October 4, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Kathleen Magramo, Adrienne Vogt, Sana Noor Haq and Aditi Sangal, CNN

Updated 1:27 a.m. ET, October 5, 2022
12 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
7:07 a.m. ET, October 4, 2022

Putin "most likely" to sign annexation laws on Tuesday, says Kremlin

From CNN's Anna Chernova and Radina Gigova

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during the signing ceremony with separatist leaders on the annexation of four Ukrainian regions at the Grand Kremlin Palace, on September 30, in Moscow, Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during the signing ceremony with separatist leaders on the annexation of four Ukrainian regions at the Grand Kremlin Palace, on September 30, in Moscow, Russia. (Getty Images)

The laws on the illegal annexation of four regions in Ukraine will "most likely" be signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, according to the Kremlin's spokesperson. 

"Most likely, the laws will be signed (by President Putin) today," Dmitry Peskov said during a daily call with journalists. 

Earlier Tuesday, Russia's upper house of parliament approved unanimously the illegal accession of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, and the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions. Russia's lower house of parliament also voted unanimously for the four laws — one for each region — on Monday, according to Russia’s state-run TASS news agency.

The procedure was expected to be a formality, as Putin and his allies effectively control both branches of the Russian legislature.

Some context: Putin said during a ceremony at the Kremlin on Friday that the millions of people living in the four territories would be Russian citizens "forever", as he announced the illegal annexation process in defiance of international law.

In recent weeks, Moscow-backed leaders in the four Ukrainian regions held so-called referendums on joining Russia. The ballots are illegal under international law and were dismissed by Ukraine and Western leaders as "sham."

6:23 a.m. ET, October 4, 2022

Not all annexed areas are under Russian control, says lawmaker during discussion in parliament

From CNN's Anna Chernova and Radina Gigova

Representative from the executive body of the government of the Republic of Tyva Lyudmila Narusova (center) during a meeting of the Federation Council on May 29, 2019, in Russia, Moscow.
Representative from the executive body of the government of the Republic of Tyva Lyudmila Narusova (center) during a meeting of the Federation Council on May 29, 2019, in Russia, Moscow. (Gleb Schelkunov/Kommersant/Sipa USA/AP)

Before Tuesday's vote in Russia's upper house of parliament on the illegal annexation of four Ukrainian territories, a Federation Council senator flagged that not all areas are fully under Moscow's control.

"From the date of signing of these agreements, the line of contact has changed, and at present we are recommended to accept regions, part of the territories of which are occupied by the armed forces of another country, into the Russian Federation," Lyudmila Narusova said, asking for an explanation.

The Constitutional Court, which ruled that the incorporation of the four regions was in compliance with the Russian constitution, does not assess political matters or the line of contact on the ground, Senator Andrey Klishas, chair of the Federation Council committee on constitutional legislation, replied.

Klishas reiterated the Kremlin's position that Russian authorities intervened to protect the "human rights" of the residents of the four regions. 

After the discussion at the Federation Council, Narusova still voted for the laws. The Federation Council unanimously approved the accession of the four Ukrainian regions.

In the Federation Council, Narusova represents the Russian republic of Tuva, in southern Siberia. She is the mother of Ksenia Sobchak, a controversial public figure and a TV host, who ran for the presidency in 2018.

Some context: The formalization process of the illegal annexation is in violation of international law. It follows so-called referendums held by Russian-backed leaders across the Donetsk People's Republic, the Luhansk People's Republic, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia in recent weeks. The ballots are illegal under international law and were condemned by Kyiv and its Western allies as "sham."

6:26 a.m. ET, October 4, 2022

Russia's upper house of parliament approves accession of four Ukrainian regions, in violation of international law

From CNN's Anna Chernova and Radina Gigova

Lawmakers of Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation listen to the national anthem while attending a session in Moscow, Russia, on October 4.
Lawmakers of Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation listen to the national anthem while attending a session in Moscow, Russia, on October 4. (Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation/AP)

Russia's upper house of parliament unanimously sanctioned the accession of four Ukrainian regions into Russia on Tuesday in violation of international law. 

