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WAR IN EUROPE

Ukraine Latest: Zelensky vows to press ahead and retake country

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky attends a ceremony of the national flag-raising in the reclaimed city of Izyum in the Kharkiv region, Ukraine, 14 September 2022. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Presidential Press Service / Handout)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky renewed his pledge to retake all Russian-controlled territory after Ukraine’s recent advances. Russia’s pop star Alla Pugacheva joined her husband in protesting the war, telling social media followers that young Russian men were dying for 'illusory purposes'. 

President Joe Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin against using nuclear weapons in Ukraine in a 60 Minutes segment. Putin earlier threatened to step up attacks on civilian targets as his ground invasion is repelled in northeast Ukraine.

The UK defence ministry said Russia was putting Putin’s words into action, and “has likely extended the locations it is prepared to strike” in a bid to undermine Ukraine’s morale.

Ukrainian forces have crossed to the left bank of the Oskil River in the Kharkiv region and now control both banks as they continue to press a counteroffensive, according to military officials.

 Key developments

On the ground

Ukraine continues to press its offensive in the northeastern region, and has had the left bank of the Oskil River under its control since Saturday, military officials said. Ukraine’s General Staff said Moscow’s troops continued to focus on attempts to fully occupy the Donetsk region. The General Staff also claimed that during the recent retreat in the Kharkiv region some Russian military units lost 50% to 90% of their personnel. The estimate couldn’t be verified. Russian troops shelled a psychiatric hospital in the Kharkiv region, close to the Russian border, as they evacuated, killing four doctors, the region’s governor said.

Ukraine forces cross key Oskil River in Kharkiv region, military says

Ukrainian forces have crossed to the left bank of the Oskil River in the Kharkiv region and now control both banks as they continue to press a counteroffensive, according to military officials.

Troops repelled Russian attacks near recently liberated Kupyansk and Hoptivka close to the Russian border and in the west of the Donetsk region, officials said.

Pop legend Pugacheva asks to be labelled ‘foreign agent’ in protest move

Russian pop legend Alla Pugacheva joined the ranks of Kremlin critics after publishing a rare political post to her 3.4 million Instagram followers. She asked Russia’s Ministry of Justice to label her a “foreign agent” in solidarity with her husband, showman Maxim Galkin, who has openly criticised Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Galkin received the “foreign agent” label on Friday. It’s a legal category that’s been widely used against Kremlin critics and independent journalists.

Pugacheva, 73, who came to prominence well before Vladimir Putin became president, said she supported Galkin in his call to stop the deaths of Russians for “illusionary goals,” even as she avoided mentioning Ukraine directly. Public reference to events in Ukraine as war can be punishable in Russia. The post has been “liked” more than 298,000 times.

Russia says it held off Ukrainian attacks in Kherson region

Russia’s defence ministry said in its daily briefing it had held off Ukrainian attacks in the Kherson region, where Kyiv’s forces have been mounting a counteroffensive.

The New York Times, citing Ukrainian officials, reported that Ukraine had levelled a cotton mill in Kherson used as a Russian base and was focusing on supply lines used by Moscow’s forces. Ukraine’s military officials have lately maintained “operational silence” about the southern counteroffensive, the Institute for the Study of War said.

Social media footage overnight from Kherson showed a firefight in the streets and around the city’s railway station. It was unclear who was involved in the fighting in the occupied southern Ukraine city.

Moscow’s troops focused on ‘meaningless’ operations, ISW says

Russian forces are conducting “meaningless offensive operations” around Donetsk City and Bakhmut in Ukraine’s east rather than “defending against Ukrainian counteroffensives that continue to advance,” according to the Institute for the Study of War.

The US-based think tank said Moscow’s failure to rush in reinforcements leaves most of occupied northeastern Ukraine highly vulnerable, adding that “Russian theatre decision-making remains questionable”.

Ukrainian forces have liberated additional settlements, and appear to be expanding positions east of the Oskil River and north of the Siverskyi Donets River and could envelop Russian troops holding around Lyman, ISW said.

China, Russia plan strategic consultations

China and Russia were to hold two days of strategic security consultations starting on Sunday in Beijing, the 17th round of such talks and the first since May 2021, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced.

Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of Russia’s Security Council, will attend the consultations at Beijing’s invitation.

