time.”
“So we're going to allow the investigation to play out before we start to lay out theories or hypotheses,” he said at a State Department briefing. He also declined to say whether sabotage would rise to the level of a breach of NATO Article 5.
Price said the use of the phrase “apparent sabotage” is based on "what we know but primarily what we're hearing from our European counterparts.”
He said the US has “offered assistance for any environmental response, but we haven't yet received any such requests for assistance from our Danish partners.”
The US State Department called the announcements of pro-Russia forces in Ukraine of the referenda in favor of joining Russia “completely fabricated” and “concocted in Moscow.”
“This is the will of Moscow, not the free will of Ukraine or its people,” said State Department spokesperson Ned Price at a briefing with reporters.
Price said that the US expects Russia to attempt to annex Ukrainian territory based on the “sham referenda.”
“But no matter what President Putin and his enablers try to claim, these areas are and will remain part of Ukraine,” said Price. “Ukraine has every right to continue to defend its sovereignty and its territorial integrity.”
Price also said the State Department will be announcing “additional measures” in response.
“The United States will never recognize Russia's attempts to annex parts of Ukraine,” Price said.
The US Department of Defense announced an additional $1.1 billion in security assistance for Ukraine under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, meaning the money will be spent to manufacture and provide new weapons to Ukraine. These weapons will not come directly from pre-existing US stocks of weapons.
Eighteen High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems and “associated ammunitions,” are included in the package, the release states.
The package also includes 150 Armored High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles, 40 trucks and 80 trailers to “transport heavy equipment,” additional radars for Unmanned Aerial Systems, among other items.
The US has committed “more than $16.2 billion in security assistance to Ukraine,” since the Russian invasion began in February, the release adds.
The Foreign Ministry of Poland said it “unequivocally and strongly condemns” the Russia-organized “illegal referenda,” in a statement Wednesday.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs unequivocally and strongly condemns Russia's organization of illegal "referenda" aimed at the annexation of parts of the Ukrainian oblasts of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson, temporarily occupied by Russia,” the statement said.
The ministry is urging members of the international community “not to recognize the legality of these pseudo-referenda and their "results," which in no way reflect the will of the people of these regions, often forced to vote.”
“We call for the prosecution of all those involved in the holding of the fictitious referenda as well as of the Russian people and institutions operating in the illegally occupied territory of Ukraine,” the ministry added, saying that Poland is “determined” to continue cooperation with partners in this area.
“We will continue to support Ukraine's efforts to liberate Russia's temporarily occupied territories for as long as necessary,” the Polish Foreign Ministry also said.
The Ukrainian military claims that in some parts of Russia, the entire male population within a certain age range is being included in the partial mobilization ordered by President Vladimir Putin last week.
The General Staff of the Ukrainian armed forces said Wednesday that the "so-called partial mobilization measures are ongoing in the Russian Federation and parts of the regions of Ukraine temporarily occupied by Russia."
"In remote settlements of the Russian Federation, the entire male population of a certain age category is subject to mobilization, despite a lack of experience of military service and combat experience," it said.
The General Staff claimed that there are some cases of parents with many children and men over age 60 being mobilized for military service.
CNN cannot verify the claims, but Russian commentators and some regional officials in Russia have complained that the mobilization is poorly organized and has included the drafting of men specifically exempted from the decree.
The General Staff also said that "the lack of readiness to implement mobilization measures was noted at assembly points in the Belgorod and Rostov regions," both of which are close to the Ukrainian border.
"Thus, newly arrived personnel must purchase winter uniforms and protective equipment at their own expense," it claimed.
CNN has reviewed a number of videos in the past few days showing Russian soldiers complaining about their lack of equipment.