The Federation Council passed the constitutional laws on the illegal annexation of the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), the Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) and the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions. 

The lower house, the State Duma, also voted unanimously to authorize the illegal annexation on Monday, Russia's state-run TASS news agency reported.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his allies effectively control both branches of the Russian legislature, and the space for political dissent in Russia has shrunk in recent years.

The four accession documents — one for each of the regions — will now head to Putin's desk.

According to the laws, residents of the new entities were recognized as Russian citizens starting on September 30, when the formal agreements of accession between the Russian Federation and the four regions were signed in the Kremlin's St George's Hall.

Following the results of so-called referendums, Putin made a formal speech at the ceremony on Friday, declaring that the millions of people living in the four regions would be Russian citizens "forever."

Russian-backed leaders held votes across the four regions in recent weeks. The ballots are illegal under international law and were dismissed by Kyiv and Western leaders as a "sham."

The residents of the new regions can acquire Russian citizenship by submitting applications and being sworn in as Russian citizens, according to TASS. 

According to the laws, the DPR and the LPR will retain their status as republics after joining Russia and Russian will be their official language. The Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions will also join Russia as constituent entities and will continue to be called "regions," TASS reported.

The borders of the republics and regions will be the same as those that existed on the day of their creation and accession into Russia, and their borders with other countries will be regarded as Russia’s state borders, according to TASS.

The DPR and the LPR are joining Russia under the 2014 borders described in their "constitutions," according to TASS. 

The movements in Russia's parliament contradict the state of the war on the ground in Ukraine, where Kyiv has made sweeping gains in the east and the south of the country and forced Moscow to retreat from several positions in areas the Kremlin declared it is annexing.

1:58 a.m. ET, October 4, 2022

Analysis: India's words are anti-war, but New Delhi’s actions are propping up Putin's regime

Analysis from CNN's Rhea Mogul

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands during a meeting in Samarkand, on September 16.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands during a meeting in Samarkand, on September 16. (Alexander Demyanchuk/Sputnik/Reuters)

When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Vladimir Putin “today’s era is not of war” last month, the West welcomed his comments as a sign the world’s largest democracy was finally coming off the fence about Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

French President Emmanuel Macron praised Modi and the White House lauded what it called a “statement of principle.”

But the reality, analysts say, is less straightforward.

Rather than cutting economic ties with the Kremlin, India has undermined Western sanctions by increasing its purchases of Russian oil, coal and fertilizer – giving Putin a vital financial lifeline.

New Delhi has repeatedly abstained from votes condemning Russia at the United Nations – providing Moscow with a veneer of international legitimacy. And in August, India participated in Russia’s large-scale Vostok military exercises alongside China, Belarus, Mongolia and Tajikistan — where Moscow paraded its vast arsenal.

Last week, India abstained from another UN draft resolution condemning Russia over its sham referendums in four regions of Ukraine, which have been used as a pretext by Moscow to illegally annex Ukrainian territory — significantly upping the stakes in the war.

India is “deeply disturbed” by the developments in Ukraine, said Ruchira Kamboj, New Delhi’s permanent representative to the UN, but stopped short of attributing blame and urged an “immediate ceasefire and resolution of the conflict.”

This apparent contradiction exemplifies India’s unique position on the war: verbally distancing itself from Russia, while continuing to maintain pivotal ties with Moscow.

Modi’s “stronger language to Putin” should be seen in the context of rising food, fuel and fertilizer prices, and the “hardships that was creating for other countries,” said Deepa Ollapally, research professor and director of the Rising Powers Initiative at the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University.

“There’s a certain level of impatience (for India) with the intensification of the war,” she said. “There’s a feeling that Putin is pushing India’s limits because in some ways, it’s put itself out on a limb. And it’s not a comfortable position for India to be in.”

