ContributorsPublishersAdvertisers

Russia-Ukraine war live: Ukraine declares full control of Lyman – as it happened

The Guardian
The Guardian
 2022-10-02

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=1YQoMX_0iImgqsh00

9.19pm BST

We are closing this blog now, you can find all our Ukraine coverage here .

9.03pm BST

Summary

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

  • Ukraine’s prime minister Denys Smyhal said on Sunday that 900 Ukrainian teachers have volunteered to join Ukraine’s Armed Forces to fight against Russia’s invasion since February 24. “This is a great example of serving your people,” he said.

  • The body of Paul Urey, a British aid volunteer who died after being captured by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine has been returned to the UK. Urey’s family raised £9,000 to repatriate his body after the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said it was unable to pay the transport costs.

  • Ukrainian forces have shot down 8 Iranian-made kamikaze drones on Sunday, the Kyiv Independent. According to the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Ukraine’s air force also carried our four strikes that hit two Russian weapon stockpiles, as well as two anti-aircraft missile systems.

  • US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has said that he believes Ukraine is “making progress” in the war. In a CNN interview that aired on Sunday, Austin attributes the changing tide of war to the calibre of Ukrainian soldiers and their use of weapons provided to them by the US and NATO countries.

  • Ukraine is starting to believe it can take back Crimea, according to Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s top representative in the region. While there’s no suggestion that Ukraine is close to being in a position to regain the annexed region, Tamila Tasheva and her team spend their days discussing the logistics of what would happen should Kyiv regain control.

  • The recapture of Lyman is a key factor for “further de-occupation” in the neighbouring Luhansk region , according to its Governor Serhiy Gaidai. The comments, reported by Reuters, come after Ukrainian forces declared full control of a city located in one of the four regions annexed by Vladimir Putin on Friday.

  • The UK’s Ministry of Defence has been discussing the military importance of Lyman, following the news that Russia has lost control of the eastern city. AP reports that the Donetsk city was described as crucial during a daily intelligence briefing on Sunday, owing to its “key road crossing over the Siversky Donets River, behind which Russia has been attempting to consolidate its defences.”

  • Volodymyr Zelenskiy confirmed Ukraine has “fully cleared” Russian forces from the key eastern city of Lyman, a day after Moscow admitted its troops had pulled out after they were encircled. In a short video clip on his Telegram channel , Zelenskiy thanked serving Ukrainian troops for liberating Lyman. “As of 1230 [Kyiv] local time Lyman is completely cleared,” he said, adding: “Glory to Ukraine.”

  • The nine European countries who issued a statement earlier to condemn Russia’s annexation of Ukraine were all signalling their support for Ukraine to join Nato. AP reports that the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania and Slovakia were backing a path for Ukraine’s Nato membership in their slightly opaque joint statement.

  • Ukraine’s capture of Lyman demonstrates that the country is making progress and able to push back against Russian forces, Nato Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg, has told NBC. “We have seen that they have been able to take a new town, Lyman, and that demonstrates that the Ukrainians are making progress, are able to push back the Russian forces because of the courage, because of their bravery, their skills, but of course also because of the advanced weapons that the United States and other allies are providing,” Reuters reports that Stoltenberg said.

  • A leading charity which has been helping the government with rematching Ukrainian refugees with UK hosts after initial placements end or break down, is to scale back its work because they say the scheme is unworkable. Refugees at Home is one of five voluntary and community organisations listed as “recognised providers” on the gov.uk website to help match and rematch Ukrainian refugees with UK hosts.

  • The Associated Press has found evidence of 10 torture sites in the city of Izium , following Russia’s retreat. “The AP spoke to 15 survivors of Russian torture in the Kharkiv region, as well as two families whose loved ones disappeared into Russian hands. Two of the men were taken repeatedly and abused. One battered, unconscious Ukrainian soldier was displayed to his wife to force her to provide information she simply didn’t have,” the AP reported.

  • Russia has attacked Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s home town with suicide drones . Kryvyi Rih, the southern Ukrainian town where the president grew up, was hit by a Russian suicide drone early on Sunday, according to Valentyn Reznichenko, governor of Dnipropetrovsk.

  • Russia’s constitutional court has today recognised the annexation of four key Ukrainian territories as lawful. The court has effectively rubber stamped the annexation accords signed by Vladimir Putin with the Moscow-backed leaders of the regions, despite widespread condemnation by the West.

  • Germany, Denmark and Norway have commissioned a batch of long-range weapons to be built for Ukraine . The supply of 16 Slovak Zuzana-2 howitzers, just announced by the German defence ministry, will begin next year. It follows calls from Ukraine for heavier armaments to build on recent successes on the battlefield.

  • The gas leaks on the damaged Nord Stream 1 pipeline have now been stopped. This follows Saturday’s announcement that gas was no longer flowing out of Nord Stream 2. Denmark’s energy agency said on Sunday it had been informed by Nord Stream AG that stable pressure had been achieved in the damaged Nord Stream 1 pipeline and that this indicates the outflow of natural gas from the last leaks had now halted, Reuters reports.

Updated at 8.47am BST

8.48pm BST

Ukraine’s prime minister Denys Smyhal said on Sunday that 900 Ukrainian teachers have volunteered to join Ukraine’s Armed Forces to fight against Russia’s invasion since February 24.

