LATEST UPDATES: Kremlin stages referendums in occupied regions of Ukraine
I'll get the
latest on the
Ukraine fight with Charles Stratford in a bit, but let's go to Moscow first. Muhammad Val is following the development there. Muhammad, what has Russia been saying about the referendum? only from the turnout despite the fact that they did not give very high figures on Saturday, for example, according to the Tas agency it was between 23 and 26 but they expected it to increase during the following days and the same medium also talks about 93 percent of those who cast their vote in zaporizia for example they chose to join russia and indonesk the authorities there talk that 236 people have already voted and that is a large number a large number considering the operation so far is limited for security reasons phase one it will end on On the 26th and 27th there will be a day of open voting in the polling stations as usual, that is when the largest number is expected to turn out and that will be the last day, the news here also the media speak of a result fast that will be announced quickly, I mean the next day, the 28th, the results will be announced in the evening and the next day the State Duma is expected to meet and endorse that s results.
So, probably on the 30th, President Vladimir Putin will give a speech and officially declare those four
regions as an official part of the Russian Federation. Okay, that's Muhammad Val for us in Moscow. Now let's go to Charles. Stretford, joining us now from the Chelsea cave, has more on the
latest fighting in the East overnight, that's right. Ukrainian authorities describe what they describe as heavy shelling and shelling of various uh areas in the east and south in those areas that uh that are along the line of contact th The Ukrainians say that at least 35 what they describe as settlements were hit by Russian strikes in the last 24 hours.
There are also reports that we again cannot independently verify what the Ukrainians describe as Iranian kamikaze drone attacks on an administrative building in downtown Odessa in the South, but as I say, we cannot independently verify that we know that the Ukrainians have accused the Iranians of supplying these drones to Russia. It is something that the Iranians have flatly denied. he punished the ambassador by removing his accreditation and demanding that several diplomats from the Iranian embassy leave. The Iranians say they will respond with some kind of proportional response in the coming days. Interestingly, there are also reports on the Russian side of the scam. line of control they say there was a hotel in the
occupied city of kerrson that the ukr chinese army hit this morning there are reports again that cannot be independently verified from journalists staying in that hotel at least two people reported possibly injured dead so as I say as this progresses a legitimate vote according to the international community a lot of heavy fighting in various places along the line of contact in the east and south it's ok Charles for us it's Charles Stratford in alive since Keith thank you the military mobilization of the
Kremlin has led to more people fleeing Russia Serbia is one of the few countries Russians can travel to without a visa Jonah Hull has this report from the capital Belgrade not to the war they sing Russia without Putin it is not clear exactly who their protest is aimed at are Russians in self-imposed exile against the war in
Ukraine their staunchly tolerated presence mos The
Kremlin allies with Serbia, one of the few countries Russians can now travel to without a visa.
My voice can be a drop in the ocean and maybe it isn't. I heard but I have to talk anyway. Alexi Novikov is among the estimated 50,000 Russians who have landed in Belgrade since the war broke out in February. Many on one-way tickets. The pace of arrivals is believed to have increased in recent days with young men. in particular, to escape the partial mobilization of reservists by President Vladimir Putin. I don't want to engage in a war against the Ukrainian people because some unclear targets are vague and probably very soon they will try to mobilize and rush en masse and take anyone they can catch and send to the front line to use as fodder for the Canon.
The so-called sister nations. His fellow Orthodox Slavs in Serbia offer the Russians a familiarity and a warm reception, but given the political ties between Belgrade and the
Kremlin, it is an unlikely port for dissent. it feels like people don't understand that russians are against war, they really feel that putin and rush are the same and i want to express my feelings that it is not and that we are. really against the war, no one is suggesting that small expatriate populations like this, as loud as they are, are about to turn public opinion in Russia against President Putin or the war, for one thing, is very unlikely to be seen or heard by most Russians in the state. -led by the media, but many here feel that the recently announced mobilization or call-up of reservists is likely to create a new awareness of the war in Russian homes and in Russian society and that, in turn, be one more step towards a possible tipping point.
