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It is unclear whether Russian frontline forces have “sufficient reserves or adequate morale” to withstand another concerted assault in eastern parts of Ukraine, according to British defence experts.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said Moscow had established a defensive line between the Oskil River and the town of Svatove.
Any substantial loss of territory here would “unambiguously undermine” Vladimir Putin’s strategy for the conflict, the experts say.
Russian president Vladimir Putin warned on Friday that Ukraine risks provoking “more serious” action from Moscow with its sweeping counteroffensive, claiming that “we so far have responded with restraint”.
Mr Putin vowed to press on with his “special military operation” in Ukraine during his address to reporters after attending the a meeting of Asian world leaders, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, in Uzbekistan.
He said the “liberation” of Ukraine‘s entire eastern Donbas region remained Russia’s main military goal and that he has no intention of giving up the fight.
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi offered a public rebuke to Mr Putin for the first time and the Russian leader admitted there were also concerns about the situation in Beijing.
Memorial service for ballet dancer-turned-soldier
A leading Ukrainian ballet dancer who died this week fighting on the front line has been honoured with a memorial service in the National Opera of Ukraine.
The National Opera described Oleksandr Shapoval as a “courageous romantic” and brave warrior who died under Russian mortar shelling in eastern Ukraine on Monday.
Mourners, including soldiers from Shapoval’s unit, honour guards and members of the artistic community of Kyiv, crowded the lobby of the opera house, laying flowers on his coffin before it was wrapped in a Ukrainian flag.
Shapoval, 47, retired from a long dancing career at the National Opera last year and began teaching in Kyiv before joining a territorial guard to defend the capital. He later volunteered to join the army and fought in eastern Ukraine‘s Donetsk region.
“To me he was a friend, brother-in-arms. He was a very decent person. My soul is empty. To me he will for ever be alive,” said Roman Turshyiev, who fought alongside Shapoval.
Jane Dalton17 September 2022 18:40
Power line to Russian-held nuclear plant repaired
One of the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant’s four main power lines has been repaired and is once again supplying the plant with electricity from the Ukrainian grid two weeks after it went down, the UN nuclear watchdog says.
Even though the six reactors at Zaporizhzhia, Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant, have been shut down, the fuel in them still needs cooling to avoid a potentially catastrophic meltdown. That means the plant needs electricity to pump water through the core of the reactors.
The power supply at Zaporizhzhia has been a source of major concern after the last main line went down and then three back-up lines that can connect it to a nearby coal-fired power plant were also disconnected.
That prompted the plant to go into so-called “island mode” where its last operating reactor provided it with power, though that mode is not sustainable. A back-up power line was reconnected a week ago, enabling that reactor to shut down, too.
“With the main line’s reconnection yesterday afternoon, the three back-up power lines are again being held in reserve,” the International Atomic Energy Agency watchdog said.
The three other main external power lines that were lost earlier during the conflict remain down.
Jane Dalton17 September 2022 18:05
In pictures: Ceremony for Russian woman who fought with Ukraine
Jane Dalton17 September 2022 17:30
Ukrainians honour Russian woman who fought beside them
An honour guard fired a three-gun salute as friends and comrades-in-arms gathered in Kyiv to bid farewell to a Russian woman killed while fighting on Ukraine’s side in the war.
Olga Simonova, 34, was remembered for her courage and kindness at a funeral in the Ukrainian capital on Friday.
Ms Simonova’s coffin was draped in the blue-and-yellow Ukrainian flag, with a cuddly toy lion on top. Her nom de guerre was Simba, like the main character in the Disney cartoon The Lion King.
Ms Simonova served in a trench in the Donbas region, alongside Ukrainian soldiers, first as a volunteer fighter, then a paramedic and ultimately as an enlisted member of the armed forces.
“I had this internal feeling that I could handle it and that what I was doing was right and necessary, because I can’t turn a blind eye to the situation,” she told the The Associated Press. “I just had to buy a one-way ticket. I bought it and I left.”
She said she never hid her Russian origin from her colleagues and gained their trust by showing her commitment to Ukraine on the battlefield.
In 2017 she received Ukrainian citizenship.
She became a sergeant and was given command of both infantry and artillery units.
Friends and colleagues said Ms Simonova, who was unmarried and had no children, had recently redeployed from the east to the southern Kherson region, where Ukraine has launched a counteroffensive against Russian forces.
They said she died four days ago, after her vehicle hit a landmine.
“She was respected not only as a commander, but as a person,” said Dmytro Karabinovskyi, her former commander and friend.
Jane Dalton17 September 2022 17:00
Editorial: Justice must be served after mass graves found
President Zelensky says there is evidence of genocide against Ukrainians. International authorities will determine what exactly took place in this merciless war of aggression, and who should be charged – including Vladimir Putin.
Editorial: Justice must be served for the merciless war of aggression in Ukraine
Editorial: It will be for the international authorities to determine what exactly took place – and who should be charged
Jane Dalton17 September 2022 16:15
Pressure on Russian forces mounts
Western defence officials and analysts said they believed Russian forces were setting up a new defensive line, but Ukrainian forces continue to cross the key Oskil River in the Kharkiv region.
They are trying to press on in a counteroffensive targeting Russian-occupied territory, according to the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War:
Pressure on Russian forces mounts after Ukraine’s advances
Western defense officials and analysts say said they believe the Russian forces are setting up a new defensive line in Ukraine’s northeast after Kyiv’s troops broke through the previous one and tried to press their advances further into the east
Jane Dalton17 September 2022 15:30
One person dead, two injured in Russia – report
One person was killed and two others were injured near the Russian city of Belgorod, not far from the border with Ukraine, Moscow’s Tass news agency cited local authorities as saying.
Reuters was unable to independently verify the reports.
Jane Dalton17 September 2022 14:45
Satellite images show tanks near mass graves month before bodies found
Satellite images appear to show tanks near the site of a mass grave in the Ukrainian city of Izyum months before it was discovered.
One satellite image shows two tanks along the edge of the forest north of the cemetery, on 29 August, while artillery guns can be seen at the entrance to the cemetery on 8 April. Chiara Giordano reports:
Satellite images show tanks near Izyum mass graves month before bodies found
Artillery guns also seen at entrance to cemetery just weeks after Russia’s invasion
Jane Dalton17 September 2022 14:01
Ballet dancer who volunteered to fight killed in Donetsk
Jane Dalton17 September 2022 13:15
Russia carries out strikes in four Ukrainian areas
Russia’s defence ministry says its forces have launched strikes on Ukrainian positions in several parts of Ukraine, and accused Kyiv of carrying out shelling near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
Russian forces conducted their strikes in the Kherson, Mykolaiv, Kharkiv and Donetsk regions, according to the ministry.
It said Ukrainian forces had carried out an unsuccessful offensive near Pravdyne in Kherson.
The radiation situation at Zaporizhzhia, Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant, remains normal, according to the ministry. It said two incidents of Ukrainian shelling were recorded near the plant on Saturday.
A spokesperson for Ukraine’s foreign ministry denied that its forces had carried out shelling there.
The UN International Atomic Energy Agency passed a resolution on Thursday demanding that Russia end its occupation of the plant.
Jane Dalton17 September 2022 12:22