Russia says its troops had abandoned key bastion of Lyman in occupied eastern Ukraine, a stinging defeat that prompted a close ally of President Putin to call for the possible use of low-grade nuclear weapons on day 220 of fighting.

Volunteers stand next to the bodies of killed people at a site of a civilian convoy, which Ukraine says was hit by a shelling of Russian troops in Kharkiv region.
Volunteers stand next to the bodies of killed people at a site of a civilian convoy, which Ukraine says was hit by a shelling of Russian troops in Kharkiv region. (Reuters)

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Germany says it will supply Ukraine with air defence system 

Germany will deliver the first of four advanced IRIS-T air defence systems to Ukraine in the coming days to help ward off drone attacks, its Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht has said during an unannounced visit to Odessa.

As air raid sirens sounded in the port city above, Lambrecht held talks with her Ukrainian counterpart Oleksii Reznikov in an underground bunker. Lambrecht had extended a visit to nearby Moldova for the meeting.

"In a few days, we will deliver the very modern IRIS-T air defence system," she told ARD television. "It is very important for drone defence in particular."

Ukraine forces entering key town in Russia-annexed region

Kiev's forces were entering the key eastern town of Lyman, located in one of the four Ukrainian regions that Russia annexed despite international condemnation.

Ukraine's defence ministry announced its forces were "entering" Lyman in the eastern Donetsk region after Kiev's army said it had "encircled" several thousand Russian troops near the town.

Shortly after Ukraine's announcement, Russia's defence ministry said it had "withdrawn" troops from Lyman "to more favourable lines" after being encircled by Ukrainian forces.

Russia had been using the eastern Ukrainian city as a front-line hub. Located 160 kilometres (100 miles) southeast of Kharkiv, the city was an important link in the Russian front line for both ground communications and logistics.

Russia’s withdrawal from Lyman complicates its internationally vilified declaration just a day earlier that it had annexed four regions of Ukraine, an area that includes Lyman.

Taking the city paves the way for Ukrainian troops to potentially push further into land that Moscow now illegally claims as its own.

Ukraine: 24 dead after attack on civilian convoy

Ukraine has accused Russian forces of gunning down 24 civilians, including 13 children, in an attack on a road convoy near the recently recaptured town of Kupiansk.

On Friday, Ukrainian troops had shown reporters from AFP news agency a group of vehicles riddled with bullet holes and several corpses in civilian clothes outside the village of Kyrylivka, a short distance east of Kupiansk.

A day later, Kharkiv regional governor Oleg Synegubov has put the preliminary death toll at 24, including a pregnant woman and 13 children, alleging: "Russians fired on the civilians at close range."

Russia's annexation makes ending conflict 'nearly impossible': EU's Borrell

Russia's annexation of four Ukrainian territories makes it "much more difficult, nearly impossible for the war to end," the EU's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has told Spain's RTVE television.

"Russia is losing," he said in separate comments to a forum in Spain. It "has lost in moral and political terms," but "Ukraine has not yet won."

"We need to get involved," he said, calling for the EU to beef up its military arsenal. "This is necessary and indispensable for survival," he added.

Ukraine hits back after nuclear plant chief's detention

Kiev has condemned "in the strongest terms the illegal detention" by Russians of the director of Ukraine's Moscow-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

"The crime is yet another act of state terrorism by Russia and it represents a grave violation of international law. Russia must immediately release" Ihor Murashov, Ukraine's foreign ministry said.

Russia accused of 'kidnapping' head of Ukraine nuclear plant

Ukraine’s nuclear power provider has accused Russia of “kidnapping” the head of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, a facility now occupied by Russian troops.

Russian forces seized the director-general of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, Ihor Murashov, around 1300 GMT (4 pm local) Friday, Ukrainian state nuclear company Energoatom said on Saturday.

Energoatom said Russian troops stopped Murashov’s car, blindfolded him and then took him to an undisclosed location.

Russian troops 'encircled' in key Ukraine town, report shows

Ukraine's army has said that its forces surrounded several thousand Russian troops near the key eastern town of Lyman that has been under Moscow's control since spring.

"The Russian grouping near Lyman is encircled," Serhiy Cherevatyi, a spokesman for Ukraine's eastern forces, said, according to the Interfax-Ukraine news agency. 

He said previously there were "around 5,000-5,500" Russian troops in the area.

