Russiaon Friday aimed at annexing four occupied regions of Ukraine, drawing condemnation from Kyiv and Western nations who dismissed the votes as a sham and pledged not to recognise their results.
* Ukrainian officials said people were banned from leaving some occupied areas until the four-day vote was over, armed groups were going to homes to force people to cast ballots, and employees were threatened with the sack if they did not participate.
* Reuters could not immediately verify reports of coercion.
* The votes in the provinces of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia were hastily organised after Ukraine recaptured large swathes of the northeast in a counter-offensive.
* Ukraine, Western leaders and the United Nations condemned the votes as an illegitimate precursor to illegal annexation. There are no independent observers, and much of the pre-war population has fled.
* The United States is prepared to impose additional economic costs on Russia in conjunction with U.S. allies if Moscow moves forward with annexing portions of Ukrainian territory,on Friday.
* NATO will ramp up its help for Kyiv in response to the “sham” referendums, theon Friday.
* Russia maintains that the referendums offer an opportunity for people in the region to express their view.
* A total of 211 ships with 4.7 million tonnes of agricultural products on board have left Ukraine so far under a deal brokered by the United Nations and Turkey to unblock Ukrainian sea ports, the
* Russian attacked a dam on the Siverskyi Donets river with a suspected short-range ballistic missile, the second strike on a dam since Sept. 15, apparently with the aim of flooding Ukrainian military crossing points,on Saturday.
* A Russian missile hit a residential building in Zaporizhzhia causing casualties, the town’s acting mayor told media.
* Asaid on Friday it had found evidence of war crimes including executions, rape, torture and confinement of children in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine, after visits to 27 areas and interviews with more than 150 victims and witnesses.
* Russia denies deliberately attacking civilians in the conflict and says abuse accusations are a smear campaign. It did not immediately comment on the report.
* Ukraine said on Friday it wouldover its decision to supply Russian forces with drones.