For the first time, Russian President Putin has admitted that he made mistakes in his partial mobilization. Finland is closing its borders to Russian tourists. According to a survey, only 23 percent are “proud of Russia”. The overview of the day.

According to a survey, almost every second Russian reacted with fear and shock to the partial mobilization ordered by Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin. A total of 47 percent of those surveyed described their emotional state after Putin’s speech a week ago as “fear, fear, horror”, according to results published on Thursday by the independent polling institute Levada. On the other hand, 23 percent stated that they were “proud of Russia”. The polls by the independent Levada Institute are also valued by Western experts – as comparatively authentic and implemented according to recognized social science principles.

A week after the start of partial mobilization for his war against Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized mistakes in the call-up of reservists. “All mistakes must be corrected,” Putin said at a National Security Council meeting on Thursday. For days, reservists have been complaining that they were being drafted into military service despite fatal chronic illnesses, old age or other exclusion criteria.

Oleksiy Arestovych, advisor to the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj, says in an interview with the “Bild” newspaper: “The destruction of the mobilized forces will not be difficult for us.” In the first wave he expects 100,000 new recruits and many dead among them. Arestovych said: “Some of them have already died in the Kharkiv region.” The consultant speaks of dozens of deaths.

Finland is closing its border to Russian tourists. Significantly tightened visa rules for travelers from Russia will come into effect at midnight on Friday night, as announced by Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto at a press conference in Helsinki on Thursday. The events surrounding the leaks in the Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea and the mock referendums in Ukraine accelerated the government’s decision, Haavisto said.

Russia is said to have withdrawn a large part of its troops at the NATO border in order to deploy them in Ukraine. European defense officials report that Russia now only has an emergency cast. Military equipment is also said to have been relocated.

After the “referendums” in four Russian-controlled regions in Ukraine, Russia will formally complete their annexation on Friday. At a ceremony in the Kremlin (2 p.m. CEST) with President Vladimir Putin, the agreements on the admission of the eastern Ukrainian regions of Luhansk and Donetsk and the southern Ukrainian regions of Zaporizhia and Cherson to the Russian Federation are to be signed. Putin also wants to give a speech. Celebrations for the annexation are also planned in the center of Moscow.

Moscow is still hesitating about incorporating the occupied territories in Ukraine. After the sham referendums in Ukraine, which were rushed through, the Russian leadership does not want to decide on the accession of the occupied territories to the Russian Federation until next week. Parliament is scheduled to meet on Monday and Tuesday. At the end of this week, however, a large rally is planned in Moscow to demonstrate the Russians’ support for Kremlin boss Vladimir Putin’s expansionist policy. An appearance by the Russian President is possible.

The two Russian chambers of parliament want to decide on Monday and Tuesday about possible annexations of the occupied regions of Cherson, Donetsk, Luhansk and Zaporizhia. The Duma has changed its schedule and will hold plenary sessions on both days, Parliament leader Vyacheslav Volodin said on Wednesday, according to the state agency TASS.

Earlier, the chairwoman of the Federation Council, Valentina Matviyenko, said that the upper house of parliament could make a decision on the accession of the occupied Ukrainian territories to Russia at its regular session on Tuesday.

Even after the sham referendums, Moscow wants to continue the war in Ukraine until the entire Donetsk region is conquered. That is the minimum goal, said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Wednesday. He was commenting on the end of the votes in occupied territories in Ukraine, which had been criticized as a breach of international law. So far, Russian troops and separatist groups have controlled around 58 percent of the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine.

Currently, Russian troops are on the defensive. In the north of Donetsk, for example, they are apparently threatened with encirclement by the Ukrainian army. Russian war reporters on Wednesday reported on successful Ukrainian advances northeast and east of the small town of Lyman.

Should the settlement of Torske be recaptured, the Russians are threatened with cutting off the routes from Lyman to Kreminna and Swatowe in the Luhansk region. The streets are already under fire from Ukrainian artillery.

According to Ukrainian sources, at least one other place on the east side of the Oskil River near the city of Kupjansk in the Kharkiv region has been recaptured with Kivscharivka. This means that the Kiev troops are also advancing on the Luhansk region, which Moscow reported as “completely liberated” in the summer.

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy has asked Germany to continue supplying arms to Kyiv and to tighten up the planned eighth package of EU sanctions against Moscow. “On the subject of defense, I underlined our expectation of a missile defense system from Germany – thank you for your willingness to help with air defense,” said Zelenskyj on Wednesday in his daily video address after a phone call with Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD). The EU’s new package of sanctions was also discussed during the meeting. “As of today, there is still something to add to the eighth package of sanctions,” he demanded.

In addition to the Scholz phone call, during which, according to Selenskyj, the alleged sabotage of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 Baltic Sea pipelines was discussed, the Ukrainian President reported on further talks – and thanked the Turkish head of state Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his mediation in the prisoner exchange and the military cooperation. Zelenskyy thanked US President Joe Biden for the new military aid of over 1.1 billion dollars.

Despite the sham referendums in the regions occupied by Russia, Ukraine will not accept territorial losses and will reconquer its territory. He once again called on the Russian soldiers in Russian to flee – or to surrender. This is the only way they could save their lives, said the 44-year-old.

EU Parliament President Roberta Metsola has campaigned for the delivery of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine in view of the Russian war of aggression. “The tanks are needed,” she said on Wednesday evening at an event hosted by the news portal “The Pioneer” in Berlin.

“We are at a crucial point. Ukraine needs weapons to survive,” Metsola added. Corresponding plans are on the table. In the current situation, Europe is called upon to lead the way. The Federal Republic has a special role in this: “And we expect Germany to help take the lead.”

Kremlin chief Putin on the phone with Turkish President Erdogan. Here, too, it is said to be about the sham referendums in Ukraine. Erdogan had criticized the votes. Turkey has offered itself as a mediator in the conflict and has already arranged several agreements such as the grain deal or a major exchange of prisoners between the two sides.

With a partial mobilization of the Russian armed forces, Kremlin chief Putin wants to bring about a turnaround in the war against Ukraine. Men are being rounded up across the country and sent to the front. But instead of patriotism, horror is spreading among the people – and resistance.

Putin has called for partial mobilization. But there are many indications that Russia is assembling a mass army. Is that purposeful? No, military experts believe. One historian even believes it will spell the end of Russia as we know it.

After the so-called partial mobilization was announced, thousands of Russians tried to leave the country. Yuri Rescheto reports from Riga.