September 26, 2022 07:37 GMT
- Foreign Minister Lavrov has threatened that Moscow will extend "full protection" to any annexed territory as the West threatened punitive measures and Russia appeared to be tightening border controls amidst its partial mobilisation.
- White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told CBS that the U.S. has "communicated directly, privately at very high levels to the Kremlin that any use of nuclear weapons will be met with catastrophic consequences for Russia." Western sources told the FT that "a nuclear strike against Ukraine would be unlikely to spark a retaliation in kind but would instead trigger conventional military responses from western states to punish Russia."
- Discussions over a new EU sanctions package against Moscow accelerated after Russian President Putin's speech last week. A diplomatic source told RTRS that Belgium was ready to lift its veto over restrictions on the import of Russian diamonds. Broader coverage of the matter pointed to the growing camp of states taking hawkish attitude towards Russia, despite Hungary's role as the key obstructionist in crafting joint sanctions policy.
- Meanwhile, Russia is pressing ahead with its partial mobilisation at home. Novaya Gazeta Europe reported that up to a million people could be drafted and pointed to large regional discrepancies in mobilisation quotas, with Moscow and St. Petersburg among the smallest contributors. Meduza cited sources noting that men of mobilisation age won't be able to leave the country after the "referendums" in the occupied parts of Ukraine, while Kazakh portal Orda noted that Russian men are already prevented from crossing the border into Kazakhstan.