September 30, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Tara Subramaniam, Andrew Raine, Sana Noor Haq and Adrienne Vogt, CNN

Updated 6:14 p.m. ET, September 30, 2022
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7:37 a.m. ET, September 30, 2022

Entry of Russian citizens to Finland closed only for tourist visa holders, ambassador says

From CNN's Tim Lister and Radina Gigova

Finnish border guard officers look at cars queueing at the Vaalimaa border crossing between Finland and the Russian Federation on September 30.
Finnish border guard officers look at cars queueing at the Vaalimaa border crossing between Finland and the Russian Federation on September 30. (Alessandro Rampazzo/AFP/Getty Images)

The entry of Russian citizens to Finland is closed only for tourist visa holders, but other types of trips are still possible, according to the Russian ambassador to Helsinki.

"From today, the Finns prohibit the entry of Russians for tourist purposes. Other trips are still allowed — these are visits to relatives, work, study, treatment, business trips and so on," Pavel Kuznetsov said on Russian state TV channel Russia 24 on Friday. 

Finland's government said on Thursday that the country will close its borders to Russian tourists starting Friday at midnight (local time) until further notice.

Following Russian President Vladimir Putin's announcement earlier this month of "partial mobilization," the country saw nationwide protests and an exodus of citizens fleeing the country.

Some context: On Sunday, 8,314 Russians entered Finland via the Finnish-Russian land border — double that of the previous Sunday, the border guard’s head of international affairs tweeted at the time.

Including Saturday's numbers, 16,886 Russians arrived in total, with "many in transit to other countries," Matti Pitkäniitty added.

8:14 a.m. ET, September 30, 2022

Ukrainian forces take key village in Donetsk region as they encircle Russian units

From CNN's Tim Lister, Victoria Butenko, Olga Voitovych and Sarah Dean

Ukrainian troops said they have taken the village of Yampil in the eastern Donetsk region, a significant objective in their efforts to encircle Russian and pro-Russian forces in the town of Lyman.

"Yampil is ours," a soldier said in a brief video posted by Ukrainian troops. He is standing in front of a building with a sign that says: "Yampil school complex."

Pro-Russian Telegram channels have described a bleak situation for the approximately 2,000 remaining troops in the area.

One prominent channel with more than 800,000 subscribers commented on Friday that Russian Armed Forces "withdrew from Yampil to Lyman."

"The Armed Forces of Ukraine managed to break through the defensive orders of the RF (Russian Federation) Armed Forces and force the Russian troops to retreat to the city (Lyman)," the channel, which goes by the name of Rybar, wrote.

"The Lyman defensive line has narrowed to the administrative boundaries of the city itself. If emergency measures are not taken in the near future to release the Lyman and transfer a significant part of the reserves, then the city, together with its defenders, will fall, and nothing will stop Ukrainian formations from developing an offensive deep into Russian territories," Rybar added.

The head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic later conceded that Yampil and the nearby village of Drobysheve "are not fully under our control."

Denis Pushilin called the news from Lyman "disturbing" in a Telegram post.

"Our guys are fighting, we are pulling up reserves, we must hold out, but the enemy has also deployed serious forces," Pushilin added.

6:56 a.m. ET, September 30, 2022

Moscow will recognize all of Donetsk and Luhansk regions as Russian territory, including areas controlled by Ukraine

From CNN's Tim Lister and Anna Chernova

Russia will recognize the entirety of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics within their declared borders of 2014 as part of its territory, the Kremlin told CNN on Friday.

The laws of the self-declared republics state that their borders are those of the whole Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine. Ukrainian forces currently control about 40% of the eastern Donetsk region.

When asked if the territories of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) that are currently under Ukraine’s control will be considered as part of Russia as well, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: "De jure yes. By joining the Russian Federation, a state that has been recognized by us within the boundaries of 2014 is joining."

The territory of the DPR that is not currently controlled by the Russian army "will have to be liberated," Peskov added.

Peskov could not immediately provide an answer about Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, the two other areas where so-called referendums were held, adding: "I need to confirm this."

The announcements come after people in four occupied areas of Ukraine supposedly voted in huge numbers in favor of joining Russia, in five-day polls that were illegal under international law and dismissed by Kyiv and the West as a sham.

