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Ukraine war updates: Regions vote on joining Russia, Putin orders a draft (Sept. 26)

Police officers detain a man in Moscow on Wednesday, following calls to protest against mobilization announced by President Vladimir Putin.
Alexander Nemenov
AFP via Getty Images
Police officers detain a man in Moscow on Wednesday, following calls to protest against mobilization announced by President Vladimir Putin.

As the week begins, here's a look ahead and a roundup of key developments from the past week.

What to watch this week

On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko in Moscow.

On Tuesday, annexation votes end in four Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine. Also, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will deliver a virtual address at an event hosted by Harvard University.

On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity, and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing on U.S. sanctions on Russia.

On Friday, European Union energy ministers will meet to approve emergency plans.

What happened last week

Sept. 19: Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia began barring most Russian travelers. Poland followed suit, and Finland later announcedit too would "significantly restrict the entry and issuing visas to Russian citizens."

Sept. 20: Leaders of four separatist and partially Russian-occupied regions said they would hold referendums on whether to formally join Russia, part of Russia's move to annex the regions.

Sept. 21: Putin announced a mobilization of hundreds of thousands of Russian reservists to fight in Ukraine. Zelenskyy delivered remarks to the U.N. General Assembly via video, urging punishment for Russia. President Biden addressed the General Assembly as well, saying "Russia has shamelessly violated the core tenets of the United Nations charter" by invading Ukraine.

Sept. 22: Ukraine and Russia announced a prisoner swap involving the release of more than 200 Ukrainian and foreign citizens from Russia — including two U.S. military veterans — and more than 50 prisoners from Ukraine, including Ukrainian pro-Russian opposition leader Viktor Medvedchuk.

Sept. 23: In what the U.S. and others called "sham referendums," voting began in four Russian-occupied regionsof Ukraine on whether to join Russia.

Sept. 24: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrovtold the U.N. General Assemblythat the West is out to "destroy and fracture Russia." On Thursday, he appeared at a Security Council meeting on Ukraine to deliver his own remarksand then left.

Sept. 25: White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan warned of "catastrophic consequences" if Russia uses a nuclear weapon in Ukraine. Also, at the start of the Jewish new year, thousands of Hasidic Jews made a Rosh Hashana pilgrimage to the Ukrainian city of Uman, despite official pleas not to do so during the war.


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Earlier developments

You can read past recaps here. For context and more in-depth stories, you can find more of NPR's coverage here. Also, listen and subscribe to NPR's State of Ukraine podcast for updates throughout the day.

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