Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said his nation is submitting an "accelerated" application to join the NATO military alliance.
"We are taking our decisive step by signing Ukraine's application for accelerated accession to NATO," Zelenskyy said in a video.
After that, Zelenskyy, Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal, and Ruslan Stefanchuk, speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, signed the application.
In the video address, the Ukrainian leader said that Kyiv would not negotiate with Russia as long as President Vladimir Putin was in power. "We will negotiate with the new president," Zelensky said.
He also called on members of parliament to pass a law on the nationalization of all Russian assets in Ukraine.
Before the announcement, Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council met to discuss measures Russian President Putin's proclamation of Moscow's annexation of a swath of Ukrainian territory.
"Measures that must be taken to ensure the collective security of the Euro-Atlantic space and Ukraine were discussed," Zelenskyy's official website said.
It said that such measures should include implementation of a nuclear deterrence strategy against Russia by Ukraine's allies.
Speaking of Ukraine's desire for expedited membership, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said, "We have always made it clear that the door to NATO remains open."
Others, such as German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, were more reserved, saying: "We continue to support Ukraine's right to defend itself by supplying heavy weaponry, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that other countries, that NATO, doesn't get drawn into this war."
NATO has generally refrained from admitting candidates involved in international conflicts or those with unresolved border disputes.
Here is more news from or concerning the war in Ukraine on Friday, September 30:
UN Security Council showdown: Russia vetoes US-backed resolution
Russia on Friday vetoed a joint resolution by the US and Albania condemning "illegal" referenda in Ukraine and the purported annexation of the territories in which they were staged, as well as demanding Russia withdraw troops from the country.
Russia, along with the US, UK, France and China, is a permanent member of the Security Council and thus its veto means the resolution cannot be passed. China abstained from the vote.
As the meeting got underway, US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield urged members to support her resolution, saying: "This is exactly what the Security Council was made to do. Defend sovereignty, protect territorial integrity, promote peace and security. The United Nations was built on an idea that never again would one country be allowed to take another's territory by force."
Russia's veto had been clearly anticipated, prompting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to preemptively announce Washington's intention to push for a vote at the UN General Assembly.
"If Russia blocks the Security Council from carrying out its responsibilities, we'll ask the UN General Assembly, where every country has a vote, to make clear that it's unacceptable to redraw borders by force," Blinken said, adding, "Every country has a stake in condemning these steps."
IMF: Russia causing largest global food crisis since 2008
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Russia's invasion of neighboring Ukraine was fueling the worst global food crisis since 2008.
The IMF says President Putin's military gambit in Ukraine is directly threatening some 345 million people due to food insecurity and skyrocketing prices.
The financial agency urged an immediate increase in funding for the UN World Food Program (WFP), the world's largest humanitarian organization, and other organizations devoted to feeding those in need.
Millions faced hunger and developing nations experienced unrest in 2008, after a steep increase in food prices in late 2007 and early 2008.
EU Commission calls for visa clampdown on Russians
European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson on Friday called for EU member states to be vigilant in checking the documents of Russian nationals and deny visas to anyone who may pose a threat.
Johansson said Russian President Putin's attempts to annex parts of Ukraine as well as ordering a partial mobilization of military aged men for his war in Ukraine represented, "an escalation of the security threat toward the European Union."
The Commission, the EU's executive arm, recently presented guidelines on the issue at the request of member states confronted with the influx of Russian citizens fleeing their home to avoid conscription.
Although the guidelines call for restricting visas for Russians and even revoking existing visas should a threat be detected, Johansson said the changes would not affect journalists, dissidents or asylum seekers.
The EU border agency Frontex registered a 30% increase in border crossings from Russia into the EU in the wake of Putin's mobilization announcement.
Putin claims West sabotaged Baltic pipelines; Biden vows probe
Russian President Putin accused the West of sabotaging gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea Friday, claiming leaks in the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines were caused by malign Western actors.
The pipelines, which transport Russia natural gas to Germany, began leaking after what appeared to have been explosions.
Earlier on Friday, Russia's top spy said Moscow had materials indicating the West had a role in ruptures to the undersea Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines that have threatened to put them permanently out of use.
"We have materials that point to a Western trace in the organization and implementation of these terrorist acts," said Sergei Naryshkin, the head of Russia's foreign intelligence service.
Putin claimed, "The Anglo-Saxons" were behind the apparent attack, saying, "sanctions were not enough, now they have moved on to sabotage" with the aim of destroying Europe's energy infrastructure.
"It is hard to believe, but it is a fact that they organized the blasts on the Nord Stream international gas pipelines," he said — without providing evidence to back his claim.
The US agreed that it was hard to believe, dismissing the remarks as "absurd."
Western nations, who have come to believe Russia was behind the attack, have accused Putin of engaging in "energy blackmail" in an effort to penalize EU and NATO nations.
Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden on Friday vowed that Washington would send divers to find out "exactly what happened" to the pipelines.
