Prophetic Birth Pangs


RUSSIA’S INVASION OF UKRAINE
AND SELECTED WORLD NEWS


Check the links here for more detailed news:

[AlJazeera]    [CNN]   [The Guardian]   [Times of India]
Links updated on September 24th


Sunday, September 25th [16:00 UTC]

 

Protests against the mobilization order to recruit more people for Russia’s army appear to be continuing in the Russian republic of Dagestan, with videos showing standoffs between police and the public.

 

Long queues of vehicles are at the border crossing between Russia and Mongolia as people continue to flee the Kremlin’s partial mobilization order, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports.

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s partial mobilization order has forced Tatar men to flee Russian-occupied Crimea, a presidential representative to Crimea said on Ukraine’s Parliament TV Sunday.

 

Russia’s two senior-most MPs have addressed a string of complaints about Russia’s mobilization drive, ordering regional officials to get a handle on the situation and swiftly solve the “excesses” that have stoked public anger.

 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he was “in shock” at Israel’s failure to give Kyiv anti-missile systems to help counter Russian attacks, according to an interview made public on Saturday.

 

The Russian mobilization system is struggling to execute the task Russian President Vladimir Putin set and will likely fail to produce mobilized reserve forces even of the low quality that Putin’s plans would have generated unless the Kremlin can rapidly fix fundamental and systemic problems.

 

At least 35 have been killed in more than a week of protests that erupted in Iran after the death of a young woman in police custody, state media reported. Demonstrators have taken to the streets of major cities across Iran, including Tehran, for eight straight nights since the death of Mahsa Amini.

 

Turkey and Israel are in talks on the issue of the transportation of gas to the European Union, Ankara said on Friday. “We are going to be part of the effort to replace Russian gas in Europe,” Prime Minister Yair Lapid said, standing alongside German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin earlier this month.


Saturday, September 24th

 

The pro-Kremlin editor of Russia’s state-run RT news channel expressed anger that enlistment officers were sending call-up papers to the wrong men, as frustration at the recent military mobilization grew across Russia.

 

A new law signed by Vladimir Putin says Russian troops who desert, refuse to fight, disobey or surrender to the enemy could now face a jail sentence of up to 10 years, according to Russian media reports. The law was approved by the parliament earlier this week.

 

The queue at the border between Russia and Georgia is approximately 6 miles (10km) long, where people have reportedly been waiting more than 20 hours to cross.

 

The tide of international opinion appears to be decisively shifting against Russia, as a number of non-aligned countries are joining the United States and its allies in condemning Moscow’s war in Ukraine and its threats to the principles of the international rules-based order.

 

Much of the international community spoke out against the conflict in a rare display of unity at the often fractured United Nations. Only one country, Belarus, a non-council member and Russia ally that was invited to participate, spoke in support of Russia, but also called for a quick end to the fighting, which it called a “tragedy.”

 

The British defense Ministry said that Russia was targeting the Pechenihy dam on the Siverskyy Donets River in northeastern Ukraine following previous strikes on a dam on a reservoir near Kryvyi Rih, causing flooding on the Inhulets River.

 

Russia’s deputy defense minister Dmitry Bulgakov, who has been in charge of military logistics since the beginning of the Ukraine invasion, has been dismissed from his post.

 

The Lithuanian foreign minister, Gabrielius Landsbergis, said the country would not be granting asylum to Russians fleeing the country. “Russians should stay and fight…Against Putin,” he wrote on Twitter on Friday. However, Charles Michel, the president of the European Council, has urged Europe to show an “openness to those who don’t want to be instrumentalised by the Kremlin”, according to Politico.

 

Russian authorities in the occupied regions of Zaporizhzhya and Kherson have allegedly started handing out draft notices and mobilising men of conscription age who “renounced Ukrainian citizenship and received passports of the Russian federation” according to Ukraine’s ministry of defense.

 

A Kremlin-orchestrated referendum got underway Friday in occupied regions of Ukraine that sought to make them part of Russia, with some officials carrying ballots to apartment blocks accompanied by gun-toting police. Kyiv and the West condemned it as a rigged election whose result was preordained by Moscow.

 

Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s three-time former prime minister, has triggered a row after defending the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, over the war in Ukraine. The 85-year-old billionaire, whose party is forecast to return to government after the general election on Sunday, told Italian TV that Putin – an old friend of his – was pushed to invade Ukraine.

 

Serhiy Gaidai, Ukraine’s governor of Luhansk, said that in the town of Starobilsk, the population was banned from leaving and people were being forced out of homes to vote in the “referendum”. In the town of Bilovodsk, a company director told employees that voting was compulsory and anyone refusing to take part would be fired and their names given to security services.


Friday, September 23rd

 

Ukrainian officials say residents of Russian-occupied areas are ignoring the referendums organized by local Kremlin-backed authorities, but they acknowledged that in some instances, residents are being forced to vote.

 

Long lines of vehicles continue to form at Russia’s border crossings on the second full day of Vladimir Putin’s military mobilization, with some men waiting over 24 hours, as western leaders disagree over whether Europe should welcome those fleeing the call-up to fight in Ukraine.

 

Voting began Friday in Moscow-held regions of Ukraine on referendums to become part of Russia, Russian-backed officials there said. The Kremlin-orchestrated referendums, which have been widely denounced by Ukraine and the West as shams without any legal force, are seen as a step toward annexing the territories by Russia.

 

The Kremlin’s heavy-handed approach to partial mobilization may successfully meet the Kremlin’s internal quota of mobilized personnel but is unlikely to generate effective soldiers and is prompting significant domestic backlash for little gain. [ISW Daily Report]

 

Volodymyr Zelenskiy has called on Russians to resist the partial military mobilization announced by Vladimir Putin, which has sparked protests and a fresh exodus out of Russia.

 

Intelligence intercepts have captured Russian officers arguing among themselves and complaining to friends and relatives back home about decision-making from Moscow, a source told CNN. And there are significant disagreements on strategy with military leaders struggling to agree on where to focus their efforts.


Thursday, September 22nd

 

Military analysts have suggested that Kyiv has taken some of Russia’s most modern vehicles including the T-90. Open source investigators Oryx have calculated that more than 380 Russian tanks have fallen into Ukraine hands since the war began.

 

One million Russian citizens could be called up to fight in the war in Ukraine as part of Vladimir Putin’s mobilisation drive, according to a report by a Russian newspaper. A classified seventh paragraph of the decree, signed by Putin on Wednesday, allows the Russian defence ministry to call up one million people.

 

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said that any weapons in Moscow’s arsenal, including strategic nuclear weapons, could be used to defend Ukrainian territories that join Russia.

 

Iranian authorities and a Kurdish rights group reported rising death tolls on Wednesday as anger at the death of a woman detained by the morality police fueled protests for a fifth day and fresh restrictions were placed on social media. The protests are the largest since a wave of demonstrations in 2019.