7.54pm BST

The body of a British aid volunteer who died after being captured by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine has been returned to the UK.

The family of Paul Urey raised £9,000 to repatriate his body after the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said it was unable to pay the transport costs, the Guardian’s Robyn Vinter reports.

Urey, 45, was captured by pro-Russia separatists along with other British nationals in April after travelling to Donetsk.

He had initially planned to join the Ukrainian Foreign Legion, but was rejected on health grounds and became an aid volunteer.

Shortly after he was captured at a checkpoint near the south-eastern city of Zaporizhzhia his family members begged his Russian captors to provide him with the medication he needed to manage his type 1 diabetes.

When his death was reported in July , a Russian official, Natalya Nikonorov, blamed “acute coronary insufficiency aggravated by pulmonary and brain edema.”

More details found here:

Related: Body of aid volunteer Paul Urey returned from Ukraine to UK

Updated at 8.47am BST

7.14pm BST

Ukrainian forces have shot down 8 Iranian-made kamikaze drones on Sunday, the Kyiv Independent reports.

According to the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Ukraine’s air force also carried our four strikes that hit two Russian weapon stockpiles, as well as two anti-aircraft missile systems.

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=0tw07R_0iImgqsh00
This handout photo taken and released by Armed Forces of Ukraine shows the wreckage of allegedly Iranian-made suicide (kamikaze) drone, which was shot down in the town of Odessa, on September 25, 2022, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Photograph: Armed Forces of Ukraine/AFP/Getty Images

6.41pm BST

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has said that he believes Ukraine is “making progress” in the war.

In a CNN interview that aired on Sunday, Austin attributes the changing tide of war to the calibre of Ukrainian soldiers and their use of weapons provided to them by the US and NATO countries.

“What we’re seeing now is a kind of change in the battlefield dynamics…They’ve done very, very well in the Kharkiv area and moved to take advantage of opportunities. The fight in the – the Kherson region’s going a bit slower, but they’re making progress,” said Austin.

He added that Ukrainian soldiers have been using “technology like HIMARS” and that they are using it in the “right way…[to] conduct attacks on things like logistical stores and command and control, that’s taking away – taken away significant capability from the Russians.”

“It’s not just about the equipment that you have. It’s about how you employ that equipment, how you synchronize things together to create battlefield effects that then can create opportunities,” he said.

5.58pm BST

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=1ebdGT_0iImgqsh00
Tamila Tasheva and her team are planning for life after the Russian occupation of Crimea. Photograph: Hennadii Minchenko/Future Publishing/Ukrinform/Getty Images

Ukraine is starting to believe it can take back Crimea, according to Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s top representative in the region.

While there’s no suggestion that Ukraine is close to being in a position to regain the annexed region, Tamila Tasheva and her team spend their days discussing the logistics of what would happen should Kyiv regain control.

“This is moment X. Right now everything is happening in a way that it feels inevitable,” said Tasheva. “It may not happen tomorrow, but I think it will be much quicker than I thought a year ago.”

Read more here

5.43pm BST

The recapture of Lyman is a key factor for “further de-occupation” in the neighbouring Luhansk region , according to its Governor Serhiy Gaidai.

The comments, reported by Reuters, come after Ukrainian forces declared full control of a city located in one of the four regions annexed by Vladimir Putin on Friday.

In a move rejected by the international community, Putin annexed Donetsk together with Kherson, Zaporizhzhia and Luhansk – proclaiming the quartet to be part of Russia “for ever”.

Russian forces have lost Lyman four months after first seizing the city, a move that Governor Gaidai hopes will prove pivotal for his region.

Updated at 5.45pm BST

5.12pm BST

Key event

The UK’s Ministry of Defence has been discussing the military importance of Lyman, following the news that Russia has lost control of the eastern city.

AP reports that the Donetsk city was described as crucial during a daily intelligence briefing on Sunday, owing to its “key road crossing over the Siversky Donets River, behind which Russia has been attempting to consolidate its defences”.

Lyman has been retaken by Ukrainian forces despite Putin announcing Donetsk’s incorporation into Russian Federation on Friday, an annexation that AFP reports has today been recognised as lawful by Russia’s constitutional court.

Related: A day after it was ‘annexed’, crucial city returned to Ukraine

Updated at 5.26pm BST

4.33pm BST

The liberation of Lyman has “brought a new mood of optimism” into the nearby city of Sloviansk, a place that has been acutely impacted for months as a result of once being one of Russia’s main objectives alongside neighbouring Kramatorsk.

Reporting from the Donbas city is Peter Beaumont, who paints a picture of returning hustle and bustle following the recapture of Lyman about 12 miles away. Buses are operating again, while crowds are milling in the main market.

This follows Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s confirmation that Ukraine has “fully cleared” Russian forces from the key eastern city, a day after Moscow admitted its troops had pulled out after they were encircled.

While the city itself is tentatively coming back to life, residents say the transformation is most noticeable in the countryside on the road towards Lyman.

Read more here

3.57pm BST

Volodymyr Zelenskiy confirmed Ukraine has “fully cleared” Russian forces from the key eastern city of Lyman, a day after Moscow admitted its troops had pulled out after they were encircled.

