Russian occupiers are said to ban Ukrainian residents from leaving the city before the end of the “referendum”. The regional head of a republic has now also admitted “recruitment errors”. You can find all the latest news about the war in Ukraine in the ticker.

7:58 p.m .: According to a report by the news portal “Meduza”, Russia wants to close its borders for men of mobilizing age in a few days. “Meduza” refers to two unspecified sources in the Kremlin. According to this, the borders are to be closed on Wednesday, September 28th, in order to prevent conscripts from fleeing.

It is said that they want to wait until after the “referendums” in the four occupied regions of Zaporizhia, Donetsk, Luhansk and Cherson.

Since the partial mobilization by President Vladimir Putin, thousands of Russians have left the country, and hundreds are trying their luck on the borders with Georgia and Finland. After the Russian partial mobilization for the war against Ukraine, the Finnish border guard continues to observe more traffic than usual on the border with Russia. At the most important Vaalimaa border crossing, cars on the Russian side were backed up for about 500 meters on Sunday morning at 8 a.m. (local time, 7 a.m. CEST), said the head of international affairs at the Finnish border guard, Matti Pitkäniitty.

On Saturday, a total of 8,572 Russians arrived across the land border in Finland, compared to 5,286 a week ago. 4,199 Russians left for Russia.

Kremlin chief Putin wants to draft in around 300,000 reservists to hold the areas still occupied in Ukraine after the Russian army was defeated. Putin therefore ordered partial mobilization on Wednesday – seven months after the invasion of Ukraine. This caused panic among many Russians.

11:30 a.m.: The Ukrainian General Staff reports heavy Russian losses. Accordingly, 400 pro-Russian soldiers were killed between Saturday (September 24) and Sunday (September 25).

In addition, 20 vehicles were destroyed and 10 drones destroyed. The Kramatorsk and Donetsk regions were particularly affected, according to the General Staff.

Sunday, 9.30 a.m.: The Russian occupation in Ukraine has apparently launched a massive attack on the administrative center in the Zaporizhia region, Ukrainska Pravda reports. It has “become an enemy target again,” says Oleksandr Starukh, head of the local military administration in the Zaporizhia district. According to the first reports, there were “about ten impacts”. Starukh added that information on victims is in the works. So far it is known that three civilians were injured in the attacks. The rockets also damaged the city’s infrastructure. In one part of the city, the power supply was interrupted at a substation.

2:32 p.m .: According to civil rights activists, several people were arrested again during anti-mobilization protests in Russia. Independent media showed photos and videos of demonstrators on Saturday afternoon, among others from the city of Khabarovsk in the far east of the country and from Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, Tomsk and Chita in Siberia. According to this, people hold up posters with inscriptions such as “We are not meat”. Several recordings show them being led away by police officers.

Insane detail from another protest on Wednesday in Moscow: 200 people who were arrested at the protest were apparently given their draft papers directly and must therefore go to war immediately.

1:52 p.m .: The sham referendums initiated by Russia in the occupied parts of Ukraine are in full swing. Curious: Apparently those who have already died are also allowed to vote. Russian administrative authorities in Alchevsk are counting the “votes” of people who are in captivity or who have died, said Serhii Haidai, head of the region’s military administration. “There are certainly many voters. A resident of Alchevsk who is at the front, in captivity or already dead will also somehow vote. Perhaps her vote will be taken into account telepathically,” the Ukrainian newspaper Ukrainska Pravda quoted the Russian head of administration as saying.

According to the Ukrainian newspaper, the administration’s employees are trying to increase voter turnout by going directly to the residents, accompanied by armed Russian soldiers, so that they can vote where they live. The employees should also stop passers-by on the street. If someone doesn’t have a passport with them, they should reply: “You don’t need one, we know who you are anyway.”

1:38 p.m .: The Russian Ministry of Defense is apparently beginning to return the first mobilized soldiers. This was announced by the head of the Russian republic of Sakha/Yakutia on Saturday. According to this, “recruitment errors” happened.

Among other things, unemployed or fathers with many children were recruited, reports the ARD. This violates the mobilization rules announced by Putin.

Russian citizens are currently fleeing military service across the country, the borders are partially closed and all flights from Moscow were temporarily fully booked on Wednesday.

10.02 a.m .: According to Great Britain, Russia is trying to stop the Ukrainian offensive in the east of the country with attacks on dams. On September 21 and 22, Russian troops fired on the Pechenihy dam on the Siwerskyi Donets river east of the city of Kharkiv with short-range missiles or similar weapons, the Ministry of Defense in London said on Saturday, citing intelligence information. On September 15, there was a similar attack on the Karachunivka Dam, which dams the Inhulets River near the central Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih.

Ukrainian forces were advancing along these two rivers, London said. “As Russian commanders become increasingly concerned about their operational setbacks, they are likely trying to hit the floodgates of dams to flood Ukrainian military border crossings,” the ministry said. “Due to the distance between the damaged levees and the combat zones, the attacks are unlikely to have caused significant disruption to Ukrainian operations.”

Saturday, September 24, 9:21 a.m.: The Ukrainian government has withdrawn the accreditation of the Iranian ambassador in Kyiv for supplying combat drones to Russia. As a result, he can no longer meet his obligations in the host country and, following diplomatic practice, will probably have to return to Tehran. “In addition, the number of diplomatic staff at the Iranian embassy in Kyiv will be significantly reduced,” the Ukrainian foreign ministry said in a statement on Friday. Just hours earlier, a person had died in a drone attack in the port city of Odessa.

At the end of August, US intelligence reported that Russia had bought Iranian drones to use in its war of aggression against Ukraine. Neither Moscow nor Tehran have officially confirmed the purchase. In the past few weeks, however, several Iranian-made drones have been shot down by the Ukrainians over the battlefields.

2:15 p.m .: Ukrainians in occupied areas are to be put under pressure to take part in the “referendums”. This is reported by the governor of Luhansk, Serhiy Hajdaj. According to Deutschlandfunk, officials are said to have threatened that anyone who did not vote would lose their job. In Starobilsk, people were forbidden to leave the city until the end of the referendum next Tuesday. Armed groups would even search homes. The information has not yet been independently verified.

11:23 a.m .: Despite sharp international protests, so-called referendums on annexation by Russia began in four Russian-controlled areas in Ukraine on Friday. Votes are taking place in the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine’s Donbass and in the southern Ukrainian regions of Kherson and Zaporizhia.

The “referendums” are scheduled to run until Tuesday, after which a rapid annexation by Moscow is expected. According to reports from Russian news agencies, the “referendums” are not held by electronic votes due to the short preparation time, but with paper ballot papers. According to the information, pro-Russian officials will go from door to door in the first few days to collect votes. Polling stations will only open on Tuesday, the last day. Videos of speakers on the streets blaring out election calls are circulating on social media:

There shouldn’t even be enough collaborators to open the polling stations, the “Institute for the Study of War” explains the strategy. However, polling stations are open in individual regions in Luhansk, and transparent ballot boxes can be seen in pictures.

In addition, the Russian leadership is said to have manipulated the election in advance: Voting can take place not only in the affected areas, but also in Crimea occupied by Russia and in some regions of Russia, as the RIA news agency reports. In Donetsk and Luhansk, the ballot papers should only be printed in Russian, according to pictures from social media.

The separatist leader Denis Puschilin spoke of a historic day in the “Donetsk People’s Republic” recognized by Russia. “This referendum is crucial, it is a breakthrough into a new reality,” he said in a video published on the Telegram news channel.

You can read more reports on the Ukraine conflict on the following pages.