Volodymyr Zelensky calls on Russians to protest Putin's mobilisation and tells Kremlin troops in Ukraine to 'fight back, run away or surrender' after deranged despot triggered exodus with 'plans to conscript 1MILLION men'

  • Zelensky cited '55,000 Russian soldiers dying' since invasion, adding 'do you want more? No? Then protest'
  • Vladimir Putin started the¬†mobilisation of¬†300,000 military reservists this week with 1million also 'planned'¬†¬†
  • Russian President also made fresh threats of nuclear war towards Ukraine and its Western allies

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Volodymyr Zelensky today called on Russians to 'protest' the partial mobilisation announced by Vladimir Putin and told Kremlin troops in Ukraine to 'fight back, run away or surrender'. 

Deranged despot Putin has paved the way for up to 1million Russians to be conscripted into the armed forces and sent to fight in Ukraine, it's been claimed, as the Kremlin conducts a brutal crackdown of those protesting his latest controversial action. 

This has prompted the Ukrainian President to call for further protests by Russians, and say in his daily address: '55,000 Russian soldiers died in these six months of war. Do you want more? No? Then protest. Fight back, run away, or surrender' to our army.'

Zelensky also told the Russian people today that are 'complicit' in Putin's brutal invasion which has seen alleged torture and the murder of civilians as he then said conscripts had a choice to 'live, die or become a cripple' if they cannot stop being shoved off to the front lines. 

All flights out of Russia to neighbouring areas that allow visa-free entry were nearly entirely booked today while prices also skyrocketed as the partial mobilisation, which so far applies to 300,000 military reservists, begins. 

The Russian President's call for thousands more troops yesterday was also accompanied by fresh threats of nuclear war towards Ukraine and its Western allies. 

Meanwhile, Russian and Ukrainian forces exchanged missile and artillery barrages as both sides refused to concede ground - despite recent military setbacks for Moscow and the toll on the invaded country after almost seven months of war.

Volodymyr Zelensky today called on Russians to 'protest' the partial mobilisation announced by Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called up thousands of extra troops to join his faltering invasion effort

Men pictured queuing up to flights out of Russia at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport as people begin to flee the country again 

Cars cross the border from Russia to Finland at the Nuijamaa border check point in Lappeenranta today

News of the mobilisation sparked fury across Russia yesterday, with more than 1,400 people arrested in demonstrations in at leas 38 cities.

Experts and observers said the move showed the Russian President is getting desperate, and risks backfiring on his regime by causing a collapse in morale at the front and an upsurge of anger back home.

Russia is now almost seven months into what Putin anticipated would be a days-long war to depose the Ukrainian government and install a puppet regime. But instead he has found himself locked into a grinding war of attrition against a determined enemy backed by Western weapons and money.

Putin's attack dog Sergei Lavrov STORMS OUT of UN meeting after delusional speech accusing Ukraine of 'Russophobia' while slamming narrative 'Russian aggression is the origin of this tragedy'

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stormed out of a UN Security meeting today after a delusional speech in which he accused 'totalitarian' Ukraine of 'neo-Nazism' and 'Russophobia'.

It came after France, the current head of the Security Council, called a special session in New York to highlight the need for accountability for the atrocities seen in Ukraine.  

Although Lavrov was not caught on camera leaving the room, his early departure was referenced by UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly. 

'He has left the chamber, I'm not surprised, I don't think Mr Lavrov wants to hear the collective condemnation of this council,' Mr Cleverly said. 

Lavrov told the Council that there has been a narrative that Russian aggression initiated the war as he lashed out at Western accusations.

'There's an attempt today to impose on us a completely different narrative about Russian aggression as the origin of this tragedy,' Lavrov said. 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (pictured) stormed out of a UN Security meeting after a delusional speech in which he accused 'totalitarian' Ukraine of 'Russophobia'

He accused Ukraine of 'Russophobia,' including through its imposition of Ukrainian language rules.

'The United States and their allies with the connivance of international human rights organisations have been covering the crimes of the Kyiv regime,' Lavrov added.

