Russia says thousands of reservists have answered the call to fight in Ukraine – while others have been fleeing the country, or staying and protesting against Vladimir Putin’s mobilization order. As Moscow bolsters its war effort, Russian-installed officials are holding sham ‘referendums’ that would lay the groundwork for Russia to annex four occupied regions of Ukraine. Ukrainian officials and witnesses say residents are being coerced into taking part, often at gunpoint. At the UN General Assembly, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said the four regions will be under Russia’s ‘full protection’ if they are annexed by Moscow.
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