Ukrainian forces continue rapid advance in Kherson region and Donetsk; Energoatom may restart Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant
Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the war in Ukraine. My name is Helen Sullivan and I’ll be taking you through the latest for the next few hours.
Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, announced on Tuesday that dozens of regions in Ukraine have been liberated from Russian occupation. Ukrainian forces captured the town of Dudchany on the west bank of the Dnipro River in their major advance in Kherson region, according to the Russian-installed head of the administration of occupied areas in the province. In the east, Ukrainian forces were advancing after capturing Lyman, the main Russian bastion in the north of Donetsk province. The pro-Russian leader in Donetsk said forces were forming a new defensive line around the town of Kreminna.
In the meantime, here are the key recent developments.
Ukraine may restart the Zaporizhzhia plant, Europe’s largest nuclear plant, to ensure its safety, the president of the company that operates the plant told the Associated Press today. The potential restart comes weeks after there were escalating fears of a radiation disaster at the Russian-occupied facility.
Ukraine’s economy will shrink at a rate eight times that of Russia’s this year as a result of the war triggered by Moscow’s invasion in February, the World Bank has estimated.
Russia is at risk of losing control of the strategic towns critical to retaining the city of Kherson and eventually Crimea, western officials said, but they warned the fighting along the Dnieper river “will not be an easy rush into constrained territory”.
The upper house of Russia’s parliament voted on Tuesday to approve the incorporation of four occupied Ukrainian regions into Russia, as Moscow sets about formally annexing territory it seized from Kyiv since staging its latest invasion of Ukraine in February. In a session on Tuesday, the Federation Council unanimously ratified legislation to annex the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions of Ukraine, after a similar vote in the state Duma, Russia’s lower house. No lawmakers in the lower house voted against the bill either.
Russia, however, no longer has full control of any of the four provinces it claims to have annexed, after Ukrainian troops reportedly advanced dozens of kilometres in Kherson province. The Russian military has acknowledged that Kyiv’s forces had broken through in the Kherson region. It said the Ukrainian army and its “superior tank units” had managed to “penetrate the depths of our defence” around the villages of Zoltaya Balka and Alexsandrovka.
Zelenskiy has signed a decree declaring the prospect of any Ukrainian talks with Vladimir Putin “impossible”. The decree formalised comments made by Zelenskiy on Friday after the Russian president proclaimed the four occupied regions of Ukraine were to become part of Russia.
Russia’s retreat from Lyman has sparked vociferous criticism of the handling of the war on Russian state television. Vladimir Solovyov, host of a primetime talkshow on state TV channel Russia 1 and one of the Kremlin’s biggest cheerleaders, said on air on Sunday: “We need to pull it together, make unpopular, but necessary decisions and act.”
The Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) will restore its network to oppose the partial mobilisation aimed at bolstering Russia’s forces in Ukraine, close Navalny ally Ivan Zhdanov said in a video published on social media. Russian authorities have designated Alexei Navalny’s organisations “extremist” after months of increasing repression against his supporters, putting FBK employees, volunteers and sympathisers at risk of prosecution and imprisonment.
Russia | The Guardian