 

President Zelensky received a standing ovation from the UN General Assembly after urging the United Nations to punish Russia for its invasion, calling for a special tribunal and compensation fund and for Moscow to be stripped of its veto. Zelenskyy said in a pre-recorded address that Russia had violated the principles of the world body.

 

The partial mobilisation announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin will not generate significant extra combat capability for months, the Institute for the Study of War [ISW] writes in its latest report.

 

More than 1,300 protesters have been arrested in anti-mobilization rallies that are taking place throughout Russia.

 

World leaders are responding to Vladimir Putin’s calls for military mobilization. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has called for a “rallying cry from the world” and Canada Prime Minster Justin Trudeau said the threats were “unacceptable.”

 

Russia and has released 215 prisoners to Ukraine in exchange for 55 of its own prisoners including close Putin ally Viktor Medvedchuk. It is the largest prisoner exchange since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.


Wednesday, September 21st

 

Nearly all flights out of Russia were sold out just hours after Vladimir Putin declared a partial mobilization of reservists. The cheapest flights from Moscow to Dubai were costing more than 300,000 roubles (£4,320) – about five times the average monthly wage.

 

The Russian stock market tumbled after Vladimir Putin ordered his country’s partial mobilization and threatened the west with nuclear retaliation. On Tuesday, the ruble-denominated MOEX index fell by 8.7 percent.

 

Russia’s Vesna anti-war movement has called for protests against the Kremlin’s partial mobilization of reserve forces, urging Russians to gather at 7PM for rallies in cities across the country.

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement on Wednesday of a partial mobilization appears to contradict his claim earlier this year that no more reservists would be called up. During a televised address in March, Putin had said “there will be no additional call-up of reservists.”

 

Vladimir Putin has given a national address in which he has announced the partial mobilization of forces in Russia. Those in the military reserves will be conscripted. Putin also said Russia would give its full support to the referendums announced for this weekend in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia to join the Russian Federation. Putin said that Moscow will respond with “all the means at our disposal” if Russia’s territorial integrity is threatened, and claimed the right to use nuclear weapons.

 

Iranian protesters clashed with police on Tuesday in a fourth straight day of protests over the death of a young woman in police custody, prompting a harsh response from a conservative Islamic government challenged by discontent over its enforcement of morality laws.

 

The European Union strongly condemns Russia’s plans to hold referendums in parts of Ukraine and will not recognisz the results of the votes, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement. Similar condemnations have come from a number of countries, including the US and Canada.

 

Referendums in Russian-occupied territories will have no effect on the actions of the Ukrainian army, and its counteroffensive and the liberation of the occupied territories will continue, Mykhailo Podolyak, Ukrainian presidential adviser, told CNN on Tuesday.

 

Russia is not expected to attend the UN Security Council meeting on Ukrainian sovereignty that is scheduled for Thursday, according to a senior State Department official.

 

The proxy Russian authorities in four occupied areas of Ukraine – Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia – have all announced on Tuesday their intentions to hold referendums between 23-27 September on joining the Russian Federation. The sudden rush to hold a vote comes as Ukraine’s counteroffensive has reclaimed territory in the east of the country, including a small symbolic toehold in the Luhansk region, which had been totally under the control of Russian proxies.

 

“Everything that’s happening today is an absolutely unequivocal ultimatum to Ukraine and the West,” wrote Tatiana Stanovaya, an expert on Kremlin politics and founder of R.Politik. “Either Ukraine retreats or there will be nuclear war. To guarantee ‘victory’, Putin is ready to hold referendums immediately in order to obtain the right (in his understanding) to use nuclear weapons to defend Russian territory.”

 

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has denounced plans by Russian-backed forces to hold referendums in Ukraine, warning that they were yet another escalation of the war brought on by the Kremlin.


Tuesday, September 20th [16:30 UTC]

 

Former Soviet state Moldova has selected seven companies to secure gas from next month should supplies from Russia’s Gazprom be disrupted, a senior government official said.

 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a group of Jewish leaders that he planned to visit Israel, the clearest sign so far that he is intent on resetting a long-troubled relationship, Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported on Monday.

 

Experts predict that Covid is likely to remain among the 10 leading causes of death in the U.S. for the foreseeable future, regardless of new vaccines, boosters or treatments that might become available.

 

As winter approaches, Russian bombs, soaring energy costs and severed trade links are making it hard to fix all the shattered windows in Ukraine. [WSJ]

 

Senior delegations from two Muslim countries, Indonesia and Pakistan, have arrived in Israel, signaling serious advancement towards potential diplomatic ties.

 

Ukraine’s armed forces have sunk a barge carrying Russian troops and equipment across the Dnieper River near Nova Kakhovka in the Kherson region, the Kyiv Independent reports. In a statement on Facebook, Ukraine’s military said: “Attempts to build a crossing failed to withstand fire from Ukrainian forces and were halted.”

 

Security fears have almost certainly led Russia’s Black Sea Fleet to relocate its submarines from Sevastopol in Crimea to Novorossiysk in southern Russia, the UK Ministry of Defense says in its latest intelligence briefing on the war.


Monday, September 19th

 

A group of Russian human rights defenders has issued an appeal to the Russian prosecutor general to investigate reports of prisoners being sent to war in Ukraine. “In connection with the above, we ask you to clarify, on what basis are these persons released from prison, if this information is true?” the appeal asked.

 

A total of 165 ships have left Ukrainian ports since the implementation of the Ukraine grain deal, the country’s Infrastructure Ministry said Sunday via Facebook.

 

Russian troops have struck the Pivdennoukrainsk nuclear power plant in the southern Mykolaiv region, but its reactors have not been damaged and are working normally, Reuters reports. According to Ukraine’s state nuclear company, Energoatom, a blast on Monday took place 300 meters from the reactors and damaged power plant buildings. The attack has also damaged a nearby hydroelectric power plant and transmission lines.

 

China has signed a deal to construct a railroad through Krygyzstan and Uzbekistan that would bypass sanctions-hit Russia.

 

Ukrainian forces crossed the Oskil River in the northeastern Kharkiv region and now control both banks of the river, the country’s military said Sunday.

 

Georgian president Salome Zourabichvili levied heavy criticism against Russia on Sunday after the discovery of mass graves in Izium earlier this week.

 

Putin’s souring relationship with the military command and the Russian (MoD) may explain in part the Kremlin’s increasing focus on recruiting ill-prepared volunteers into ad-hoc irregular units rather than attempting to draw them into reserve or replacement pools for regular Russian combat units. [ISW Daily Report]


Sunday, September 18th

 

Russian forces are preparing retreat routes from the Kherson region, Ukraine’s military claimed in an update Saturday. In today’s update, a Ukrainian military spokesperson claimed Russians sunk nine railway cars to construct a crossing in the city of Kakhovka.

 

Russia has reacted to its military setbacks in the past week by increasing its missile attacks on civilian infrastructure even if they do not have any military impact, according to the latest intelligence report from the British Ministry of Defense.