The Foreign Minister also accused Ukraine of becoming a 'Nazi-like state' in a rambling speech.

'We have no doubt that Ukraine has become a completely totalitarian Nazi-like state where the norms of international humanitraian law trampled on,' Lavrov said.

He added: 'We have no illusions that today the armed forces of Russia and the militias of Lugansk and Donetsk are being opposed not only by the neo-Nazi formations of the Kiev regime but the military machine of the collective West.'

 

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China and India - both of whom had good relations with Putin before the war ‚ÄĒ have distanced themselves from his regime, while even North Korea has said it won't supply arms to Russia because it will 'tarnish' its image.¬†

More protests have been organised by anti-war groups, as opposition to the invasion grows. 

There were also reports of a mass exodus following the announcement. On Thursday the Kremlin dismissed as 'fake' reports that Russians eligible for mobilisation were rushing for the exit.

Russian missile strikes in the southern city of Zaporizhzhia also left one person dead and five wounded, Ukrainian officials said.

Officials in the separatist-controlled city of Donetsk said Ukrainian shelling killed at least six people.

While the hostilities continued, the two sides did manage to agree on a major prisoner swap.

Hours before Thursday's attacks, the high-profile prisoner swap saw the announcement of an exchange of 215 Ukrainian and foreign fighters - 200 of them for a single person, an ally of Mr Putin's. 

Zelensky told the Russian people today: 'You are already complicit in all these crimes, murders and torture of Ukrainians. Because you were silent. Because you are silent. 

'And now it's time for you to choose: for men in Russia, this is a choice to die or live, to become a cripple or to preserve health.

'For women in Russia, the choice is to lose their husbands, sons, grandchildren forever, or still try to protect them from death, from war, from one person (Putin).'

Denis Pushilin, head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, confirmed that the Mr Putin ally, pro-Russian Ukrainian opposition leader Viktor Medvedchuk, was part of the swap.

Among the freed fighters were Ukrainian defenders of a steel plant in Mariupol during a long Russian siege, along with 10 foreigners, including five British citizens and two US military veterans who had fought with Ukrainian forces.

Some of those freed had faced death sentences in Russian-occupied areas.

A video on the BBC news website showed two of the released British men, Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner, speaking on a plane.

'We just want to let everyone know that we're now out of the danger zone and we're on our way home to our families,' Mr Aslin said in the video, as Mr Pinner added: 'By the skin of our teeth.'

The continuation of Russian missile attacks and beginning of a partial mobilisation of Russians into the armed forces suggested the Kremlin was seeking to dispel any notion of weakness or waning determination to achieve its wartime aims in light of recent battlefield losses and other setbacks that undercut the aura of Russian military might.

Speaking in the House of Commons this afternoon, Armed Forces minister James Heappey described how 'rattled' Mr Putin's action was an acknowledgement of Russia's 'failure'.

Mr Heappey, who noted how 25,000 Russians have already died during the Ukraine conflict, told MPs that Moscow was now condemning hundreds of thousands more troops to a miserable winter.

'Russian conscripts are going to suffer horribly for the Kremlin's hubris,' the minister added.

Ex-prime minister Boris Johnson, speaking in the same Commons debate, branded 'weak' Mr Putin as a 'problem gambler' taking greater risks because he is 'terrified of losing.

The former premier highlighted how the price of one-way plane tickets from Moscow to South Africa rocketed yesterday because potential Russian conscripts 'have no desire to be sacrificed on the altar of his (Mr Putin's) ego'.

 At one point, Mr Johnson misspoke and thanked the 'inspirational leadership of Vladimir Putin' before quickly correcting himself and saying Volodymyr Zelensky.

The Armed Forces minister informed the Commons that Russia had suffered 25,000 dead, with tens of thousands injured and tens of thousands more troops having deserted.

He added that Mr Putin had also seen his war machine suffer the destruction of 3,000 armoured and protected vehicles, more than 400 artillery pieces decimated and scores of fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters and UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) downed. 