World Bank announces additional $530M aid for Ukraine

The World Bank has announced an additional $530 million in aid to help Ukraine cover essential "public services such as health, education, and social protection."

The UK and Denmark, as donor countries, enabled $500 million and $30 million in loan guarantees, respectively, to meet Ukraine’s urgent needs caused by the conflict, according to a statement by the bank.

"The toll of destruction, damage, and dislocation in Ukraine is staggering and continues to grow," said Anna Bjerde, the World Bank regional vice president for Europe and Central Asia.

Gas starts flowing to Poland through new Baltic Pipe pipeline

Gas has started flowing to Poland through the new Baltic Pipe pipeline from Norway via Denmark and the Baltic Sea, Polish gas pipeline operator Gaz-System said.

The pipeline is at the centre of Poland's strategy to diversify its gas supplies away from Russia that began years before Moscow's attacks on Ukraine triggered a global energy crisis.

A Gaz-System spokeswoman told Reuters that flows started at 0410 GMT on Saturday and nominations, or requests for sending gas through the pipeline on October 1, totalled 62.4 million kilowatt-hours (kwh).

Moldova: Russia's Gazprom cuts gas supplies by 30 percent

Russia's Gazprom cut natural gas supplies to Moldova on Saturday by around 30 percent, the director of gas firm Moldovagaz, Vadim Ceban, said.

A day earlier, deputy Prime Minister Andrei Spinu said Gazprom had warned Moldova about the reduction in supplies. Spinu said on Saturday that technical problems were behind the reduction and the country would ask Gazprom to increase supplies.

"The reason for the reduction in gas supply...was explained by Gazprom too late," Spinu told a news conference, adding that technical problems could not be considered an "objective reason".

Japan PM condemns Russian annexation of parts of Ukraine

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, in telephone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, has condemned Russia’s new annexation of parts of Ukraine as illegal and a violation of the country's sovereignty.

“I told him that the process that Russia called a referendum and its annexation of parts of Ukraine should never be accepted, and that I strongly condemn them,” Kishida said afterward.

Kishida said he also reassured Zelenskyy in their 30-minute conversation that Japan is committed to working with other Group of Seven nations and the broader international community in further supporting Ukraine, and plans to impose more sanctions against Russia.

Russian president's proclamation of Russian rule over 15% of Ukraine -- the biggest annexation in Europe since World War Two -- has been roundly rejected by many countries.
Russian president's proclamation of Russian rule over 15% of Ukraine -- the biggest annexation in Europe since World War Two -- has been roundly rejected by many countries. (TRTWorld)

Reports: Russians nearly surrounded in Lyman town

Russian forces in Ukraine are potentially on the verge of one of their worst defeats of the 220-day fighting after Ukrainian troops captured two villages close to the eastern Russian-occupied stronghold of Lyman.

In the eastern Donetsk region, Russia's garrison in the town of Lyman is in serious trouble with reports from both sides saying Russian forces were nearly surrounded.

Ukraine said it had all the supply routes to the Russian stronghold in the crosshairs of its artillery in the east, and told Moscow it would have to appeal to Kiev if it wanted its forces to be allowed out.

The encirclement could leave Ukrainian forces an open path to seize more territory in Luhansk and Donetsk provinces, captured earlier in some of the conflict’s bitterest fighting.

Türkiye won't recognise Russia's annexation of Ukrainian lands

Türkiye has rejected Russia's annexation of four Ukrainian regions just as it did not recognise the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and voiced strong support for Kiev in the face of the seizure of 15 percent of total Ukrainian territory by Moscow.

Moscow's decision "constitutes a grave violation of the established principles of international law, cannot be accepted," the Turkish Foreign Ministry said early on Saturday.

"Türkiye did not recognise Russia’s annexation of Crimea in an illegitimate referendum in 2014 and has emphasised its strong support to Ukraine's territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty on every occasion," it said.

"In accordance with this stance adopted in 2014, we reject Russia's decision to annex the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kerson and Zaporizhia regions of Ukraine," it added.

South Korea: Not recognising Russia's annexation of parts of Ukraine

South Korea has said it does not recognise Russia's declared annexation of parts of Ukraine or what Moscow called referendums that took place in those areas.

Ukraine's sovereignty, territorial security and independence must be protected, South Korea's Foreign Ministry spokesperson said in a statement.

For live updates from Friday (September 30), click here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies