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Russia Ukraine War (Putin's War) - Page 1

CBS Mornings

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a rare speech to a joint session of Congress, pushing members to support a bid to send $45 billion to aid their fight against the Russian invasion. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden has promised to send more powerful weapons to the front lines. Christina Ruffini reports from the White House.

Story by ashoaib@insider.com (Alia Shoaib)

A Russian tank commander deliberately attacked another Russian position in the Zaporizhzhia region of Ukraine this summer following a battlefield argument, a major new report said. The incident, part of a sweeping investigation by The New York Times, is one of the clearest examples of the vicious in-fighting that has plagued President Vladimir Putin's military throughout the war. A Russian drone operator who said he witnessed the episode told the paper that a Russian tank commander drove his T-90 tank toward a group of Russian national guard troops, fired at their checkpoint and blew it up. "Those types of things happen there," the soldier said, adding that he has since fled Russia.

Story by Thomas Kika

A new report claims that more than one million residents of the Russian Federation have called a Ukrainian surrender hotline or visited its website as Russia's invasion losses near a grim milestone. According to the Ukrainian news outlet Pravda, government press secretary Andriy Yusov claimed during a recent telethon that over 1.2 million people had called a surrender hotline run as part of the country's project, "Hochu Zhit," which translates to "I want to live," or visited its corresponding website to inquire about their options. He further claimed that "the lion's share of them are people who are in the territory of the so-called Russian Federation." This influx of appeals comes as Russia's deaths in Ukraine are nearing 100,000.

"Currently these are not intents to surrender, but inquiries to find a way for themselves and their relatives to save their lives in this bloody unjustified war of Putin's occupiers against Ukraine," Yusov said. The "Hochu Zhit" project was launched on September 18 by the Ukrainian government as a means to help Russian military members safely surrender to them. It currently consists of a chatbot that current or prospective soldiers can use to declare their desire not to fight Ukraine, and a telephone hotline they can then use to discuss the process of surrendering once they are in Ukraine.

By VASILISA STEPANENKO

PRZEWODOW, Poland (AP) — NATO member Poland and the head of the military alliance both said Wednesday that a missile strike in Polish farmland that killed two people appeared to be unintentional and was probably launched by air defenses in neighboring Ukraine. Russia had been bombarding Ukraine at the time in an attack that savaged its power grid. “Ukraine’s defense was launching their missiles in various directions, and it is highly probable that one of these missiles unfortunately fell on Polish territory,” said Polish President Andrzej Duda. “There is nothing, absolutely nothing, to suggest that it was an intentional attack on Poland.”

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, at a meeting of the 30-nation military alliance in Brussels, echoed the preliminary Polish findings. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, however, disputed them and asked for further investigation. The assessments of Tuesday’s deadly missile landing appeared to dial back the likelihood of the strike triggering another major escalation in the nearly 9-month-old Russian invasion of Ukraine. If Russia had targeted Poland, that could have risked drawing NATO into the conflict.

Story by David Axe, Forbes Staff

The U.S. Defense Department reportedly plans to equip the Ukrainian air force with satellite-guided bombs. The Pentagon’s proposal to give the Ukrainians Joint Direct Attack Munitions, or JDAMs, could result in the most important single upgrade for either the Ukrainian or Russian air force since Russia widened its war on Ukraine back in February. That’s because the JDAM is accurate, whereas almost all the other munitions the Russian and Ukrainian air arms are hanging on their MiG and Sukhoi fighters and bombers ... aren’t.

At present, a section of two Ukrainian Sukhoi Su-25 attack jets or Mikoyan MiG-29 fighters might expend a combined four unguided rockets or bombs for a chance at destroying a single target. With JDAMs, the same two Su-25s or MiG-29s carrying two 500-pound JDAMs apiece feasibly could destroy four targets in a single sortie—and potentially at lower risk. All that is to say, JDAM could change the air-power calculus as the Russia-Ukraine war grinds into its 10th month.