In a short video clip on his Telegram channel , Zelenskiy thanked serving Ukrainian troops for liberating Lyman. “As of 1230 [Kyiv] local time Lyman is completely cleared,” he said, adding: “Glory to Ukraine”.

Earlier Zelenskiy said his army would continue its offensive in the south and east and would “return back” all of the territory occupied by Russia, including Crimea . He suggested Russian generals were now “biting each other” after a series of embarrassing setbacks.

Their loss of Lyman four months after Russian servicemen seized the city in the Donetsk oblast amounts to a humiliating moment for Vladimir Putin . On Friday, in a move rejected by the international community, he annexed Donetsk together with three other Ukrainian regions, and said they were a part of Russia “for ever”.

Read more here

3.45pm BST

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=4dqDC9_0iImgqsh00
Ukraine's President Zelenskiy, Prime Minister Shmyhal and Parliament Speaker Stefanchuk hold a request for fast-track membership of the NATO military alliance, in Kyiv Photograph: Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Reuters

The nine European countries who issued a statement earlier to condemn Russia’s annexation of Ukraine were all signalling their support for Ukraine to join Nato.

AP reports that the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania and Slovakia were backing a path for Ukraine’s Nato membership in their slightly opaque joint statement.

The leaders of the nine countries said they “firmly stood behind the 2008 Bucharest Nato Summit decision concerning Ukraine’s future membership.”

Members at that 2008 summit welcomed Ukraine and Georgia’s aspirations to join, but declined to provide a clear timeline for the two countries’ possible ascension. The latest letter still mentions no timeline.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy announced on Friday that he was applying to join Nato and signed an expedited application to join the security alliance of 30 states.

When asked on Friday about the application, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the application process in Brussels “should be taken up at a different time.”

3.12pm BST

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=1uVvhI_0iImgqsh00
Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at Nato’s headquarters in Brussels Photograph: Olivier Matthys/AP

Ukraine’s capture of Lyman demonstrates that the country is making progress and able to push back against Russian forces, Nato Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg, has told NBC.

“We have seen that they have been able to take a new town, Lyman, and that demonstrates that the Ukrainians are making progress, are able to push back the Russian forces because of the courage, because of their bravery, their skills, but of course also because of the advanced weapons that the United States and other allies are providing,” Reuters reports that Stoltenberg said.

Asked about Ukraine’s application for accelerated membership in the Western defence alliance, Stoltenberg said: “any decision on membership has to be taken by consensus all 30 allies have to agree to make such a decision.”

Stoltenberg also said that Nato supports the investigation into the apparent sabotage of Russia’s Nord Stream pipelines that run from Russia to Europe under the Baltic Sea.

“Any deliberate attack on critical Nato infrastructure will be met with a firm and united response from an angle,” Stoltenberg said.

Updated at 3.37pm BST

2.58pm BST

A leading charity which has been helping the government with rematching Ukrainian refugees with UK hosts after initial placements end or break down, is to scale back its work because they say the scheme is unworkable.

Refugees at Home is one of five voluntary and community organisations listed as “recognised providers” on the gov.uk website to help match and rematch Ukrainian refugees with UK hosts.

Hosting arrangements are for a minimum of six months and many are now coming to an end after the scheme opened in March of this year. As fewer UK hosts are now coming forward, rematching requests from Ukrainians are increasing.

Many Ukrainian households have become homeless – around one third of them in London. According to government figures from 24 February 2022 until 26 August 2022 1,565 Ukrainian households were registered as homeless by councils.

Read more here

2.53pm BST

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=0NDW1U_0iImgqsh00
Holding cells are visible in a basement of a police station that was used by Russian forces to detain and torture Ukrainians in the recently liberated town of Izium Photograph: Evgeniy Maloletka/AP

The Associated Press has found evidence of 10 torture sites in the city of Izium , following Russia’s retreat. Here’s some of their reporting on the ground:

A deep sunless pit with dates carved into the brick wall. A clammy underground jail that reeked of urine and rotting food. A clinic, a police station and a kindergarten.

These were among the 10 Russian torture sites located by Associated Press journalists throughout the Ukrainian city of Izium. Torture in Izium was arbitrary, widespread and absolutely routine for both civilians and soldiers during the six months the Russians controlled the city, an AP investigation has found.

The AP spoke to 15 survivors of Russian torture in the Kharkiv region, as well as two families whose loved ones disappeared into Russian hands. Two of the men were taken repeatedly and abused. One battered, unconscious Ukrainian soldier was displayed to his wife to force her to provide information she simply didn’t have.

The AP also confirmed eight men killed under torture in Russian custody, according to survivors and families. All but one were civilians.

At a mass grave site created by the Russians and discovered in the woods of Izium, at least 30 of the 447 bodies recently excavated bore visible marks of torture bound hands, close gunshot wounds, knife wounds and broken limbs, according to the Kharkiv regional prosecutor’s office. Those injuries corresponded to the descriptions of the pain inflicted upon the survivors.

2.34pm BST

Russia has attacked Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s home town with suicide drones , AP reports.

Kryvyi Rih , the southern Ukrainian town where the president grew up, was hit by a Russian suicide drone early on Sunday, according to Valentyn Reznichenko, governor of Dnipropetrovsk. The governor said the strike destroyed two stories of a school.

Russia is increasingly using Iranian-made suicide drones to attack targets. The Ukrainian air force said it shot down five Iranian-made drones in southern Ukraine overnight, while two others made it through air defences.

2.05pm BST

Russia’s constitutional court has today recognised the annexation of four key Ukrainian territories as lawful, AFP reports.

The court has effectively rubber stamped the annexation accords signed by Vladimir Putin with the Moscow-backed leaders of the regions, despite widespread condemnation by the West.

Putin staged a grand Kremlin ceremony on Friday to celebrate the annexation of Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia , following “referendums” denounced as a sham by Kyiv and its allies.

The annexation treaties will now be considered by Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, on Monday, according to Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin.

The four territories create a crucial land corridor between Russia and the Crimean Peninsula, also annexed by Moscow, in 2014. Together the five regions make up around 20 percent of Ukraine.

Updated at 2.06pm BST

1.42pm BST

Germany, Denmark and Norway have commissioned a batch of long-range weapons to be built for Ukraine, Reuters reports.

The supply of 16 Slovak Zuzana-2 howitzers, just announced by the German defence ministry, will begin next year. It follows calls from Ukraine for heavier armaments to build on recent successes on the battlefield.

The guns, which can fire six projectiles a minute over a distance of 40 km, will be built in Slovakia. The three countries will spend 92 million euros on the systems.

1.28pm BST

Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s office says Ukraine already has the support of 10 bloc countries to join Nato.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to the head of the president’s office, tweeted that those supporting the application were “mostly countries that remember [the] poisonous claws of [the Russian] empire.”

He added: “We are grateful for the leadership and responsibility. History is being made today.”

The President announced on Friday that he was applying to join Nato and signed an expedited application to join the security alliance of 30 states.

Updated at 1.28pm BST

1.07pm BST

It looks like the gas leaks on the damaged Nord Stream 1 pipeline have now been stopped. This follows Saturday’s announcement that gas was no longer flowing out of Nord Stream 2.

Reuters reports:

Denmark’s energy agency said on Sunday it had been informed by Nord Stream AG that stable pressure had been achieved in the damaged Nord Stream 1 pipeline and that this indicates the outflow of natural gas from the last leaks had now halted.

A total of four leaks were discovered on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines in the Baltic Sea near Denmark and Sweden last week.

While neither pipeline was in use at the time of the suspected blasts, they were filled with gas that has been spewing out and bubbling to the surface of the Baltic Sea since Monday.

Updated at 1.08pm BST

12.59pm BST

Denmark has signed a letter of intent with Slovakia, Norway and Germany, to aid Slovakian production of Zuzana-2 artillery systems gifted to Ukraine, the Danish government has announced.

The country is donating 230m krone (30.1m euros) to the effort, which is worth 9.2m euros.

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=4Yc2EJ_0iImgqsh00
Denmark’s defence minister Morten Boedskov (L) and his Slovakian counterpart Jaroslav Nad announce a joint donation to Ukraine at a press conference at Kastellet in Copenhagen, Denmark. Photograph: Claus Bech/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP/Getty Images

12.47pm BST

Central and eastern European heads condemn Russian annexations in Ukraine

The presidents of nine Nato countries in central and eastern Europe declared on Sunday they would never recognise the annexation by Russia of Ukrainian territory, AFP reports.

Their reaction comes two days after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed treaties to annex four Moscow-occupied regions of Ukraine - Donetsk, Kherson, Lugansk and Zaporizhzhia - following “referendums” the West has dismissed as “sham”.

The presidents issued a joint statement saying they could not “stay silent in the face of the blatant violation of international law by the Russian Federation”.

“We reiterate our support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” they said.

“We do not recognise and will never recognise Russian attempts to annex any Ukrainian territory.”

The statement was issued by the presidents of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.

Four of the signatories - Poland, and the three Baltic states - are on Nato’s eastern flank with Russia.

Two others - Romania and Slovakia - have borders with Ukraine.

Hungary, which also borders Ukraine, was notably absent from the list. Its nationalist prime minister, Viktor Orban, has sought close ties with Putin in recent years and railed against European Union sanctions on the Kremlin.

Also absent were Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia and Slovenia.

The statement, published on the website of the Polish president’s office, said the leaders of the signatory countries had “visited Kyiv during the war and witnessed with their own eyes the effects of Russian aggression”.

“We support Ukraine in its defence against Russia’s invasion, demand Russia to immediately withdraw from all the occupied territories and encourage all (Nato) Allies to substantially increase their military aid to Ukraine,” it said.

“All those who commit crimes of aggression must be held accountable and brought to justice.”

The presidents said they stood by a decision Nato made 14 years ago, supporting Ukraine’s wish to join the transatlantic military alliance at a future date.

They did not comment on Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014, or on Ukraine’s request last Friday for fast-track Nato membership following Russia’s annexation manoeuvre.

Nato members have hesitated at accepting a country at war - which, by treaty, would oblige the alliance to come to its defence.

Nato’s Article 5 says an attack on one member is tantamount to attack on all.

Updated at 12.58pm BST

12.33pm BST

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said on Sunday that it was technically possible to restore ruptured offshore infrastructure of Nord Streams pipelines, TASS news agency reported.

Novak said:

There have never been such incidents. Of course, there are technical possibilities to restore the infrastructure, it takes time and appropriate funds. I am sure that appropriate possibilities will be found.

12.13pm BST

Russia’s Defence Ministry has said its forces had destroyed seven artillery and missile depots in the Ukrainian regions of Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, Mykolaiv and Donetsk.

It said the guidance radar for a S-300 air defence missile system had also been destroyed near Nova Kaluha in the Kherson region of southern Ukraine, Reuters is reporting.

12.09pm BST

More detail here on the Pope’s speech today, from AFP.

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=457Osg_0iImgqsh00
Pope Francis has appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin, imploring him to "stop this spiral of violence and death" in Ukraine. The pontiff also called on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to "be open" to serious peace proposals Photograph: Alessandra Tarantino/AP

Pope Francis on Sunday deplored Russia’s annexation of Ukrainian territory and called on the Russian leader to stop the war and on Ukraine’s president to be open to talks.

“I deeply deplore the grave situation that has arisen in recent days, with further actions contrary to the principles of international law. It increases the risk of nuclear escalation, giving rise to fears of uncontrollable and catastrophic consequences worldwide,” he said during the Sunday Angelus prayer.

He implored Russian President Vladimir Putin “to stop this spiral of violence and death” and on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “to be open to serious proposals for peace”.

He also urged the international community “to do everything possible to bring an end to the war, without allowing themselves to be drawn into dangerous escalations”, and to support any efforts to resolve the conflict through dialogue.

It is the first time that the Argentine pope has directly addressed the Russian leader in a speech since the start of Moscow’s invasion on February 24.

Francis has been trying since the start of the invasion to open a path of dialogue with Moscow, while condemning a “cruel and senseless war”.

12.00pm BST

Summary

It is 2pm in Kyiv, here’s a rundown of the latest news

  • Ukraine is in full control of the eastern logistics hub of Lyman , Kyiv’s most significant battlefield gain in weeks, which a senior official said could provide a staging post for further gains to the east, Reuters reports.

  • The Pope has said it is “absurd” that the world is facing a nuclear threat over Ukraine . Calling for a ceasefire “in the name of God”, he appealed to the Russian and Ukrainian presidents to find a way out of the crisis.

  • The US defence secretary Lloyd Austin has welcomed the capture by Ukrainian forces of Lyman, a key Russian stronghold in eastern Ukraine. Austin said he was “very encouraged” by the Ukrainian victory on Saturday, which is an embarrassment for Vladimir Putin , who declared on Friday that the city – in the Donetsk region – was Russia’s “for ever” .

  • Germany’s defence minister, Christine Lambrecht, made a surprise visit to Ukraine – her first since Russia’s invasion in February – as Kyiv urged Berlin to send it battle tanks. Lambrecht visited the southern port city of Odesa on Saturday and met her Ukrainian counterpart, Oleksii Reznikov, the German defence ministry said.

  • Russia has now restricted access to the music-streaming app SoundCloud , Reuters reports. SoundCloud was accused of distributing “false information” about the war by communications watchdog, Roskomnadzor (RKN). It follows existing bans on Facebook and Instagram.

  • 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, pipeline spokesman Ulrich Lissek told AFP. The British prime minster, Liz Truss, has said the series of explosions that severely damaged Russia’s gas pipelines were an act of sabotage.

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

  • Russia failed to win enough votes for re-election to the ICAO’s governing council . The French representative told the assembly after Saturday’s ballot: “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 the UN aviation agency’s 36-member council as one of the “states of chief importance in air transport”.

  • The head of Russia’s region of Chechnya said Moscow should consider using a low-yield nuclear weapon in Ukraine after its battlefield defeat in Lyman. Ramzan Kadyrov said in a message on Telegram addressing Russia’s loss of its stronghold: “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.”

  • Russian authorities informed the International Atomic Energy Agency that the head of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was “temporarily detained” for questioning. Ihor Murashov was detained on his way from the Russian-occupied plant – Europe’s largest – to the town of Enerhodar at about 4pm on Friday. Russia is trying to transfer the Zaporizhzhia plant to the Russian energy firm Rosatom, the head of Ukraine’s atomic energy company, Petro Kotin, has told the BBC.

  • Turkey, which has been at the centre of mediation between the west and Russia , rejected Russia’s annexations in Ukraine , calling the Kremlin’s move on four regions a “grave violation” of international law.

11.58am BST

Ukraine declares full control of Lyman

Ukraine is in full control of the eastern logistics hub of Lyman, Kyiv’s most significant battlefield gain in weeks, which a senior official said could provide a staging post for further gains to the east, Reuters reports.

“As of 1230 (0930 GMT), Lyman is fully cleared,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a short video clip on his Telegram channel.

There was no comment from the Russian armed forces on Sunday on the status of the city. The Russian defence ministry said on Saturday it was pulling troops out of the area “in connection with the creation of a threat of encirclement”.

The latest stinging setback for Russian President Vladimir Putin came after he proclaimed the annexation of four regions covering nearly a fifth of Ukraine on Friday, an area that includes Lyman.

Kyiv and the West have condemned the proclamation as an illegitimate farce.

Russian forces captured Lyman from Ukraine in May and had used it as a logistics and transport hub for its operations in the north of the Donetsk region.

Losing it is Russia’s largest battlefield loss since Ukraine’s lightning counteroffensive in the northeastern Kharkiv region last month.

