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In The News

Kremlin Confirms Annexation Of 18% Of Ukraine, Putin Doubles Down On Escalation

Kremlin Confirms Annexation Of 18% Of Ukraine, Putin Doubles Down On Escalation

President Vladimir Putin will sign an agreement on the annexation of 18% of Ukrainian territories

Cameron Manley, Chloe Touchard, Sophia Constantino, and Emma Albright

Russian President Vladimir Putin will sign the annexation Friday of four occupied regions of Ukraine to become part of Russia, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov announced this morning.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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The Kremlin will host a ceremony on Friday where agreements will be signed on the annexation of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. Peskov said the ceremony would take place on Friday at 3 p.m. local time. Taken together the regions in the east and south make up 18% of Ukraine’s territory. The move follows the 2014 annexation of Crimea, which many consider the less violent pre-cursor to Russia's all-out invasion of Ukraine.

Denis Pushilin and Leonid Pasechnik, the heads of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics (DNR and LNR), as well as the heads of the pro-Russian military-civil administrations of the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions, Yevgeny Balitsky and Vladimir Saldo, arrived in Moscow on Thursday to ‘make a historic decision.’

This comes after “sham” referendums on annexation have been held in these four regions over the past week, which Putin apparently believes gives him cover and justification to claim the territory as part of Russia. Concerns are growing that Putin will use the claim of occupied Ukrainian support for Russia as pretext to escalate the war.

Erdogan Pessimistic About Negotiations

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish Presidency/APA/Zuma

During a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Russia's "unilateral" referendums held in Russian-occupied territories to vote on annexation would complicate efforts to end the war through any "diplomatic process."

According to a statement released by Erdogan's office, which came before the official announcement of a Kremlin annexation ceremony on Friday, he also said that Turkey "stands ready to provide every kind of support for the settlement of the war through peaceful negotiations."

New EU Sanctions On Russia

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen during her visit to Ukraine

Sarsenov Daniiar/Ukraine Preside/Planet Pix/Zuma

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen proposed a new sanctions package on the Kremlin in response to Russia's sham referendums in Ukrainian occupied territories.

The package proposes to introduce a price cap for Russian oil sold to third countries, which "will help reduce Russia's revenues on the one hand and it will keep global energy markets stable on the other hand," according to von der Leyen. The Commission also proposes further import bans that will "deprive Russia of an additional 7 billion euros in revenues."

"We do not accept the sham referendums nor any kind of annexation in Ukraine. And we are determined to make the Kremlin pay the price for this further escalation," von der Leyen said.

U.S. To Give $1.1 Billion In Additional Aid To Kyiv

Ukraine troops using HIMARS


The U.S. Defense Department has announced $1.1 billion in additional security assistance for Ukraine. The new package will include around 18 more HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System), ammunition, and 12 Titan systems, which are used to counter drones, according to The Washington Post.

Meanwhile, Oliver Varhelyi, European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement announced on Wednesday, another 500 million euros in budget support for Ukraine saying that the money would help strengthen Ukraine's food security.

The funds are to be used by Ukraine to strengthen the government's ability to meet the needs of the population, which are not covered by humanitarian assistance and the civil protection mechanism.

More Countries Urge Their Citizens To Leave Russia Amid Security Threat

Passengers are seen at Vnukovo International Airport in Moscow

Vladimir Gerdo/TASS

American citizens have been urged to leave Russia "immediately" in a new security alert by the U.S. embassy in Moscow. In an online statement, embassy officials warned that people with a dual Russian-U.S. nationality may be prevented from leaving the country. "Russia may [...] prevent their departure and conscript dual nationals for military service,” warned the embassy.

Other countries, including Poland, Bulgaria and Estonia have also advised their citizens to leave Russia as soon as possible. The Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs declared the "highest level of threat" regarding the political situation. Commercial flights are extremely limited at the moment and governments have urged citizens to leave by any means.

Finland Bans Entry To Russian Tourists

Finland's foreign minister Pekka Haavisto

Tomas Tkacik/SOPA/Zuma

The Finnish government announced that all Russian tourists will be banned from entering the country starting midnight Friday. Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said in a press conference that the aim was to "completely prevent Russian tourism and the related transit through Finland.”

This comes several days after Putin's mobilization order sent thousands of Russians on the road to flee the country. Border agency Frontex reported that 30,000 Russians arrived in Finland over the last four days. Finland had already reduced to one-tenth the number of visas issued to Russian citizens at the beginning of September.

Germany Has Been Secretly Supplying Military Intelligence To Ukraine

Chancellor Olaf Scholz

Kay Nietfeld/dpa/Zuma

Germany has been supplying Ukraine with intelligence on the movement of the Russian army since May, according to German newspaper Die Ziet.

The decision to provide intelligence was made by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz after an appeal from the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND). Germany has been sending Ukraine satellite images, radio and telephone messages, which are intercepted by the BND.

According to the paper, the BND conducted a legal review of the decision to transfer intelligence to Ukraine. Lawyers came to the conclusion that the transfer of such information is in accordance with the law and does not mean that Germany has entered into a military conflict.

Germany Reports Fourth Nord Stream Leak, "Strong Indication" Of Sabotage

“The seabed is the new theater of war, and Denmark is vulnerable / column: “Gas attacks are an outcry. The sabotage in the Baltic Sea presents a new threat”


Germany’s ambassador to the UK , Michael Berger, said on Thursday that a fourth leak in the Nordstream pipelines connecting Russia and Germany had been discovered with “very strong” signs of sabotage.

Sweden and Denmark, who flagged the first leaks on Tuesday, will lead an investigation into the cause of the leaks, but said results will likely take up to 10 days as gas is still escaping from the pipelines, making the situation very dangerous.

“It didn’t happen just like that,” said Berger, adding that “everything indicated” the leaks were not the product of natural causes.

Kazakhstan To Tajikistan: Ex-Soviet Republics Go Their Own Way

Defense Ministers for Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan attend the opening of the Army 2022 International Military and Technical Forum in the Moscow region on Aug. 15, 2022.

Sergei Bobylev/TASS via ZUMA

Virtually all of Vladimir Putin's last remaining partner countries in the region are gone from his grip. Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan have refused to help him turn the tide in the Ukraine war, because they've all come to understand that his next step would be a complete restoration of the empire, where their own sovereignty is lost.

Oleksandr Demchenko for Kyiv-based Livy Bereg: One By One, The Former Soviet Republics Are Abandoning Putin

Former Premier League Soccer Star Diniyar Bilyaletdinov Mobilized To Join War Effort

Former Premier League soccer star Diniyar Bilyaletdinov

Dmitry Feoktistov/TASS

Former Premier League soccer star Diniyar Bilyaletdinov haș been drafted to join Russia’s military registration and enlistment office, his father told Russia state news agency RIA Novosti.

Bilyaletdinov is a Russian national and member of the country's Tatar ethnic minority group. “Diniyar really received a summons. It’s hard to talk about emotions, because he didn’t serve, although he did military service, but it was specific, with a sports bias. That was 19 years ago,” his father said.

He also argued that his son, who played with Everton and suited up for 46 matches for the Russian national team, was incorrectly called to fight as he is older than the age limit.

“The law still says to call people up to 35 years old, and he is 37, so there is some kind of inconsistency. Now it will be found out whether this agenda is correct or it was sent early. Anything can happen. If there was a general mobilization, then ask questions. In the meantime, the president has established a partial one, everything should be in accordance with the law," he said.

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Anti-Gay Law Leaves Nowhere To Turn For Uganda’s LGBTQ+

Disowned by their families, evicted by their landlords, and persecuted by the state, LGBTQ Ugandans have fewer and fewer places to turn.

image of LGBTQ members

Members of the Talented Youth Community Fellowship, a Christian LGBTQ group in Uganda

Nakisanze Segawa & Beatrice Lamwaka

Welcome to Worldcrunch’s LGBTQ+ International. We bring you up-to-speed each week on the latest on everything LGBTQ+ — from all corners of the planet. This week, we feature an article by Nakisanze Segawa for Global Press Journal on how Uganda’s LGBTQ+ community is living in fear under the country’s recent anti-homosexuality law. But first, the latest news…

✉️ You can receive our LGBTQ+ International roundup every week directly in your inbox. Subscribe here.

TW: This content may address topics and include references to violence that some may find distressing

🌐 5 things to know right now

• European court slams Russia in two cases of homophobic violence: On Sept. 12, the European Court of Human Rights found Russia guilty of two cases of homophobic police violence. In one case, a man was kidnapped in 2017 by authorities and beaten while in custody. In the second case, the court sided with 11 Russians who said they had been unlawfully arrested during LGBTQ+ protests from 2011 to 2012. Russia was ordered to pay each of the victims up to €52,000 ($56,000) in damages.

• Kenyan upholds LGBTQ+ NGO registration: Kenya’s Supreme Court rejected the government’s bid to overturn a ruling ordering it to recognize the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission as an NGO. The appeal came from MP Peter Kaluma, who claimed the NGO would support the “promotion” of homosexuality. The court scolded Kaluma, writing that, as a member of parliament, he “ought to have known that this application was misconceived.”

Elle Hungary cover features gay fathers: The Hungarian edition of Elle Magazine put two gay fathers and their baby on the cover, under the headline “Born From Love”. Elle editors said that they wanted to “contribute to the acceptance of rainbow families” as the Hungarian government continues to introduce more anti-LGBTQ+ policies.

• Andorra’s prime minister comes out as gay: Xavier Espot Zamora, Prime Minister of the tiny European country of Andorra, revealed that he is gay during an interview with the nation’s public broadcaster. He said that he’s “never hid it,” and added that his orientation has no bearing on his politics. He said he hopes that his coming out might help young people see that “regardless of their condition or sexual orientation, (they) can prosper in this country.”

• Almost half of Grindr’s staff resign: Dating app Grindr lost 45% of its employees after announcing a strict return-to-the-office policy – shortly after a majority of staff announced they planned to unionize. The new schedule would require workers to be in the office two days a week, and would force many employees to relocate. The Communications Workers of America union has filed a labor complaint against the company.

Anti-Gay Law Leaves Nowhere To Turn For Uganda’s LGBTQ+

KAMPALA — Just two days after the Ugandan Parliament passed the Anti-Homosexuality Act in March, Sam received a call. Her landlord asked her to leave the house she had been renting for almost two years in Kyebando-Kanyanya village, about 4 miles from Kampala.

When Sam, a lesbian who prefers to be identified by one name for fear of stigmatization, asked why she was being evicted, her landlord asked to meet her the following day in the presence of the local chairman (a village leader). She declined, asking for a one-on-one meeting. At the meeting, Sam’s landlord told her that her son, a human rights lawyer, warned her the new law would punish landlords who rent rooms to “homosexuals.”

“‘I don’t want to be arrested on accusations of promoting homosexuality because you are my tenant,’” Sam says the landlord told her.

The landlord told her she — and the community — knew she was in a sexual relationship with another woman. At the time, Sam’s partner had not been living in the country for months, but with the probability of the president signing the Anti-Homosexuality Act into law, the witch hunt was already on to identify those who should be reported.

Sam didn’t deny or confirm her sexual identity to the landlord but immediately vacated the premises.President Yoweri Museveni’s recent signing of the Anti-Homosexuality Act into law threatens to make the lives of community members who identify as LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer) even more difficult, as landlords will face consequences for renting property to them.

According to reports published in April and May by the Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum, a local nongovernmental organization that provides legal aid, there was increased violence, including evictions of LGBTQ persons in Uganda, after Parliament passed the bill but before the president signed it.

In the two-month period from March 21, when Parliament passed the bill, to May 29, the last day before the law came into force, HRAPF handled 141 cases involving LGBTQ or suspected LGBTQ persons. This is twice as many incidents than were reported in all of 2021.

Of these cases, 65% involved violence or violations that targeted individuals purely or partly on the basis of their presumed sexuality and gender identity, and affected a total of 159 persons. Twenty-eight of these cases were evictions, affecting 66 persons.

In the 21-day period after the law came into force, from May 30 to June 20, HRAPF handled a further 43 cases involving LGBTQ persons, of which eight cases were evictions that affected nine individuals. The evictions were mostly carried out by property owners, though local council leaders were also involved in some. The evictions in these three weeks are almost three times as many as were reported in all of 2021 and only slightly higher than those recorded in the second half of 2020.

Sam believes the bill has ruined the relationship between landlords — many of whom were previously tolerant of members of the LGBTQ community — and tenants.

A statement issued by Anita Among, speaker of Uganda’s Parliament, after the presidential signing of the bill, reads, “I now encourage the duty bearers under the law to execute the mandate bestowed upon them in the Anti-Homosexuality Act. The people of Uganda have spoken, and it is your duty to now enforce the law in a fair, steadfast and firm manner.”

The law is explicit on the risks to those thought to be housing members of the community. The main section dealing with tenancy is titled “Brothels,” but it could easily be construed as anyone renting property to someone from the community. Clause B of section 12 reads, “A person being the owner or occupier of premises or having or acting or assisting in the management or control of the premises, induces or knowingly causes any man or woman to resort to or be upon such premises for the purpose of being unlawfully and carnally known by any man or woman of the same sex whether such carnal knowledge is intended to be with any particular man or woman, commits an offence and is liable, on conviction, to imprisonment for one year.”

But John Musila, member of Parliament for the Bubulo East constituency, says, “Those claiming to be evicted are artificial homosexuals promoting homosexuality for monetary gains. No landlord will come to look through your door to see who you are sleeping with. Then how can they be punished for housing people they have not caught in the act of sex?”

The lawmaker, who voted for the Anti-Homosexuality Act, adds, “The law is very clear. It doesn’t discriminate or punish someone for being gay or a lesbian because we know that in our African communities, we have always had these people.” Speaking about a 75-year-old bisexual woman in his village, whom the community knows about and who has never been attacked, he says, “The law only punishes those who are caught in the homosexual act: a man having sex with a man, an individual raping a minor, a woman having sex with a woman. It also punishes those who promote it.”

Musila also says that the HRAPF reports on evictions and violence against the community are a ploy to get donor funding and “not an actual reflection of events where homosexuals were caught having sex, therefore breaking the law.”

Musila’s statements reflect the confusing language of the Anti-Homosexuality Act, which lists one of its primary principles as “prohibiting any form of sexual relations between persons of the same sex and the promotion or recognition of sexual relations between persons of the same sex.”

Those being evicted could be suffering an unintended consequence of the law. Eron Kiiza, a human rights lawyer, says landlords are required by the law to terminate the tenancy of those they discover “engaged in homosexuality.” Not knowing that their tenant is a member of the LGBTQ community is a legal defense, but one that is difficult for landlords to prove. If members of the community are found living in a certain premise, the landlord could still be subjected to criminal proceedings which are traumatizing and can lead to stigmatization of the landlord even if they eventually get acquitted. Kiiza also adds that prior to the law, there were already landlords who were hostile to the community due to religious or cultural reasons. The new law not only empowers them to evict LGBTQ individuals but also obligates them to do so as soon as they discover their sexuality.

Read the full story, translated by Worldcrunch here.

— Nakisanze Segawa & Beatrice Lamwaka / Global Press Journal

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