 

Four medics have been killed and two patients injured after Russian forces fired at a psychiatric hospital in the village of Strelechya, the governor of the Kharkiv region Oleh Syniehubov has said.

 

Russian forces continue to conduct meaningless offensive operations around Donetsk City and Bakhmut instead of focusing on defending against Ukrainian counteroffensives that continue to advance. [ISW Daily Report]

 

Chief of the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah militant movement, Hassan Nasrallah, warned Israel against extracting gas from the offshore Karish field partly claimed by Lebanon, amid maritime border talks between the neighboring countries. “We are following up on the negotiations and…our missiles are locked on Karish,” Nasrallah said.


Saturday, September 17th

 

Western sanctions are starting to hamper Russia’s ability to make advanced weaponry, chair of NATO’s Military Committee told Reuters, adding though that the Russian industry could still manufacture “a lot of ammunition”.

 

India and China — the biggest customers of Russian oil — both said they have “concerns” this week over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In a striking rebuke on Friday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had remained quiet about the war, told Russian President Vladimir Putin that “today’s era is not of war.”

 

The Washington-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said Russian forces are “likely too weak” to stop the continuing advance of Ukrainian troops along the entire Oskil river in the eastern Kharkiv region.

 

The Czech Republic, which currently holds the EU presidency, has called for the establishment of an international tribunal for war crimes after new mass graves were found in Ukraine.

 

Russia is likely to stubbornly defend the Luhansk oblast in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region amid Kyiv’s counteroffensive, but it is unclear if Moscow’s forces have “sufficient reserves or adequate morale” to withstand another concerted Ukrainian assault, the UK ministry of defense says.

 

Moscow’s former chief rabbi told DW.com in an exclusive interview that those Jews who can, should leave Russia. Pinchas Goldschmidt who spent the last 30 years building Jewish life in the shadow of the Kremlin says the rise in anti-Semitism is alarming.

 

President Joe Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin against escalating the fighting in Ukraine, saying that there will be consequences if the Kremlin uses chemical or nuclear weapons. “Don’t. Don’t. Don’t. It would change the face of war unlike anything since World War II,” Biden said during a 60 Minutes interview.

 

The price of groceries in the US continued to soar in the 12 months that ended in August, climbing by 13.5% — the biggest increase since 1979.

 

Ninety-nine percent of exhumed bodies had signs of violent death, Ukraine’s regional administration head said Friday of the mass burial site discovered after Kyiv’s forces recaptured the east Ukrainian town of Izium. The vast majority of bodies so far were civilians.

 

Ukrainian armed forces have hit four areas with Russian troops, according to the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the Kyiv Independent reports. The armed forces also targeted an unloading station, in turn preventing Russian forces from deploying additional reserves.


Friday, September 16th

 

There were reports Friday of a “powerful explosion” in the Russian-occupied Melitopol, a city in the southern Zaporizhzhia oblast, said Ivan Fedorov, mayor of Melitopol. This comes on the heels of attacks in Kherson and Luhansk that killed at least three individuals who were working for the Russian-backed separatist authorities – in additional to the Berdiansk killings of a deputy administrator and his wife, who headed the city’s territorial election commission for the referendum to join Russia.

 

Bodies with their hands tied have been unearthed from a mass burial site in the recaptured town of Izyum, in Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv region, according to a regional official.

 

Ukraine has struck the main administration building in the center of Russian occupied Kherson using HIMARS missiles.

Prosecutors, police officers and journalists are heading to Izium after authorities there said they had found a mass grave containing more than 440 bodies. Some of the people had been killed by shelling and air strikes, authorities said.

 

Pope Francis on Thursday said it was morally legitimate for countries to provide weapons to Ukraine to help it defend itself from Russian aggression.

 

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen said she wants Russian president Vladimir Putin to face the International Criminal Court over war crimes in Ukraine.


Thursday, September 15th

 

Two loud explosions have been reported in the southern part of the Russian-occupied Melitopol, a city in the Zaporizhzhia oblast, Melitopol mayor Ivan Fedorov said on Telegram.

 

The UN nuclear watchdog’s 35-nation Board of Governors has passed a resolution demanding that Russia end its occupation of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine. Russia and China were the only countries that voted against the resolution.

 

The online publishing rights for Russia’s most prominent independent newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, were pulled on Thursday in another blow to the country’s media landscape. The respected investigative newspaper, whose chief editor Dmitry Muratov was co-awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year, has been pushed towards complete closure in recent months.

 

Another top ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin has died this week while on a business trip in the village of Roshchino in Russia’s far east region. Vladimir Nikolayevich Sungorkin, 68, was editor-in-chief of the Russian state newspaper, Komsomolskaya Pravda. According to the newspaper, Sungorkin died “suddenly” after showing signs of “suffocation” during the trip on Wednesday.

 

Ten Reasons Why Ukraine Hasn’t Destroyed the Crimean Bridge.

 

The rout of the Russian army in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region seems likely to be a turning point in Kyiv’s battle to kick Russian troops out of the country, but it may also cause much broader fallout for Moscow, as other former Soviet countries witness what appears to be the limits of Moscow’s capabilities.

 

The Ukrainian General Staff reported on 14 September that the intensity of Russian artillery attacks on Kharkiv City has decreased significantly, suggesting that Ukraine’s counteroffensive has degraded Russian forces’ ability to conduct routine artillery strikes on the centre of Kharkiv City as Russian forces have been pushed eastward towards the Oskil River and north back into Russia. [ISW Daily Report]

 

Flooding was caused by a Russian strike with eight cruise missiles on Wednesday on civilian water infrastructure on the town of Kryvyi Rih. Reuters reports that Oleksandr Vilkul, the head of the Krivyi Rih military administration, said in a post on Telegram that 112 homes were flooded but that works to repair the dam on the Inhulets river were under way, and that “flooding was receding”.

 

Rail services will resume between Kharkiv and Balakliia in Kharkiv oblast on Thursday, the Kyiv Independent reports, based on a Telegram post from Ukrainian Railways. Workers have already repaired bridges and dozens of damaged tracks after Balakliia was liberated on 8 September.

 

A Russian official who called for Vladimir Putin to resign on Monday is standing by his statements, despite being fined and threatened with jail time, CNN reports.

 

As Moscow’s forces pull back from the Kharkiv region, the Guardian’s Russia correspondent, Andrew Roth, reports that some of its supporters are in shock as the Kremlin reneges on a vow that helped project power into captured towns and villages.

 

Kryvyi Rih, the largest city in central Ukraine with an estimated pre-war population of 650,000, was targeted by eight cruise missiles on Wednesday, officials said. “The water pumping station was destroyed. The river broke through the dam and overflowed its banks.” The water system had “no military value” and hundreds of thousands of civilians depend on it daily.

 

Georgia is considering the possibility of a referendum on whether to open up a “second front” against Russia. The weakness of the Russian army during the Ukrainian counter-offensive of the last seven days has been seen by the world, including in Georgia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, and Chechnya. Not surprisingly, the countries from which Russia has annexed territories may consider returning them through military means.