A woman is carried away by Russian police in Moscow during a demonstration against the Russian president's latest escalation in the Ukraine conflict

There were clashes between police and protesters in Moscow, as people took to the streets to protest Putin's latest plans in the Ukraine conflict

Police officers detain a woman in Moscow on September 21, 2022, following calls to protest against partial mobilisation announced by President Vladimir Putin

Ex-PM Boris Johnson branded 'weak' Mr Putin as a 'problem gambler' taking greater risks because he is 'terrified of losing

Armed Forces minister James Heappey described how 'rattled' Mr Putin's action was an acknowledgement of Russia's 'failure'

'Seven months into this conflict, Russia lacks sufficient manpower in the field to achieve any of its objectives and the mood of Moscow is changing quickly,' Mr Heappey said.

Desperate Russian wives threaten to break their husbands' BONES so they are unfit to join war as thousands of men scramble to flee country with airports crammed and huge traffic jams after conscripts are given 'four hours to pack and leave'

Men of fighting age are racing to avoid a potential call-up after Putin ordered Moscow's first mobilisation since World War Two, with plans to immediately start conscripting some 300,000 troops to fight on the frontline.

Many flights were sold out yesterday amid the panic, while others appeared to resort to drastic tactics to avoid the conscription, with Google searches for 'how to break an arm at home' - skyrocketing hours after Putin's speech.

 

A dramatic night time picture from Vnukovo airport in Moscow shows men trying to escape the country before they are prevented

A wife from Tyumen in Siberia said: 'I will not let my husband go. I'll break his both legs. His duty is to raise his children.' 

The authorities issued a a special warning issued to potential recruits that they face legal sanctions if they self-harm by breaking arms or legs to avoid the call-up. 

Photos and videos have also emerged of airports crowded with young men and heavy traffic near border crossings, driven by fears the country might lock down and send more civilians to war.

Yesterday, flagship carrier Aeroflot said it was not 'yet' banning young men from travelling, suggesting travel restrictions may soon be in place.

And a dramatic night time picture from Vnukovo airport in Moscow shows men trying to escape before they are prevented.

 

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He claimed the Russian President and the country's defence minister Sergey Shoigu had 'backed themselves into a corner'.

'They have sent tens of thousands of their own citizens to their deaths, ill-equipped and badly led,' the minister continued.

'They're now to send hundreds of thousands more with little training and no winter uniform into the teeth of the Ukrainian winter against an opponent that is well-motivated, well-equipped and succeeding.'

'Neither Putin nor Shoigu's lies, threats and propaganda can disguise the truth: Russian conscripts are going to suffer horribly for the Kremlin's hubris.'

Mr Johnson, who was widely praised for his efforts in supporting Ukraine while he was PM, told MPs that Britain must be prepared to give more military and economic assistance.

'At this turning point in the war, it is more vital than ever that we have the strategic patience to hold our nerve and ensure that the Ukrainians succeed in recapturing their territory, right to the borders of 24th February,' he said.

'And, if possible, to the pre-2014 boundaries because that is what international law demands.'

Mr Johnson claimed Mr Putin's mobilisation order had caused 'panic among people about to be fed into the meat-grinder of Putin's warzone'.

'Yesterday, in a single day, the price of a one-way air ticket from Moscow to South Africa went up to $50,000,' he added.

'Because those potential conscripts can see that what began as a war to rebuild the Soviet empire has collapsed into a shameful war to save Putin's face.

'And they have no desire to be sacrificed on the alter of his ego.'

A haunting video also shows a group of enlistees from Stary Oskol in Belgorod region being taken away into their military service.

The footage shows a conscript's child, seemingly a girl, being heard ‚ÄĒ but not seen ‚ÄĒ shouting after him: 'Papa, goodbye.¬†Please come back. Papa, bye, Papa‚Ķ Papa...?'

The child cries inconsolably as her father ‚ÄĒ somewhere in a group of men ‚ÄĒ slowly leaves, some never to return.