Holly Ellyatt, Amanda Macias, Rocio Fabbro

A series of missile strikes hit major Ukrainian cities on Monday morning, with the capital Kyiv and cities to the northeast and south being targeted, according to regional officials. Kyiv’s Mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Telegram that part of the capital had been “cut off” by the strikes, which he said had hit critical infrastructure facilities. “There is no water supply in some areas,” he said. Meanwhile, global wheat prices have started to rise following Russia’s withdrawal from the Black Sea grain export deal last weekend.

Thomas Newdick

With much attention focused on new air defense systems to strengthen Ukraine’s ability to defeat Russian missile and drone attacks, the Ukrainian military appears to have launched a missile barrage of its own targeting Belgorod in western Russia. According to claims by Russian state news agencies, the attacks left an undisclosed number of people in the region, which borders Ukraine, killed or injured, with a rail line and an ammunition dump being among the apparent targets.

Rail services in the Belgorod region were suspended today after at least one missile — apparently a Ukrainian Tochka series, or SS-21 Scarab tactical ballistic missile — came down on a line near the town of Novyi Oskol. Pictures said to have been taken at the site of the strike that has appeared on social media show obvious damage both to the track and the overhead power lines. The photos also look to show the tail end of a Tochka or Tochka-U missile.

William Echols

On October 10, Russia launched dozens of missiles at Ukrainian cities in retaliation for the bombing of the Kerch Strait Bridge, which links the Russian-occupied Crimean Peninsula with the Russian mainland. Russia, which has systematically targeted civilian infrastructure since launching its invasion of Ukraine on February 24, claimed the latest wave of attacks “was in response to Kyiv’s terrorism.” Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed the strikes were solely aimed at legitimate military and infrastructure targets.

"This morning, on the initiative of the Ministry of Defense and according to a plan [formulated by] the Russian General Staff, massed strikes were carried out using high-precision, long-range air, sea and land-based weapons against energy, military command and communications facilities of Ukraine," Putin said. But that is false. Russia did target military and energy facilities. But abundant evidence shows strikes at civilian infrastructure and cultural sites. In the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, witness accounts, photos and videos prove that museums, an office building, a pedestrian bridge, a park, a busy intersection and other civilian areas were hammered in the barrage.

John Bacon, USA TODAY

Russian bombs delivered by Iranian-built drones hammered the Kyiv region Thursday as Ukraine's capital again took the brunt of Russian President Vladimir Putin's deadly wrath. The attack comes three days after damaging missile strikes that marked the first assault on the city since the early days of the war, when Russia's march to Kyiv was driven back by Ukrainian forces. "Another attack by kamikaze drones on critical infrastructure facilities," the deputy head of the presidential office Kyrylo Tymoshenko said on Telegram. "The relevant services are already ... documenting the consequences of shelling. Do not neglect safety, stay in shelters during alarms!"

The British Defense Ministry has said the low-flying drones were unlikely to provide strike options deep into Ukrainian territory, with many reportedly destroyed before they hit their targets. Missiles and mortar blasting cities in the south and east of the country had become routine during the seven months since Russia's invasion began, but Kyiv in north-central Ukraine had seen relative normalcy since March. That changed dramatically after an explosion on the Russian-built Crimean bridge Saturday curtailed vehicle and rail traffic – and embarrassed Putin's government. Missiles rained down in cities across Ukraine in retaliatory strikes Monday.

Sinéad Baker

Ukraine trolled Russia at the UN after just four nations voted not to condemn its annexation of Ukrainian regions. Sergiy Kyslytsya, the Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations, shared a picture of himself at the UN headquarters in New York, writing: "Oh God! Can't see it! How many you said voted for Russia? 4? Blimey! …" Reuters reported that the photo of Kyslytsya using the binoculars was taken in the room shortly before the vote on Wednesday. 143 countries voted in support of the resolution at the at the UN General Assembly to condemn Russia's annexation and demand that it return the territory to Ukraine.

Mia Jankowicz

The UK's defense minister said that Russia will run out of weapons before Ukraine does, because Russia is isolated and cut off from the global supply chain. Ben Wallace was asked by Sky News in an interview shared on Thursday if "there a risk that western allies are going to run out of weapons to support Ukraine first," compared to Russia. Wallace said in response that there was not. "There isn't a risk," he said. He this was the case because Ukraine's Western allies are not at risk of running out "unlike Russia, which has already isolated itself."

Russia's ability to make and repair weapons and ammunition is tied up in a global supply chain that it has little current access to, he said. "They need a supply chain, and large parts of their supply chain were not in Russia, they came from all over the world including in Europe and including, indeed, even in Ukraine," he said. Ukraine's allies have imposed several waves of sanctions on Russia, cutting it off from key supplies, since the war began.

Tim McNulty

The Kremlin's mouthpiece once told a Moscow threat audience that any Russian leader to authorise an attack on Ukraine would be a "criminal." Vladimir Solovyov is now one of Vladimir Putin's chief propagandists for the invasion of Ukraine, but footage from 2008 shows him arguing that a war between Ukraine and Russia should, and would, never happen. "Let me put it this way - there will never be any war between Russia and Ukraine. "Because any person who attempts in full seriousness to undertake such an act is a criminal.

Matthew Impelli

Ukrainian officials recently described how to spot Russia's newly mobilized troops on the battlefield, pointing out differences in equipment from the more seasoned troops who have been fighting in Ukraine since the war began in February. "Characteristics of the so-called 'young replenishments': protective equipment, Soviet-style helmets and AK-12 [machine guns], which have a very negative [user] experience," the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said in an operational update on Wednesday. According to the translated post, the AK-12 has been used in Ukraine during the war, however, the post claimed it had not met expectations and that after some time, the Russian military switched to an older model of the rifle.

The mention of Russia's "young replenishments" and how Ukrainian troops can identify them on the battlefield, comes shortly after President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilization of troops to fight against Ukraine's ongoing counter-offensive. In the recent operational update, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said that up to 500 mobilized Russian troops "from the 205th Separate Motor Rifle Brigade of the 49th General Army stormed into the combat zone to make up for the enemy losses in the temporarily occupied territories."

John Bacon, USA TODAY

Five Russians are among eight suspects detained in connection with the explosion that has gnarled rail and vehicle traffic on the $3.6 billion Crimea bridge, Russia's domestic intelligence service said Wednesday. Ukraine’s military intelligence agency was behind the attack Saturday on the 12-mile bridge, Europe's longest, the FSB said in a statement. Ukraine authorities have lauded the incident but have not formally accepted responsibility for the blast, which Russia says killed three people. "At the moment, five citizens of Russia, three citizens of Ukraine and Armenia, who participated in the preparation of the crime, have been detained as part of a criminal case," the FSB said, adding that several other suspects were involved in the plan.

The FSB said the explosives were shipped out of the Ukrainian city of Odesa in August, and three Ukrainians, two Georgians and an Armenian national were behind the plan to arrange the delivery from Bulgaria through Georgia into Russia. A Ukrainian citizen and the five detained Russians had prepared documents for a non-existent Crimean firm to receive the explosives, the agency said. The investigation was continuing.

CBS Mornings

Russia is blaming Ukraine for a truck bomb that caused a major fire to erupt on the only bridge linking Russian-annexed Crimea to Russia. Authorities say part of the bridge collapsed. CBS News correspondent Charlie D’Agata is in Ukraine with the latest.

Destroyed Russian tanks and armoured vehicles in the recently liberated city of Lyman, Donetsk region, Ukraine.
Pjotr Sauer

After Russia’s chaotic retreats in Kherson – less than a week after Vladimir Putin illegally annexed the Ukrainian province alongside three others – the region’s Moscow-appointed governor, Kirill Stremousov, sought to calm the mood. Far from a rout, the withdrawal was a tactical “regrouping” to “deliver a retaliatory blow”, Stremousov said on Wednesday. His comments – the first public admission of Russia’s retreats in Kherson – attempted to mask what even many vocal supporters of the war now say: the situation is the most dire the Russian army has found itself in since the start of the invasion seven months ago.