Wednesday, September 14th

 

Russian forces have ordered that the mobile Internet be cut off in the Russian-occupied Luhansk oblast Wednesday, Serhiy Haidai, governor of Luhansk oblast, said on Telegram.

 

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, made a surprise visit to the recently liberated city of Izium today where he met with troops, took part in the flag raising and surveyed some of the damages.

 

European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, sent a strong signal over European Union expansion, saying the European Union is not complete without Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and western Balkan countries. “You are part of our family, you are the future of our union. Our union is not complete without you,” she said.

 

Reuters reports the frontline in eastern Ukraine is approaching the borders of territory claimed by the self-proclaimed pro-Russian separatist Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR). That is according to Andrey Marochko, a senior LPR military commander who has spoken to Russian news agency Tass about the situation.

 

Bloomberg has reported that the Kremlin’s gains from its fossil fuel resources, which account for more than a third of nation’s budget, fell to 671.9bn roubles ($11.1bn) in August, the lowest since June 2021, using calculations based on Russian finance ministry data. The figure is down 13% from July.

 

The Kremlin acknowledged its defeat in Kharkiv Oblast, the first time Moscow has openly recognized a defeat since the start of the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine. [ISW Daily Report]

 

Ukrainian officials said there was a torture chamber set up by the Russian military in now liberated Balakliia. Serhiy Bolvinov, head of the Kharkiv Region National Police Investigation Department, said that 40 people had been detained during the occupation. The BBC reported some graphic accounts of torture from local residents.


Tuesday, September 13th

 

U.S. consumer prices rose more slowly in August from a year earlier, but increased sharply from the prior month after excluding volatile food and energy prices, showing that inflation pressures remained strong and stubborn. The consumer price index rose 8.3% in August from the same month a year ago. The core CPI rose .6% in August – double the July increase.

 

An Israeli defense contractor is supplying anti-drone systems to Ukraine’s military by way of Poland, The Times of Israel’s Hebrew sister site Zman Yisrael reported Monday. A source in the firm told Zman that the equipment was being sold to Poland to circumvent Israel’s refusal to sell advanced arms to Ukraine.

 

Russia’s 2022 budget surplus shrank sharply in August with an estimated monthly deficit of as much as $5.9 billion. Economists attribute this to a sharp decline in oil and gas revenues.

 

In the past 24 hours another 29 municipal deputies have signed a petition calling for Putin’s resignation.  The number of areas in which the deputies reside has increased. They expressed their solidarity with the five deputies that were arrested.

 

In the Russian-occupied regions of the Crimea and southern Ukraine, Russian proxies, intelligence officers and military commanders have begun to evacuate and “urgently resettle their families” back into Russian territory, the defense intelligence of Ukraine’s military said.

 

In an attempt to convince even more Russian soldiers to give up, Ukrainian forces are launching shells filled with flyers ahead of their advance, said Hanna Maliar, Ukrainian deputy minister of defense. “Russians use you as cannon fodder. Your life doesn’t mean anything for them. You don’t need this war. Surrender to Armed Forces of Ukraine,” the flyers read.

 

The governor of the Russian region of Belgorod, Vyacheslav Gladkov, has urged civilians to leave villages close to the border with Ukraine.

 

Ukraine’s military claimed Tuesday for the first time that its forces had shot down an Iranian-supplied drone used by Russia on the battlefield in the country’s east.

 

Russia on Sunday carried out some of the “most massive shelling” of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure since the start of the war, according to the country’s energy minister, Herman Halushchenko. Large parts of eastern Ukraine, including the Kharkiv and Donetsk regions, were left without electricity following the strikes, Ukrainian officials said. “These attacks are nothing more than Russian attempts to take revenge on the civilian population after the success of the Ukrainian Armed Forces on the battlefield,” Halushchenko said Tuesday during a meeting with Bridget Brink, the US ambassador to Ukraine.

 

 

Russia detained a top manager of an aviation factory on suspicion of passing secret military information to Ukraine, Russian news agencies reported on Tuesday, citing the FSB federal security agency.

 

The UK’s Ministry of Defense says Russia could take years to rebuild one of its most prestigious tank units after the retreat from Kharkiv oblast. In its latest intelligence briefing on Twitter, the MoD said the 1st Guards Tank Army had been severely degraded, leaving Russia’s conventional forces “severely weakened”.

 

For Russia, the numbers are catastrophic. From Wednesday to Sunday, Vladimir Putin’s military forces saw at least 338 pieces of important military hardware – from fighter jets to tanks to trucks – destroyed, damaged or captured, according to numbers from the open source intelligence website Oryx.

 

The number of Russian officials demanding Putin’s resignation and pressing charges of treason has grown to 85.

 

Vladimir Putin’s point man for developing Russia’s vast Arctic resources has died after ‘falling overboard’ while sailing off the country’s Pacific coast. He is the latest in a long line of senior officials linked to Russia’s energy sector and the Kremlin to die in suspicious circumstances in recent months.

 

In the southeast of Ukraine, spokesperson for Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command, Natalya Humenyuk, stated on September 12 that Russian forces located along the right bank of the Dnipro River in Kherson Oblast are attempting to negotiate for surrender under the auspices of international law. [ISW Daily Report]

 

Since the beginning of September, Ukrainian forces have taken back more than 8,800 square kilometers of Russian-held territory.

 

Liberated Kharkiv Oblast residents from Zaliznychne told the Washington Post that Russians dropped their weapons on the ground when they fled, with some jumping onto stolen bicycles, trying to pass for locals. Vehicular losses were also great. Many pictures of Kharkiv Oblast showed abandoned Russian assets including a full ammunition depot, main battle tanks, engineering vehicles, self-propelled mortars and supply trucks.

 

The Ukrainian authorities have said they are capturing so many prisoners of war among Russian soldiers retreating from occupation of the north-eastern region that the country is running out of space to put them, the Associated Press reports. Military intelligence spokesman Andrey Yusov said the captured troops included “significant” numbers of Russian officers. And a spokesman for Ukrainian military intelligence said Russian troops were surrendering en masse as “they understand the hopelessness of their situation”.

 

In the eastern Donetsk region: Geolocated images and video show that Ukrainian units have crossed the Siverskiy Donets river to take control of the town of Svyatohirsk. The capture will further complicate any attempt by the remaining Russian-backed forces to withdraw.


Monday, September 12th

 

Municipal deputies from 18 districts of Moscow and St. Petersburg have signed a public statement demanding that Vladimir Putin resign. “We, the municipal deputies of Russia, believe that the actions of President V. V. Putin harm the future of Russia and its citizens. We demand the resignation of Vladimir Putin from the post of President of the Russian Federation!”

 

The military command of the Russian federation has stopped sending new units into Ukraine following a dramatic Ukrainian counter-offensive that has reshaped the war and left Moscow reeling, the general staff of the armed forces of Ukraine said Monday.

 

The bodies of four tortured civilians have been found in the small town of Zaliznychne, in Kharkiv district, after it was liberated by Ukrainian forces, the Kyiv Independent has reported citing the prosecutor general’s office.

 

Ukrainian forces have gained significant ground these past few days, particularly in the Kharkiv region where they launched a dramatic counter-offensive that has completely reshaped the war. It appears today they continued to make great strides, reaching the border at one more location in the Kharkiv region: near the village of Ternova.

 

Russian forces hit hard at Kharkiv today, striking a densely populated residential district and knocking out the power and water supply for the second day in a row.

 

A Moscow municipality has become the second Russian local authority this week to take the risk of calling for Vladimir Putin’s resignation. The letter addressed to the president by council deputies at Lomonosovsky Municipal District did not directly mention Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, but did refer to how Russia had now become “feared and hated” while “aggression” has taken the country back to the “Cold War era.”

 

In addition to several thousand square kilometers regained in the north, Ukrainian forces have retaken about 500 square kilometers of territory in the south of the country in the past two weeks as part of a counteroffensive against Russian troops, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s southern military command says.

 

 

Ukraine’s security service has posted pictures of what it claims is captured ammunition to social media this morning, with the message: “The Russian invaders are fleeing from Ukrainian soldiers so that they leave behind entire arsenals of ammunition.

 

The success of Ukrainian forces in pushing Russian troops out of the Kharkiv region “have significant implications for Russia’s overall operational design”, according to the UK Ministry of Defence, and for the morale of its soldiers on the ground. “The majority of the force in Ukraine is highly likely being forced to prioritise emergency defensive actions,” it said in a Twitter post on Monday morning. “The already limited trust deployed troops have in Russia’s senior military leadership is likely to deteriorate further.”

 

The general commanding Russia’s western army group has been sacked in the wake of the retreat in the Kharkiv region, according to Ukrainian military intelligence. It reported on its Telegram channel that Gen. Roman Berdnikov has been replaced after only 17 days in his post, the GUR said.

 

Air-raid sirens were sounded across the entire territory of Ukraine on the evening of Sunday, 11 September, except for Russian-occupied Crimea.

 

The Ukrainian counteroffensive in Kharkiv Oblast is routing Russian forces and collapsing Russia’s northern Donbas axis. Russian forces are not conducting a controlled withdrawal and are hurriedly fleeing southeastern Kharkiv Oblast to escape encirclement around Izyum. [ISW Daily Report]

 

Stunned by a lightning advance by Ukrainian forces that cost it over 3,000 square miles of land and a key military hub, Russia on Sunday acknowledged that it had lost nearly all of the northern region of Kharkiv after a blitzkrieg thrust that cast doubt on a premise — widely held in Moscow and parts of the West — that Ukraine could never defeat Russia.

 

Russian forces launched a total of 11 cruise missiles towards the eastern regions of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Air Force announced in a tweet on Sunday night. The Ukrainian Air Forces shot down seven cruise missiles in the Dnipropetrovsk region and two more missiles were destroyed in the Poltava region, the UAF said. The attacks were on civilian infrastructure such as power stations and water facilities in the Kharkiv region. This came after Ukrainian forces scored a series of notable battlefield victories in the area over the weekend.


Sunday, September 11th

 

Igor Girkin, a nationalist militant and former FSB officer who helped launch a 2014 war in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, compared the collapse of one of the conflict’s principal front lines to a catastrophic defeat in the Russo-Japanese war which triggered Russia’s 1905 Revolution.

 

More than 8000 sq km have now been recaptured by the Ukrainian military. A Ukrainian battalion has made it to the Hoptivka checkpoint near the Russian border.

 

Municipal deputies in the Moscow district of Lomonosovsky have appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin to resign, saying “everything went wrong” since the start of his second term and they believe a change of power is necessary for the sake of the country.

 

A Russian missile strike in Kharkiv has destroyed critical infrastructure, damaging one of the biggest thermal power stations there, and has left the entire area in a total blackout.

 

Ramzan Kadyrov, the Kremlin-appointed leader of Chechnya, has criticized the Russian army’s leadership after it appeared to be caught off-guard by Ukraine’s fightback against the Russian invasion in the north-east. “If today or tomorrow no changes in strategy are made, I will be forced to speak with the leadership of the defense ministry and the leadership of the country to explain the real situation on the ground to them. It’s a very interesting situation. It’s astounding, I would say.”

 

Local officials in the Kharkiv region say the Ukrainian flag has been raised in settlements close to the Russian border, confirming the continuing retreat of Russian forces in the area.

 

France’s transport minister said on Sunday he would sign an agreement with Romania to increase Ukrainian grain exports to developing countries including to the Mediterranean.

 

A backup power line to the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (ZNPP) inside Ukraine has been restored, providing it with the external electricity it needs to cool its reactors, the International Atomic Energy Agency said on Sunday.

 

Saturday’s rapid advance did not end with Izium, as Ukraine appeared to have opened a new front against Russian defenses on the border of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

 

In the southern Kherson region, troops have sought to drive Russian forces from their foothold on the west bank of the Dnieper River, a potential vantage point for a push deeper into Ukraine by Moscow.

 

The last operating reactor at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station has been shut down and the plant “completely stopped”, Ukraine’s nuclear power operator has said. “A decision was made to shut down power unit No 6 and transfer it to the safest state – cold shutdown,” the operator said.

 

Ukrainian forces have advanced north from Kharkiv to within 30 miles (48km) of the border with Russia and are also pressing to the south and east in the same region, Ukraine’s commander-in-chief of the armed forces, Gen Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, said on Sunday. Ukrainian troops have retaken more than 3,000 sq km of territory this month, he wrote.

 

The much-publicized Ukrainian southern offensive was a disinformation campaign to distract Russia from the real one being prepared in the Kharkiv region, Ukraine’s special forces have said.

 

A senior Ukrainian official said that the “main artery” for Russian forces through Kharkiv region has been severed. He said that artery ran from Vovchansk in the north, close to the Russian border, down to Izium, on the border of Donetsk region — a distance of some 125 kilometers (approximately 77 miles).

 

In the eastern Donbas area, further reports on Saturday afternoon suggested that the Ukrainian forces have reached the airport in Donetsk — an area occupied since 2014.

 

As Russia’s military flails, Putin is criticized by once-vocal supporters. Russian bloggers [milbloggers] reporting from the front lines used to be among the Kremlin’s most fervent cheerleaders. Now, they are exposing its mistakes and lies.

 

The Institute for the Study of War [ISW], a Washington-based think tank, referenced sweeping Ukrainian gains, estimating that Kyiv has seized around 2,500 square kilometers (965 square miles) in its eastern breakthrough. The institute said it appeared that “disorganized Russian forces (were) caught in the rapid Ukrainian advance,” and cited social media images of apparent Russian prisoners seized around Izyum and surrounding towns.

The swift fall of Izium in Kharkiv province was Moscow’s worst defeat since its troops were forced back from the capital Kyiv in March. Ukraine hailed it as a turning point in the 6-month-old war, with thousands of Russian soldiers leaving behind ammunition stockpiles and equipment as they fled.


Saturday, September 10th

 

Al Jazeera’s Gabriel Elizondo reporting from Kyiv has verified that Ukrainian forces recaptured the city of Izyum, a city of 55,000 people. “It was a key hub, a key military strongpoint for the Russians for many months. It took the Russians six weeks of fighting to get a hold of that city, and now it appears that the Ukrainians will have retaken it, in pretty much a 12-to-24-hour timeframe,” Elizondo said.

 

The Russian-installed chief administrator of Russian-controlled parts of Ukraine’s Kharkiv region has recommended that all its inhabitants evacuate to Russia.

 

Moldova’s civil aviation authority has blocked Air Moldova and other national carriers from restarting flights between Chisinau and Moscow, Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Spînu has said.

 

Ukrainian forces are continuing to make unexpectedly rapid advances in the north-east of the country, as Kyiv appears to have retaken control of the strategically vital town of Kupiansk and encircled thousands of Russian troops in Izyum, Moscow’s stronghold in the north-east sector of the front.

 

Russia has sent 1,300 Chechen fighters to the southern Kherson region, according to the Ukrainian military. It comes as Western intelligence suggests that Russian forces in Kherson are coming under sustained pressure from Ukrainian attacks.

 

In a post on Facebook, the Air Force Command of the Ukrainian armed forces said that, between 5 and 7 September, “Ukrainian defenders smashed the enemy’s aerial targets to the tune of $157.5 million dollars. And we are talking only about the means of air attack: cruise missiles, airplanes and helicopters,” it read.

 

Ukraine appears to have recaptured the key cities of Izyum and Kupiansk. The cities lie southeast of Kharkiv city in the Kharkiv region, where Ukrainian forces have launched a major counter-offensive in recent days. Analysts say Kupiansk in particular is an important logistical hub for Russian forces in the east of Ukraine.

 

Russian police arrested five municipal deputies in St. Petersburg, Putin’s hometown, who proposed officials arrest and charge Vladimir Putin with treason for his decision to launch the invasion of Ukraine, which has led to catastrophic outcomes for Russia and its interests. The five can easily face a death sentence based on Russian federal law. The significance of this act of defiance and dissent by a handful of Russian officials cannot be overstated.

 

Ukrainian successes on the Kharkiv City-Izyum line are creating fissures within the Russian information space and eroding confidence in Russian command to a degree not seen since a failed Russian river crossing in mid-May. [ISW]
Ukrainian forces were seizing an expanding area of previously Russian-held territory in the east in a “very sharp and rapid” advance, a Russian-installed regional official said Friday, in what could mark a turning point in the war. After keeping silent for a day, Moscow effectively acknowledged that a section of its frontline crumbled southeast of Ukraine’s second-largest city Kharkiv.


Friday, September 9th

 

Ukrainian forces have continued to advance deep into Russian-occupied parts of Kharkiv region in the country’s northeast, according to multiple social media videos as well as accounts from both the Ukrainian military and pro-Russian social media channels.

 

Shelling has destroyed power infrastructure at the Ukrainian city of Enerhodar where staff operating the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant live, posing a growing threat to the plant, the U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Friday.

 

A Russian-appointed official in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region announced on Friday that civilians are being evacuated from three of the region’s Russian-controlled territories that have come under threat from a Ukrainian counteroffensive.

 

Poland is interested in buying power from Ukraine’s Khmelnytskyi nuclear plant, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said in Kyiv after talks with Zelenskyy. Ukraine has sought to increase electricity exports to the European Union. Ukrainian electricity would help the EU cope with reduced gas supplies from Russia. Ukraine is already selling some electricity to Hungary and Slovakia.

 

Civilians are being evacuated from Russian-held Izyum, and Kupiansk in eastern Ukraine, according to a Russian-appointed local official, Reuters reports. This is due to the advance of Ukrainian forces.

 

As Ukrainian forces take swathes of territory in the Kharkiv region in the northeast, they are also claiming successes in the southern region of Kherson. Reports claim that some Russian units are refusing to fight.

 

In a statement on its website, Air Moldova said it would begin operating flights to Moscow starting on 1 October. It said the decision was the “result of countless requests from citizens of the Republic of Moldova, who are in the Russian Federation and want to return home”.

 

Swiftly advancing Ukrainian troops have closed in on the main railway supplying Russian forces in the east, according to Ukrainian officials and analysts. The developments came after the collapse of a section of Russia’s front line caused the most dramatic shift in the war’s momentum since its early weeks.

 

The head of the UN human rights monitoring mission in Ukraine has said that Russia is not allowing access to prisoners of war, voicing concern as evidence has emerged that some have been subject to torture and ill-treatment.

 

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s 35-nation board “deplores the Russian Federation’s persistent violent actions against nuclear facilities in Ukraine, including the ongoing presence of Russian forces and Rosatom personnel at the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant” and calls on Russia to immediately cease all actions at Ukraine’s nuclear facilities.

 

Ukraine is likely to retake the city of Kupyansk in the Kharkiv region within 72 hours, US-based think tank the Institute for the Study of War [ISW] has said. The group’s latest assessment said Ukrainian forces had advanced to within 20km of the city, and that retaking it would significantly worsen communication between Russian forces in the region.

 

The Ukrainian military says Russian forces in the Kharkiv region have suffered significant losses, leading some soldiers to desert and abandon their uniforms, hoping to blend in while wearing civilian clothing.

 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has claimed his country’s soldiers have retaken the key Kharkiv city of Balakliia. Zelensky posted a video on his social media accounts with Ukrainian soldiers standing above a building in Balakliia, alongside the Ukrainian flag. Zelenskyy also said Ukrainian forces have recaptured more than 1,000sq km (390sq miles) of territory since September 1, gaining control over dozens of settlements as part of a counteroffensive against Russia.


Thursday, September 8th

 

Ukraine has now recaptured more than 700 sq km (270 sq miles) of territory in Kharkiv and in the south, according to a Ukrainian general. Speaking at a public briefing, Brig Gen Oleksiy Gromov said Ukrainian forces had advanced as far as 50km (31 miles) into Russian lines and retaken more than 20 villages. The comments are the most detailed public assessment so far of Ukraine’s counter-offensive.

 

Ukrainian “military units have penetrated 50 kilometers (31 miles) beyond the enemy lines. During active operations in the Kharkiv area, more than 20 settlements have been liberated,” said Oleksiy Gromov, a senior official in the Ukrainian military.

 

Russia said on Thursday it was ordering a Romanian diplomat to leave the country in response to the expulsion of one of its diplomats from Bucharest. Romania, like other European Union member states, was designated an “unfriendly country” by Moscow after it imposed sanctions in retaliation for Russia’s war in Ukraine.