Read the full analysis here.

8:14 p.m. ET, October 3, 2022

Elon Musk sparks backlash from Ukrainian officials with unsolicited "peace" plan

From CNN's Catherine Thorbecke

Elon Musk drew backlash on Monday from Ukrainian officials, including President Volodymyr Zelensky, for his unsolicited advice on how to bring about “peace” amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of the country.

In a Twitter poll, Musk suggested a path to “Ukraine-Russia Peace” that included re-doing elections “under UN supervision” in the regions of the country recently annexed illegally by Russia. The land grab, covering nearly a fifth of Ukraine, followed referendums that have been widely dismissed as “shams” by much of the world.

The billionaire Tesla CEO also suggested making Crimea, a region Russia invaded and annexed from Ukraine in 2014, “formally part of Russia.” He added in bullet points: “Water supply to Crimea assured” and “Ukraine remains neutral.”

Ukraine and most of the world reject any implication of Russian sovereignty over the regions it has invaded, and Ukraine has vowed to take back its land.

“It started in Crimea, and it will end in Crimea, and this will be an effective revival of the international legal order,” Zelensky told the Crimea Platform summit in August. Zelensky has consistently maintained that Ukraine will not cede any of its territory to Russia.

A majority of respondents on Twitter voted “No” in response to Musk’s poll. In a follow-up tweet, Musk appeared to blame these results on a “bot attack.”

Read more here.

3:15 a.m. ET, October 4, 2022

Russia removes commander following losses in Kharkiv, records show

From CNN's Uliana Pavlova

Destroyed Russian armored vehicles left behind by the Russian forces in Izium, Kharkiv, Ukraine, on October 2.
Destroyed Russian armored vehicles left behind by the Russian forces in Izium, Kharkiv, Ukraine, on October 2. (Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Russian authorities have removed the commander of the country's Western Military District (WMD), according to records from its Unified State Registry published Monday.

The Unified State Registry, which functions as a state record of all registered legal entitles, has listed Col. Gen. Roman Berdnikov as the new commander of the Western Military District. It comes as Russian forces have pulled out from many parts of eastern Ukraine. 

The WMD, based in western Russia, is one of five Russian military districts. It played a significant role in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Berdnikov replaces Col. Gen. Alexander Zhuravlyov, who has also been a commander in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, where Russian forces suffered heavy losses in past weeks. Bednikov’s appointment comes on the heels of the Russian retreat from the strategic eastern city of Lyman, in the Donetsk region.

More on the former commander: Zhuravlyov, known for overseeing one of the most brutal chapters of Syria’s war, also oversaw a rocket artillery brigade, whom CNN identified launching cluster munitions attacks in residential districts of Kharkiv in late February, during the early days of the war.

Russian officials have criticized the country’s military leadership following the retreat in Lyman. Lawmaker and former army commander Andrei Gurulev said he could not explain this “surrender” from a military point of view, speaking on Soloviev Live, a pro-Kremlin TV channel on Saturday.

Berdnikov graduated from the Kyiv Suvorov Military School in 1991 and from the Moscow Higher Combined Arms Command School in 1995.

The Russian Ministry of Defense has yet to confirm the leadership change at the Western Military District.

8:29 a.m. ET, October 4, 2022

EU summons Russian ambassadors over "illegal" annexation of Ukrainian territories

From CNN's Chris Liakos

The European Union has summoned in a "coordinated manner” the Russian ambassadors in EU member states following Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision last week to annex Ukrainian regions, an EU spokesperson told CNN Monday. 

“In response to latest steps by Russia escalating even more its aggression against Ukraine — with sham referenda and illegal annexation of the Ukrainian territories — the EU summoned in coordinated manner the Russian ambassadors in the EU member states and to the EU institutions,” Peter Stano, the EU’s spokesperson for foreign affairs and security policy, told CNN.

Stano said the move aims to “convey strong condemnation of these actions” and demand the “immediate halt to steps undermining Ukraine’s territorial integrity and violating UN Charter and international law.”

