More than six months after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion into neighboring Ukraine, the two countries are engaged in a struggle for control of areas throughout eastern and southern Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, whose forces began an offensive in August, has vowed to take back all Russian-occupied territory. But Putin in September announced a mobilization of reservists, which is expected to call up as many as 300,000 additional troops.
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- State department advises US citizens to leave Russia
- 66,000 Russians cross European borders since Putin announced draft
- 'Sham referenda' in Russia-occupied Ukraine going Kremlin's way
- Leaks in major gas pipeline between Russia and Europe investigated following blasts
- Aid to Ukraine detailed in bill to keep US government running
State department advises US citizens to leave Russia
American citizens are being advised by the U.S. State Department to get out of Russia immediately.
The U.S. Embassy in Moscow has issued an alert, saying "severe limitations" could prevent it from assisting U.S. citizens still in the country.
"If you wish to depart Russia, you should make independent arrangements as soon as possible," the alert said.
Noting that Russia has begun a military mobilization against Ukraine, U.S. Embassy officials warned Americans with dual Russian citizenship that they could get drafted by Russia.
"Russia may refuse to acknowledge dual nationals U.S. citizenship, deny their access to U.S. consular assistance, prevent their departure from Russia, and conscript dual nationals for military service," the alert said.
The alert also advised U.S. citizens to avoid political or social protests in Russia, saying Americans have been arrested in Russia for participating in demonstrations.
"We remind U.S. citizens that the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression are not guaranteed in Russia," the alert said.
66,000 Russians cross European borders since Putin announced draft
Roughly 66,000 Russian citizens have fled across borders into European countries amid Russian President Vladimir Putin's announcement last week of a military mobilization against Ukraine, the European Border and Coast Guard said Tuesday.
The number of Russian citizens pouring into Europe was up 30% compared to last week, according to the agency which also goes by the name Frontex.
Most of the Russian citizens are entering the European Union through Finnish and Estonian border crossing points, Frontex said on Twitter.
Putin announced on Sept. 21 that he is ordering the mobilization of 300,000 recruits to fight in Ukraine, prompting widespread protests and clashes with police across Russia.
In recent days, photos have emerged of huge traffic jams at border crossings. On Monday, the wait at the border between Russia and Georgia was estimated to be 40 to 50 hours, according to the independent Russian news outlet The Insider.
'Sham referenda' in Russia-occupied Ukraine going Kremlin's way
Partial results from what Ukraine and its Western allies have called "sham" referendums in four Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine show that more than 96% of voters favor becoming part of Russia, according to the state-owned Russian news agency RIA.
Voting has taken place over five days in the four areas -- Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson.
The early results showed that 97.93% of voters in the Luhansk People's Republic favored joining the Russian Federation, according to the data. In Donetsk People's Republic, early results showed 98.69% favored joining the Russian Federation.
In Zaporizhzhia, 97.81% of voters cast ballots to join Russia and 96.75% of voters in Kherson also favored joining Russia, according to the data.
President Joe Biden and other Group of 7 leaders condemned Russia's "sham referenda" in occupied Ukrainian territories, calling it a Russian attempt to "create a phony pretext for changing the status of Ukrainian sovereign territory."
Leaks in major gas pipeline between Russia and Europe investigated following blasts
Leaks in a major gas pipeline running from Russia to Europe under the Baltic Sea have been detected after the Swedish seismic network said it registered blasts near the pipeline.
The leaks in the Nord Stream pipeline were first reported on Monday by Denmark's maritime authority and photos released by Denmark's Defense Command showed what appeared to be gas bubbling up to the surface.
The operator of the pipeline said the leaks were detected southeast of the Danish island Bornholm.
The underwater pipeline runs about 764 miles from Russia to Germany.
While the cause of the leaks remains under investigation, unconfirmed reports from Germany allege authorities suspect sabotage.
Ukrainian officials have accused Russia of causing leaks in a "terrorist attack," according to the BBC.
Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhaylo Podolyak alleged the damage to the pipeline was an "an act of aggression" by Russia toward the European Union.