“Friends, I know you’re waiting for me to comment on the situation. But I really don’t know what to say to you. The retreat … is catastrophic,” Roman Saponkov, a prominent war correspondent, wrote on his Telegram channel, describing his despair over the pullback in Kherson. The extent of Russia’s retreat remains unclear for now. During his nightly address on Tuesday, Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said: “The Ukrainian army is making quite fast and powerful movements in the south of our country.” Henamed eight small towns in Kherson that had recently been recaptured.

John Bacon, USA TODAY

The announcement came hours after Putin signed laws annexing the Zaporizhzhia region. Earlier in the day, Energoatom chief Petro Kotin said he will be running the Russian-held plant from the capital Kyiv. The plant has been the focus of deep global concern. Both sides blame each other for bombings that have damaged parts of the plant and threaten to trigger a catastrophe, international nuclear experts warn.

"The need for a Nuclear Safety and Security Protection Zone (NSSPZ) around #Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant is now more urgent than ever," tweeted Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The plant's Ukrainian director was kidnapped Friday and released this week by Russian forces who occupy the facility. Ukrainian workers continue to operate the plant, which halted power generation last month.

By JON GAMBRELL

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian forces scored more gains in their counteroffensive across a broad front Monday, advancing in the very areas Russia is trying to annex and challenging its effort to bolster its military with fresh troops and its threats to defend incorporated areas by all means, including with nuclear weapons. In their latest breakthrough, Ukrainian forces penetrated Moscow’s defenses in the strategic southern Kherson region, one of the four areas in Ukraine that Russia is absorbing.

Ukraine’s advances have become so apparent that even Russia’s Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov, who usually focuses on his own military’s successes and the enemy’s losses, was forced to acknowledge it. “With numerically superior tank units in the direction of Zolota Balka and Oleksandrivka, the enemy managed to forge deep into our defenses,” Konashenkov said, referring to two towns. He coupled that with claims that Russian forces inflicted heavy losses on Ukraine’s military.

President Vladimir Putin on Friday signed treaties to absorb Moscow-controlled Ukrainian territory into Russia, in a sharp escalation of his war.
By Associated Press

Ukraine’s nuclear power provider accused Russia on Saturday of “kidnapping” the head of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, a facility now occupied by Russian troops and located in a region of Ukraine that Russian President Vladimir Putin has moved to annex illegally. Meanwhile, a senior Ukrainian official said Russian forces had killed 20 people when they shelled a civilian evacuation convoy in the country’s northeast. Bombardments have intensified as Moscow annexed the territory in a sharp escalation of the war.

Russian officials have not commented on the incident; NBC News was not able to confirm details. Russian forces seized the director-general of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, Ihor Murashov, around 4 p.m. Friday, Ukrainian state nuclear company Energoatom said. That was just hours after Putin, in a sharp escalation of his war, signed treaties to absorb Moscow-controlled Ukrainian territory into Russia. Energoatom said Russian troops stopped Murashov’s car, blindfolded him and then took him to an undisclosed location.

Al Jazeera English

Oct 1, 2022 Ukraine has encircled Russia’s forces around the eastern town of Lyman, in an operation that is still under way, a Ukrainian military spokesperson said on Saturday. The director-general of Ukraine’s Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has been detained by a Russian patrol, according to Energoatom, the state agency in charge of the plant. Russian President Vladimir Putin proclaimed the annexation of territory seized in his invasion in four regions – Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia – amounting to 15 percent of total Ukrainian territory on Friday.

Thousands of Russian troops may be trapped after a rapid-fire Ukrainian counter-attack fought to encircle a key strategic city on the very day Putin claimed to be annexing it.
Barbie Latza Nadeau

Moscow celebrated the annexation of huge swathes of Eastern Ukraine Friday but President Vladimir Putin’s party was wrecked by a lightning counter-attack that may have trapped thousands of his men in a key city supposedly now part of Russia. “This is the will of millions of people,” Putin said at a glitzy ceremony in front of high-ranking Russian diplomats still in the country. “People living in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson region and Zaporizhzhia region are becoming our compatriots forever.”

But as he gloated, Ukrainian sources claimed that the strategic city of Lyman, which has served as a Russian military hub in Donetsk, has been encircled and supply lines cut. “Lyman! The operation to encircle the Russian group is at the stage of completion,” said Ukrainian lawmaker Oleksiy Goncharenko on Friday. The claim could not be independently verified but, if confirmed, it would be one of the most serious Russian military losses of the war so far.

Pro-Kremlin forces have conceded that the Ukrainians have made major gains in the region and are close to cutting off the Russian staging post in northern Donetsk, which has been under Russian control since July. An adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky tweeted that Russian forces would have to “ask for an exit from Lyman” if they want to surrender, adding, “Only if, of course, those in the Kremlin are concerned for their soldiers.”

By Jonathan Landay

ZAPORIZHZHIA, Ukraine, Sept 30 (Reuters) - A defiant Vladimir Putin proclaimed Russia's annexation of a swathe of Ukraine in a pomp-filled Kremlin ceremony, promising Moscow would triumph in its "special military operation" against Kyiv even as some of his troops faced potential defeat. The Russian president's proclamation of Russian rule over 15% of Ukraine - the biggest annexation in Europe since World War Two - was roundly rejected by Western countries, with the United States and Britain announcing new sanctions.

It comes as Russian forces in one of the four regions being annexed face being encircled by Ukrainian troops after Putin ordered a massive mobilisation drive to get hundreds of thousands of Russian men to the front. In one of his toughest anti-American speeches in more than two decades in power, Putin signalled he was ready to continue what he called a battle for a "greater historical Russia", slammed the West as neo-colonial and as out to destroy his country, and without evidence accused Washington and its allies of blowing up the Nord Stream gas pipelines.

CNN

Sep 30, 2022  Russian President Vladimir Putin has formally announced the Kremlin’s intention to annex nearly a fifth of Ukraine in blatant violation of international law.

The mass exodus out of Russia shows no signs of easing as hundreds of thousands of Russians scramble to flee across Russia's borders. In Georgia, the mass exodus of men, alone or with their families or friends began shortly after President Vladimir Putin called for 300,000 more troops. Since then, cars have been forming long, snaking lines. The mass exodus comes on the heels of what the White House is calling a sham referendum in occupied parts of Ukraine. Putin is expected to use the results to declare the regions are now part of Russia as early as this Friday.

Reuters

Sept 27 (Reuters) - President Volodynyr Zelenskiy issued a fresh denunciation on Tuesday of Russian-staged votes in occupied parts of Ukraine approving proposals to become part of Russia, saying they were a "farce" and could never be described as legitimate referendums. "This farce in the occupied territories cannot even be called an imitation of a referendum," Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address. Zelenskiy said Ukraine would defend its people still living under occupation in the four areas where votes were held - Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions -- and in parts of Kharkiv region still under occupation.

By Zoe Strozewski | Newsweek

A recent series of explosions in Crimea has spurred Russia to shuffle some of its planes and Black Sea Fleet troops out of the occupied peninsula, according to a Ukrainian military intelligence official. Vadym Skibitsky, a representative for the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, told Krym.Realii in a report published Wednesday that the redeployed Black Sea Fleet personnel were sent to the Russian port city of Novorossiysk. Skibitsky said that those personnel "are not directly involved and have auxiliary functions" in the fleet.

The redeployed Russian aircraft were sent to airfields in Russian territory, he said. Skibitsky added that the directorate cannot rule out the possibility of some warships and supply vessels also being moved from Sevastopol, Crimea's largest city and a major Black Sea port, to Novorossiysk to "avoid getting hit." Ukraine's defense ministry has previously said that Russian planes and helicopters were being moved either deep into Crimea or into Russian territory in the wake of the explosions.

