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Russia-Ukraine war latest updates: ‘dozens’ of towns recaptured in east and south, says Zelenskiy

Key events

US military aid to Ukraine boosts risk of clash – Russian envoy

Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s ambassador to the United States, says Washington’s decision to send more military aid to Ukraine poses a threat to Moscow’s interests and increases the risk of a military clash between Russia and the West.

“We perceive this as an immediate threat to the strategic interests of our country,” Antonov said on the Telegram messaging app on Wednesday.

“The supply of military products by the US and its allies not only entails protracted bloodshed and new casualties, but also increases the danger of a direct military clash between Russia and Western countries.”

Energoatom may restart Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

In case you missed this earlier, Ukraine may restart the Zaporizhzhia plant, Europe’s largest nuclear plant, to ensure its safety, the president of the company that operates the plant told the Associated Press on Tuesday. The potential restart comes weeks after there were escalating fears of a radiation disaster at the Russian-occupied facility.

Energoatom, the Ukranian state nuclear company, shut down the plant’s six remaining reactors on 11 September amid fighting in the area. Russian military activity had cut off power supplies for safety systems, raising fears of a meltdown, the AP noted.

But Energoatom president Petro Kotin told the AP today that the company may restart two of the reactors in the coming days to “protect safety installations as winter approaches and temperatures drop”. Kotin said:

If you have low temperature, you will just freeze everything inside. The safety equipment will be damaged. So you need heating and the only heating is going to come from the working reactor.”

Even with the reactors shut down, damage to the systems or failures due to cold weather could still lead to catastrophe, the company’s president said, adding, “You have residual heat and you should constantly provide the coolant for these fuel assemblies. If you stop cooling, then you will have meltdown. And that is how it works … We, at the moment, are evaluating all the risks. And this depends on the weather. And actually, we don’t have much time to do that.”

Ukrainian advances this week

Ukraine has made major and rapid advances this week, with Zelensky saying in an address on Tuesday that “dozens” of towns have been recaptured. Here is a roundup of what has happened on the battlefield, via Reuters:

  • Ukrainian forces captured the town of Dudchany on the west bank of the Dnipro River in their major advance in Kherson region, according to the Russian-installed head of the administration of occupied areas in the province.

  • Russian military bloggers described a Ukrainian tank advance through dozens of kilometres of territory along the west bank of the Dnipro. Kyiv has maintained almost complete silence about the situation in Kherson.

  • In the east, Ukrainian forces were advancing after capturing Lyman, the main Russian bastion in the north of Donetsk province. The pro-Russian leader in Donetsk said forces were forming a new defensive line around the town of Kreminna.

  • Russia has meanwhile sacked the commander of its Western military district, news outlet RBC reported.

Summary and welcome

Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the war in Ukraine. My name is Helen Sullivan and I’ll be taking you through the latest for the next few hours.

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, announced on Tuesday that dozens of regions in Ukraine have been liberated from Russian occupation. Ukrainian forces captured the town of Dudchany on the west bank of the Dnipro River in their major advance in Kherson region, according to the Russian-installed head of the administration of occupied areas in the province. In the east, Ukrainian forces were advancing after capturing Lyman, the main Russian bastion in the north of Donetsk province. The pro-Russian leader in Donetsk said forces were forming a new defensive line around the town of Kreminna.

In the meantime, here are the key recent developments.

  • Ukraine may restart the Zaporizhzhia plant, Europe’s largest nuclear plant, to ensure its safety, the president of the company that operates the plant told the Associated Press today. The potential restart comes weeks after there were escalating fears of a radiation disaster at the Russian-occupied facility.

  • Ukraine’s economy will shrink at a rate eight times that of Russia’s this year as a result of the war triggered by Moscow’s invasion in February, the World Bank has estimated.

  • Russia is at risk of losing control of the strategic towns critical to retaining the city of Kherson and eventually Crimea, western officials said, but they warned the fighting along the Dnieper river “will not be an easy rush into constrained territory”.

  • The upper house of Russia’s parliament voted on Tuesday to approve the incorporation of four occupied Ukrainian regions into Russia, as Moscow sets about formally annexing territory it seized from Kyiv since staging its latest invasion of Ukraine in February. In a session on Tuesday, the Federation Council unanimously ratified legislation to annex the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions of Ukraine, after a similar vote in the state Duma, Russia’s lower house. No lawmakers in the lower house voted against the bill either.

  • Russia, however, no longer has full control of any of the four provinces it claims to have annexed, after Ukrainian troops reportedly advanced dozens of kilometres in Kherson province. The Russian military has acknowledged that Kyiv’s forces had broken through in the Kherson region. It said the Ukrainian army and its “superior tank units” had managed to “penetrate the depths of our defence” around the villages of Zoltaya Balka and Alexsandrovka.

  • Zelenskiy has signed a decree declaring the prospect of any Ukrainian talks with Vladimir Putin “impossible”. The decree formalised comments made by Zelenskiy on Friday after the Russian president proclaimed the four occupied regions of Ukraine were to become part of Russia.

  • Russia’s retreat from Lyman has sparked vociferous criticism of the handling of the war on Russian state television. Vladimir Solovyov, host of a primetime talkshow on state TV channel Russia 1 and one of the Kremlin’s biggest cheerleaders, said on air on Sunday: “We need to pull it together, make unpopular, but necessary decisions and act.”

  • The Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) will restore its network to oppose the partial mobilisation aimed at bolstering Russia’s forces in Ukraine, close Navalny ally Ivan Zhdanov said in a video published on social media. Russian authorities have designated Alexei Navalny’s organisations “extremist” after months of increasing repression against his supporters, putting FBK employees, volunteers and sympathisers at risk of prosecution and imprisonment.


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