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Live Reporting

Edited by Jeremy Gahagan

All times stated are UK

  1. We are pausing our coverage

    Our live page coverage is now pausing. Thanks for joining us.

    Read more on our main story here.

  2. What has been happening today?

    Before we close our live page coverage, here is a round-up of today's main events:

    • Russia has begun drafting new troops to fight in Ukraine after President Putin ordered a partial mobilisation of Russians with military experience
    • Since the announcement yesterday morning, Russian men have been fleeing across the border to countries including Georgia and Finland
    • Over 1,300 have been arrested in Russia for protesting the partial mobilisation, according to human rights group OVD-Info
    • Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has not denied media reports that some protesters were given draft papers
    • Around 10,000 Russians are also reported to have volunteered for mobilisation of their own accord in the first 24 hours since the announcement, according to a Russian military spokesman
    • Elsewhere, in New York, the UN Security Council met to discuss the situation in Ukraine
    • US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken urged nations to hold Putin accountable for the war, warning failure to do so would open the door to a less secure, less peaceful world
    • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov rejected accusations of Russian abuses in Ukraine and called instead for punishment of Kyiv's government
    • Families of some of the five Brits released in a prisoner exchange between Russia and Ukraine have spoken of their relief and elation at having them back in the UK
    • So-called referenda on joining Russia will be held tomorrow in several areas of Russian-occupied Ukraine
  3. UN united in condemnation of Russia but divided over way forward

    Nada Tawfik

    BBC News, New York

    Members of UN Security Council meet at the UN headquarters in New York

    The debate going on in the UN Security Council meeting in New York reflects the dynamics we have seen during this high-level week when it comes to the Ukrainian conflict.

    Ministers from the West have again been urging accountability for Russia's "crimes" and its invasion.

    The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the council chamber that the very international order was being shredded before their eyes and that they could not let President Putin get away with it. Failure to do so, he said, would lead to a less secure, less peaceful world.

    It is important to remember that in March, 141 nations voted in an emergency General Assembly session to rebuke Russia for its invasion and demand it withdraw its forces immediately, completely and unconditionally.

    The majority of the world does not dispute that Putin’s actions are a violation of the UN charter.

    Today, again almost every nation expressed alarm over threats of nuclear conflict and reiterated their support for investigations into atrocities committed against civilians. But that doesn’t mean they agree that the best way forward is the diplomatic and economic isolation of Russia.

    Heavyweights on the council, China and non-permanent member India, said the immediate priority should be a ceasefire and talks to end the conflict, not unilateral sanctions.

    Responding to that argument. Blinken said: "Diplomacy cannot and must not be used as a cudgel to impose on Ukraine a settlement that cuts against the UN charter or rewards Russia for violating it."

  4. Many Ukrainian POWs were tortured in captivity - Ukraine

    Many Ukrainian Prisoners of War (POWs) who were released in a prisoner swap yesterday show signs of having been tortured while in Russian detention, according to the head of Ukraine's military intelligence.

    "Many of them have been brutally tortured," Kyrylo Budanov said in comments cited by AFP.

    Ukraine's interior minister, Denys Monastyrskyi, added that some of the Ukrainian POWs released are currently in hospital receiving rehabilitation treatment, Reuters reports.

  5. Finland considers reducing Russian transit after 'intensified' influx of people

    Cars queue to cross the border from Russia to Finland at the Nuijamaa border check point
    Image caption: Cars queue to cross the border from Russia to Finland at the Nuijamaa check point

    Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin has told a news conference her government is looking at reducing Russian tourism and transit through Finland.

    The Nordic country shares a 1,300km (800 miles) land border with Russia, which is the largest in the European Union.

    Finland has been concerned about growing tensions between the West and Russia and it joined Nato a couple of months ago as a way of protecting its sovereignty and defending its territory.

    But now that Vladimir Putin has decided to draft up more Russians to fight in his war in Ukraine, Finland has experienced an "intensified" influx of people crossing over into its territory from its eastern border with Russia.

    In August, EU foreign ministers agreed to suspend a visa agreement with Moscow, making it harder for Russian citizens to obtain entry to the bloc.

    Ukraine and some member states had called for a blanket ban, but others like France and Germany were opposed.

    More than a million Russian citizens have travelled to the EU since the invasion of Ukraine in February.

  6. German ministers say Russian deserters welcome

    Russian men fleeing Vladimir Putin's military call-up will be "warmly welcomed" in Germany, the country's justice minister has said.

    In a tweet, Marco Buschmann extended his welcome to "anyone who hates Putin's path and loves liberal democracy".

    Separately, Germany's interior minister Nancy Faeser told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper that Russian deserters threatened with "serious repression" could "as a rule" receive protection.