Reuters

Ballots were cast in occupied parts of Ukraine on Saturday, a day after Russia launched referendums aimed at annexing four occupied regions of the country. The move drew condemnation from Kyiv and Western nations, who dismissed the votes as a sham and pledged not to recognize their results. Ukrainian officials said people were banned from leaving some occupied areas until the four-day vote was over.

Adding that armed groups were going into homes, and employees were threatened with the sack if they did not participate. Reuters could not immediately verify reports of coercion. In Kyiv on Saturday, internally displaced people from Mariupol, like Oleh Sukhov, protested the vote. “Today a referendum is taking place in Mariupol. I am strongly against it. It is not needed. How, say, I, a native Mariupol resident, am now able to say 'no' in this ballot? I have no such right. I considered myself, I consider myself a Mariupol resident and I want Mariupol to be Ukraine.”

John Bacon, Jorge L. Ortiz | USA TODAY

The Ukraine military's stunning offensive gained momentum Monday, reclaiming several more northeastern villages and forcing the retreat of overwhelmed Russian troops from the region. A Russian-installed official in the Kharkiv region said Ukrainian forces outnumbered Russian troops by 8-to-1 and had broken through to the Russian border. Vitaly Ganchev told the state-owned Rossiya-24 television channel on Monday “the situation is becoming more difficult by the hour.” Kyiv’s sudden surge comes after months of little movement, save for Russia's small gains in the Donbas region. The encouraging counteroffensive has lifted Ukrainian morale and prompted criticism within Russia of President Vladimir Putin’s "special military operation."

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy marked 200 days since the war began by lauding the efforts of his military, which he said have liberated more than 3,700 square miles in the east and south in September. "The world is impressed. The enemy is panicking," Zelenskyy said. "Ukraine is proud of you, believes in you, prays for you, and is waiting for you."

Analysis by Brad Lendon, CNN

CNN — For Russia, the numbers are catastrophic. From Wednesday to Sunday, Vladimir Putin’s military forces saw at least 338 pieces of important military hardware – from fighter jets to tanks to trucks – destroyed, damaged or captured, according to numbers from the open source intelligence website Oryx, as Ukraine’s forces have bolted through Russian-held territory in an offensive that has stunned the Russians in its speed and breadth. Ukraine’s top military commander claimed on Sunday that more than 3,000 square kilometers (1,158 square miles) of territory had been retaken by his country’s forces since the beginning of September. And for more perspective, just “since Wednesday, Ukraine has recaptured territory at least twice the size of Greater London,” the British Defense Ministry said Monday.

Ukrainian reports say Putin’s troops are fleeing east to the Russian border in whatever transport they can find, even taking cars from the civilian population in the areas they had captured since the start of the war in February. In their wake they leave hundreds of pieces of the Russian war machine, which since Putin’s so-called “special military operation” commenced, has not come close to living up to its pre-war billing as one of the world’s great powers.  These Russian losses are the accumulation of a multitude of existing problems that are now colliding head-on with a Ukrainian military that has been patient, methodical and infused with billions of dollars of the Western military equipment that Russia cannot match. And without a drastic, and potentially unconventional intervention from Putin, the Ukrainian victories are likely to accelerate, analysts say. Many of Russia’s problems – poor and inflexible leadership, sour troop morale, inadequate logistics and hardware beset by maintenance issues – have been evident since the beginning stages of the war more than seven months ago.

Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine’s surprise counterattack in the northeast of the country has sent shock waves through the Russian army, with military strategists saying occupying forces have likely been forced to pull out of the entire region around Kharkiv. This crucial area is home to Ukraine’s second-largest city and lies close to the border with Russia. This should have made it easier for Russia to defend, but Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said Sunday that its forces had been able to recapture dozens of towns and villages in the area over the last few days. These include the strategically important town of Izyum, which Russia had used as a base for its forces in the region, and Kupiansk, a key railway hub in the area.

