Russians flee conscription as Lavrov leaves after UN speech – live


Full speech: Zelenskiy tells UN Ukraine is ready for ‘real, fair and honest peace’

Traffic at Russia’s border crossings with Finland and Georgia increased after President Putin announced partial mobilization and raised fears that war-aged men would be called up to fight on the frontline in Ukraine.

Prices for one-way flights from Moscow to the nearest foreign locations soared above $5,000 (£4,440), with most airline tickets completely sold out.

Russia’s foreign minister has left the UN Security Council following the allegations Ukraine Russophobia and neo-Nazism.

Ukraine is stepping up its crackdown on dissidents and Russian TV channels are closed, Sergei Lavrov said.

“We have no doubt that Ukraine has become a totalitarian state similar to the Nazis,” Lavrov claimed, and the suppression of the Russian language is “obvious racism,” he claimed.

British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly condemned Russia“a catalog of distortions and disinformation” warns that Vladimir Putin was planning to escalate his war, which was “an attack on the UN Charter”.

The Kremlin insisted that reports of the exodus of military men were exaggerated.

Police arrested more than 1,300 people at protests in at least 39 cities across Russia.


Britons return home with families after “traumatic experience”.

In case you missed it: Britons released in Ukraine by Russian-backed forces thanked fans as they flew back to Britain. All five have now returned home:


A tearful farewell to Russian reservists and their families

Families tearfully said goodbye to men who left military mobilization centers in Russia. Videos from the eastern Siberian town of Neryungri showed men coming out of the stadium. Before boarding the buses, they hugged family members waiting outside, many crying and some covering their mouths with grief.

The man took one last look at the child through the window of one of the buses. In Moscow, at another mobilization point, women hugged, cried and crucified men.

The 25-year-old, who gave only his first name, Dmitry, received a hug from his father, who told him to “be careful,” as they parted ways. Dmitry told the Russian media company Ostorozhno Novosti that he did not expect to be drafted and sent so quickly, especially since he is still a student. “Nobody told me anything this morning. They gave me a notice to come here at 3 pm. We waited for 1.5 hours, then a conscript came and said we are going now,” he said. “I was like, ‘Oh great! I went out and started calling my parents, my brother, all my friends to tell them to take me.”


How the Western Allies helped secure the release of the British

The release of captured British and Ukrainian fighters took months of secret international negotiations.

More than 200 fighters from the Azov battalion were also released.

In exchange, Moscow accepted 55 prisoners, including Vladimir Putin’s friend Viktor Medvedchuk, writes Kim Sengupta:


Why is Moscow calling referendums?

Four occupied regions of Ukraine are expected to begin voting on Friday in Kremlin-planned referendums on whether to become part of Russia. Here’s why:


Stalls at border crossings amid “panic” over tickets

There were long delays at border crossings from Russia to Georgia as Russian men continued to try to flee the country.

One Russian-language news site listed “where to escape from Russia now.”

The Russian, who only gave his name as Vasilij, traveled to Istanbul, Turkey with his wife, teenage daughter and six suitcases.

“The mobilization was inevitable because there was a shortage of human resources. I am not worried because I am already 59 years old and my son lives abroad,” he said.

A truck driver who crossed the Russian-Kazakhstan border on Thursday said he saw unusually heavy traffic from the Russian side.

A travel industry source said people have given up trying to find air tickets from Russia.

“It’s panic demand from people who fear they won’t be able to leave the country later – people are buying tickets regardless of where they’re flying,” the source said.


Reports of the exodus are exaggerated, Russia insists

Russia says reports of mass exodus from the country are exaggerated.

Dmitri Peskov, President Putin’s press secretary, said: “The information about the excitement at the airports and so on is greatly exaggerated… There is a lot of false information about it. We must be very careful not to fall victim to false information about this matter.”

Russian news agencies reported that 10,000 people volunteered to fight before their drafts arrived, citing the Russian General Staff.

President Putin’s defense minister says the reserve mobilization is intended to include about 300,000 men.

Anti-war protests in 38 Russian cities led to more than 1,300 arrests on Wednesday, a monitoring group said.

Some detainees were ordered to report to military offices on Thursday, the first full day of conscription, independent news outlets reported. More rallies are planned for the weekend.


UN chief warns of ‘endless’ horrors and bloodshed

The UN Secretary General has warned that the latest events in the war in Ukraine are one step closer to an “endless cycle of terror and bloodshed”.

During the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Antonio Guterres called Russia’s nuclear threats against the West “totally unacceptable”. Check it out here:


Airline tickets from Moscow sold out even at record prices

One-way airfares from Moscow have soared as Russian men continued to head for the country’s borders after Vladimir Putin ordered partial mobilization.

Air fares from the capital to the nearest foreign locations have soared above $5,000 (£4,440) and most airline seats are completely sold out in the coming days.

Traffic at the border crossings with Finland continued to increase, and social media groups appeared with advice on how to get out of Russia.

“The war is horrible,” Sergej, a Russian who did not want to give his last name, told Reuters when he arrived in Belgrade, the Serbian capital. “It’s okay to be afraid of war and death and things like that.”

One Russian, who called himself Alex, said he left Russia in part because of the mobilization.

“Partial mobilization is one of the reasons I’m here,” he said. “This seems to be a very bad step and could cause a lot of problems for many Russians.”

He said he thought few Russians wanted to go into battle.


Freed hostage “in good spirits after a difficult time”

The family of Shaun Pinner, one of five Britons captured by pro-Russian forces in Ukraine and returned to the UK, said it was a terrifying time for him.

In a statement released by the Foreign Office, the family said: “We would like to thank everyone involved in Shaun’s release, especially everyone at the Foreign Office, Liz Truss and her team, Boris Johnson and President Zelensky.

“Shaun would also like to acknowledge the hospitality of the Saudi government and Prince Mohammed bin Salman al Saud, who also helped negotiate his freedom.

“This is a very emotional time as you can expect and we cannot fully discuss the details of it at this early stage. It has been a harrowing time for Shaun and our family, who have now experienced such a joyful decision.

“Shaun is in good spirits and still has an intact sense of humor. He’s looking forward to a steak and a glass of red wine tonight.

“We are enjoying family time now and would appreciate privacy at this time.”

Shaun Pinner (dark top) pictured back in the UK with his family

(Debbie Price)


At least seven people are said to have been killed in the rocket attacks

Russian and Ukrainian forces exchanged missile and artillery barrages as both sides refused to budge.

Russian rocket attacks on the southern city of Zaporizhzhia have killed one person and wounded five, Ukrainian officials said.

Authorities in the separatist-held city of Donetsk said Ukrainian shelling had killed at least six people.

Kirill Tymoshenko, a deputy in the Ukrainian president’s office, said a hotel in Zaporozhye had been hit and rescue workers were trying to rescue people trapped in the rubble.

Zaporizhzhia regional governor Oleksandr Starukh said Russian forces targeted infrastructure and damaged residential buildings.

Vladimir Putin has begun calling up reserve units to supplement his forces.


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