One claim was that these men ‚ÄĒ who are close to the Ukraine border in Belgorod region ‚ÄĒ would be first of the newly recruited to the front, but all are supposed to have at least one month's training first.

Separately, university students are seen in a video being marched by police from their lecture theatres to war service in Ulan-Ude, Buryatia ‚ÄĒ already one of the worst hit regions for bloodshed in Putin's war.

The scene at Buryatia State University came one day after the defence minister Sergei Shoigu had vowed higher education students would not be enlisted.

The despot yesterday announced that 300,000 people with previous combat experience or specialist skills will be sent to the frontlines in Ukraine, with the first batches seen kissing their loved ones goodbye today. 

However, the official order was published with a paragraph ominously blanked out. Putin's spokesman says it relates to the number who can be called, and a source within the presidential palace now claims it says '1million'.

The document also makes no mention of previous combat experience and sets no limits on who can be summoned except those who are too old, sick or in jail - opening the door for virtually anyone to be drafted.

'The figure [to be called up] was corrected several times, and in the end they settled on a million,' the source told opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta. 

Traffic arriving at Finland's eastern border with Russia (pictured) 'intensified' during the night, the Finnish Border Guard said early on Thursday 

Queues of cars trying to get out of Russia form on the country's border with Georgia hours after Putin announced mobilisation

The child's father waits tob e called up to service while his child cries, shouting after him: 'Papa, goodbye…. 'Please come back. Papa, bye, Papa… Papa...?'

Anecdotal evidence from some of Russia's many regions, where military commissars are already to rounding up people for the frontlines, indicated the net is being cast far wider that Putin suggested.

Videos from Chechnya and Yakutia showed large numbers of men - some of them middle aged - being loaded on to buses to take them off to war. 

Andrew Roth, of The Guardian, also claimed to have spoken to people living in a small village in Buryatia - in Russia's far east - where 20 people out of 450 had been handed papers, or around 5 per cent of the population.

Repeated country-wide, that would yield a force far larger than 300,000.

Pavel Chikov, a Russian human rights lawyer, said the decree allows conscription 'in the broadest possible terms.'

'The president is leaving it at the Defense Minister's discretion,' Chikov said. 'So in fact it is the Russian Defense Ministry that will decide who will be sent to war, from where and in what numbers.'

Speaking in New York on Thursday, German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock praised Russian anti-war protesters and said no one inside the country can continue turning a blind eye to what is happening in Ukraine because 'every Russian is now going to be at risk of being drafted into this war'.

German interior minister Nancy Faeser went further, offering concrete support to deserters.

She told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung that anyone who 'courageously opposes Putin's regime and therefore puts himself in the greatest danger' can apply for asylum in Germany.

A man is dragged away by Russian security forces at a protest in Moscow against Vladimir Putin's order for the mobilisation of military reservists

Police officers detain demonstrators in Saint Petersburg yesterday as protests broke out across Russia

Ratcheting up tensions, a senior Kremlin official on Thursday repeated Mr Putin's threat to use nuclear weapons if Russian territory comes under attack.

Dmitry Medvedev, deputy head of Russia's Security Council, said strategic nuclear weapons are one of the options to safeguard Russian-controlled territories in eastern and southern Ukraine.

The remark appeared to serve as a warning that Moscow could also target Ukraine's Western allies.

Pro-Moscow authorities in Ukraine's Russian-occupied regions are preparing to hold referendums on becoming part of Russia - a move that could allow Moscow to escalate the war.

The votes start on Friday and end next Tuesday in the Luhansk, Kherson, Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions.

Foreign leaders have called the votes illegitimate and non-binding.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said they were a 'sham' and 'noise' to distract the public.

Russia's neighbours have been on edge about a possible threat from Russia, and one of them, Estonia, announced it is starting an exercise on Thursday for nearly 2,900 reservists and volunteers, in an apparent counter to Moscow's announcement of a partial military mobilisation.

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Ukraine: Volodymyr Zelensky calls on Russians to protest Putin's plans and troops to 'run away'

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