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Ukraine war: Five key developments to know about today

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Russia launched referendums on Friday aimed at annexing four occupied regions of Ukraine, raising the stakes in what Kyiv has called a sham that saw residents threatened with punishment if they did not vote.Ukrainian officials said people were banned from leaving some occupied areas until the four-day vote was over, armed groups were going into homes, and employees were threatened with dismissal if they did not participate."Today, the best thing for the people of Kherson would be not to open their doors," said Yuriy Sobolevsky, the displaced first deputy council chairman of Kherson region.The referendums on joining Russia were hastily-organised after Ukraine recaptured large parts of the northeast in a counter-offensive earlier this month.A UN-mandated body on Friday stated that war crimes, including rape, executions, torture and confinement of children were committed by Russia in areas it occupied in Ukraine.The commission is one of the first international bodies to reach the conclusion on the basis of field evidence.

Ukraine and its Western allies have accused Russian soldiers of a litany of abuses since the invasion, but Moscow has regularly dismissed the allegations as a smear campaign."Based on the evidence gathered by the Commission, it has concluded that war crimes have been committed in Ukraine," Erik Mose, who heads the Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.He did not give an estimate of how many crimes had taken place, but later said in an interview that "a large number" had been committed by Russia and two cases by Ukraine involving the mistreatment of Russian soldiers.The Kremlin denies deliberately attacking civilians during what it still describes as its "special

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