 

According to the latest assessment from US-based think tank The Institute for the Study of War [ISW], Russian milbloggers – military personnel who write blogs have voiced serious concerns. “The level of shock and frank discussion of Ukrainian successes by Russian milbloggers speaks to the scale of surprise achieved by Ukrainian forces, which is likely successfully demoralizing Russian forces.”

 

The Russian-installed head of the Kupiansk city administration, Vitaly Ganchev, has called on women and children to evacuate the city as Ukrainian forces approach. “It’s not only about Kupiansk, it’s about almost the entire Kupiansk district, the Izium district.”

 

Reporting from Kyiv, Al Jazeera’s Gabriel Elizondo has said Polish and Ukrainian officials would be watching Belarusian drills near their shared borders “very closely”. The exercises, which are set to go on until September 14, are being conducted in the “southwest corner of Belarus, only about 200km [125 miles] east of the Polish capital of Warsaw. And about 300km [185 miles] north of the Ukrainian city of Lviv,” Elizondo said.

 

An official document from the Russian Finance Ministry seems to indicate that as of August 28th more than 48,000 of their soldiers had been killed in the Ukraine war.

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin is calling the Ukrainian government an “illegitimate regime”, saying it was founded after a “coup” in 2014.

 

Ukraine has retaken 400 sq. km of territory in the east of the Kharkiv region, according to US-based think tank The Institute for the Study of War [ISW]. In its latest assessment of the situation on the ground, the group said that, on 7 September, Ukrainian forces “likely used tactical surprise to advance at least 20km into Russian-held territory”.

 

The recovered body of British aid worker Paul Urey, who was captured in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and died in the custody of Russian-backed separatists, has signs of “possible unspeakable torture,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Thursday.

 

Ukraine told a United Nations Security Council meeting on Wednesday that 2.5 million people have been forcefully deported from the country as part of a Russian “filtration” scheme in which many are being tortured and killed.

 

One week into a new counteroffensive, Ukrainian forces are making gains in the south, with the ambitious goal of taking back most of the Russian-occupied region of Kherson by the end of the year, senior US officials and Ukrainian officials tell CNN.


Wednesday, September 7th

 

Lots of videos of Russian POWs (including a lieutenant-colonel) and abandoned Russian positions coming from the Balakliya-Izyum front as Russian military bloggers and analysts remain in doomsday mode. The speed of the Ukrainian advance seems to have stunned everyone.

 

Russian forces lost territory on all fronts during the 28th week of the war, as a counteroffensive spread from the southern Kherson region to the eastern and northern fronts of the country, demonstrating Ukraine’s ongoing ability to seize the initiative.

 

Ukraine has launched a surprise counterattack in the north-east Kharkiv region, stretching Russian forces who are also facing Ukrainian attacks in the south. An official representing the Russian-controlled Donetsk People’s Republic said Ukrainian forces “encircled” Balakliia, an eastern town of 27,000 people situated between Kharkiv and Russian-occupied Izium.

 

Russian forces fired rockets and heavy artillery on the city of Nikopol, on the opposite bank of the Dnieper River from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, regional governor Valentyn Reznichenko said. Officials have previously distributed iodine pills to residents to help protect them in the event of a radiation leak.

 

Ukraine’s top military chief, Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, has claimed responsibility for a series of strikes on Russian airbases in Crimea. The strikes used missiles or rockets and 10 warplanes were destroyed, he said. The attacks Zaluzhnyi took responsibility for reportedly included the devastating August strike on the Saki military facility.

 

Speaking at an economic forum in Vladivostok, Vladimir Putin threatened to cut off all energy supplies if price caps are imposed on Russia’s oil and gas exports. Russia would walk away from its supply contracts if the west went ahead with its plans, Putin said.

 

Ukraine is considering shutting down its Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant for safety reasons, and is worried about the reserves of diesel fuel used for backup generators, according to Kyiv’s top nuclear safety expert.

 

Ukrainian forces are advancing to the east of Ukraine’s second-largest city Kharkiv, with recent social media footage geo-located by CNN showing soldiers in the town of Volokhiv-Yar, which was occupied by Russian forces until recently.

 

Ukraine has claimed to have destroyed a key strategic bridge used by Russian forces in Kherson. Ukraine’s armed forces shared a series of satellite images purporting to show the damaged structure on Tuesday night. The images show “significant damage to the Daryiv bridge” as well as damage to a building near the river.

 

Ukrainian forces have attacked the Russian-occupied eastern town of Balakliia in the Kharkiv region, a senior Russian-appointed official has said. The town of 27,000 people lies between Kharkiv and Russian-held Izyum, a city with a major railway hub used by Moscow to supply its forces. A Russian appointed local official stated that if the town were lost, Russian forces in Izyum would become vulnerable on their northwest flank.

 

A Russian colonel who served as the military commandant of the occupied Ukrainian city of Berdiansk was reported to have been killed in a car bombing, according to Russian state media reports. Russian officials have alleged that Ukraine was behind the attack. If true, it would be the most significant assassination yet of an official working for the occupational government of Russia in Ukraine.

 

Ukrainian forces shot down five Russian cruise missiles on Tuesday, most of them in the south, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said.

 

The US defense department is seeing Ukrainian offensive forces in the Kherson region “continue to make some forward movement,” including retaking villages, according to a Pentagon official.

 

A powerful explosion in the occupied city of Enerhodar, which houses the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, has cut off water and electricity supplies, according to the local mayor.

 

Russia continues to burn excess gas because it has no capacity to store it after cutting deliveries to Europe, the EU’s energy commissioner Kadri Simson said. “Our satellites are registering the leak of natural gas or them flaring the natural gas and this is very polluting.”

 

The Russian-installed commandant of a southern Ukrainian city has died in a blast, a local official told the Reuters news agency, the latest in a series of assassinations in occupied areas of southern Ukraine.


Tuesday, September 6th

 

The International Atomic Energy Agency saw Russian military equipment and personnel inside the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant during its visit of the facility, Director General Rafael Grossi said in a report published on Tuesday.

 

“Ukrainian staff operating the plant under Russian military occupation are under constant high stress and pressure, especially with the limited staff available,” the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said. “This is not sustainable and could lead to increased human error with implications for nuclear safety.”

 

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal suggested Ukraine could deliver gas to the EU to ease an energy crunch that has driven prices to record-high levels. “We can replace to a large extent the Russian imports,” Shmyhal said. “30 billion cubic meters is what we have in our gas stores, and we can offer some of it to our European partners in order to replace the Russian Federation in the unstable market,” he said.

 

Ukrainians are making “real gains” in their counteroffensive, but the fighting is “close and hard”, UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace has said.

 

A day after banning one of Russia’s last independent newspapers, Novaya Gazeta, a Moscow court on Tuesday revoked the license of its sister magazine No, founded just two months ago.

