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Russia-Ukraine war: Kyiv says nine Russian planes destroyed in past 24 hours – as it happened

The Guardian
The Guardian
 2022-08-10

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7.00pm BST

Summary

The time in Kyiv is 9pm. Here is a round-up of the day’s main headlines:

  • The EU has been urged to introduce a travel ban on Russian tourists with some member states saying visiting Europe was “a privilege, not a human right” for holidaymakers. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in an interview with the Washington Post that the “most important sanction” was to “close the borders, because the Russians are taking away someone else’s land”.

  • China, which Russia has sought as an ally since being cold-shouldered by the west over its invasion of Ukraine , has called the US the “main instigator” of the crisis, Reuters reported. In an interview with the Russian state news agency Tass published on Wednesday, China’s ambassador to Moscow, Zhang Hanhui, accused Washington of backing Russia into a corner with repeated expansions of the Nato defence alliance

  • Without claiming explicit responsibility for an attack on a Russian airfield in Crimea on Tuesday, Ukraine’s general staff of the armed forces said on Wednesday that it had destroyed nine Russian planes within the last 24 hours. It did not specify the locations. The claim follows widely reported explosions at Russia’s Saki air base.

  • Crimea’s regional leader, Sergei Aksyonov , said some 250 residents were moved to temporary housing after dozens of apartment buildings were damaged, but Russian authorities have generally sought to downplay the explosions. Unverified social media footage purports to show damage to planes on the ground at the airport.

  • Crimea’s regional ministry of health has said that one person died and 13 people were injured as a result of explosions at the air base near Novofedorivka. The Russian military have said that “several aviation munitions detonated” in a storage area at the facility. Crimea was annexed by Russia in 2014.

  • The British defence secretary Ben Wallace said the UK has “pretty much dismissed” most of the Russian “excuses” for explosions at an air base in Crimea, and said he thinks the site would be a “legitimate target” for the Ukrainians.

  • The United Nations expects to see a “big uptick” in applications for ships to export Ukraine grain after transit procedures were agreed by Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations, a senior UN official said on Wednesday. The number of inbound vessels is expected to “grow in the near future” as grain deals are made, said Frederick Kenney, interim UN co-ordinator at the Joint Co-ordination Centre in Istanbul.

  • Estonia has summoned the Russian ambassador and formally protested about the violation of its airspace by a Russian helicopter on Tuesday, its foreign ministry said. “Estonia considers this an extremely serious and regrettable incident that is completely unacceptable,” the ministry said in a release, saying the helicopter had flown over a point in the southeast of the small Baltic nation without permission.

  • In his nightly address, Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, did not discuss who was behind the attacks but vowed to “liberate” Crimea , saying: “This Russian war against Ukraine and against the entire free Europe began with Crimea and must end with Crimea – with its liberation.” An adviser to the president, Mikhail Podolyak, said Ukraine was not taking responsibility for the explosions, suggesting partisans might have been involved.

  • Russian forces occupying the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant are reorienting the plant’s electricity production to connect to Crimea , annexed by Moscow in 2014, according to Ukrainian operator Energoatom. “To do this, you must first damage the power lines of the plant connected to the Ukrainian energy system. From August 7 to 9, the Russians have already damaged three power lines. At the moment, the plant is operating with only one production line, which is an extremely dangerous way of working,” Energoatom president Petro Kotin told Ukrainian television. The plant, located not far from the Crimean peninsula, has six of Ukraine’s 15 reactors, and is capable of supplying power for four million homes.

  • The head of Ukraine’s state nuclear power firm warned of the “very high” risks from shelling at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in the Russian-occupied south and said it was vital Kyiv regains control over the facility in time for winter. Energoatom’s chief, Petro Kotin, told Reuters in an interview that last week’s Russian shelling had damaged three lines that connect the Zaporizhzhia plant to the Ukrainian grid and that Russia wanted to connect the facility to its grid.

  • Ukraine’s overseas creditors have backed its request for a two-year freeze on payments on almost $20 billion in international bonds, according to a regulatory filing on Wednesday, a move that will allow the war-torn country to avoid a debt default. With no sign of peace or a ceasefire on the horizon nearly six months after Russia’s invasion began, bondholders have agreed to postpone sovereign interest and capital payments for thirteen Ukrainian sovereign bonds maturing between 2022 and 2033.

  • Seven in 10 previous or current UK sponsors of Ukrainian refugees say their ability to provide support has been hindered by the cost of living crisis, figures have suggested. Some 21% of people who have hosted or are currently hosting Ukrainians in their homes said the rising cost of living has affected their ability to provide support “quite a lot”, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

  • Russia ’s daily military briefing for Wednesday has claimed to have shot down three Ukrainian planes overnight, and to have destroyed German-supplied anti-aircraft systems.

  • The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) has said that in the last 24 hours two people have been killed and 25 civilians were injured in the territory it claims to control.

That’s it from the Ukraine live blog for today. I’ll be back tomorrow morning but, for now, good night.

6.30pm BST

The British defence secretary Ben Wallace said the UK has “pretty much dismissed” most of the Russian “excuses” for explosions at an air base in Crimea, and said he thinks the site would be a “legitimate target” for the Ukrainians.

He told the BBC:

I think when you just look at the footage of two simultaneous explosions not quite next to each other, and some of the reported damage even by the Russian authorities, I think it’s clear that that’s not something that happens by someone dropping a cigarette.

Asked if the base was a legitimate target for the Ukrainians to strike, he said:

First and foremost, Russia has illegally invaded, not just in 2014, but now Ukrainian territory.

Ukraine, under United Nations articles, is perfectly entitled to defend its territory and take what action it needs to against an invading force.

So, is it legitimate? It’s absolutely legitimate for Ukraine to take lethal force, if necessary, but take force in order to regain not only its territory, but also to push back its invader.

And that air force base has been used by Russian air forces to bomb Ukrainian targets. So I think in anybody’s sort of manual of war it would be a legitimate target.

6.19pm BST

Estonia has summoned the Russian ambassador and formally protested about the violation of its airspace by a Russian helicopter on Tuesday, its foreign ministry said.

“Estonia considers this an extremely serious and regrettable incident that is completely unacceptable,” the ministry said in a release, saying the helicopter had flown over a point in the southeast of the small Baltic nation without permission.

Estonia made an identical complaint to Moscow in June, Reuters reported.

5.59pm BST

The United Nations expects to see a “big uptick” in applications for ships to export Ukraine grain after transit procedures were agreed by Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations, a senior UN official said on Wednesday.

The number of inbound vessels is expected to “grow in the near future” as grain deals are made, said Frederick Kenney, interim UN co-ordinator at the Joint Co-ordination Centre in Istanbul, which oversees a deal between Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations to resume Ukraine grain exports.

5.43pm BST

EU under pressure to ban Russian tourists from Europe

The EU has been urged to introduce a travel ban on Russian tourists with some member states saying visiting Europe was “a privilege, not a human right” for holidaymakers.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in an interview with the Washington Post that the “most important sanction” was to “close the borders, because the Russians are taking away someone else’s land”. Russians should “live in their own world until they change their philosophy”, he said.

The Ukrainian president’s call was backed by Estonia’s prime minister, Kaja Kallas, who tweeted that visiting Europe was “a privilege, not a human right”, adding: “Time to end tourism from Russia . Stop issuing tourist visas to Russians.”

Finland’s prime minister, Sanna Marin, has aired the same frustrations, telling public broadcaster YLE that it was “not right that while Russia is waging an aggressive, brutal war of aggression in Europe, Russians can live a normal life, travel in Europe, be tourists.”

Finland has previously said that increasing numbers of Russians have begun crossing the 830-mile border between the two countries to shop in border stores and travel onwards to other EU destinations since Covid restrictions were lifted.

Related: EU under pressure to ban Russian tourists from Europe

5.29pm BST

Ukraine’s air force said it believed that up to a dozen Russian aircraft were destroyed on the ground following Tuesday’s dramatic explosions at the Saky airbase in Crimea, which killed one, wounded 13 and damaged dozens of nearby houses .

Political sources in Ukraine indicated the country had carried out the attack – but no public claim of responsibility was made by Kyiv of a dramatic incident that one expert believed may have been the product of a daring raid rather than a missile strike.

Yuriy Ignat, a spokesperson for the Ukrainian air force, told national television that from studying video footage of the incident, it was clear “the aircraft weapons depot was hit”. He added: “And if additionally a dozen planes are destroyed there, it will be a real small victory.”

Related: Ukraine air force claims up to a dozen Russian jets destroyed in Crimea raid

4.59pm BST

Ukraine’s overseas creditors have backed its request for a two-year freeze on payments on almost $20 billion in international bonds, according to a regulatory filing on Wednesday, a move that will allow the war-torn country to avoid a debt default.

With no sign of peace or a ceasefire on the horizon nearly six months after Russia’s invasion began, bondholders have agreed to postpone sovereign interest and capital payments for thirteen Ukrainian sovereign bonds maturing between 2022 and 2033.

The government in Kyiv launched a consent solicitation, which is a formal request to agree with creditors on changes to sovereign debt contracts, on 20 July, Reuters reported.

4.26pm BST

Ukraine on Wednesday called on the European Union and G7 countries to stop issuing visas to Russian citizens, citing what he said was their support for the invasion of Ukraine.

“Russians overwhelmingly support the war on Ukraine. They must be deprived of the right to cross international borders until they learn to respect them,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter.

The tweet echoed earlier calls by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy for a one-year travel ban and the apparent expulsion of Russians living in the West so they can live “in their own world until they change their philosophy”, Reuters reported.

3.49pm BST

China, which Russia has sought as an ally since being cold-shouldered by the west over its invasion of Ukraine, has called the US the “main instigator” of the crisis, Reuters reported.

In an interview with the Russian state news agency Tass published on Wednesday, China’s ambassador to Moscow, Zhang Hanhui, accused Washington of backing Russia into a corner with repeated expansions of the Nato defence alliance and support for forces seeking to align Ukraine with the European Union rather than Moscow.

“As the initiator and main instigator of the Ukrainian crisis, Washington, while imposing unprecedented comprehensive sanctions on Russia, continues to supply arms and military equipment to Ukraine,” Zhang was quoted as saying.

“Their ultimate goal is to exhaust and crush Russia with a protracted war and the cudgel of sanctions.”

Updated at 3.58pm BST

3.23pm BST

In case you missed it earlier today …

Updated at 3.58pm BST

2.23pm BST

Here are some of the latest images that have been sent to us from Ukraine over the newswires.

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People stand next to a house destroyed by a Russian missile strike in the settlement of Kushuhum in Zaporizhzhia. Photograph: Reuters
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Smoke rises after shelling in the city of Donetsk. Photograph: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters
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Ukrainian service personnel shoot from an anti-aircraft gun in the early morning in Kharkiv. Photograph: Vasiliy Zhlobsky/EPA
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A Ukrainian man at a refugee camp in Dnipro shows his injured arm. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Updated at 2.27pm BST

2.15pm BST

Ukraine claims to have destroyed nine Russian planes following Crimea airport explosions

Without claiming explicit responsibility for an attack on a Russian airfield in Crimea on Tuesday, Ukraine’s general staff of the armed forces said on Wednesday that it had destroyed nine Russian planes within the last 24 hours. It did not specify the locations. The claim follows widely reported explosions at Russia’s Saki air base.

Crimea’s regional leader, Sergei Aksyonov, said some 250 residents were moved to temporary housing after dozens of apartment buildings were damaged, but Russian authorities have generally sought to downplay the explosions. Unverified social media footage purports to show damage to planes on the ground at the airport.

Ukraine has not directly taken credit for the strike, but few seem to give much credence to a Russian explanation that it was an accidental explosion. In its daily update , Ukraine’s army increased the number of planes it had claimed to have destroyed to 232 from 223.

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A graphic produced by the general staff of the armed forces of Ukraine indicating an increase by nine of the number of aircraft it claims to have destroyed. Photograph: General staff of the armed forces of Ukraine / Facebook

The Associated Press has spoken with Ukrainian military analyst Oleh Zhdanov about the explosions. He said President Vladimir Putin has long insisted Crimea is Russian and warned that any attempts to take it back would trigger massive retaliation. He claimed Moscow’s apparent swallowing of the strike showed Putin’s weakness.

“He’s expected to protect Crimea as Russia proper. Now he’s afraid to recognise that it was done by the Ukrainian armed forces,” he added.

Russian warplanes have used Saki to strike at areas in Ukraine’s south.

“Official Kyiv has kept mum about it, but unofficially the military acknowledges that it was a Ukrainian strike,” Zhdanov said.

The Washington-based Institute for the Study of War said it couldn’t independently assess what caused the explosions, but noted that simultaneous explosions in two places at the base likely ruled out an accidental fire – but not the possibility of sabotage or a missile attack.

But, it added: “The Kremlin has little incentive to accuse Ukraine of conducting strikes that caused the damage since such strikes would demonstrate the ineffectiveness of Russian air defence systems.”

Updated at 3.07pm BST

1.35pm BST

Seven in 10 previous or current UK sponsors of Ukrainian refugees say their ability to provide support has been hindered by the cost of living crisis, figures have suggested.

Some 21% of people who have hosted or are currently hosting Ukrainians in their homes said the rising cost of living has affected their ability to provide support “quite a lot”, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

A further 9% said it affected their ability to help “very much” while 41% said it had been affected “a little”, PA Media reported.

Twenty-six per cent said it had not affected their ability to help at all while 3% replied “don’t know”.

Updated at 1.57pm BST

12.34pm BST

Four Russian missiles hit a village on the southern outskirts of Ukraine’s city of Zaporizhzhia early on Wednesday, killing a 52-year-old woman, whose body was found in the rubble, the regional governor said.

“Four private buildings have been totally destroyed. Several dozen houses have been left without windows and roofs,” governor Oleksandr Starukh wrote on Telegram.

Rescue workers were still digging through the rubble hours later, the governor said. Electricity and gas supply to the village of Kushuhum were also disrupted, he added.

Updated at 1.57pm BST

12.06pm BST

A Ukrainian mother and her son prepare to leave Lisbon, where they went to flee the war two and a half months ago.

Despite ongoing conflict with Russian forces in the south and east of the country, the UN Refugee Agency has reported more than 4.4m border crossings back into Ukraine since 28 February.

Many of those crossing are thought to be Ukrainians heading back to parts of the country now considered relatively safe, hoping to reunite with family, rebuild their country and restart their lives.

Katya and Nazar set off for Kyiv hoping to make it in time to celebrate Nazar’s ninth birthday.

11.25am BST

Russian authorities have raided the home of a former state TV journalist who quit after making an on-air protest against Moscow’s war in Ukraine.

They have also launched a criminal case against her on the charge of spreading false information about Russian armed forces, her lawyer said on social media.

The case against Marina Ovsyannikova was launched under a law, enacted after the 24 February invasion of Ukraine, that penalises statements against the military, lawyer Dmitry Zakhvatov said. If convicted, she faces up to 15 years in prison, the Associated Press reported.

Zakhvatov told the independent news site Meduza the case is probably linked to a protest Ovsyannikova staged last month, holding a banner that said “Putin is a killer, his soldiers are fascists”.

After the raid, Ovsyannikova is expected to be brought into the Investigative Committee for questioning, he said on Telegram. Ovsyannikova previously worked as a producer with the Russian state-funded Channel One.

She made international headlines on 14 March when she appeared behind the anchor of an evening news broadcast holding a poster that said “stop the war, don’t believe the propaganda, they are lying to you here”.

She was charged with disparaging the Russian military and fined 30,000 roubles (around £223.40 at the time).

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Russian Channel One editor Marina Ovsyannikova holding a poster reading ‘Stop the war. Don’t believe the propaganda. Here they are lying to you’ during Russia’s most-watched evening news broadcast in Moscow in March. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 11.37am BST

11.01am BST

Summary of today so far …

  • Russian forces occupying the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant are reorienting the plant’s electricity production to connect to Crimea , annexed by Moscow in 2014, according to Ukrainian operator Energoatom. “To do this, you must first damage the power lines of the plant connected to the Ukrainian energy system. From 7-9 August , the Russians have already damaged three power lines. At the moment, the plant is operating with only one production line, which is an extremely dangerous way of working,” Energoatom president Petro Kotin told Ukrainian television. The plant, located not far from the Crimean peninsula, has six of Ukraine’s 15 reactors, and is capable of supplying power for four million homes.

  • The head of Ukraine’s state nuclear power firm warned of the “very high” risks from shelling at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in the Russian-occupied south and said it was vital Kyiv regains control over the facility in time for winter. Energoatom’s chief, Petro Kotin, told Reuters in an interview that last week’s Russian shelling had damaged three lines that connect the Zaporizhzhia plant to the Ukrainian grid and that Russia wanted to connect the facility to its grid.

  • Russia ’s daily military briefing for Wednesday has claimed to have shot down three Ukrainian planes overnight, and to have destroyed German-supplied anti-aircraft systems.

  • A Russian airbase deep behind the frontline in Crimea has been damaged by several large explosions that occurred on Tuesday, killing at least one person . It was not immediately clear whether it had been targeted by a long-range Ukrainian missile strike. Crimea’s regional ministry of health has said that, additionally 13 people were injured as a result of explosions at the airport in Novofedorivka. Ukraine’s army claims to have destroyed nine Russian planes in the last 24 hours . It did not specify the locations. The Russian military have said that “several aviation munitions detonated” in a storage area at the facility.

  • In his nightly address, Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, did not discuss who was behind the attacks but vowed to “liberate” Crimea , saying: “This Russian war against Ukraine and against the entire free Europe began with Crimea and must end with Crimea – with its liberation.” An adviser to the president, Mikhail Podolyak, said Ukraine was not taking responsibility for the explosions, suggesting partisans might have been involved.

  • The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) has said that in the last 24 hours two people have been killed and 25 civilians were injured in the territory it claims to control.

  • At least 13 people have been killed overnight by shelling in Marhanets in Dnipropetrovsk . Regional governor Valentyn Reznichenko said more than 20 buildings were damaged. Ukraine’s emergency service has distributed images which appear to show a school in Marhanets damaged by an attack.

  • Vitaliy Kim , governor of Mykolaiv , said that as a result of shelling at around 1.40am Wednesday morning, three people, including a 13-year-old girl, were injured in the city of Mykolaiv. He said residential buildings were damaged as a result of shelling.

  • The leaders of Estonia and Finland want fellow European countries to stop issuing tourist visas to Russian citizens , saying they should not be able to take holidays in Europe while the Russian government carries out a war in Ukraine . The Estonian prime minister, Kaja Kallas, wrote on Tuesday on Twitter that “visiting Europe is a privilege, not a human right” and that it was “time to end tourism from Russia now”, the Associated Press reported.

  • Denmark will send military instructors to Britain to train Ukrainian soldiers and also aims to train Ukrainian officers in Denmark, the Danish defence minister said in an interview with the Jyllands-Posten newspaper published Wednesday.

  • The US state department has approved $89m-worth of assistance to help Ukraine equip and train 100 teams to clear landmines and unexploded ordnance for a year, Reuters reported.

That is it from me, Martin Belam, for now. I will be back later. Tom Ambrose will be here shortly to continue our coverage of Russia’s war on Ukraine.

Updated at 11.39am BST

10.32am BST

Denmark will send military instructors to Britain to train Ukrainian soldiers and also aims to train Ukrainian officers in Denmark, the Danish defence minister said in an interview with the Jyllands-Posten newspaper published today.

Reuters reports the interview precedes a conference in Copenhagen on Thursday when British, Danish and Ukrainian defence ministers are expected to discuss long-term support for Ukraine, including military training, mine clearance and weapon supplies.

“Within a short time, Denmark is sending 130 military instructors to a British training project,” defence minister Morten Bodskov told the newspaper.

The Danish defence ministry had no immediate comment.

10.19am BST

Ukraine’s emergency services has issued some photographs this morning that it claims shows the damage in Marhanets after it was strike by Russian shelling. Early, the regional governor Valentyn Reznichenko said at least 13 people died.

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Damage due to a Russian military strike in a location given as Marhanets town. Photograph: State Emergency Service Of Ukraine/Reuters
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An interior view shows a school building damaged by a Russian military strike in a location given as Marhanets in Dnipropetrovsk. Photograph: State Emergency Service Of Ukraine/Reuters
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An interior view shows a school classroom damaged by a Russian military strike in a location given as Marhanets. Photograph: State Emergency Service Of Ukraine/Reuters
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A view shows a residential building damaged by a Russian military strike in Marhanets. Photograph: State Emergency Service Of Ukraine/Reuters

10.13am BST

Russia’s military briefing for the day has claimed to have shot down three Ukrainian planes overnight, and to have destroyed German-supplied anti-aircraft systems. It states that it has killed up to a further 130 Ukrainian service personnel. The claims have not been independently verified.

9.19am BST

Ukraine’s general staff of the armed forces has issued updated figures this morning for the losses it says it has inflicted on pro-Russian forces.

Notably, without specifying where it happened, today’s figures indicate they destroyed nine Russian planes or helicopters in the last 24 hours.

It claims to have killed “about 42,800” military personnel in total since 24 February, an increase of 160 on the day before. It also said: “The opponent suffered the biggest losses in the Donetsk direction.”

Updated at 9.45am BST

9.13am BST

The daily operational briefing from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) has claimed that in the last 24 hours two people have been killed and 25 civilians were injured in the territory it claims to control. It says this came after Ukrainian forces shelled 10 of the 266 settlements it claims have been “liberated” from Ukrainian forces. It says 72 houses and nine civil infrastructure facilities were damaged.

None of the claims have been independently verified. The DPR is recognised as a legitimate authority by only three UN member states, including Russia.

Updated at 9.46am BST

9.07am BST

This morning we have been sent some images over the newswires from inside occupied Luhansk in eastern Ukraine. The pictures were taken on a trip organised by the Russian military, and appear designed to show that ordinary work and life continues under the auspices of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR).

Several of the photographs were taken at a coal mining operation in Dolzhansk.

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A miner supervising the loading of coal in Dolzhansk, occupied Luhansk. Photograph: Sergei Ilnitsky/EPA
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Miners preparing a coal-plow machine in Dolzhansk, occupied Luhansk. Photograph: Sergei Ilnitsky/EPA
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A miner supervising the loading of coal in Dolzhansk, occupied Luhansk. Photograph: Sergei Ilnitsky/EPA

The LPR was formed in 2014, and is recognised as a legitimate authority by only three UN member states: Russia, Syria and North Korea.

One image released shows the leader of the self-proclaimed LPR, Leonid Pasechnik , attending a movie premiere for a film entitled Match, which glorifies the actions of Soviet Union soldiers during the second world war.

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The head of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People republic, Leonid Pasechnik. Photograph: Sergei Ilnitsky/EPA

Another part of the trip appears to have been to demonstrate that an equestrian school was running as normal.

Updated at 9.46am BST

8.22am BST

The RIA Novosti news agency is reporting that Crimea’s regional ministry of health has said that 13 people were injured and one died as a result of explosions at the airport in Novofedorivka.

It quotes the authority’s statement saying: “As of 8.30am, as a result of an incident in the urban-type settlement of Novofedorivka, Saki district, 13 people were injured and one person died.”

RIA goes on to report that “one person was hospitalised in the Saki regional hospital, another 10 patients with minor injuries, including two minors, received medical care on an outpatient basis. Two more victims went to Simferopol hospital No 6, after rendering assistance they were allowed to go home.”

The claims have not been independently verified, and the cause of the explosions remains somewhat unclear. Ukraine’s presidential adviser Mykhail Podolyak has denied Ukrainian responsibility for an attack, and the Russian military have said only that “several aviation munitions detonated” in a storage area.

Updated at 9.06am BST

8.01am BST

At least 13 killed overnight in Dnipropetrovsk – regional governor

There is some clarification here on the numbers killed overnight in the Dnipropetrovsk region. Reuters reports governor Valentyn Reznichenko now says that at least 13 people died after shelling there.

He said more than 20 buildings were damaged in Marhanets, a city across the Dnipro River from the Russian-captured Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant.

The attack damaged a power line, leaving several thousand people without electricity, Reznichenko said. The attack damaged a hostel, two schools, a concert hall, the main council building and other administrative bases, he added.

Russia has repeatedly denied targeting civilians, despite the evidence of damage to civil infrastructure in Ukrainian cities, towns and villages.

Updated at 8.11am BST

7.56am BST

Lviv’s governor, Maksym Kozytskyi , has said the night passed without incident in his western region of Ukraine. He said that 306 people arrived in evacuation trains from the east of the country, where the fighting is concentrated. He said that 761 left on evacuation trains to Poland.

7.31am BST

Here are some of the latest images we have been sent from inside Ukraine and Crimea over the newswires.

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A residential building with windows broken as a result of explosions at a Russian military airbase, in Novofedorivka, Crimea. Photograph: Reuters
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A woman visits an outdoor poster exhibition titled ‘The Victory Day’ in Kyiv. Photograph: Roman Pilipey/EPA
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Vera Vasiukova, 71 (left) sits on her bed at a centre for displaced people near Mykolaiv. Photograph: Evgeniy Maloletka/AP

Updated at 7.34am BST

7.13am BST

Vitaliy Kim , governor of Mykolaiv , has posted to Telegram to say that as a result of shelling at around 1.40am, three people, including a 13 year-old girl, were injured in the city of Mykolaiv. He said residential buildings were damaged as a result of shelling.

He also claimed that yesterday, during the day, there had been several fires in the fields caused by Russian attacks, and that “settlements of the Bereznehuvate community, located on the demarcation line, remain under constant fire”.

The claims have not been independently verified.

Updated at 7.21am BST

6.57am BST

Ukrainian officials are reporting that 11 people were killed and 13 wounded by Russian shelling in the Nikopol district in Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk region overnight.

Residential homes were reportedly damaged in the attack and as many as 1,000 people are without gas, the regional regional military administration said.

6.48am BST

Russia establishes major new ground forces formation, UK MoD says

Russian commanders are likely to be faced with the competing operational priorities of reinforcing the Donbas offensive, and strengthening defences against anticipated Ukrainian counter attacks in the south.

To support the Ukraine operation, Russia has “almost certainly” established a major new ground forces formation, 3rd Army Corps (3 AC), based out of Mulino, in Nizhny Novgorod Oblast east of Moscow , the UK Ministry of Defence has said.

The latest British intelligence report reads:

Russia likely plans to resource a large proportion of 3 AC from newly formed ‘volunteer’ battalions, which are being raised across the country, and which group together recruits from the same areas.

Russian regional politicians have confirmed that potential 3 AC recruits are being offered lucrative cash bonuses once they deploy to Ukraine.

Recruitment is open to men up to 50 years old and with only middle-school education.

A Russian army corps typically consists of 15-20,000 troops, but it will probably be difficult for Russia to bring 3 AC up to this strength, given very limited levels of popular enthusiasm for volunteering for combat in Ukraine.

3 AC’s effect is unlikely to be decisive to the campaign.”

Updated at 6.52am BST

6.42am BST

US approves $89m in aid to clear Ukraine's landmines

The US state department has approved $89m worth of assistance to help Ukraine equip and train 100 teams to clear landmines and unexploded ordnance for a year, officials said in a statement on Tuesday.

The funding is the largest US de-mining program yet in Ukraine, and the official compared Ukraine’s challenge to attempts to disarm unexploded ordnance in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos following the American war of the 1960s and 70s in Southeast Asia.

“If you look at some conflicts in the not so distant past, the Vietnam War for example, we’re still clearing ordnance in Southeast Asia 50 years after that war ended. This may be on par with that,” the official said.

The program would be run through contractors and non-governmental organisations the official said. He said the money, part of which comes from Ukraine-linked budget requests, will not only fund training, but specialised mine detection and earth moving equipment if need be.

A Ukrainian official said the aid addressed one of the country’s most important tasks. “By our estimates, 160,000 square kilometres of Ukrainian land need de-mining, which is about the size of Virginia, Maryland and Connecticut combined,” said Andriy Yermak, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s top aide.

“This aid will accelerate Ukraine’s recovery,” Zelenskiy’s chief of staff said in a Telegram post.

6.34am BST

Biden welcomes Finland and Sweden joining Nato

US president Joe Biden formally welcomed Finland and Sweden joining the Nato alliance Tuesday as he signed the documents of ratification that delivered the US’s formal backing of the Nordic nations entering the mutual defence pact.

The move is the most significant expansion of the military alliance since the 1990s as it responds to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In seeking to join Nato, Finland and Sweden are making a sacred commitment that an attack against one is an attack against all,” Biden said at the signing as he called the partnership the “indispensable alliance.”

Finland and Sweden’s decision to join Nato is a watershed moment for our Alliance. It will help ensure greater security and stability for our world,” Biden added.

6.21am BST

On a slightly lighter note, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is being made into an action figure by a product design company in Brooklyn, New York.

FCTRY launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund production two weeks ago, hitting its $30,000 funding goal in just three hours and raising more than $120,000 since. For every figure sold, $1 goes to Ukraine in the campaign which ends on Friday.

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A prototype of the Zelenskiy action figure in Brooklyn, New York. Photograph: Roselle Chen/Reuters

A six-inch (15-cm) tall clay prototype of the Zelenskiy action figure, moulded by Seattle artist Mike Leavitt, will be mass produced in plastic in China. It is expected to ship by March.

“The way we framed him in the campaign is ‘the unlikely hero,’” said Jason Feinberg, FCTRY’s chief executive and creative director.

“He’s the perfect leader for this moment, just this super inspirational character. He has this real strength that comes across, but it’s humble and he sort of represents the opposite of everything that we’ve come to associate with politics.”

6.16am BST

Zelenskiy vows to 'liberate' Crimea

In his nightly address, Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, did not discuss who was behind the attacks in Crimea but vowed to “liberate” the region.

This Russian war against Ukraine and against the entire free Europe began with Crimea and must end with Crimea - with its liberation.

Russia has turned our peninsula, which has always been and will be one of the best places in Europe , into one of the most dangerous places in Europe. But we will return to the Ukrainian Crimea. From the Kharkiv region to Kherson, from Donetsk to Enerhodar, from Stanytsia Luhanska to Yalta, from Berdyansk to Novofedorivka – these are all parts of our country, this is Ukraine, which will be completely free.”

Updated at 10.33am BST

6.07am BST

Ukraine denies responsibility for Crimea attack

Ukraine is not taking responsibility for explosions at a Russian air base in Crimea on Tuesday, an advisor to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said, suggesting partisans might have been involved.

Mykhail Podolyak, asked by the Dozhd online television channel whether Kyiv was taking responsibility, replied: “Of course not. What do we have to do with this?”

Earlier, he appeared to suggest the strike could herald a new phase of the conflict.

Podolyak said that Kyiv’s long-term goal was “demilitarisation of the Russian Federation”. He added: “The future of the Crimea is to be a pearl of the Black Sea, a national park with unique nature and a world resort. Not a military base for terrorists. It is just the beginning.”

Ukraine’s defence ministry said it could not determine the cause of the explosions but added, sardonically, that people should have regard for the rules of fire safety and “the prohibition of smoking in unspecified places”.

5.57am BST

Russian airbase in Crimea damaged in explosions

A Russian airbase deep behind the frontline in Crimea has been damaged by several large explosions, killing at least one person.

Multiple social media videos showed explosions and clouds emerging from the Saky military base in Novofedorivka on the western coast of Crimea on Tuesday afternoon, prompting questions about how a location more than 100 miles (160km) from the frontline could have been attacked.

Russia’s defence ministry told the RIA Novosti news agency that “several aviation munitions detonated” in a storage area. It is not clear whether it had been targeted by a long-range Ukrainian missile strike.

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Smoke rises after explosions were heard from the direction of a Russian military airbase near Novofedorivka, Crimea, on 9 August. Photograph: Reuters

Russian tourists holidaying on beaches nearby could be seen leaving in fear . It is one of few occasions that the peninsula, occupied by Russia since 2014, has been directly affected by the latest fighting. Local people told one Russian news site that explosions went on for an hour.

Sergey Aksyonov, the Russian-appointed head of occupied Crimea, said one person had died. Earlier, he had filmed a video statement near the site , with smoke rising in the distance, saying that ambulance crews and medics were on the scene.

Related: Russian airbase on western coast of Crimea damaged in explosions

5.45am BST

Russia plans to link nuclear plant to Crimea, operator warns

Russian forces occupying the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in southeast Ukraine are preparing to connect the plant to Crimea, annexed by Moscow in 2014, and are damaging it by reorienting its electricity production, Ukrainian operator Energoatom warned.

Zaporizhzhia is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe and was occupied by Russia early in its invasion.

Energoatom president Petro Kotin told Reuters news agency that Russia wanted to connect the plant to its grid, a technically difficult process that requires the facility to be severed from the Ukrainian system before it can be gradually connected to the Russian one.

Their plan is to damage all the lines from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. After that it will not be connected to the Ukrainian power system,” he said.

Kotin also told Ukrainian television and Interfax news agency:

The Russian military present at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant are implementing the program of [Russian operator] Rosatom aimed at connecting the plant to the Crimean electricity grid.

To do this, you must first damage the power lines of the plant connected to the Ukrainian energy system. From August 7 to 9, the Russians have already damaged three power lines. At the moment, the plant is operating with only one production line, which is an extremely dangerous way of working.

When the last production line is disconnected, the plant will be powered by generators running on diesel. Everything will then depend on their reliability and fuel stocks.”

The process of de-energisation of the plant in preparation to connect to Russia would be extremely dangerous, Kotin warned.

At the ZNPP, we are already very close to this first stage of Fukushima-1 , because there is only one line. As soon as it is turned off, the station will switch to diesel, and after that everything will depend on the reliability of their work and the sufficiency of the fuel that is there for diesel engines at the ZNPP.”

Kotin also spoke with CNN , reiterating his claims that the ultimate plan of the Russians is to disconnect the plant from powering Ukraine and connect it to the grid to power occupied Crimea.

If there is no connection to the grid, then you cannot provide electricity from the outside, then the diesel generators will start. But everything will depend on the reliability of those generators. … This is a dangerous situation, because if those stop you could have a disaster of melting nuclear materials,” he said, comparing the potential fallout to the Fukishima disaster in Japan.

If the situation worsens, we need to think about our population at the plant. We are planning on how, during war conditions, we will be able to evacuate the personnel.

Great release of radioactivity could happen from there. There could be a cloud, a radioactive cloud.”

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A Russian serviceman stands guard near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant on 4 August. Photograph: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters

Located not far from the Crimean peninsula, the plant has six of Ukraine’s 15 reactors, capable of supplying power for four million homes.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Monday raised the spectre of nuclear disaster after strikes on the plant.

And UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that any attack on a nuclear plant would be “suicidal”.

“I hope that those attacks will end, and at the same time I hope that the IAEA will be able to access the plant,” he said Monday.

Recent fighting around the plant has prompted the UN nuclear watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to warn of the “very real risk of a nuclear disaster”.

Updated at 5.49am BST

5.31am BST

Summary

Hello and welcome back to the Guardian’s live coverage of the war in Ukraine .

I’m Samantha Lock and I will be bringing you all the latest developments for the next short while.

Ukraine has denied responsibility for explosions at a Russian air base in Crimea on Tuesday, an advisor to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said, suggesting partisans might have been involved.

Meanwhile, Russian forces occupying the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in southeast Ukraine are preparing to connect the plant to Crimea, annexed by Moscow in 2014, and are damaging it by reorienting its electricity production, Ukrainian operator Energoatom warned.

It is 7.30am in Ukraine. Here is everything you might have missed:

  • A Russian airbase deep behind the frontline in Crimea has been damaged by several large explosions, killing at least one person . It was not immediately clear whether it had been targeted by a long-range Ukrainian missile strike. In his nightly address, Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, did not discuss who was behind the attacks but vowed to “liberate” Crimea, saying: “This Russian war against Ukraine and against the entire free Europe began with Crimea and must end with Crimea – with its liberation.” An adviser to the president, Mikhail Podolyak, said Ukraine was not taking responsibility for the explosions, suggesting partisans might have been involved.

  • The head of Ukraine’s state nuclear power firm warned of the “very high” risks from shelling at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in the Russian-occupied south and said it was vital Kyiv regains control over the facility in time for winter. Energoatom’s chief, Petro Kotin, told Reuters in an interview that last week’s Russian shelling had damaged three lines that connect the Zaporizhzhia plant to the Ukrainian grid and that Russia wanted to connect the facility to its grid.

  • The leaders of Estonia and Finland want fellow European countries to stop issuing tourist visas to Russian citizens , saying they should not be able to take holidays in Europe while the Russian government carries out a war in Ukraine . The Estonian prime minister, Kaja Kallas, wrote on Tuesday on Twitter that “visiting Europe is a privilege, not a human right” and that it was “time to end tourism from Russia now”, the Associated Press reported.

  • US president Joe Biden on Tuesday signed documents endorsing Finland and Sweden’s accession to Nato , the most significant expansion of the military alliance since the 1990s as it responds to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reports.

  • The US state department has approved $89m worth of assistance to help Ukraine equip and train 100 teams to clear landmines and unexploded ordnance for a year, Reuters reported.

  • The total number of grain-carrying ships to leave Ukrainian ports under a UN brokered deal to ease the global food crisis has now reached 12 , with the two latest ships which left on Tuesday headed for Istanbul and Turkey.

  • Russia’s Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad has been struggling with quotas imposed by the EU for sanctioned goods that it can import across Lithuania from mainland Russia or Belarus, the region’s governor admitted. Lithuania infuriated Moscow in June by banning the land transit of goods such as concrete and steel to Kaliningrad after EU sanctions on them came into force, Reuters reported.

  • Russia has launched an Iranian satellite from Kazakhstan amid concerns it could be used for battlefield surveillance in Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Iran has denied that the Khayyam satellite, which was delivered into orbit onboard a Soyuz rocket launched from Baikonur cosmodrome, would ever be under Russian control. But the Washington Post previously reported that Moscow told Tehran it “plans to use the satellite for several months, or longer, to enhance its surveillance of military targets” in Ukraine, according to two US officials.

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Two women walk past the tail part of a Russian attack aircraft Su-25SM destroyed in downtown Kyiv, Ukraine, 9 August. Photograph: Roman Pilipey/EPA

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Fred Gryca
08-11

The destruction of the Russian military machine by Ukraine can only be described as phenomenal !!!

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