Australia won’t ban Russian tourists, defence minister says

Australia won’t prohibit Russian tourists from entering the country despite calls from Ukraine’s ambassador to do so, its defence minister said. “This is not something we are considering at the moment,” Richard Marles told ABC’s Insiders programme on Sunday.

Australian sanctions are directed at the Russian government and “not focused on the Russian people themselves,” said Marles, who is also the deputy prime minister.

Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia has urged the government to stop issuing tourist visas to Russians. Poland and the Baltic states said this month they would impose tough restrictions on visas issued to Russian citizens.

Russia increasing missile hits on civilian targets, UK says

“Russia has increased its targeting of civilian infrastructure” in the past week even when there’s no perceptible military effect, the UK defence ministry said, in what it called an effort to “directly undermine the morale” of Ukraine’s government and people.

Recent targets included Ukraine’s electricity grid and a major dam in Kryvyi Rih, Volodymyr Zelensky’s home town.

The tactic echoes comments by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who threatened on Friday to step up attacks on civilian targets as Moscow’s frontline efforts are thwarted. Russia has launched “several thousand” long-range missiles since February, the UK said.

Ukraine has changed warfare, Nato official says

Nato chiefs discussed how to “sustain and increase allied support to Ukraine” at a conference in Tallinn, Estonia, on Saturday, Admiral Rob Bauer, chair of the alliance’s military committee, told journalists.

“The ammunition, equipment and training that allies and other nations are delivering are all making a real difference on the battlefield,” Bauer said. “With its successes on the ground and online, Ukraine has fundamentally changed modern warfare.”

Earlier, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said Russia’s war had created “a significant shift” in Nato’s mindset. “Our focus must be scaling-up aid and weapons deliveries,” she said.

Nuclear plant reconnected to grid, IAEA says

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is again receiving electricity directly from Ukraine’s national grid after repairs to one of its main external power lines damaged during the conflict, the UN’s atomic agency said.

The plant, Europe’s largest, shut its last operating reactor on 11 September. It now has the electricity it needs “for reactor cooling and other essential safety functions,” the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a post on its website.

The IAEA has had monitors at the site for the past two weeks, following a visit from a team led by Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi. On Saturday Grossi described the situation at Zaporizhzhia as “still precarious.”

Biden tells Putin: ‘Don’t. Don’t. Don’t’ use nuclear weapons

Joe Biden said Vladimir Putin would face a “consequential” US response if the Russian president used nuclear or chemical weapons in the war in Ukraine.

“Don’t. Don’t. Don’t,” Biden said in an excerpt from an interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes when asked what he would say if Putin were considering using tactical nuclear weapons or chemical weapons in the almost seven-month-old conflict.

Read more: Biden warns Putin against using nuclear or chemical weapons

Wheat cargo sails for Ethiopia

A vessel chartered by the UN’s World Food Program has departed Ukraine carrying 30,000 tonnes of wheat for Ethiopia, Ukraine’s infrastructure minister said on Twitter.

The shipment comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin threatens to curtail the safe-transit deal reached in July for exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports, saying not enough cargoes are going to the world’s poor.

Read more: Putin’s attack on Ukraine grain deal belied by shipping data

Millions of tons of grain and other foodstuffs have been exported under the deal so far, including to Africa. The availability of supplies from Ukraine has helped knock benchmark wheat prices down to pre-war levels, benefiting all buyers. DM

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

    The Ukrainian military has redefined military strategy in facing an overwhelming force in the theatre of war. Its response to Russia is being studied by military strategists in NATO and in particular the Baltic states. If Ukraine was not prevented from using Western supplied military hardware to attack Russian targets including Moscow, it would be very interesting to see the response of Putin. However, the fake referendum, being held with its puppets in the two regions will bring a new dynamic. The lavatory mouths of SACP who have never been in any theatre of war or have no understanding of its horrors will see Russia with its vast military arsenal being on the defensive and a possible insurgency that would lead to the fall of the thug in the Kremlin. Ukraine is far more sophisticated than Afghanistan in terms of its force structure, military doctrine and strategy and capabilities in intelligence that are backed by satellite information from the US, UK and NATO. It is a war Russia will not win with very hostile population to its aggression. Russia has made more enemies for itself and Zelensky, a comedian has beaten a former KGB officer in the stakes of public relations. Blade Nzimande will have to go to Moscow to watch RT. We will not allow clowns in the ANC to get us sanctioned for money from the oligarchs and having RT.

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