 

Editors at a major Russian newspaper Kommersant have published a front page editorial in support of the journalist Ivan Safronov, who was yesterday sentenced to 22 years in prison on trumped-up treason charges. The letter writes that the authors “haven’t heard any public evidence of your guilt.”

 

US president Joe Biden has said Russia should not be designated a state sponsor of terrorism, a label Ukraine has pushed for amid Russia’s ongoing invasion.

 

A Ukrainian citizen who opened fire on a Russian Su-34 jet with a rifle and destroyed it has been awarded a medal and branded a hero. The State Border Service of Ukraine announced that officials had awarded “pensioner” Valeriy Fedorovych with a medal “for assistance in the protection of the state border.” [Newsweek]

 

Russia may face a longer and deeper recession as the impact of US and European sanctions spreads, handicapping sectors that the country has relied on for years to power its economy, according to an internal report prepared for the government. [Bloomberg]

The Ukrainian counteroffensive is tangibly degrading Russian logistics and administrative capabilities in occupied southern Ukraine. Ukrainian forces intend to slowly chip away at both Russian tactical and operational level capabilities in Kherson Oblast, and in doing so will likely have significant impacts on the administrative and bureaucratic capabilities of occupation officials. [ISW Daily Report]

 

Moscow’s purchase of millions of shells and rockets from North Korea is a sign that global sanctions have hampered the Russian military’s supply lines.

 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed his country’s military has destroyed an important Russian ammunition depot where Moscow kept S-300 missiles it fired on the city of Kharkiv.

 

More than six months into its war in Ukraine, Russia “has yet to achieve any of its strategic objectives” in its invasion, UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said on Monday. Russia “continues to lose significant equipment and personnel” in the war, he added, saying that the losses will have a lasting impact on Moscow’s future combat effectiveness.

 

Ukraine says it has struck a base used by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) in Kamianka-Dniprovska of the Zaporizhzhia region, the Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence division said on Monday. Russian forces were also using one of the destroyed buildings to store ballots for an eventual referendum, according to the Defense Intelligence.

 

Russian abandoned its plans to hold a supposed referendum on a part of Ukraine joining Russia on Monday, saying it was being “paused” because of security concerns.


Monday, September 5th [15:00 UTC]

 

The last operating reactor at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has been disconnected from the Ukrainian grid, the country’s nuclear agency Energoatom said on Monday, saying it was the result of a fire caused by Russian shelling.

 

The Kremlin has warned that Russia will not resume gas supplies to Europe until western sanctions are lifted, blaming the “collective west” for its decision to shut down flows through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline.

 

The Basmanny Court of Moscow on Monday invalidated the certificate of registration for the print version of Novaya Gazeta, one of Russia’s last independent newspapers. Judge Olga Lipkina ruled “to invalidate the registration of Novaya Gazeta,” state news agency RIA Novosti reported from the court.

 

A Russian court has sentenced the journalist, Ivan Safronov, to 22 years in a penal colony after finding him guilty of treason, in one of the most significant prosecutions against a Russian journalist in decades.

 

Russia’s Armed Forces will not be able to field a new corps until late November due to a shortage of trained professionals and military hardware, and new troops are being outfitted with Soviet-era weapons that in many cases are not combat-ready, an official in Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence said Sunday.

 

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address on Sunday that progress was being made to “liberate all our lands, all our people” after the beginning of the counteroffensive against the Russians in the south.

 

Gas prices in Europe are expected to surge to record highs this week after Russia shut down a key pipeline to Europe. Many commentators warned that European prices will further rise when markets open on Monday after Moscow scrapped a Saturday deadline for flows to resume through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany, saying it had discovered a fault during maintenance.


Sunday, September 4th

 

A video showing Russian multiple-launch rocket systems firing from the site of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has been published by the Insider. The footage, taken overnight on Friday into early Saturday morning, shows the missile launchers close to a power unit.

 

Russian forces are suffering from “morale and discipline issues” in addition to combat fatigue and high casualties, the UK Ministry of Defense has said. Troops’ main grievances probably continued to be around pay, including the high chance that “sizeable combat bonuses” were not being paid, the latest British intelligence update said.

 

The United Kingdom’s Parliament Foreign Affairs committee in March launched an inquiry into the use of private military companies (PMCs) – particularly the Wagner Group – as proxies. “Some of these private military companies, such as the Wagner Group, engage in ruthless mercenary activities at the behest of states like Russia, profiting through bloodshed and taking an active role in Ukraine and other countries.”

 

Ramzan Kadyrov—the controversial Putin-backed Chechen leader accused of numerous human rights violations over his 15 years in office—said in a video posted Saturday morning that his “time has come before they kick me out,” according to a translation by the Financial Times.


Saturday, September 3rd [12:45 UTC]

 

For the first time since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, Russian troops requested a temporary ceasefire in the Donetsk region to evacuate the bodies of the dead soldiers, reported the news outlet DeepState, which tracks information about the Russian invasion.

 

Ukrainian forces have “likely achieved a degree of tactical surprise” with the ongoing counter-offensive, the UK’s Ministry off Defense has said. In its daily intelligence briefing, it said it had done so by taking advantage of “poor logistics, administration and leadership” in Russia’s military.

 

Russian gas flows via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany will remain halted beyond Saturday after an oil leak was detected, the state-owned company Gazprom says. European Commission spokesman Eric Mamer says Gazprom’s complete halt to flows on Nord Stream 1 was made under “fallacious pretenses”.

 

The International Atomic Energy Agency chief, Rafael Grossi, has said six members of his team remain in the Zaporizhzhia power plant and that two of them will stay next week as part of the mission’s continuous presence at the site in the longer term.


Friday, September 2nd

 

Russian forces are suffering “heavy losses” in the face of Ukrainian resistance that has stalled Moscow’s advance and demonstrated the determination of the Ukrainian people to “retake their sovereign territory”, the UK’s national security adviser, Stephen Lovegrove, has said.

 

The Kremlin has warned it will stop selling oil to countries that impose price caps on Russia’s energy resources.

 

World food prices have fallen for a fifth consecutive month, partly due to the resumption of exports from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, according to the UN.

 

Ukrainian state owned operator Energoatom said Russian officials “are making every effort to prevent the International Atomic Energy Agency mission from getting to know the real state of affairs” at the Russian-held power plant. According to an anonymous employee, the Russians convinced the representatives of the mission that radiological, chemical and biological protection troops, and not combat units of the Russian army, were at the station.

 

Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader, was shocked and bewildered by the Ukraine conflict in the months before he died and psychologically crushed in recent years by Moscow’s worsening ties with Kyiv, his interpreter has said.

 

Romania plans to buy three unmanned aerial vehicle (UAVs) systems from Turkish defense firm Baykar along with logistics support for an estimated $300 million before tax, the defense ministry said on Thursday.

 

Europe’s wealthiest nations face rising risks of civil unrest over the winter, including street protests and demonstrations, due to high energy prices and mounting costs of living, according to a risk consultancy firm.


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