The summoning started on Friday last week, according to Stano. The Russian ambassador to the EU was summoned in Brussels Monday afternoon, he added.

3:17 a.m. ET, October 4, 2022

Ukraine is offering the US targeting oversight in bid for new long-range rockets, officials tell CNN 

From CNN's Alex Marquardt

In an effort to overcome Biden administration resistance to providing it with a new set of powerful, long-range rocket systems, the Ukrainian government is now offering the US full and ongoing visibility into their list of intended Russian targets, multiple officials familiar with the discussions tell CNN.

Why this matters: The remarkable transparency essentially gives the US veto power over Ukrainian targeting of Russia and is meant to convince the administration that providing the critical weapons would not lead to strikes inside Russian territory, which the US fears would escalate the war and draw it directly into a conflict with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

At issue are the Army Tactical Missile Systems, or ATACMS, surface-to-surface missiles that can fly around 200 miles (300 kilometers) — about four times the distance of the rockets used by the HIMARS mobile systems the US began sending to Ukraine four months ago.

U.S. Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) fires a missile into the East Sea during a South Korea-U.S. joint missile drill on July 29, 2017 in East Coast, South Korea.
U.S. Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) fires a missile into the East Sea during a South Korea-U.S. joint missile drill on July 29, 2017 in East Coast, South Korea. (South Korean Defense Ministry/Getty Images)

Despite Ukraine’s proposal, the Biden administration still has not approved the new long-range ATACMS weapons, and argues that Ukraine is doing well with the HIMARS systems it currently has. In fact on Wednesday the administration announced funding for 18 more HIMARS for Ukraine, bringing the total to over 30 US systems.

There are also concerns inside the administration that providing the longer-range ATACMS weapons would cross a red line in the eyes of Moscow, which would see the US becoming “a direct party to the conflict.”

But that red line is becoming murkier with Friday’s annexation of four Ukrainian territories by Russia. The US has stated that it will support the use of Western weapons inside those zones even if Russia now considers it part of its official territory.

Still, the idea of taking a more active role in discussions over Ukrainian targeting raises American fears of being seen as more involved than it would like.

8:28 a.m. ET, October 4, 2022

Ukrainian forces advance into the Luhansk region, pro-Russian officials say

From CNN's Olga Voitovych in Kyiv and Mick Krever in London

After regaining the key eastern Ukrainian city of Lyman over the weekend, Ukrainian forces have continued their counteroffensive and pushed into the Luhansk region, according to pro-Russian officials and propagandists.

“The Armed Forces of Ukraine managed to cross the administrative border of the LPR and gain a foothold in the direction of the settlement of Lysychansk,” Andrey Marochko, a military leader in the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR), said on Telegram on Monday.

Russia controls nearly all of Ukraine’s Luhansk region; Ukrainian forces liberated the Luhansk village of Bilohorivka at the end of September.

Ukrainian forces have continued their offensive toward the Russian-occupied towns of Svatove and Kreminna, in the Luhansk region, a pro-Russian journalist, military blogger and analyst said.

“In the face of the threat to our grouping in the area of ​​the settlement of Borova, it was decided to withdraw it to the line of the Zherebets River, which was done tonight,” Yuriy Podolyaka wrote on Telegram.
“In the area of ​​Kreminna, the enemy is also not particularly active today, but the concentration of troops suggests that a new offensive in this direction (towards Svatove and Kreminna) should begin any day,” he said.

Kyiv is now advancing into the Luhansk region, according to military representative for the so-called People's Militia of the Luhansk People's Republic.

"Now the Ukrainian media have begun to very actively share information that the Armed Forces of Ukraine have crossed the administrative border of the LPR, and they are rejoicing,” Andrey Marochko said, quoted by the Luhansk Media Center.

“But in fact, there are no administrative borders for the military now, in fact, Ukrainian troops entered ‘the fire bag’ and are being actively destroyed by our troops."