Some context: Russian President Vladimir Putin will preside over the start of the process to formally annex more Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine at the Kremlin on Friday. Agreements will be signed on absorbing the four occupied territories to the Russian Federation.

On Thursday, Putin signed decrees recognizing the independence of the occupied regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia — a necessary formality before they are annexed. 

Western leaders saw Putin's decision to identify Donetsk and Luhansk in early February as an attack on Ukrainian sovereignty that served as a pretext for war. Days later, Moscow launched its military assault on Kyiv.

6:42 a.m. ET, September 30, 2022

Kremlin will consider attacks on newly annexed territories as aggression against Russia 

From CNN's Anna Chernova

The Kremlin has reiterated that any attacks on Ukrainian territory annexed by Russia will be considered as acts of aggression against the country itself.

When asked whether, after annexation documents are signed, Russia would perceive attacks by Ukrainian forces on annexed territories as an act of aggression against Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: "It won't be anything else."

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov waits to watch the Victory Day military parade at Red Square in central Moscow, Russia, on May 9.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov waits to watch the Victory Day military parade at Red Square in central Moscow, Russia, on May 9. (Kirill Kudryavtsey/AFP/Getty Images)

Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to sign documents formally annexing four areas of Ukraine — up to 18% of Ukrainian territory — at a ceremony in the Kremlin on Friday.

The ceremony follows so-called referendums held by Russian-backed authorities in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia on joining Russia. The votes are illegal under international law and have been dismissed by Kyiv and Western leaders as "a sham."

The four separate agreements on the admission of new territories to the Russian Federation will be signed in the Kremlin at a ceremony attended by Russian-installed heads of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics and of occupied parts of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions.

6:30 a.m. ET, September 30, 2022

Zelensky condemns Russian attack on civilian convoy in Zaporizhzhia, as death toll rises to 25

From Olga Voitovych and Victoria Butenko

People walk between cars damaged by a missile strike on a road near Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, on September 30.
People walk between cars damaged by a missile strike on a road near Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, on September 30. (Kateryna Klochko/AFP/Getty Images)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said the Russian forces who carried out a missile attack on an evacuation convoy in Zaporizhzhia are "downright terrorists."

Russian shelling bombarded a civilian convoy leaving the city in southeastern Ukraine on Friday morning, with images from the scene showed battered vehicles strewn on the ground.

The number of people killed in the shelling has risen to 25 and about 50 people are injured, including children, according to the Prosecutor General's office.

"The terrorist state fires missiles at the civilian population in Zaporizhzhia, the Mykolaiv region, the Dnipropetrovsk region. Hits Ukrainian regions with MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket Systems) and drones," Zelensky said on Telegram.

"The occupiers fired 16 missiles at Zaporizhzhia and surroundings this morning alone. This can only be done by downright terrorists, who should have no place in the civilized world."

"People were in line to leave for the temporarily occupied territory, to pick up their relatives, to deliver aid," Oleksandr Starukh, head of the Zaporizhzhia regional military administration, said earlier on Telegram.

The attack took place at 7:30 a.m. local time (12:30 a.m.) at a used car market where vehicles had gathered before proceeding to a crossing point into Russian-held territory further south. 

6:22 a.m. ET, September 30, 2022

Moscow-installed official in Kherson region killed in strike, says Russian state media

From CNN's Anna Chernova and Sarah Dean

Handout image of Alexey Katerinichev
Handout image of Alexey Katerinichev (Russian Ministry of Emergencies)

A Moscow-installed official in the southern Kherson region of Ukraine has been killed in a Ukrainian missile strike, according to Russian state media.

"On September 30, Alexey Katerinichev, First Deputy Head of the Military-Civilian Administration of the Kherson Region, tragically died while doing his duty," a statement from Russia's Ministry of Emergencies added.

Katerinichev was born in the Russian city of Rybinsk, in the Yaroslavl region, and took up the post in the Kherson region in August, Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported.

He was previously the first deputy head of the Leader Center for High Risk Rescue Operations and prior to that served in the Federal Border Service and the Federal Security Service, the Ministry of Emergencies statement said.

Katerinichev "organized the activities of the Operational Headquarters of the FSB of Russia in the Kaliningrad region. For his courage and heroism, he was repeatedly awarded military orders and medals," the statement added.

Ukrainian authorities have not commented on the attack.

6:00 a.m. ET, September 30, 2022

UK "will never accept" Moscow's annexation of four occupied Ukrainian regions, prime minister says

From CNN's Luke McGee in London

British Prime Minister Liz Truss attends her first Prime Minister's Questions at the House of Commons in London, England, on September 7.
British Prime Minister Liz Truss attends her first Prime Minister's Questions at the House of Commons in London, England, on September 7. (Jessica Taylor/UK Parliament/Reuters)

UK Prime Minister Liz Truss said the UK will "never accept" four occupied regions in Ukraine as anything other than Ukrainian territory, ahead of a Kremlin ceremony during which Russia is expected to formally annex the areas.

In recent days, Kremlin-backed authorities held referendums in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia on joining Russia. The votes are illegal under international law and have been dismissed by Kyiv and Western leaders as "a sham."

"We will never accept the regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia as anything other than Ukrainian territory," Truss in a statement on Friday.

"Vladimir Putin has, once again, acted in violation of international law with clear disregard for the lives of the Ukrainian people he claims to represent.

"The UK will never ignore the sovereign will of those people and we will never accept the regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia as anything other than Ukrainian territory. 

"Putin cannot be allowed to alter international borders using brute force. We will ensure he loses this illegal war." 

3:38 a.m. ET, September 30, 2022

One killed, dozens of buses destroyed in missile attack on Dnipro, Ukrainian officials say

From Olga Voitovych

Russian cruise missiles have hit the depot of a transport company in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro, killing one person and setting fire to dozens of buses.

Valentyn Reznichenko, head of the Dnipropetrovsk regional military administration, said one person was killed and five were injured after Russian “Iskander” cruise missiles hit the city.

"Fifty-two buses were burnt, another 98 were damaged. Several high-rise buildings, a gymnasium, a store and administrative buildings were damaged," Reznichenko said.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the President's Office in Kyiv, said two missiles had hit the area.

2:08 a.m. ET, September 30, 2022

Head of Russian region of Dagestan lashes out at local draft officers

From CNN's Josh Pennington and Mohammed Tawfeeq

Dagestan's President Sergey Melikov attends a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in Saint Petersburg on June 16.
Dagestan's President Sergey Melikov attends a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in Saint Petersburg on June 16. (Maxim Shemetov/Reuters)

The head of the Russian Republic of Dagestan expressed his anger in a video on Thursday toward draft officers who had been driving around the city of Derbent, calling on loudspeakers for "all male citizens to report to military enlistment offices.

"How could the Derbent draft officers ask people to report to the enlistment and registration office in such a manner?!" Dagestan's President Sergey Melikov said in a video during a meeting of the Security Council of Dagestan.

"Who authorized them to drive around the city?!" he added.

During his tirade, he played a short video clip on his phone. The audio plays the following message: "Dear citizens of Derbent, all male citizens must immediately report to the Derbent enlistment office. You must have your passport and military identity card with you."

Russian President Vladimir Putin's "partial mobilization" decree stipulated that reserve servicemen with previous military experience and men with professional experience required by the military would be called up. A total of 300,000 reservists are eligible to be drafted, according to the decree.

Some context: Since Putin's declaration of a "partial mobilization" last week, hundreds of civilians have taken part in a wave of protests against the military mobilization in Dagestan, according to social media videos circulated online.

Protesters nationwide have accused the Russian military of drafting students, fathers and men whose age should exempt them from service.

On Thursday, Putin demanded that "mistakes" made during the partial mobilization be rectified.

In the course of this mobilization, many questions arise and it is necessary to correct all the mistakes and prevent them from happening in the future for those citizens who need an exemption," Putin said in a recorded statement.

"For example, fathers of multiple children or people suffering from chronic diseases or those who are already beyond the age of military service. It is necessary to consider each such case separately."

"And if a mistake is made, then I repeat, it needs to be corrected. Return home those who were called up without a proper reason," he continued.