"It was a deliberate act of sabotage and the Russians are pumping out disinformation and lies," said Biden.
He said the US is working with allies to find the right moment to inspect the pipelines, as well as enhancing "the protection of this critical infrastructure."
White House national security advisor Jake Sullivan said Western nations should be "concerned" about the threat of Russian attacks to critical infrastructure.
Russia illegally annexes 4 Ukrainian regions
Russian President Putin on Friday formally announced that Moscow will annex four occupied regions of Ukraine, in an act condemned by the global community and in violation of international law.
Speaking at an event at the Kremlin, Putin announced the incorporation of the four Russian-occupied regions — Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia. Putin described them as "four new regions" of Russia.
On Thursday, Putin signed decrees recognizing the supposed independence of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson, mirroring a decree signed in February regarding the Ukrainian regions of Luhansk and Donetsk.
The four territories create a land corridor between Russia and the Crimean Peninsula which was illegally annexed by Moscow in 2014 in a similar process.
The Kremlin said that it would consider attacks against any part of the regions of Ukraine that it is illegally about to annex as acts of aggression against Russia itself.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Russia would "de jure" incorporate parts of eastern Ukraine that are not under the control of Russian forces into Russia itself as part of its move to annex four regions of Ukraine.
Missiles hit civilian convoy, Ukraine says
Russian missiles hit a convoy of vehicles carrying Ukrainian civilians near the southern city of Zaporizhzhia on Friday, killing and wounding several people, the regional governor has said.
"So far, 23 dead and 28 wounded. All civilians," Starukh wrote on the Telegram messaging app.
Starukh said the people in the convoy had planned to travel into Russian-occupied territory to pick up their relatives and then take them to safety.
Russia has always denied deliberately targeting civilians during its invasion of Ukraine — which it calls a "special military operation" — although Ukrainian towns and cities have come under frequent attack by Russian forces since the assault began on February 24.
A pro-Kremlin official in Zaporizhzhia has denied the Russian army was behind the attack and said it was a "terrorist attack" by Ukrainian forces.
According to Ukrainian President Zelenskyy, the deadly rocket attack near Zaporizhzhia was Russian retribution for the unbroken Ukrainian resistance to its failed invasion.
"Only absolute terrorists operate this way, the kind of people for whom there is no place in the civilized world," he wrote in the wake of the attack.
Head of Donetsk separatists says Russian-held Lyman 'semi-encircled'
The head of the Russian-backed separatist administration in east Ukraine's Donetsk region said the Russian stronghold of Lyman, in the region's north, was "semi-encircled" by the Ukrainian army and that news from the front was "alarming."
In a message posted on Telegram, Denis Pushilin, administrator of the so-called "Donetsk People's Republic," said the villages of Yampil and Drobysheve near Lyman "are no longer fully controlled by us."
Ahead of Russian President Putin's announcement of annexing the Donetsk region, Pushilin said "the Ukrainian army is trying with all its might to blacken this historic event for us."
Meanwhile, a Ukrainian military spokesman said an operation is under way to encircle Russian forces in the area of Lyman, and Ukraine has all the logistics routes into the area under fire control.
Lyman, which had a pre-war population of around 20,000, was captured by Russia in May after an extended battle.
Russia-backed official in Kherson killed in Ukrainian strikes: Russian news agency
An official who formed part of the Moscow-installed administration of the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson has been killed in a strike by Ukrainian forces, according to local officials cited by Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti.
"The first deputy head of security in the Kherson administration, Alexei Katerinichev, died as a result of a missile attack by Ukrainian troops in the center of Kherson," it said in its report.
A number of Moscow-installed officials in Russian-controlled regions have died recently in attacks that some attribute to Ukrainian resistance efforts.
New Russian troops told to use 'female sanitary products' as cheap first aid: UK intelligence
Newly mobilized Russian reservists have been ordered to bring along their own first-aid supplies — with female sanitary products advised as a cheaper alternative to a proper medical kit — as official military provisions appear to be running low, according to an intelligence update from the UK's Ministry of Defense.
The update said some troops who had obtained Western-style combat tourniquets were using cable ties to attach them to equipment to ensure they were not stolen. This would likely mean delays in applying the tourniquets if a soldier were to suffer severe bleeding during fighting, it said.
Russian troops were likely to be losing confidence in the Russian army's medical provision, something that would almost certainly contribute to a decline in morale, the ministry said.
As Moscow looks to carve out more Ukrainian territory it is also trying to bolster its forces with a partial mobilization order involving 300 thousand reservists — a move which has caused a flood of Russian men to flee to neighboring countries.
According to British military intelligence, the number of Russian military-age men fleeing "likely exceeds the size of the total invasion force Russia fielded in February 2022."
Amid domestic criticism, Putin told Russia's Security Council on Thursday that errors had been made in the mobilization.
Putin said Russian men mistakenly called up should be sent home and that only reservists with proper military training and specialties should be called to serve.
js,tj/sms, fb (Reuters, AP)