LIVE: 212th day of Russian aggression against Ukraine

Ukrainian servicemen take an ammunition box from a Russian APC at a former position of Russian troops in the Kharkiv area, Ukraine, September 22, 2022. Photo: PAP/EPA/OLEKSANDR RATUSHNIAK

Four areas of Ukraine controlled by Russia and pro-Moscow forces were preparing to hold referendums on Friday on joining Russia, votes widely condemned by the West as illegitimate and a precursor to illegal annexation.

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Polish officials have said that Poland will not admit Russian men who decide to leave their country to avoid being called up to fight in Ukraine.

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Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Friday he met with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov to discuss a Mexican peace plan for the Ukraine conflict that he presented to the U.N. General Assembly this week.

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Uzbekistan's top religious authority urged Uzbeks on Friday not to get involved in the conflict in Ukraine, saying that doing so was against the Islamic faith, after Russia offered fast-track citizenship to foreigners those who join its army.

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Germany said on Friday many Russians being called up to fight in the war in Ukraine do not want to take part, adding that this was welcome.

“Many Russians who are now being called up do not want to take part in this war either. This is a good sign,” a government spokesperson told a regular news conference. “A way must be left open for Russians to come to Europe and also to Germany,” the spokesperson added.

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The chair of an independent Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine said on Friday that it had concluded that war crimes had been committed in Ukraine following investigations conducted in four regions of the country.

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A US envoy said that Russia has forcibly deported between 900,000-1.6 million Ukrainians, citing unnamed sources, and urged an UN-mandated commission of inquiry to investigate.

“We urge the commissioners to continue to examine the growing evidence of Russia's filtration operations, forced deportations and disappearances,” US Ambassador Michele Taylor told the Geneva-based Human Rights Council, referring to a commission of inquiry into Ukraine.

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The chair of an independent Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine said on Friday that it had concluded that war crimes had been committed in Ukraine based on evidence gathered from four regions of the country.

“Based on the evidence gathered by the Commission, it has concluded that war crimes have been committed in Ukraine,” Erik Møse told the Geneva-based Human Rights Council.

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Kazakhstan has seen an increased number of arrivals from neighbouring Russia, Kazakh authorities said on Friday, after Moscow announced a conscription drive this week for the war in Ukraine.

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Traffic into Finland across its southeastern border with Russia continues to be busy, the country's border guard told Reuters on Friday, adding that the number of Russian citizens entering more than doubled on Thursday compared to the week before.

Finland is considering barring most Russians from entering the country as traffic arriving from its eastern neighbour "intensified" on Thursday following President Vladimir Putin's order for a partial military mobilisation.

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