Serhiy Gaidai, governor of the Luhansk region that neighbours Donetsk, said control over Lyman could help Ukraine reclaim lost territory in his region, whose full capture Moscow announced in early July after weeks of grinding advances.

“The liberation of this city in the Donetsk region is one of the key factors for the further de-occupation of the Luhansk region,” Gaidai wrote on the Telegram messaging app on Sunday.

11.38am BST

Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins’s pro-Western centrist party has won elections in Latvia while parties supported by the Baltic state’s large Russian-speaking minority have suffered major setbacks, AFP reports.

With almost all ballots from Saturday’s vote counted, Karins’s New Unity party was in first place with 18.94 percent while the Harmony party, traditionally backed by Russian speakers, may not have won enough votes to enter parliament.

Harmony came first in the last election in 2018.

The results showed other centrist parties coming second and third and just one party associated with Russian-speakers, Stability!, scraping past the threshold to enter parliament with 6.75 percent.

The Russian-speaking minority in Latvia makes up around 30 percent of the population.

11.28am BST

AFP has an interesting report on Germany’s rush to find home-grown energy and escape reliance on Moscow. Here’s a taste of it:

Germany’s most strategically important building site is at the end of a windswept pier on the North Sea coast, where workers are assembling the country’s first terminal for the import of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Starting this winter, the rig, close to the port of Wilhelmshaven, will be able to supply the equivalent of 20 percent of the gas that was until recently imported from Russia.

Since its invasion of Ukraine, Moscow has throttled gas supplies to Germany, while the Nord Stream pipelines which carried huge volumes under the Baltic Sea to Europe were damaged last week in what a Danish-Swedish report called “a deliberate act.”

In the search for alternative sources, the German government has splashed billions on five projects like the one in Wilhelmshaven.

Altogether the new fleet should be able to handle around 25 billion cubic metres of gas per year, roughly equivalent to half the capacity of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline.

11.20am BST

Lyman is now “fully cleared” of Russian forces, Zelenskiy has declared in a short video on his Telegram channel.

11.15am BST

The Pope has said it is “absurd” that the world is facing a nuclear threat over Ukraine, Reuters reports.

Calling for a ceasefire “in the name of God”, he appealed to the Russian and Ukrainian presidents to find a way out of the crisis.

This is Robyn Vinter, taking over the Ukraine blog for a while.

Updated at 11.26am BST

10.55am BST

Russian shelling of the Kharkiv region is continuing alongside urgent attempts to demine the area, its governor says.

Governor Oleg Sinegubov said on Telegram that shelling had been particularly heavy in the city of Kupyansk and its surrounding area as well as Vovchansk and the village of Gatishche in Chuguyiv district.

A 71-year-old woman was hospitalised with an injury during the day in Kupyan district, he said the regional centre of emergency medical assistance had reported.

He also said that 704 explosive devices had already been neutralised in the last day.

10.34am BST

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=37fl1e_0iImgqsh00
Mark Hamill at the world premiere of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in Hollywood. Photograph: Valérie Macon/AFP/Getty Images

Star Wars actor Mark Hamill has said Ukraine needs more drones to fight off the Russian invasion and compared Moscow to the dark side of the Force in the film series.

Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker in the films, was made an ambassador to the United24 project – which Ukraine set up to elicit donations of drones to the Ukrainian army – by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

He told the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg that he had discussed parallels with the cult films and the current war in Ukraine with Zelenskiy.

“[Zelenskiy] did reference the movies and it’s not hard to understand why,” Hamill said, “I mean, Star Wars was always a fairy tale for children and fairy tales are morality tales of good versus evil, where good is clearly defined, evil is clearly defined and it’s not hard to extrapolate an evil empire with Russia invading a sovereign nation.”

Asked whether the platform would be used to supply lethal technology, he answered: “Ukraine needs drones. They have some drones, but not nearly as many as the Russians.”

Hamill also paid tribute to President Zelenskiy, saying: “I was really fascinated with this man... because he’s been absolutely heroic. And the Ukrainian people have been inspirational. He’s an amazing man.”

Hamill said participating in the project was “a chance to use [the popularity of the films’] for good and I feel a great responsibility to try and do everything I can to further the Ukrainian cause.”

Updated at 11.00am BST

10.07am BST

Luke Harding reporting in Kyiv has contrasted Ukraine’s success in Lyman with the propaganda about the state of the war on the streets of Moscow. He writes in The Observer today:

The banner hanging near Red Square was triumphant. It read: “Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, Russia! Together for ever!” On Friday Vladimir Putin formally announced the annexation of these Ukrainian territories and celebrated with a victory concert in Moscow. Russia’s president addressed a cheering crowd waving white blue and red tricolours. “Welcome home,” he said. “Russia! Russia!” they replied.

For ever turned out to mean less than 24 hours. As workmen dismantled the stage, put up on the cobbled square outside the Kremlin, Ukrainian troops marched into the eastern city of Lyman, from where Putin’s army had just made an inglorious retreat. At one point Lyman’s liberators even performed a victory dance, hopping cheerfully from side to side along a sandy forest path.

They were, according to the Kremlin’s version of reality, encroaching on Russia’s sovereign territory. In his angry west-bashing speech on Friday, delivered before Russia’s supine government, Putin had declared that Donetsk province which includes Lyman would be officially incorporated into the Russian federation. It was, he suggested, a restoration of historical Russian lands.

