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Ukraine’s occupied regions begin ‘voting’ in referendums

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Four occupied regions in Ukraine are holding referendums on whether to join Russia

Russian-backed authorities are conducting referendums in four areas of Ukraine.

The votes will take place across five days in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions in the country’s east, and in the occupied Kherson and Zaporizhzhia areas in the south.

Russian President Vladimir Putin believes the decisions will help to protect Russia.

Mr Putin announced a partial military mobilisation of 300,000 armed forces earlier this week, as part of his first nationwide address since the invasion of Ukraine took place.

Some Russians have taken to the streets to protest the decision, while others have sought to leave the country altogether.

Ukraine and the West are calling the referendums a “sham” and will not recognise their results.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken rallied his counterparts at the United Nations to condemn the escalation.

“It’s imperative that every member of this council and for that matter, every member of the United Nations, reject the sham referenda and unequivocally declare that all Ukrainian territory is and will remain part of Ukraine,” he said.

It’s understood there will be no independent observers at the polling sites. However, there will be some extra security as a precaution.

Kyiv says it will continue to fight for these regions, even after the votes take place.

“I thank all the friends and partners of Ukraine for their massive and firm condemnation of Russia’s intentions to organise yet more pseudo-referendums,” said Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“Our position does not change according to this noise or any other announcement. Let’s preserve our unity, protect Ukraine, liberate our land and not show any weakness,” he added.

Costa is a news producer at ticker NEWS. He has previously worked as a regional journalist at the Southern Highlands Express newspaper. He also has several years' experience in the fire and emergency services sector, where he has worked with researchers, policymakers and local communities. He has also worked at the Seven Network during their Olympic Games coverage and in the ABC Melbourne newsroom. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts (Professional), with expertise in journalism, politics and international relations. His other interests include colonial legacies in the Pacific, counter-terrorism, aviation and travel.

World

How the U.S. could respond to a Ukraine nuclear blast

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As concerns grow over Russian President Vladimir Putin’s nuclear saber-rattling, what would a U.S. response look like?

While U.S. officials have stressed there are plans being developed to counter a range of moves by Moscow, they have thus far kept specifics under wraps.

Here are some of the options reportedly under consideration:

1. Economic sanctions: This is seen as the least provocative option, and one that would likely have the most international support. It would also be the easiest to implement, as the Treasury Department has already put together a list of high-profile Russian individuals and entities that could be targeted.

2. Military action: While not off the table, this is considered a last resort due to the risks involved. Possible scenarios include positioning additional U.S. troops and equipment in NATO countries bordering Russia, or carrying out precision strikes on Russian targets in Ukraine.

3. Cyberattacks: Stuxnet-style malware could be used to take down critical infrastructure inside Russia, or disruptive attacks could be launched against government websites and other online resources.

4. Forcefully breaking up Russia’s energy exports: This would involve using diplomatic and economic pressure to dissuade European countries from buying oil and gas from Russia, which is its main source of revenue.

 

5. Supporting regime change in Moscow: While this option is not being actively pursued by the Biden administration, some hawkish lawmakers have called for it. This would likely involve funding opposition groups inside Russia and working to foment popular discontent with Putin’s rule.

 

With tensions between the U.S. and Russia at their highest levels since the end of the Cold War, it’s clear that somethingneeds to be done to prevent further escalation.

The question is, what? economic sanctions, military action, cyberattacks, breaking up Russia’s energy exports, or regime change in Moscow?

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Biden says nuclear ‘armageddon’ threat is back

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U.S. President says the nuclear ‘armageddon’ threat is back for first time since Cuban Missile Crisis

The president was speaking at a fundraiser event, where he said Russian President Vladimir Putin was “not joking when he spoke about the use of tactical nuclear weapons.

U.S. officials have been warning that Russia could use weapons of mass destruction in Ukraine.

But they believe there’s been no change to Russia’s nuclear forces for the time being.

It comes as the leaders of more than 40 European nations convened in Prague to discuss Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Ukraine’s leader Volodymyr Zelensky spoke via video link.

UK Prime Minister Liz Truss says the summit is “not about moving closer to Europe” but “about working with Europe”.

When pressed about her working relationship with Macron, Truss admitted he is a ‘friend’.

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Spectator dead following violent clashes at a football stadium

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One person has died in clashes at an Argentinian football stadium

Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas to stop fans from pushing into the crowded venue.

But that wasn’t enough, with many fans squeezing through fencing to escape the violence and get onto the field.

The incident took place around 50 kilometres south of the nation’s capital

The game was suspended nine minutes into play.

A 57-year-old man experienced cardiac arrest while being transferred from the stadium to the hospital.

It comes five days after 131 people died in a stampede prompted by Indonesian police firing tear gas inside a stadium.

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