It is one thing to sit on a sofa and watch how we are conquering
Ukraine and quite another to be in a trench with a machine gun so I think that the discontent of the people is already quite strong because those citizens who support Putin and the war have begun to express their discontent with what is happening in
Ukraine and the mobilization will now push people to protest against from a place of relative safety who have now left their old lives behind these Russian dissidents are determined to play their part Jonah Hall Al Jazeera Belgrade Russia has reshuffled its military leadership appointing Colonel General Mikhail Mizinsev as deputy defense minister will be responsible for logistics operations is under Western sanctions for his role in the Mariopol bombing Kiev officials accuse him of masterminding the siege that killed thousands of civilians when residential buildings were destroyed.
A sensitive has also been accused of orchestrating the bombing campaign that leveled much of Aleppo in Syria in 2016. Well, let's bring on Samir Puri. is a military analyst and author of Russia's Road to War with
Ukraine is joining us from Singapore thank you very much for being on the show and mazinsiv has been dubbed Mario's Butcher poll by many Ukrainians as we heard and has been described as a uncompromising inside Russia, so do you think we are going to see an even more ruthless Russian army now? Yes, thank you very much. for the treat, uh, these reorganizations are quite common because Russia's war efforts have been fraught with difficulties, but your question touches on a really important issue: are we going to see more indiscriminate bombing of parts of
Ukraine that Russia hasn't yet conquered? ?
I think the answer is yes and, very simply, is this at the beginning of the invasion, the Russian Armed Forces try to operate with a little more finesse, parachute drops and sort of forward raids on Kiev and khaki, all failed and they came back to write and sadly, the type is the type of campaigns that we've seen in Aleppo, Syria, the Marriott port in southern
Ukraine, as you mentioned, the devastation of the urban landscape and Russia claiming that like a conquest it's taking over logistics and supplies, why do you think this has been the case? a major problem for the Russian army in this war, well, yes, amateurs talk about strategy, professionals talk about logistics, that's one of the aphorisms that is sometimes repeated.
The discussion about military operations and one of the reasons why the Russian military has had problems in
Ukraine boils down to logistics, it boils down to the military advancing without adequate lines of supply disconnected from other lines of advance, remember Russia invaded from multiple angles of
Ukraine so Bringing some kind of control to this chaos has been an uphill struggle for the Russian Defense Ministry and its military command since the very first days of the invasion things started to go wrong so in fact Minister Mikhail will actually be responsible I think for digging in the Russian forces for the Long Haul and this then ties into this partial mobilization order that we've also seen happen this week and do you think this is a direct result of the loss of ground by Ukrainian forces over the past month? reorientation to this new reality in which as you say
Ukraine has been able to retake some of its
occupied land zelensky cal vacations Is it and of course the Russians will be alarmed that the possibility of Ukrainian offenses spreading further afield along the front line?
It could become something the Russians are dealing with, so I think the Russians are certainly not on the front foot that they are on. the back foot and stabilize that position and play sorry to use a sports analogy play for the whistle play for winter which means making sure the Russians don't lose more than they have before winter hits will be one by Mikhail Minette says goals. I think we have heard US officials say that there is an increasingly dysfunctional command structure in Moscow. It's running, but reports servicing a few things in the media suggest there's something of a hundred-kilometer screwdriver, if you will, which means key command and operational decisions are being made. g taken in Moscow, while other Armed Forces might delegate them to field commanders, it seems that Putin and those around him have tried to micromanage the war from far away, perhaps often with poor information, delayed information, uh, that and I think so the point mentioned above is the russians invaded from many different directions from the start and that just meant their military campaign was poorly coordinated from the start and they have been trying to gain some coherence ever since Samir Puri thank you very much. for your time and your analysis