You can read more here

9.50am BST

In its continued information war, Russia has now restricted access to the music-streaming app SoundCloud, Reuters reports.

SoundCloud was accused of distributing “false information” about what Moscow calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine by communications watchdog, Roskomnadzor (RKN). It follows existing bans on Facebook and Instagram.

“Roskomnadzor restricted access to the SoundCloud service in connection with placement of materials containing false information regarding the nature of the special military operation on the territory of Ukraine,” the Interfax news agency reported on Sunday, citing RKN.

It said the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office had ordered the blocking of service. The ban-worthy information apparently related to warfare methods, including “attacks on civilians, strikes on civilian infrastructure, about numerous civilian casualties at the hands of Russian soldiers”.

9.37am BST

The Ukrainian armed forces have updated their estimate of Russian casualties in the war so far.

As of this morning they claim that around 60,110 Russian soldiers have been killed and 2,377 tanks destroyed.

They said Moscow lost 500 soldiers in the last 24 hours, suffering the greatest losses in Kramatorsk and Bakhmut.

9.12am BST

The Polish weekly news magazine, Wprost , has this powerful image of Putin on its cover this week for a discussion of how the energy crisis is playing into Moscow’s hands.

8.51am BST

Mark Townsend has a report in today’s Observer about neo-Nazi Task Force Rusich mercenaries fighting in Ukraine for Russia. He writes:

A neo-Nazi pro-Kremlin group active in Ukraine is inciting atrocities against prisoners of war and explicitly advocates the torture of captives including “removing body parts”. The self-styled “Task Force Rusich” is fighting in Ukraine on behalf of the Kremlin and is linked to the notorious Wagner Group mercenaries .

A message on Rusich’s Telegram channel sent on 22 September advocates the “destruction of prisoners on the spot”.

Adam Hadley, executive director of Tech Against Terrorism , a London-based initiative supported by the United Nations, said: “Rusich, an openly neo-Nazi group highly likely operating on behalf of the Kremlin, has promoted the commission of war crimes in the conflict.

“Despite Putin’s claims, the actions of Rusich in the conflict demonstrate the concerning prominence of neo-Nazi groups committing atrocities on behalf of the Kremlin.”

Rusich fighters, known for their brutality in Syria and the 2014 war in Crimea, have been spotted on open sources in Ukraine’s Donbas region, Kherson and in the Kharkiv region.

You can read more of his article here

8.39am BST

UN nuclear watchdog calls for release of Zaporizhzhia power plant director

The head of the UN nuclear watchdog has called for the release of the director-general of the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

Ihor Murashov was leaving the plant on Friday when he was detained and “driven in an unknown direction” while blindfolded, Ukraine’s nuclear agency Energoatom said on Saturday.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said his detention by Russia posed a threat to safety and security.

The agency posted on Twitter late on Saturday night: “IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi expressed the hope that Mr Murashov will return to his family safely and promptly and will be able to resume his important functions at the plant.”

Updated at 10.17am BST

8.19am BST

From an elegant mansion in Kyiv’s government quarter, Tamila Tasheva is planning what the Ukrainian takeover of Crimea might look like.

Tasheva, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy ’s top representative for Crimea, and her team spend their days discussing issues such as how many Ukrainian teachers or police should be sent to the peninsula if Kyiv regains control, and what else would be required to help reverse eight years of Russian rule.

No serious military analyst is suggesting that Ukraine is close to being in a position to regain Crimea, but the idea feels much less fanciful than it did a year ago.

Shaun Walker in Kyiv has the full story:

Related: ‘It feels inevitable’: Ukraine starts to believe it can win back Crimea

8.02am BST

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has pledged that within a week more areas will follow the capture of Lyman by Ukrainian forces.

Agence France-Presse reports that the retaking of Lyman, which Moscow’s forces had pummelled for weeks to control, would mark the first Ukrainian military victory in territory that the Kremlin has claimed as its own and has vowed to defend by all possible means.

Ukraine’s defence ministry announced its forces were “entering” Lyman in the eastern Donetsk region after the army said it had “encircled” several thousand Russian troops near the town. The ministry posted a video of soldiers holding up a Ukrainian flag near a sign with the town’s name.

Zelenskiy said in his evening video address:

Throughout this week, more Ukrainian flags have been raised in the Donbas. There will be even more in a week.

7.46am BST

Ukrainian officials have accused Russia of killing 24 civilians, including 13 children, in an attack on a road convoy near a recently recaptured town in Kharkiv.

Ukrainian troops on Friday had shown Agence France-Presse reporters a group of vehicles riddled with bullet holes and several corpses in civilian clothes, a short distance east of the recently recaptured town of Kupiansk.

A Ukrainian official said on Sunday that the death toll of a Russian attack on a separate civilian convoy near the city of Zaporizhzhia on Friday had risen to 30 civilians and one police officer killed, the news agency reported.

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=0sKpXp_0iImgqsh00
A woman at her destroyed house after Russian shelling in Korobochkyne village in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region. Photograph: Sergey Kozlov/EPA

7.29am BST

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a Washington-based thinktank, has said the Russian military in its current state was almost certainly unable to operate on a nuclear battlefield, even though it has historically trained its units to do so.

“The chaotic agglomeration of exhausted contract soldiers, hastily mobilised reservists, conscripts and mercenaries that currently comprise the Russian ground forces could not function in a nuclear environment,” Reuters reported ISW analysts as saying.

Any areas affected by Russian tactical nuclear weapons would thus be impassable for the Russians, likely precluding Russian advances.

Ukraine’s battlefield successes have infuriated Putin allies such as Ramzan Kadyrov , the leader of Russia’s southern Chechnya region, who said he believed “more drastic measures” should be taken by Moscow, including “the use of low-yield nuclear weapons”.

Other top officials, including former president Dmitry Medvedev, have suggested Russia may need to resort to nuclear weapons, but Kadyrov’s call was the most explicit.

7.14am BST

US defence secretary 'very encouraged' by Ukrainian capture of Lyman

The US defence secretary has welcomed the capture by Ukrainian forces of Lyman, a key Russian stronghold in eastern Ukraine.

Lloyd Austin told a news conference on Saturday:

We’re very encouraged by what we’re seeing right now.

Reuters reports Austin noted that Lyman was positioned across supply lines that Russia has used to push its troops and material down to the south and to the west.

Without those routes, it will be more difficult. So it presents a sort of a dilemma for the Russians going forward

Austin did not say whether he thought Ukraine’s capture of Lyman – in the Donetsk region – might prompt Russian escalation, although US officials have widely denounced Russia’s nuclear rhetoric in recent days and President Joe Biden has publicly urged Putin not to use nuclear weapons.

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=1xsxvI_0iImgqsh00
Lloyd Austin: ‘very encouraged’ over Lyman. Photograph: Thilo Schmülgen/Reuters

Updated at 8.19am BST

7.13am BST

Summary

Hello and welcome back to the Guardian’s continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine. As it approaches 9.15am in Kyiv, here’s a rundown on the latest news and overnight developments.

  • Russia suffered a humiliating military defeat on Saturday when Ukrainian troops liberated the key eastern city of Lyman , with videos showing them raising a national flag and performing a victory dance. Russia’s ministry of defence admitted its soldiers had retreated. They had been “withdrawn to more advantageous lines”, the ministry said, after their encirclement by Ukrainian forces. The defeat is an embarrassment for Vladimir Putin , who declared on Friday that the city – in the Donetsk region – was Russia’s “for ever” .

  • Germany’s defence minister, Christine Lambrecht, made a surprise visit to Ukraine – her first since Russia’s invasion in February – as Kyiv urged Berlin to send it battle tanks. Lambrecht visited the southern port city of Odesa on Saturday and met her Ukrainian counterpart, Oleksii Reznikov, the German defence ministry said.

  • 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, pipeline spokesman Ulrich Lissek told AFP. The British prime minster, Liz Truss, has said the series of explosions that severely damaged Russia’s gas pipelines were an act of sabotage.

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

  • Ukraine’s ambassador to Canada said her country held Russia to account for violating Ukraine’s sovereign airspace by bombing airports , which goes against the 1944 agreement setting out core principles for global aviation. Yuliya Kovaliv told Reuters it was important that all members of the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) addressed “such a drastic breach of the Chicago convention”.

  • Russia failed to win enough votes for re-election to the ICAO’s governing council . The French representative told the assembly after Saturday’s ballot: “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 the UN aviation agency’s 36-member council as one of the “states of chief importance in air transport”.

  • The head of Russia’s region of Chechnya said Moscow should consider using a low-yield nuclear weapon in Ukraine after its battlefield defeat in Lyman. Ramzan Kadyrov said in a message on Telegram addressing Russia’s loss of its stronghold: “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.”

  • A superyacht built for an oligarch under sanctions is being discreetly offered for sale for £26m ($29m) , with buyers advised that any viewings will be in the Maldives in the Indian Ocean. Brokers are being warned that the sale of MySky, built for Igor Kesaev – sanctioned over the supply of weapons to the Russian army – should not be advertised online.

  • Russia has accused the International Olympic Committee president, Thomas Bach, 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 Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was “temporarily detained” for questioning. Ihor Murashov was detained on his way from the Russian-occupied plant – Europe’s largest – to the town of Enerhodar at about 4pm on Friday. Russia is trying to transfer the Zaporizhzhia plant to the Russian energy firm Rosatom, the head of Ukraine’s atomic energy company, Petro Kotin, has told the BBC.

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

  • Turkey, which has been at the centre of mediation between the west and Russia , rejected Russia’s annexations in Ukraine , calling the Kremlin’s move on four regions a “grave violation” of international law.

Comments / 81

ch
10-02

Let the Russians held as prisoners and all those remaining in the Ukraine start laboring to begin rebuilding the Ukraine and pay back a very small part of Russia's debt.

Reply
23
Doug EEE
10-02

Our country needs to begin to stock up on iodine tablets immediately. Every house in our country should have a generous supply

Reply(12)
14
LNAF
10-02

I keep hearing that Russia is arresting people for discrediting Russia and/or the Russian military. How do you report people for that? There is a guy at Grand Kremlin Palace, Moscow, Russia, 103132 that has made Russia the laughingstock of the world.

Reply(2)
6

Comments / 0