  7. Czech Republic won't issue visas to Russian men

    Rob Cameron

    BBC Prague Correspondent

    The Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky has said his country will not issue humanitarian visas to Russian men fleeing mobilisation orders.

    Lipavsky told the Czech news server that while he understood their motivations, such cases did not meet the conditions for a humanitarian visa.

    The Czech Republic joins other countries such as Latvia which has said it will not provide sanctuary to Russians seeking to avoid the draft on humanitarian grounds. Germany, on the other hand, says it will do so.

    The Czech Foreign Ministry has also confirmed it has written to two NHL teams to say Prague would not issue visas to Russian ice hockey players wishing to travel to the Czech capital to take part in the NHL's Global Series games.

    Prague will host two matches between the San Jose Sharks and the Nashville Predators, both of which have Russian players, on 7 and 8 October.

  8. 10,000 Russians volunteer for mobilisation - report

    Following Russia's announcement yesterday that thousands of extra troops will be called up to fight the war in Ukraine, a Russian military spokesman has said that around 10,000 Russians have already volunteered of their own accord on the first day of the mobilisation drive.

    "About 10,000 citizens arrived at recruitment offices of their own accord without waiting for a summons," Vladimir Tsimlyansky said in comments quoted by Russian news agency Interfax.

    The BBC is unable to verify the figure.

    Over 1,300 protesters have been detained for protesting against the mobilisation announcement between Wednesday and today, according to the latest figures from Russian human rights NGO OVD-Info.

  9. Heavily pregnant medic among prisoners returning home

    Ben Tobias

    BBC News

    Mariana Mamonova appears heavily pregnant in a video of the prisoner exchange
    Image caption: Mariana Mamonova appears heavily pregnant in a video of the prisoner exchange

    Mariana Mamonova, a Ukrainian medic who is more than eight months pregnant, is among the prisoners released by Russia.

    She can be seen in a video of the prisoner exchange, released by Ukrainian authorities on Wednesday.

    She was being held in the notorious Olenivka prison camp in the unrecognised Donetsk People's Republic after being captured in April in Mariupol.

    Speaking to the BBC before her release, her husband spoke about his fears over the wellbeing of his wife and unborn baby - the couple's first.

    "A baby can't be kept in those conditions, so they could just take it away," Vasilii said.

    Mariana was reportedly held under extremely difficult conditions at the prison camp.

    A fellow prisoner, Anna Vorosheva, said she was in a cell with more than 20 other women when she first arrived and had to sleep on the floor.

    "Straight away, everyone tried to help her - giving her food, making sure she got fresh air," Ms Vorosheva, who was released in July, told the BBC.

    Eventually she was moved to a smaller room with fewer people, and her cellmates ensured that she was able to sleep on one of the room's two beds each night.

    At first, Mariana assumed that she would be a priority for a prisoner swap. But as her due date at the end of September approached, she began to fear she would give birth in captivity, and became increasingly worried that her baby would be taken from her.

    Frustrated at the lack of news, her family decided to go public with Mariana's story in August, drawing attention to her case in the Ukrainian media.

    Still weeks passed with no progress, but finally - just days before she is due to give birth - her family received the good news that she had been released.

    Read Mariana's story here.

    Mariana Mamonova
    Image caption: Mariana Mamonova is a medic in the Ukrainian armed forces
  10. Mother of released prisoner speaks of elation at his release

    The mother of Aiden Aslin, one of the Britons released in the prisoner swap last night, has expressed her elation at her son's return to the UK.

    "I thought this day would never happen," Angela Wood told the BBC's Emma Vardy. "I'm still in shock".

    Aslin was sentenced to death in June in a Russian proxy court after being accused of being a mercenary in Ukraine. Wood said the sentencing had caused "emotional stress" for the family.

    “At times I never thought I would see him alive again," she said.

    She said some of the details she's learned of Aslin's time in captivity have "horrified" her, and said he will need time to recover from the ordeal.

    She added that “Aiden loved Ukraine and he loved the people," adding that he is now rebuilding his life with his fiancée.

  11. Analysis

    The Saudi role in prisoner of war exchange

    Frank Gardner

    Security correspondent

    Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman
    Image caption: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman had chosen to make it a priority to help resolve the issue of the ten prisoners of war

    Let's return briefly to last night's prisoner swap. A well-placed Saudi source has told BBC News that the 10 prisoners released by Russia yesterday, including 5 Britons, were not exchanged for anything tangible in return.

    A separate prisoner exchange between Ukraine and Russia was brokered by Turkey but the release of the 10 non-Ukrainians was reached through the personal involvement of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

    The source said the Prince had chosen to make it a priority to help resolve the issue of the ten prisoners of war and had been in conversation with both the Russians and Ukrainians on the issue since April.

    Saudi Arabia already has a relationship with Russia through the oil cartel Opec, but there is also a personal relationship between Vladimir Putin and the Crown Prince, known by his initials as MBS.

    The source explained that with Saudi Arabia taking a largely neutral stance in the Ukraine war, Moscow was more likely to listen to a Saudi request to release the 10 men than one coming from a Western leader.

    The source did not rule out the possibility of building on the success of this release to look for further opportunities for Saudi Arabia to offer its connections as a mediator.

    It is also possible, though, that Moscow now considers the Saudis owe them a favour for this release.

  12. Lavrov uses UN address to deny Western accusations of abuses

    Sergei Lavrov addresses the UN Security Council in New York

    Sergei Lavrov has delivered his speech before the UN Security Council, one day after Russia's leader Vladimir Putin called for partial military mobilisation.

    The Russian foreign minister rejected Western accusations of Russian abuses in Ukraine, calling instead for punishment of Kyiv's government.

    "The United States and their allies, with the connivance of international human rights organisations, have been covering the crimes of the Kyiv regime," Lavrov claimed, after the Council had earlier heard multiple accounts of human rights abuses committed by Russian officials during the war.

    In his address, just after Lavrov, UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly described the invasion of Ukraine as nothing more than a "war of conquest" and an "assault on the UN charter".

  13. UK will support Ukraine all the way, says foreign secretary

    Lyse Doucet

    Chief international correspondent

    James Cleverly at the UN in New York

    The UK foreign secretary says Britain and its allies now have information that Russia is planning to conduct sham referenda in parts of Ukraine it now occupies.

    James Cleverly wouldn’t describe it as an escalation in the seven-month long war. But he emphasised that Britain would continue to support Ukraine with military and financial support – although that would not include British troops.

    It was essential, he told me in New York, to defend the principle that powerful countries with big armies could not invade their neighbours with impunity. He recognised that people in Britain and across the world were now feeling the pressure of rising food and energy prices, but he underlined the greatest pressure was being felt by Ukrainians.

    Asked about calls from some countries for a negotiated end to this war, Cleverly said Ukraine would decide when the time was right – when it did, Britain would support them. But, quoting Winston Churchill, he said you don't negotiate with a tiger when you have your head in its mouth.

  14. Ukraine and Russian foreign ministers keeping 'safe distance' at UN

    Over in New York City, where leaders are currently attending the UN General Assembly, we're hearing that Ukraine and Russia's foreign ministers are staying away from each other.

    Dmytro Kuleba, of Ukraine, said he planned to "keep a safe and social distance" from Russia's Sergei Lavrov, Reuters news agency reported.

    Lavrov is due to address the UN Security Council at the Assembly - which has so far featured various high profile speeches condemning the war in Ukraine - this afternoon.

    Yesterday, in his address, US President Joe Biden accused Russia of wanting to strip Ukraine of its right to "exist as a state, as a people".

  15. Debate around nuclear conflict 'totally unacceptable' - UN chief

    UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres speaking at a Security Council meeting in New York

    The UN's Secretary General Antonio Guterres has been speaking at a Security Council meeting in New York, where representatives of Ukraine and Russia are both present. Here are the key takeaways from his speech:

    • Guterres started his address by stating that the last seven months of war have seen "unspeakable suffering and devastation" and that its continuation has the "unlimited potential to do terrible harm in Ukraine and around the world"
    • He said the debate around a possible nuclear conflict is "totally unacceptable" and that all nuclear states should recommit to the non-use and total elimination of nuclear weapons
    • Guterres said he was "deeply concerned" by plans to organise "so-called referenda" in occupied areas of Ukraine, and that the annexation of a state's territory by another state using threat or the use of force is "a violation of the UN Charter"
    • He said the bombardment of urban areas in Ukraine by Russia was mostly to blame for the deaths of civilians, including children
    • He said the war has had an "unacceptable impact" on human rights and called for an investigation into the "catalogue of cruelty" in Ukraine
    • He added the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant remains a "cause of grave concern" and stated that "all attacks on nuclear facilities must end"
  16. Four Russian-occupied regions to hold votes on joining Russia

    From tomorrow to 27 September, four Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine - Donetsk and Luhansk in the east, and Kherson and Zaporizhzhia in the south - will hold so-called referendums on joining Russia.

    The so-called Donetsk People's Republic declared the fourth and fifth days of voting as public holidays, while the Luhansk People's Republic authorties have promised to announce vote results on 28 September.

    Moscow-backed separatists have controlled large parts of the industrial Donbas area since 2014, while the regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia were occupied after Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February.

    In a televised address on Wednesday, Putin said Russia needed to support those in Ukraine who wanted to "determine their own future". The EU has said it will not recognise the results of the votes.

    Today Russian news agency RIA Novosti shared an image showing flyers it says are being handed out in Luhansk.

    Under the headline "Russia is the future", the flyer reads: "We are united by a 1,000-year history. For centuries we were part of the same great country. The break-up of the united state was a huge political catastrophe: millions of relatives suddenly found themselves separated by an artificial border. It's time to restore historical justice."

    This statement encapsulates Russia's claims to the region, which it says is part of "the historical lands of Novorossiya" - the 18th century area that was part of during the Russian Empire and which later became part of Ukraine.

    Senior Russian lawmaker Konstantin Kosachev has weighed in on the referendums, saying that once they are over "it won't be Russia's right but its duty to protect the those regions" - adding an attack on those lands will be an attack on Russia "with all its consequences".

    Map showing referendum areas
  17. Medvedev says nuclear weapons could be used to defend Russia-backed territories

    Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin

    Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev seemed to square away any ambiguity with regards to the use of nuclear weapons.

    Medevedev said any weapons in Moscow's arsenal, including strategic nuclear weapons, could be used to defend territories joined to Russia from Ukraine, Reuters reported.

    Medvedev, who also serves as deputy chairman of Russia's Security Council, said that referendums planned by Russian-installed and separatist authorities in large swathes of Ukrainian territory will take place, and "there is no going back", according to the news agency.

    "The Western establishment and all citizens of Nato countries in general need to understand that Russia has chosen its own path," he said.

  18. Release of Azov fighters leaves pro-Russian commentators bewildered

    Laura Gozzi

    BBC News

    Returning to the news about last night's major prisoner exchange which saw Ukrainian Azov fighters released alongside foreign nationals who fought for Ukraine.

    Azov fighters are part of Ukraine's national guard and have long been reviled in Russia, where they are described as Nazis. From the start of the war, President Putin has said that Russian troops have been fighting to liberate Ukraine from the Neo-Nazi regime.

    Many members of the Azov Regiment were entrenched in the Azovstal steel plant for weeks earlier this year, until they were taken captive by Russia.

    In July, the Russian Supreme Court recognised Ukraine's Azov Regiment as a terrorist organisation and banned its activities in Russia.

    At the time, the chairman of the Public Monitoring Commission of Moscow, Georgy Volkov, alleged that cannibalism was practised by Azov members, referring to what he said was the testimony of a captured militant.

    Yet, among those released last night were Azov commander Denys Prokopenko and his deputy, Svyatoslav Palamar. The development has caused considerable anger and confusion among Russian pro-war commentators online.

    "Will anyone explain what just happened? Will anyone be held responsible for all this? Shame Stalin is not with us anymore,” said one Telegram account.

    "This is worse than a crime… and worse than a mistake. This is unbelievable stupidity. Or deliberate sabotage,” said former military chief of pro-Russian rebels in Donetsk Igor Strelkov.

    And Telegram channel Rybar said: "A serious reputational blow no matter how you look at it."

  19. Number of people crossing Finnish-Russian border intensifies

    Cars queue to enter Finland from Russia at Finland's most southern crossing point Vaalimaa

    The number of people crossing Finland's eastern border "intensified" overnight, but the Finnish Border Guard said the situation was under control.

    Earlier today, Finnish Defence Minister Antti Kaikkonen said Finland is closely monitoring the situation in light of President Vladimir Putin's order of military mobilisation for the war in Ukraine.

    Yesterday, Finnish border authorities issued a statement to combat misinformation circulating on social media, which suggested an alarming number of people were crossing the Russian-Finnish border.

    Following Vladimir Putin’s announcement of a call-up for thousands of extra reservists to fight in Ukraine, rumours were circulating online that people were fleeing Russia and crossing the border to neighbouring Finland.

    A Twitter post purported to show a border queue stretching “over 35km” (16 miles), it was liked and retweeted many thousands of times.

    But the video embedded in the tweet was originally posted three days ago on a TikTok account and is unconnected with President Putin’s speech.

    Finland has the longest land border with Russia in the European Union, spanning 1,300km (800 miles).

  20. What has been happening today?

    If you're just joining us, here is a round-up of the day's main events so far:

    • Russia has begun implementing plans to call up reservists to fight in Ukraine following President Putin's order to mobilise 300,000 more Russians with military experience
    • Since his announcement yesterday morning, Russian men have been fleeing across the border to Georgia. Two people who crossed told the BBC a queue of at least 5km (3.1 miles) had built up on the Russian side at the Upper Lars checkpoint
    • Putin's order also sparked protests on Wednesday which led to more than 1,000 people being arrested
    • The UK's Ministry of Defence has said most of the Russians being mobilised are "unlikely to be combat effective for months"
    • Last night, a prisoner exchange saw more than 200 prisoners of war released by Russia, including five British nationals who have arrived back in the UK today
    • Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov is expected to attend a meeting of the UN Security Council in New York this afternoon (15:00 BST)
    • So-called referendums on joining Russia will be held tomorrow in several areas of Russia-occupied Ukraine