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Ukraine war updates: Ukraine retakes part of a region Russia claims to annex (Oct. 3)

Soldiers prepare to fire BM-21 Grad rocket launcher toward Russian positions in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region on Monday. Russia intends to annex Donetsk but Ukrainian forces retook Lyman, a strategic city in the region, on Saturday.

As the week begins, here's a look ahead and a roundup of key developments from the past week.

What to watch this week

Russia's parliament will ratify its attempted annexation of four Ukrainian territories, widely condemned internationally as illegal. On Monday, the lower house unanimously approved it. The upper house is expected to pass it on Tuesday.

Following Ukraine's recapture of Lyman in the east, Ukrainian forces appeared to break through Russian lines in the south on Monday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin turns 70 Friday.

What happened last week

Sept. 26: The first troops called up in Russia's new mobilization in Ukraine arrived at military bases, many with no prior training and with few trainers on hand, according to British defense intelligence. Putin later said "mistakes" in the call-up should be corrected.

Sept. 27: Russia claimed that staged referendums in four occupied regions of Ukraine showed the people chose to join the Russian Federation. United Nations leaders and many countries called the process a sham and a violation of international law.

Sept. 28: Moscow-backed officials in occupied parts of Ukraine made appeals for the regions to join the Russian Federation. Putin's approval rating fell 6 points to 77% in a poll by the Levada Center. The U.S. Defense Department, meanwhile, announced $1.1 billion in additional security aid to Ukraine.

Sept. 29: Star Wars actor Mark Hamill threw his support behind a fundraiser to buy drones for Ukraine in the "war with the evil empire," he said.

Sept. 30: Putin signed documents claiming Russia is annexing four regions from Ukraine, but world powers refuse to recognize it. Ukraine applied for "accelerated" NATO membership.

Oct. 1: Russian forces retreated as Ukraine recaptured the city of Lyman, located in one of the eastern regions the Kremlin claimed to annex.

Oct. 2: Leaders of nine European countries made a joint statement in support of Ukraine joining NATO. And Pope Francis made a strong plea for Putin to end the war.


Jewish Ukrainian father and son soldiers mark holy days under cloud of Russia's war.

With Ukraine at war, officials hope to bring tourism back to areas away from fighting.

Putin plans to formally annex 4 regions from Ukraine Friday.

Ukraine's offensive in Kharkiv was hard and bitter, say soldiers who did the fighting.

War didn't stop Hasidic pilgrims from gathering in Ukraine for the Jewish new year.

With staged referendums in Ukraine complete, Russia begins the annexation process.

Occupied regions of Ukraine vote to join Russia in staged referendums.

Russian men flee the country. Many are showing up in Istanbul.

Seismologists suspect explosions damaged undersea pipelines that carry Russian gas.

Special report

Russia's war in Ukraine is changing the world: See its ripple effects in all corners of the globe.

Earlier developments

You can read past recaps here. For context and more in-depth stories, you can find more of NPR's coverage here. Also, listen and subscribe to NPR's State of Ukraine podcast for updates throughout the day.

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