Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says next year's budget would be a war budget, devoting more than $27.40 billion to defence and security spending as Moscow's offensive enters its 196th day.

Russia's envoy Vassily Nebenzia describes the council meeting as a waste of time and
Russia's envoy Vassily Nebenzia describes the council meeting as a waste of time and "a new milestone in the disinformation campaign unleashed by Ukraine and its Western backers." (Reuters)

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Russia refutes 'filtration' allegations, calls them 'propaganda'

Accusations of relocating Ukrainians to Moscow-controlled areas or Russia is a "new milestone in a disinformation campaign," Russia's UN envoy has told a UN Security Council meeting. 

"As for the so-called filtration, first of all, we don't really understand what is being talked about here because the return filtration doesn't have a clear definition in international humanitarian law," envoy Vasily Nebenzia said. 

"We would note to those who are trying to confuse us with terminology, Ukrainians and residents of DPR and LPR who have come through Russia go through a registration rather than filtration," Nebenzia added.

Ukraine makes 'meaningful' advancements — US 

Ukrainian forces are making "slow but meaningful progress" on the battlefield and are currently doing better in the south than Russia, a senior Pentagon official has said.

"It is early days. I think the Ukrainians are making slow but meaningful progress. And we'll see how things pan out," Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl told an event hosted by Defense News. 

"But I certainly think things are going better on the Ukrainian side right now in the south than is true on the Russian side."

Credible allegations against Russia on children relocation — UN 

The United Nations has said there are credible accusations that Moscow's forces have removed children from Ukraine to Russia for adoption as part of larger-scale forced relocations and deportations.

"There have been credible allegations of forced transfers of unaccompanied children to Russian occupied territory, or to the Russian Federation itself," Ilze Brands Kehris, the assistant UN secretary-general for human rights, told the Security Council.

"We are concerned that the Russian authorities have adopted a simplified procedure to grant Russian citizenship to children without parental care, and that these children would be eligible for adoption by Russian families," she said.

Meanwhile, the US said it "has information that officials for Russia's presidential administration are overseeing and coordinating filtration operations."

Bombing damages power line of Zaporizhzhia — IAEA

Shelling on Tuesday damaged a backup power line at the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (ZNPP) in Ukraine, which has already lost all four of its regular power lines, the UN nuclear watchdog said in a statement.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said there was no immediate impact from the damage to one of its three backup power lines because the plant was already disconnected from the grid.

"Of the three backup lines between the ZNPP and the thermal power station, one is now damaged by shelling, while the two others are disconnected, senior Ukrainian operating staff informed IAEA experts present at the plant since last week," the IAEA statement said, referring to a nearby coal-fired plant.

Ukraine military claims responsibility for strikes in Crimea

Ukraine's top military chief has claimed responsibility for a series of strikes on Russian air bases on the annexed peninsula of Crimea, including one that caused devastation at the Saky military facility last month.

In an article co-authored by lawmaker Mykhailo Zabrodskyi and published on state news agency Ukrinform, Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, the Ukrainian army's commander in chief, said the strikes had been carried out by missiles or rockets, without elaborating.

Ukraine has until now only hinted at its involvement in the Crimea strikes, with one senior official anonymously telling Reuters that the air base explosions were the work of Ukrainian saboteurs on the ground.

UK’s new foreign minister speaks to Ukrainian counterpart in first call

Britain's new foreign secretary, James Cleverly, has said he had spoken to his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba, in his first call since taking up the role a day earlier.

"I reaffirmed the UK's steadfast support for Ukraine," he said on Twitter. "What happens in Ukraine matters to us all, and I will do everything possible to assist their fight for freedom."

UN, Moscow discuss Russian grain, fertiliser exports

Senior UN and Russian officials have met in Geneva to discuss Russian complaints that Western sanctions were impeding its grain and fertiliser exports despite a Türkiye-brokered deal to boost Russian and Ukrainian shipments of the commodities.

Senior UN trade official Rebeca Grynspan met with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin for a "positive" discussion in Geneva on Wednesday, said UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric.

"The discussions are going on in a very constructive, professional level," he said. "The challenges are fairly clear, but I'm not going to get into the detail of what has been discussed around that table."

Ukraine calls for full IMF programme

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has thanked the European Union for confirming $4.97 billion in macro-financial aid but said the country needed a "full-fledged" programme of financing from the International Monetary Fund.

Ukraine's Economy Minister Yulia Svyrydenko last month told Reuters that the government would begin negotiations with the IMF in September. 

She declined to say how much Ukraine would request in a new programme, but said it should be "relatively large" and needed to be agreed quickly to help free up funds from other creditors and reassure investors.

Russia proposes November annexation votes for occupied Ukraine

President Vladimir Putin's ruling United Russia party has proposed holding referendums on November 4 to annex territories taken by Moscow's forces in Ukraine.

"It would be right and symbolic" to hold the votes on November 4, Russia's Day of National Unity, party secretary general Andrey Turchak said on its website.

After the votes, he said, "Donetsk, Luhansk and many other Russian cities will finally return to their home port. And the Russian world, now divided by formal borders, will regain its integrity."

Ukraine calls for evacuation of Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant town

Ukraine has called for the residents of Russian-occupied areas around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to evacuate for their own safety.

"I appeal to the residents of the districts adjacent to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant....evacuate! Find a way to get to (Ukrainian) controlled territory," Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in a post on the Telegram messaging service.

The exiled Ukrainian mayor of Enerhodar, the main town serving the plant, said in a separate Telegram post that it was under fire from Russian forces and that the town had no electrical supply.

Zaporizhzhia accident would impact neighbouring countries: Ukraine

An accident at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant would impact not only Ukraine, but also its neighbours, the Ukrainian nuclear agency has warned.

Damage to the active zone of the reactor would "have consequences not only in Ukraine, but also definitely beyond its borders", said head of the Ukrainian nuclear security agency Oleg Korikov during a press conference.

The plant may have to use "diesel power plants to provide electricity to its security systems", according to Korikov, who warned that "it is very difficult to replenish diesel fuel in wartime conditions."

Ukraine military chief: limited nuclear war cannot be ruled out

The threat of Russia using tactical nuclear weapons "cannot be ignored" and such a strike could trigger a limited nuclear war, Ukraine's top military chief has said.

"There is a direct threat of the use, under certain circumstances, of tactical nuclear weapons by the Russian Armed Forces," Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, the Ukrainian army's commander in chief, said in an article published by state news agency Ukrinform.

"It is also impossible to completely rule out the possibility of the direct involvement of the world's leading countries in a 'limited' nuclear conflict, in which the prospect of a Third World War is already directly visible," Zaluzhnyi said in the piece, which was co-authored by lawmaker Mykhailo Zabrodskyi. 

EU chief proposes measures to face Russia war energy shock

The European Commission has proposed a series of measures to control skyrocketing energy prices in Europe and punish Moscow for attacking Ukraine, including a price cap on Russian gas.

European energy ministers are to meet on Friday to discuss action, and EU chief Ursula von der Leyen said she had proposed them a series of measures, including a price cap.

"The objective here is very clear. We must cut Russia's revenues which Putin uses to finance this atrocious war against Ukraine," von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, told reporters.

Putin: Russia discussing project to supply gas to China via Mongolia

Russia is discussing a major new infrastructure project to deliver gas to China via Mongolia, President Vladimir Putin has said, as Moscow looks to Beijing to replace Europe as its major gas customer.

"We are in discussions about the possible implementation of a major infrastructure project, I mean the supply of Russian gas to China via Mongolia," Putin said in a televised meeting with Mongolia's Prime Minister Luvsannamsrai Oyun-Erdene.

The two leaders were speaking at Russia's Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok on the same day Putin threatened to switch off energy supplies if the West adopts price caps on Russia's oil and gas exports.

Putin: Russia has not lost anything over actions in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia had not lost anything as a result of its military campaign in Ukraine.

Speaking at an economic forum in the far eastern Russian city of Vladivostok on Wednesday, he said all Russia's actions were designed to strengthen the country's sovereignty and were aimed at "helping people" living in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine.

Putin conceded, however, that Moscow's decision to send troops into Ukraine had created a "certain polarisation, both in the world and within the country."

Putin, Xi to meet in Uzbekistan next week, official says

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet next week at a summit in Uzbekistan, a Russian official said.

The two leaders will meet at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit, to be held in the Uzbek city of Samarkand on September 15-16, Russian Ambassador to China Andrei Denisov told reporters on Wednesday.

The visit to Uzbekistan, if it goes ahead, will be Xi’s first foreign trip in two and a half years.

Czechs say Russian gas price cap not solution to EU energy crisis

Czechia wants to remove capping Russian gas prices from the agenda of an extraordinary European energy ministers' meeting on Friday, Industry Minister Jozef Sikela said, calling it a political tool and not a solution.

Sikela told a Czech Senate committee the country would try to remove this option from the agenda of the energy ministers' meeting, according to CTK news agency.

EU energy ministers are set to discuss on Friday ways to tame energy prices which have surged as Russia has halted most gas flows to Europe in response to European sanctions over Russia's attacks on Ukraine.

Leaders of US, UK commit to support Ukraine against Russia

President Joe Biden has congratulated the new British Prime Minister Liz Truss and both leaders promised to strengthen their relationship as they stand together against Russia.

"I look forward to deepening the special relationship between our countries and working in close cooperation on global challenges, including continued support for Ukraine as it defends itself against Russian aggression," Biden said in a tweet.

The two leaders could meet as soon as the UN General Assembly later in September. Truss looks forward to "working closely with President Biden as leaders of free democracies to tackle shared challenges, particularly the extreme economic problems unleashed by Putin's war," the prime minister's office said in a statement.

For live updates from Tuesday (September 6), click here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies