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Russia-Ukraine war: Russians flee Lyman as Ukrainian troops retake city a day after Putin’s illegal annexation – as it happened

The Guardian
The Guardian
 2022-10-01

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9.07pm BST

Summary

It’s slightly past 11pm in Kyiv. Here’s where things stand:

  • Germany’s defence minister, Christine Lambrecht, made a surprise visit to Ukraine on Saturday, her first since Russia’s invasion in February as Kyiv urges Berlin to send it battle tanks. Lambrecht visited the southern port city of Odesa, the German defence ministry said, without saying how long the trip had lasted. It added on Twitter that she had met her Ukrainian counterpart, Oleksii Reznikov.

  • The Nord Stream 2 pipeline is no longer leaking under the Baltic Sea because an equilibrium has been reached between the gas and water pressure. “The water pressure has more or less closed the pipeline so that the gas which is inside can’t go out,” Nord Stream 2 spokesman Ulrich Lissek told AFP.

  • Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said fighting was continuing in the key town of Lyman, which Russia said earlier in the day its troops had abandoned to avoid being trapped. “The Ukrainian flag is already in Lyman in the Donetsk region. Fighting is still going on there,” Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address.

  • Belarus is preparing to receive Russian soldiers and equipment, the Kyiv Independent reports. There are currently around 1,000 Russian soldiers in the country.

  • Yuliya Kovaliv, Ukraine’s ambassador to Canada, said her country holds Russia to account for violating Ukraine’s sovereign airspace by bombing airports, which goes against the 1944 agreement that set out core principles for global aviation. “It is important that all the ICAO members addressed such a drastic breach of the Chicago Convention,” she told Reuters.

  • After Russia failed to win enough votes for re-election to the United Nation’s aviation agency’s governing council, the French representative told the assembly: “When we have votes in our countries, if we don’t like the result, we don’t ask for another vote.” Russia had a place on ICAO’s 36-member council as one of the “states of chief importance in air transport”. Other members include the G7 countries, China, Brazil and Australia.

  • Liz Truss has said a series of explosions that severely damaged Russia’s undersea Nord Stream gas pipelines were an act of sabotage. In a joint report delivered to the United Nations last week, the Danish and Swedish governments have claimed that the leaks in the Nord Stream gas pipelines, which can carry gas to Germany, were caused by blasts equivalent to the power of “several hundred kilograms of explosive.”

  • Ramzan Kadyrov, head of Russia’s region of Chechnya, said Moscow should consider using a low-yield nuclear weapon in Ukraine after a major new defeat on the battlefield. In a message on Telegram addressing Russia’s loss of its stronghold of Lyman in eastern Ukraine, Kadyrov wrote: “In my personal opinion, more drastic measures should be taken, right up to the declaration of martial law in the border areas and the use of low-yield nuclear weapons.”

Updated at 9.14pm BST

8.59pm BST

Germany’s defence minister Christine Lambrecht made a surprise visit to Ukraine on Saturday, her first since Russia’s invasion in February as Kyiv urges Berlin to send it battle tanks, Agence France-Presse reports.

Lambrecht visited the southern port city of Odesa, the German defence ministry said in a statement, without saying how long the trip had lasted. It added on Twitter that she had met her Ukrainian counterpart, Oleksii Reznikov.

So far, no Nato country has supplied western battle tanks to Kyiv, despite Ukraine repeatedly asking for Germany to supply it with Leopard battle tanks to assist in its counter-attack against Russia.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said he doesn’t want to go it alone on arms supplies and will only take decisions in consultation with his western allies. Berlin has instead struck deals with third countries, which transfer heavy weapons to Ukraine – in exchange for receiving supplies from Germany.

Lambrecht’s visit came a day after the Russian president, Vladimir Putin , declared the annexation of the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson.

These annexations have been unanimously condemned by Ukraine’s allies.

Updated at 9.08pm BST

8.10pm BST

Nord Stream 2 pipeline no longer leaking, says spokesperson

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline is no longer leaking under the Baltic Sea because an equilibrium has been reached between the gas and water pressure, Agence France-Presse reports.

“The water pressure has more or less closed the pipeline so that the gas which is inside can’t go out,” Nord Stream 2 spokesman Ulrich Lissek told AFP.

“The conclusion is that there is still gas in the pipeline,” he added.

When asked how much gas was believed to be in the pipeline, Lissek said: “That is the one-million-dollar question.”

Information on the status of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline leak, which was significantly larger, was not immediately available.

While the pipelines are not currently in operation, they both still contained gas before they fell victim to apparent sabotage, producing four leaks.

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A picture released by ImageSat International on 30 September shows an image from an intelligence report on the Nord Stream gas pipeline leaks in the Swedish economic zone in the Baltic Sea. Photograph: ImageSat International /AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 8.44pm BST

7.33pm BST

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Saturday said fighting was continuing in the key town of Lyman, which Russia said earlier in the day its troops had abandoned to avoid being trapped.

“The Ukrainian flag is already in Lyman in the Donetsk region. Fighting is still going on there,” Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address.

Updated at 7.35pm BST

6.54pm BST

Belarus is preparing to receive Russian soldiers and equipment, the Kyiv Independent reports.

6.04pm BST

On Russia ’s failure to win enough votes for re-election to the United Nations’ aviation agency’s governing council, Yuliya Kovaliv, Ukraine’s ambassador to Canada, said her country holds Russia to account for violating Ukraine’s sovereign airspace by bombing airports, which goes against the 1944 agreement that set out core principles for global aviation.

“It is important that all the ICAO members addressed such a drastic breach of the Chicago Convention,” she told Reuters.

Updated at 6.25pm BST

5.47pm BST

It took Alina three goes at the local conscription centre to get her husband out of Russia’s war in Ukraine .

She knew the local officials managing the mobilisation in her town south of Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, she said. So when her husband, who has health problems because of his weight and served in the army more than 15 years ago, was called up, she began hassling them to review his case.

“I told them: ‘What war?’ Have they gone crazy?’ And the top [official] just gave me this sad look,” she said.

But as protests broke out last week in Dagestan and anger grew over the conscription, she said, something changed. Suddenly, they told her that her husband’s call-up was a mistake.

Related: Kremlin attempts to calm Russian fury over chaotic mobilisation

Updated at 5.56pm BST

5.42pm BST

After Russia failed to win enough votes for re-election to the United Nation’s aviation agency’s governing council, the French representative told the assembly: “When we have votes in our countries, if we don’t like the result, we don’t ask for another vote.”

Russia, along with the G7, China, Brazil and Australia, held spots as “states of chief importance in air transport” on ICAO’s 36-member council.

“We’d like to express regret regarding the outcome of the voting,” the Russian representative said.

“We view this as a purely political step and has nothing to do with Russia’s position in the field of civil aviation.”

Russia closed its airspace to airlines from 36 countries, including all 27 members of the European Union, in response to Ukraine-related sanctions targeting its aviation sector following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reported.

Updated at 5.57pm BST

5.20pm BST

Ukraine’s minister for foreign affairs, Dmytro Kuleba, has thanked the US for its latest assistance package.

Updated at 5.21pm BST

5.04pm BST

Here is some more background on Ramzan Kadyrov’s comments that Moscow should consider using a low-yield nuclear weapon in Ukraine after a major new defeat on the battlefield.

Russia has the world’s largest atomic arsenal, including low-yield tactical nuclear weapons that are designed to be deployed against opposing armies.

Other top Putin allies, including former president Dmitry Medvedev, have suggested that Russia may need to resort to nuclear weapons, but Kadyrov’s call was the most urgent and explicit, Reuters reports.

The influential ruler of the Caucasus region of Chechnya has been a vocal champion of the war in Ukraine, with Chechen forces forming part of the vanguard of the Russian army there. Kadyrov is widely believed to be personally close to Putin, who appointed him to govern restive Chechnya in 2007.

In his message, Kadyrov described Colonel-General Alexander Lapin, commander of the Russian forces fighting at Lyman, as a “mediocrity”, and suggested that he should be demoted to private and stripped of his medals.

“Due to a lack of elementary military logistics, today we have abandoned several settlements and a large piece of territory,” he said.

Kadyrov said that two weeks before he had raised the possibility of a defeat at Lyman with Valery Gerasimov, chief of Russia’s general staff, but that Gerasimov had dismissed the idea.

4.43pm BST

Liz Truss has said a series of explosions that severely damaged Russia’s undersea Nord Stream gas pipelines were an act of sabotage.

In a joint report delivered to the United Nations last week, the Danish and Swedish governments have claimed that the leaks in the Nord Stream gas pipelines, which can carry gas to Germany, were caused by blasts equivalent to the power of “several hundred kilograms of explosive” .

The UK prime minister was updated on developments in the situation unfolding in the Baltic Sea as she engaged in talks with her Danish counterpart, Mette Frederiksen, in Downing Street on Saturday.

Suspicions have been rising in western capitals that the explosions on the pipelines were attacks carried out by Russia as a means of intensifying pressure in western governments over energy supplies. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has dismissed any such claims and said in a speech on Friday that “Anglo Saxons” were responsible.

Related: Truss says Nord Stream gas pipeline damage ‘clearly sabotage’

Updated at 5.15pm BST

4.22pm BST

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Volunteers carry the body a person from a civilian convoy, which Ukrainian State Security Service say was hit by a shelling from Russian troops amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, near the village of Kurylivka in Kharkiv region. Photograph: Reuters

4.21pm BST

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A boat with Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish and U.N. officials heads to inspect cargo ships coming from Ukraine loaded with grain, in the Marmara Sea in Istanbul, Turkey. Photograph: Khalil Hamra/AP

4.08pm BST

Chechnya head : Moscow should consider low-yield nuclear weapon in Ukraine

Ramzan Kadyrov, head of Russia’s region of Chechnya, said Moscow should consider using a low-yield nuclear weapon in Ukraine after a major new defeat on the battlefield.

In a message on Telegram addressing Russia’s loss of its stronghold of Lyman in eastern Ukraine, Kadyrov wrote: “In my personal opinion, more drastic measures should be taken, right up to the declaration of martial law in the border areas and the use of low-yield nuclear weapons”.

Kadyrov was speaking a day after President Vladimir Putin proclaimed the annexation of four Ukrainian regions - including Donetsk, where Lyman is located - and placed them under Russia’s nuclear umbrella, saying Moscow would defend the lands it had seized “with all our strength and all our means”, Reuters reports.

4.00pm BST

Summary

It’s 6pm in Ukraine. Here’s the latest:

  • Russian troops pulled out of the town of the strategic city of Lyman in eastern Ukraine “due to the risk to be encircled” and moved to “more advantageous frontiers” Russia’s ministry of defence said via Telegram on Saturday. The retreat comes a day after Vladimir Putin signed “accession treaties” formalising Russia’s illegal annexation of four occupied regions in Ukraine.

  • The IOC president Thomas Bach has been accused of violating the game’s principles by suggesting that Russian athletes might be allowed to return to competition provided they did not support the invasion of Ukraine . Bach told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera “This war has not been started by the Russian athletes”.

  • Russian authorities informed the International Atomic Energy Agency that the head of Ukraine’s Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was “temporarily detained” for questioning. Ihor Murashov was detained on his way from Europe’s largest nuclear plant to the town of Enerhodar at about 4pm on Friday.

  • Kharkiv Oblast governor Oleh Syniehubov said Ukrainian authorities found the bodies of at least 20 people in a civilian convoy near the city of Kupiansk . He believed they were killed while they attempted to flee Russian soldiers, according to the Kyiv Independent.

  • Russia is trying to transfer the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to the Russian energy firm Rosatom, the head of Ukraine’s atomic energy company said. Speaking with BBC News on Saturday, Petro Kotin said “they are trying to make our personnel just to sign the accurate deals for the work at Rosatom”.

  • The Danish prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, said she shared key information on the damaged Nord Stream pipelines with Liz Truss at a meeting in Downing Street. “ This is sabotage and it is critical infrastructure. So of course, this is a very serious situation,” told reporters outside No 10.

  • The Ministry of Defence said Russia’s expansion strategy has resulted in “killing civilians it now claims are its own citizens”. The MoD said Russia is expending “strategically valuable military assets” in attempts to gain tactical advantage.

  • Turkey which has been at the centre of mediation between the west and Russia , rejected Russia’s annexation of Ukraine , calling the decision a “grave violation” of international law.

Updated at 4.00pm BST

3.48pm BST

Russia has not been re-elected to the UN aviation agency’s governing council, in a boost for western powers that wanted to hold Moscow accountable for its invasion of Ukraine.

On Saturday, Russia did not receive enough votes to remain in the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s 36-nation governing council, during the agency’s assembly which runs through to 7 October in Montreal, Reuters reports.

Poppy Khoza, the assembly’s president and South Africa’s director general of civil aviation, called the circumstance “unprecedented”.

Updated at 4.46pm BST

3.35pm BST

Vladimir Putin faced severe embarrassment when Ukrainian soldiers liberated the key eastern city of Lyman, raising the blue-and-yellow national flag above its entrance sign, hours after Russia’s president announced that the area was Moscow’s “for ever”.

Ukraine’s armed forces said they had entirely surrounded the city, trapping thousands of Russian soldiers inside. The governor of the Luhansk province, Serhiy Haidai, said the besieged troops had begged on Friday to be allowed to leave Lyman. Their commanders refused, he claimed.

Read more here :

Related: Ukraine forces encircle thousands of Russian troops in key city

3.06pm BST

Russian forces leave Lyman

Russian troops have pulled out of the town of the strategic city of Lyman in eastern Ukraine “due to the risk to be encircled” and moved to “more advantageous frontiers”, Russia’s ministry of defence said via Telegram on Saturday.

Ukraine forces encircled Russian forces in the eastern town earlier on Saturday where Russia’s forces at Lyman totalled about 5,000 to 5,500 soldiers. Ukrainian soldiers were later seen raising the nation’s flag before the entrance sign to the city.

The retreat comes a day after Vladimir Putin signed “accession treaties” formalising Russia’s illegal annexation of four occupied regions in Ukraine, marking the largest forcible takeover of territory in Europe since the second world war.

Serhii Cherevatyi , spokesperson for Ukraine’s eastern forces, previously said:

Lyman is important because it is the next step towards the liberation of the Ukrainian Donbas. It is an opportunity to go further to Kreminna and Sievierodonetsk, and it is psychologically very important.

Updated at 7.18pm BST

3.03pm BST

Russia’s Gazprom has suspended gas deliveries to Italy’s Eni, blaming a transport problem in Austria, AFP reports.

The Italian energy giant said on Saturday:

Gazprom told us that it was not able to confirm the delivery of the volumes demanded for today, citing the impossibility of gas transport through Austria. Russian gas flows to Eni via the Tarvisio entry point will be naught.

Before the war in Ukraine, nearly 45% of Italy’s imported gas came from Russia. Most of the gas from Russia to Italy passes through Ukraine via the Trans Austria Gas Pipeline.

2.50pm BST

Ukraine’s state security service shared a video on Twitter on Saturday showing the “scene of a war crime by Russian troops” with damaged cars and charred human remains.

Russian troops recently shot a civilian column between occupied Svatov in Luhansk region and liberated Kupyansk in Kharkiv region, they said.

Warning: this video contains graphic images.

Updated at 2.53pm BST

2.24pm BST

Russia accuses International Olympic Committee president of violating game principles

The IOC president Thomas Bach has been accused of violating the Games’ principles by suggesting that its athletes might be allowed to return to competition provided they did not support the invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reports.

Bach told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera:

It is not about necessarily having Russia back. It’s about having athletes with a Russian passport who do not support the war back in competition … This war has not been started by the Russian athletes.

Russia has been barred from competing under its flag or playing its national anthem at successive Games as punishment for widespread doping violations.

Russian news agencies quoted Russian sports minister Oleg Matytsin as responding:

The main task of the international Olympic movement is to provide athletes with equal access to participation in the Olympic Games, regardless of their views and religions, traditions and citizenship. Bach’s latest statement goes against Olympic principles.

Updated at 2.43pm BST

2.05pm BST

Russian authorities have informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that the head of Ukraine’s Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was “temporarily detained” for questioning, Reuters reports.

Earlier, we reported that the UN nuclear watchdog was seeking clarification from Russian authorities after Ihor Murashov was detained on his way from Europe’s largest nuclear plant to the town of Enerhodar at about 4pm on Friday.

Petro Kotin , the head of Ukraine’s atomic energy company, said his detention “jeopardises the safety of operation of Ukraine and Europe’s largest nuclear power plant”.

1.39pm BST

Here are the latest photos from Ukraine and elsewhere:

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People cross the Donets River next to a destroyed bridge in Staryi Saltiv, east of Kharkiv. Photograph: Sergey Bobok/AFP/Getty
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Passengers arrive at Przemyśl in Poland on a train from Zaporizhzhia in Ukraine. Photograph: Omar Marques/Getty
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A school gym allegedly used by the Russian army as a base in the village of Mala Komyshuvakha, in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region. Photograph: Oleg Petrasyuk/EPA
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A Ukrainian soldier looks out from a tank in Lyman, Donetsk region. Photograph: Jorge Silva/Reuters
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Destroyed Russian ammunition store in the town of Izyum, in the Kharkiv region. Photograph: Oleg Petrasyuk/EPA

Updated at 1.58pm BST

1.31pm BST

The Kyiv Independent reports that Kharkiv Oblast governor Oleh Syniehubov has said Ukrainian authorities found the bodies of at least 20 people in a civilian convoy near the city of Kupiansk. Syniehubov believes they were killed while they attempted to flee Russian soldiers.

Ukrainian news website Suspilne reports that there were six cars in the convoy which were found covered in bullet holes and burned out. According to Suspilne, a child was among the dead. Syniehubov described the massacre as “cruelty that has no justification”.

Russian-installed officials in Ukraine’s east accused Ukraine of shelling a convoy of refugees being evacuated from the Kharkiv region and killing around 30 civilians, as reported by Russian state media on Thursday.

It was not immediately clear if they were referring to the same convoy.

Updated at 1.39pm BST

1.16pm BST

Andriy Yermak, head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, has shared a video which appears to show Ukrainian soldiers holding a Ukrainian flag at the entrance to the city of Lyman, in the Donetsk region which has been occupied by Russian soldiers since May, the Kyiv Independent reports.

Reuters reports that Serhii Cherevatyi, a spokesman of Ukraine’s Operational Command East, said that Lyman is an important step towards the “liberation” of the region of Donbas.

Updated at 1.37pm BST

1.01pm BST

Summary

It’s 3pm in Ukraine, here’s the latest:

  • Russia is trying to transfer the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to the Russian energy firm Rosatom, the head of Ukraine’s atomic energy company said. Speaking with BBC News on Saturday, Petro Kotin said “they are trying to make our personnel just to sign the accurate deals for the work at Rosatom”.

  • The Danish prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, said she shared key information on the damaged Nord Stream pipelines with Liz Truss at a meeting in Downing Street. “ This is sabotage and it is critical infrastructure. So of course, this is a very serious situation,” told reporters outside No 10.

  • The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has requested clarifications from Russian authorities following reports that the director-general of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has been detained.

  • Ukraine has encircled Russia’s forces around a bastion that is critical for Moscow at the eastern town of Lyman , in an operation that is still under way. Russia’s forces at Lyman totalled about 5,000 to 5,500 soldiers, but the number of encircled troops may have fallen because of casualties and some soldiers trying to break out of the encirclement, according to a spokesperson for Ukraine’s eastern forces.

  • The Ministry of Defence said Russia’s expansion strategy has resulted in “killing civilians it now claims are its own citizens”. The MoD said Russia is expending “strategically valuable military assets” in attempts to gain tactical advantage.

  • The Ukrainian director-general of the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has been detained by a Russian patrol, according to Energoatom. The company said his detention on Friday “jeopardises the safety of operation of Ukraine and Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.”

  • Turkey which has been at the centre of mediation between the west and Russia , rejected Russia’s annexation of Ukraine , calling the decision a “grave violation” of international law.

12.41pm BST

A key adviser to Ukraine’s President Zelenskiy, Mykhailo Podolyak , said “negotiations are possible” but “with the new president of Russia”.

Tweeting on Saturday, Podolyak said there is no point in negotiating with those who “dance on bones” – referring to Putin and other officials.

Updated at 1.40pm BST

12.28pm BST

A superyacht linked to sanctioned Russian billionaire Igor Kesaev is for sale for €29.5m (about £26m).

A US-based luxury yacht broker is advertising the 168-ft MySky yacht, according to an email seen by Reuters from the brokerage firm to undisclosed recipients on 14 September.

Kesaev was sanctioned in April by the UK and EU following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with the EU citing his involvement in military weapons production in Russia, as well as links to the Russian government “and its security forces”.

The United States has not sanctioned Kesaev, and the US Treasury did not respond to requests for comment, Reuters reports.

Sara Gioanola, a spokesperson for Heesen Yachts, the Netherlands-based firm that built MySky, confirmed that Kesaev commissioned it and another yacht, called Sky. Reuters was unable to confirm independently that Kesaev still has direct ownership in MySky.

Updated at 1.42pm BST

12.07pm BST

On Friday Volodymyr Zelenskiy announced that Ukraine was officially applying for membership of Nato, hours after Vladimir Putin said in a Kremlin ceremony that he was annexing four Ukrainian provinces.

In a speech filmed outside his presidential office in Kyiv, Zelenskiy said he was taking this “decisive step” in order to protect “the entire community” of Ukrainians. He promised that the application would happen in an “expedited manner”.

11.44am BST

Russia is trying to transfer the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to the Russian energy firm Rosatom, says head of Ukraine's atomic energy company

Speaking with BBC News on Saturday, Petro Kotin said “they are trying to make our personnel just to sign the accurate deals for the work at Rosatom”.

His remarks come after reports that the Ukrainian director-general of the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Ihor Murashov , had been detained by a Russian patrol on Friday afternoon.

Citing previous attempts, Kotin added:

We expect that they’re trying to make him accept this move from Russians to catch the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant by Rosatom.

Kotin also described Murashov as the main person responsible for the plant’s safety, which is currently operated by 7,000 people on site.

Updated at 12.37pm BST

11.25am BST

Ukrainian forces enter Lyman

Here’s a video of Ukraine’s armed forces raising the nation’s flag before the entrance sign to the city of Lyman, where Ukraine said it encircled thousands of Russian troops earlier today.

Updated at 2.22pm BST

11.09am BST

The Danish prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, said she shared key information on the damaged Nord Stream pipelines with Liz Truss at a meeting in Downing Street.

Following the meeting, outside No 10, Frederiksen told PA news:

Of course, it has been very important for me to underline that the Danish authorities have said that this this is not an accident. This is sabotage and it is critical infrastructure. So of course, this is a very serious situation.

Both Britain and Denmark have reaffirmed their support for Ukraine, following Vladimir Putin’s annexation of four regions on Friday.

We talked most of all about the situation in Ukraine and the so-called referendums in Ukraine. As you know, Britain and Denmark are very supportive of Ukraine and we will continue to be so and to continue our work and our co-operation.

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Liz Truss and Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen in Downing Street. Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty

Updated at 11.53am BST

10.47am BST

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has requested clarifications from Russian authorities following reports that the director-general of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has been detained.

A spokesperson for the IAEA, the UN nuclear watchdog, told Reuters:

We have contacted Russian authorities and are requesting clarifications.

Earlier, we reported that Ihor Murashov had been detained on his way from Europe’s largest nuclear plant to the town of Enerhodar at about 4pm on Friday.

Petro Kotin , the head of Ukraine’s atomic energy company, said his detention “jeopardises the safety of operation of Ukraine and Europe’s largest nuclear power plant”.

Updated at 11.54am BST

10.28am BST

Here are the latest photos from Ukraine and elsewhere:

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A local walks on the destroyed bridge over the Donets river in Staryi Saltiv, east of Kharkiv. Photograph: Sergey Bobok/AFP/Getty
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More and more Ukrainian people are returning to their home country from Poland, or transiting through Poland from other countries. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty
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Russian President Vladimir Putin stands on stage during a concert marking the declared annexation of the Russian-controlled territories of four Ukraine regions, Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. Photograph: Sputnik/Reuters
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A man with a Russian flag on his uniform stands guard near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear reactor. Photograph: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters
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Children play at the Arch of Freedom of the Ukrainian people square in Kyiv. Photograph: Francisco Seco/AP

Updated at 10.59am BST

10.02am BST

Summary

It’s 12pm in Ukraine, here’s the latest:

  • Ukraine has encircled Russia’s forces around a bastion that is critical for Moscow at the eastern town of Lyman , in an operation that is still under way. Russia’s forces at Lyman totalled about 5,000 to 5,500 soldiers, but the number of encircled troops may have fallen because of casualties and some soldiers trying to break out of the encirclement, according to a spokesperson for Ukraine’s eastern forces.

  • The Ministry of Defence said Russia’s expansion strategy has resulted in “killing civilians it now claims are its own citizens”. The MoD said Russia is expending “strategically valuable military assets” in attempts to gain tactical advantage.

  • Ukraine’s president thanked his US counterpart, Joe Biden, on Saturday for signing an additional $12.35 bn (£11bn) in support for Ukraine . Volodymyr Zelenskiy said “This help is more important today than ever.”

  • The Ukrainian director-general of the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has been detained by a Russian patrol, according to Energoatom. The company said his detention on Friday “jeopardises the safety of operation of Ukraine and Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.”

  • Turkey which has been at the centre of mediation between the west and Russia , rejected Russia’s annexation of Ukraine , calling the decision a “grave violation” of international law.

  • The World Bank said it will provide an additional US$530m in support to Ukraine , bringing the total aid by the bank to $13bn. The aid is supported by the UK ($500m) and Denmark ($30m).

9.32am BST

Ukrainian forces close in on Lyman

Ukraine has encircled Russia’s forces around a bastion that is critical for Moscow at the eastern town of Lyman , in an operation that is still under way, a Ukrainian military spokesperson said on Saturday.

Russia’s forces at Lyman totalled about 5,000 to 5,500 soldiers, but the number of encircled troops may have fallen because of casualties and some soldiers trying to break out of the encirclement, said Serhii Cherevatyi , spokesperson for Ukraine’s eastern forces, according to Reuters.

Cherevatyi said:

Lyman is important because it is the next step towards the liberation of the Ukrainian Donbas. It is an opportunity to go further to Kreminna and Sievierodonetsk, and it is psychologically very important.

On Saturday, Luhansk’s governor, Serhiy Haidai , said via Telegram:

The occupiers trapped in Liman asked the Russian command to allow them to leave the city, but were refused.

He added: “The possibilities of delivering ammunition to the Russians to the surrounded city or a peaceful exit from the settlement are already blocked.”

Updated at 10.42am BST

9.14am BST

Russia killing citizens it claims are its own, says UK

The Ministry of Defence said Russia’s expansion strategy has resulted in “killing civilians it now claims are its own citizens”.

The latest intelligence update, published on Saturday morning, comes after Putin signed annexation agreements across four occupied regions in Ukraine, marking the largest forcible takeover of territory in Europe since the second world war.

The MoD said Russia is expending “strategically valuable military assets” in attempts to gain tactical advantage. It added that Russia “almost certainly” struck a convoy outside the town of Zaporizhzhia on Friday , where local media reported 25 civilians had been killed, and more than 50 injured.

Updated at 9.57am BST

9.01am BST

Ukraine’s president thanked his US counterpart, Joe Biden , on Saturday for signing an additional $12.35 bn (£11bn) in support for Ukraine.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy wrote on Twitter:

The law provides the financing of defence programs, as well as powerful direct budget support to Ukraine. This help is more important today than ever.

Updated at 9.24am BST

8.36am BST

Here are the latest photos from Ukraine and elsewhere:

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People arrive in Poland from Ukraine after the annexation of 15% of regions of Ukraine. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty
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Destroyed Russian tanks in Bucha, in the outskirts of Kyiv. Photograph: Rodrigo Abd/AP
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Vladimir Putin is seen on a screen during the broadcast of a ceremony to declare the annexation of the Russian-controlled territories of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions. Photograph: Alexey Malgavko/Reuters
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Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy holds an application for ‘accelerated accession to Nato’ in Kyiv, Ukraine. Photograph: AP
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Ukrainians soldiers carry a wounded comrade across a damaged bridge over the Oskil River. Photograph: Scott Peterson/Getty
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A pedestrian walks among bombed apartments in the town of Sviatohirsk, Donetsk region. Photograph: Anatolii Stepanov/AFP/Getty

Updated at 9.25am BST

8.19am BST

Head of Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant abducted, says Ukrainian state agency

The Ukrainian director-general of the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was detained by a Russian patrol, according to Energoatom, the Ukrainian state agency in charge of the plant.

In a statement on Saturday, the company said Ihor Murashov had been detained on his way from Europe’s largest nuclear plant to the town of Enerhodar around 4pm on Friday, Reuters reports.

Petro Kotin , the head of Ukraine’s atomic energy company, wrote on Telegram:

He was taken out of the car, and with his eyes blindfolded he was driven in an unknown direction.

With no immediate word on Murashov ’s fate, Kotin added:

His detention by the Russians jeopardises the safety of operation of Ukraine and Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (ZNPP) faced calls for a demilitarised zone around the plant last month from the United Nations after Russia and Ukraine blamed each other for shelling at the site that has damaged buildings and caused the disconnection of power lines.

Updated at 10.26am BST

8.08am BST

Turkey has rejected Russia’s annexation of Ukraine on Saturday, calling the decision a “grave violation” of international law.

Turkey, which has been at the centre of mediation between the west and Russia , said it had not recognised Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, adding that it rejected Russia’s decision to annex Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, Reuters reports.

This decision, which constitutes a grave violation of the established principles of international law, cannot be accepted. We reiterate our support to the resolution of this war, the severity of which keeps growing, based on a just peace that will be reached through negotiations.

Updated at 8.36am BST

7.49am BST

The World Bank has said it will provide an additional US$530m in support to Ukraine, bringing the total aid by the bank to $13bn. The aid is supported by the UK ($500m) and Denmark ($30m), the World Bank said.

Of the total aid of $13bn to Ukraine to date, $11bn had been fully disbursed, the bank added.

The World Bank’s most recent analysis put the total long-term cost of reconstruction and recovery in Ukraine over the next three years at well over $100bn, said Arup Banerji, World Bank regional country director for eastern Europe.

7.44am BST

Overnight, Ukrainian forces were reportedly on the doorstep of Lyman in Donetsk, which Moscow’s forces pummelled for weeks to capture this summer.

“Lyman is partially surrounded,” said Denis Pushilin, the pro-Moscow leader in Donetsk, adding later on social media that Russian forces were holding out “with the last of their strength”.

Reports have circulated online of the Ukrainians also reaching Kreminna, 30km further east of Lyman. Hopefully we’ll have more on Ukrainian troops’ advances as the day progresses.

7.09am BST

Summary

Hello and thanks for joining today’s live coverage of the Russian war against Ukraine, brought to you by the Guardian. I’m Warren Murray here to get things started. Let’s begin with some of the most recent developments.

  • Russian forces were potentially on the verge of one of their worst defeats of the war after Ukrainian troops recaptured two villages close to the eastern Russian-occupied stronghold of Lyman.

  • Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, proclaimed the annexation of territory seized in his invasion in four regions amounting to 15% of total Ukrainian territory while Kyiv said it would continue its fight to retake the illegally occupied land .

  • Before signing the documents which lay claim to Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Luhansk and Donetsk – an act denounced as illegal by Ukraine, the United States, the European Union and the head of the United Nations – Putin delivered a 37-minute anti-western diatribe .

  • President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he was formally applying for Ukraine to join the Nato military alliance , adding that Kyiv was ready for talks with Moscow but not while Putin remained president .

  • Russia vetoed a UN security council resolution introduced by the US and Albania condemning Moscow’s proclaimed annexations . Russia’s strategic partner China abstained from the vote, as well as India, which has historic defense ties with Russia despite a warming relationship with the United States.

  • The United States responded to the annexations by imposing more sanctions on Russia , targeting hundreds of people and companies, including those in Russia’s military-industrial complex and lawmakers.

  • At least 30 civilians were killed and almost 100 wounded in what Kyiv said was a cynical Russian missile strike on a convoy of civilian cars in southern Ukraine.

  • Putin, without providing evidence , blamed the US and its allies for blowing up pipelines under the Baltic Sea , raising the temperature in a crisis that has left Europe racing to secure its energy infrastructure and supplies.

  • Joe Biden, the US president, said “was a deliberate act of sabotage and now the Russians are pumping out disinformation and lies ”, adding that Washington and its allies would send divers to find out what happened.

  • The ruptures on the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline system have led to what is likely the biggest single release of climate-damaging methane recorded , the United Nations Environment Programme said.

Comments / 21

William Douglas
10-01

But, I thought Russia was the second most powerful military in the world. Right behind North Korea.

Reply
3

Comments / 0