By KARL RITTER and HANNA ARHIROVA

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian troops on Sunday successfully pressed their swift counteroffensive in the northeastern part of the country, even as a nuclear power plant in the Russia-occupied south completely shut down in a bid to prevent a radiation disaster as fighting raged nearby. But Russia struck back at Ukraine’s infrastructure Sunday night, causing widespread blackouts, with the Kharkiv and Donetsk regions among those without power, officials said.

Kyiv’s action to reclaim Russia-occupied areas in the Kharkiv region forced Moscow to withdraw its troops to prevent them from being surrounded, leaving behind significant numbers of weapons and munitions in a hasty retreat as the war marked its 200th day on Sunday. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy mocked the Russians in a video address Saturday night, saying “the Russian army in these days is demonstrating the best that it can do — showing its back.”

Holly Ellyatt, Amanda Macias

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s mission has arrived at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant after a delay lasting several hours due to shelling around Enerhodar, where the plant is located. Ahead of the visit, IAEA chief Rafael Grossi said the mission was aware of “increased military activity in the area” but was determined to press ahead with its plan to visit the facility and meet personnel there. Earlier, the country’s state nuclear power company said the plant’s fifth reactor has been shut down as a result of the shelling. Meanwhile, Russian forces are concentrating their efforts on restoring supply lines and keeping a hold on captured territories in Ukraine, the country’s armed forces said in an operational update Thursday morning.

A series of explosions at military depots and airbases in Russian-annexed Crimea hint at a growing ability to strike deep behind enemy lines that could shift the dynamics of the war.
By Josh Lederman and Hyder Abbasi

DNIPRO, Ukraine — Pro-Ukrainian saboteurs were involved in the recent spate of explosions at Russian military sites in Crimea, a Ukrainian government official told NBC News. The series of blasts hit military depots and airbases in the annexed peninsula over the past week, hinting at a growing ability by Ukraine's military or its backers to strike deep behind enemy lines, a development that could shift the dynamics of the war. Kyiv has stopped short of publicly claiming responsibility for the explosions. The government official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to disclose information about the Crimea strikes to journalists.

Experts have speculated that guerrilla fighters, known colloquially as “partisans,” may have played a role, given the nature of the blasts. The official declined to say whether the Ukrainian military or special forces were also involved in the attacks. But he added, “Only thanks to the people who oppose Putin in the occupied territories and in Russia today, resistance is possible.” Explosions were reported near an airbase Thursday night in Crimea, on the southwest coast near the port city of Sevastopol, the headquarters of Russia's Black Sea Fleet. On the opposite end of the peninsula, the sky was also lit up at Kerch near a huge bridge to Russia, in what Russia said was fire from its air defenses. On Tuesday, large blasts and fires were reported at a military depot in Russian-annexed Crimea, forcing more than 3,000 people to flee the region.

Clyde Hughes

Aug. 16 (UPI) -- Explosions rocked a military depot and fires broke out in the area of Russia-annexed Crimea on Tuesday, prompting thousands of people to evacuate amid more fighting on the contested peninsula. The blasts and the fires were reported at an ammunition depot in Crimea, which is just the second attack on the Russian-occupied peninsula since the war began in February.

Moscow-controlled Crimea Administrator Sergei Aksyonov said the explosions injured at least two people in the village of Maiskoye. One report said that authorities evacuated about 2,000 people after the blasts. "The evacuation of residents is underway, people are taken out of the five-kilometer zone from the incident to ensure safety," Aksyonov said according to CNN. Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhaylo Podolyak called the explosions at the Crimean ammo depot "demilitarization in action."

"Morning near Dzhankoi began with explosions," he said according to CNN. "A reminder: Crimea of the normal country is about the Black Sea, mountains, recreation and tourism, but Crimea occupied by Russians is about warehouses explosions and high risk of death for invaders and thieves." Russian officials said they are investigating the blasts, but reported no serious casualties. They initially said the explosions were caused by a fire in the area, but later blamed them on "sabotage."

IAEA warns of ‘grave hour’ amid fresh shelling of Zaporizhzhia plant, with region set to become new frontline
Jon Henley and Samantha Lock

Russia has rejected calls from the UN for a demilitarised zone around Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, which has been occupied by Moscow’s forces since early March and lies in a region of Ukraine that is set to become a new frontline of the war. Russia’s permanent representative to the body, Vasily Nebenzya, told Interfax on Friday that Moscow must “protect” the Zaporizhzhia plant. A withdrawal of its troops would make the facility “vulnerable … to provocations and terrorist attacks”, he said.

The UN secretary general, António Guterres, had earlier called for all military personnel and equipment to be pulled out, saying the plant “should not be used as part of any military operations” and a demilitarised zone needed to be agreed. Both the US and France backed Guterres’ appeal. Rafael Grossi, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) nuclear watchdog, said officials must visit the plant as soon as possible. “This is a serious hour, a grave hour,” Grossi told the UN security council.

Tom Ambrose

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Thursday told government officials to stop talking to reporters about Kyiv’s military tactics against Russia, saying such remarks were “frankly irresponsible”. In the wake of major blasts that wrecked a Russian air base in Crimea on Tuesday, the New York Times and Washington Post newspapers cited unidentified officials as saying Ukrainian forces were responsible. The government in Kyiv, on the other hand, declined to say whether it had been behind the explosions.

By Brad Lendon and Paul P. Murphy, CNN

CNN — At least seven Russian warplanes were destroyed after explosions rocked annexed Crimea on Tuesday, new satellite images show, in what CNN research found could be Moscow’s biggest loss of military aircraft in a single day since World War II. The destroyed warplanes appear to be Su-24 bombers and Su-30 multirole fighter jets, said Peter Layton, a fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute and a former Australian Air Force pilot, who examined Planet Lab satellite photos showing the Saki Air Base before and after the explosions. Two more warplanes appear to have been damaged, Layton said. On Wednesday, the Ukrainian armed forces added nine aircraft to the tally of Russian military hardware they say has been destroyed since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began in February.

Reuters

MOSCOW, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Blasts rocked a Russian air base near seaside resorts in the annexed Crimean peninsula on Thursday, injuring five people according to local authorities in what Moscow attributed to detonations in ammunition stories. Local witnesses told Reuters they heard at least 12 explosions around 3:20 p.m. local time (1220 GMT) from the Saky air base near Novofedorivka on Crimea's western coast. They described a final blast around 30 minutes later as the loudest.

Crimea has so far been spared the intense bombardment and artillery combat that have taken place in other areas of eastern and southern Ukraine since Feb. 24, when President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian armed forces into Ukraine - including some based in the peninsula. Russia's defence ministry said the "detonation of several aviation ammunition stores" had caused an explosion, Russian news agencies reported, but that there had been no injuries.

John Bacon, Jeanine Santucci, Jorge L. Ortiz | USA TODAY

A drone attack at the headquarters of Russia's Black Sea Fleet wounded six people and shut down a festival marking Navy Day in the Crimean peninsula city of Sevastopol, the mayor said Sunday. "There were no fatalities, six people were injured, two in moderate condition, the rest are in stable condition," Mayor Mikhail Razvozhaev said on social media. The Black Sea Fleet’s press service said the drone appeared to be homemade and described the explosive device as “low-power." Crimean authorities raised the terrorism threat level for the region to “yellow,” the second-highest tier.

Pjotr Sauer

Russia has confirmed it carried out a missile strike on the Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia, the latest in a string of deadly attacks on civilian areas, as worries in Ukraine grow that Russia is preparing a new assault in the east. The Russian defence ministry claimed in a military briefing on Friday that Thursday’s cruise missile attack was directed at a building where top officials from Ukraine’s air forces were meeting foreign arms suppliers. “The attack resulted in the elimination of the participants,” the ministry said. Ukraine has rejected Russian claims that any military target was hit, saying the attack, which took place hundreds of kilometres from the frontlines, killed at least 23 people – including three children – and struck a cultural centre used by retired veterans.

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