Live blog: Ukraine troops recapture vast tracts of Kherson region – Kiev

  • 6 Oct 2022

Kiev says it has retaken more settlements in a counter-offensive against Russian forces and strikes batter the city of Zaporizhzhia in fatal attacks tearing through high-rise buildings as fighting enters the 225th day.

The Ukrainian army announced its counteroffensive in the south in late August. ( Reuters Archive )

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Ukraine says recaptured vast tracts of key Kherson region

Ukraine has said that it had recaptured over 400 square kilometres in Kherson in less than a week, after Moscow claimed to have annexed the southern region.

"The Armed Forces of Ukraine have liberated more than 400 square kilometres of the Kherson region since the beginning of October," Ukrainian southern army command spokeswoman Natalia Gumeniuk said in a briefing online.

The Russian army meanwhile said "the enemy had been pushed back along the Russian defence line" on this southern front.

Zelenskyy says Ukraine must win to protect Europe

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that his country must fend off Moscow's incursion "so that Russian tanks do not advance on Warsaw or again on Prague".

Addressing a meeting in Prague of European heads of state convened by French President Emmanuel Macron, Zelenskyy also called on Western capitals to supply his army with more weapons "to punish the aggressor".

Kremlin rejects reports that 700,000 have fled Russia

The Kremlin denied reports that 700,000 Russians have fled the country since Moscow announced a mobilisation drive to call up hundreds of thousands to fight in Ukraine.

In a briefing with reporters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he did not have exact figures for how many people had left the country since President Vladimir Putin's announcement of a "partial mobilisation" on September 21.

"I don't think those numbers should be taken seriously," Peskov said when asked about some reports in Russian media that up to 700,000 Russians could have left the country.

"I don't have exact figures, but of course they are far from what's being claimed there."

Ukraine accuses Russia of 'nuclear blackmail' over Zaporizhzhia plant

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of "nuclear blackmail" over its seizure of the Zaporizhzhia power plant in southern Ukraine.

Russia captured the plant in March, shortly after launching its offensive in Ukraine, and President Vladimir Putin ordered his government on Wednesday to take control of it. The plant is Europe's largest, and Ukrainian staff have continued to operate it.

"(The) capturing of Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (stands) for nuclear blackmail and for exerting pressure on the world and on Ukraine," Zelenskyy said in a video address to the Sydney-based Lowy think tank via a translator.

Norway to limit port access for Russian fishing boats

Norway will restrict access to its ports for Russian fishing vessels to Moscow Russia from using them to circumvent sanctions, the government announced Thursday.

"We have closely monitored Russian activity in Norwegian waters and in Norwegian ports to avoid Norway becoming a transit country for transporting goods illegally to Russia," Norway's foreign minister Anniken Huitfeldt told a press conference.

"We now have information that indicates that there is a need to increase controls of Russian fishing vessels," she added.

Nord Stream site inspection points to sabotage: Sweden

An inspection of two of the leaks at the Nord Stream pipelines linking Russia to Europe has reinforced suspicions that they were acts of sabotage, Swedish authorities have said.

"We can conclude that there have been detonations at Nord Stream 1 and 2 in the Swedish exclusive economic zone that has led to extensive damage to the gas pipelines," public prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist said in a statement, adding that the "crime scene investigation had strengthened the suspicions of aggravated sabotage."

The ruptures came at a time when Nord Stream pipelines, which connect Russia to Germany, had already been at the centre of geopolitical tensions as Russia cut back gas supplies to Europe in suspected retaliation against Western sanctions following Moscow's offensive against Ukraine.

Russian missile strike kills woman, destroys apartment block in Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia

A Russian rocket strike has destroyed a five-storey apartment block in the southern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia, killing at least one woman and leaving other residents trapped under rubble, the regional governor said.

Firefighters rushed through the streets to tackle the blazes after the overnight attack, and more explosions were heard on Thursday morning in what local officials said was a renewed Russian strike.

"Another enemy missile attack. Stay in shelters!" Oleksandr Starukh, governor of the Zaporizhzhia region, told residents on the Telegram messaging app on Wednesday.

Putin: Russia expects sanctions pressure to increase

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that consumer demand remains weak and that he expects sanctions pressure on the Russian economy to intensify, in televised remarks from a meeting with government officials.

"In general, the situation here is stable," Putin said. "At the same time, it is important to understand that the sanctions pressure on Russia will only increase."

The West hit Moscow with unprecedented sanctions after Russia sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on February 24 in what it calls a "special military operation." But the Russian economy has defied some predictions from Western analysts that it was facing a 15% hit to gross domestic product (GDP) this year.

Ukraine leader says Putin wouldn't survive nuclear attack

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said it is “hard to say” whether the risk of nuclear war has increased with his military's territorial gains, but he remains confident Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin would not survive such as escalation in hostilities.

Zelenskyy was addressing the Lowy Institute international think tank in Sydney via video link after Ukraine’s military retook ground annexed by Russia last week.

Asked if the risk of Russia using nuclear weapons had risen, Zelenskyy said through an interpreter: “It’s hard to say.” He questioned whether Putin had enough control over the Russian campaign to direct a tactical nuclear strike. Zelenskyy said Putin understood that the “world will never forgive” a Russian nuclear strike.

Russian foreign ministry: Moscow 'fully committed' to avoiding nuclear war

Moscow has said it remains "fully committed" to the principle of never allowing a nuclear war to be fought, as fears have grown over a possible dramatic escalation in the seven-month conflict with Ukraine.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova told a briefing on Thursday that Moscow's position — that a nuclear war must never be fought — had not changed.

President Vladimir Putin had previously said he was "not bluffing" over his willingness to use nuclear weapons to defend Russia's territorial integrity.

Kremlin says OPEC+ decision to cut oil output is aimed at market stabilisation

The decision of the OPEC+ group of leading oil producers to reduce output by 2 million barrels per day is aimed at market stabilisation, a Kremlin spokesperson has said.

Dmitry Peskov also said that by agreeing to reduce output, OPEC+ has confirmed its credentials as an organisation responsible for market stability

The OPEC+ cartel at a Vienna meeting on Wednesday ignored pleas from the White House to keep oil flowing and agreed the cut, its deepest since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kremlin says it is preparing for IAEA chief's visit to Moscow

The Kremlin has said it is preparing to welcome the head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to Moscow soon.

IAEA head Rafael Grossi was due in Kiev on Thursday and is set to travel to Moscow after that. The visit is likely to focus on the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, located in southern Ukraine in territory that Russia has proclaimed its own.

Kazakhstan holds 'tough' talks with Russian ambassador

Kazakhstan’s foreign ministry said Thursday it summoned Russia's ambassador to the Central Asian country for a "serious talk" following Moscow's demands to expel the country's Ukraine envoy.

Relations between Russia and Kazakhstan have been strained since Moscow's offensive against Ukraine, with Astana seeking to balance ties with both the West and ally Moscow.

Kazakh leader Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has publicly disagreed with Russian President Vladimir Putin over Ukraine.

EU adopts new sanctions package against Russia

The European Union has officially adopted its eighth sanctions package against Russia in response to the partial mobilisation and annexation of Ukrainian regions, the European Commission announced.

“This package introduces new EU import bans worth €7 billion ($6.96 billion) to curb Russia's revenues,” the EU executive body explained in a press statement on Thursday.

The measures prohibit the import of Russian finished and semi-finished steel products, machinery and appliances, plastics, vehicles, textiles, footwear, leather, ceramics, certain chemical products, and non-gold jewelry.

Kremlin says Russia will not be invited to Nord Stream investigation

Russia has been informed via diplomatic channels that there are no plans to invite Moscow to join an investigation into Nord Stream gas leaks, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has told reporters.

Peskov added that Russia considers it is impossible to conduct such an investigation without Moscow's participation.

Russia's foreign ministry said earlier it was "unthinkable" that an investigation into ruptures on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines would proceed without Russia's participation.

Most Americans in favour of US support to Ukraine despite Russian threats

Nearly three-quarters of Americans say that the United States should continue to support Ukraine, despite Russian threats that it could use nuclear weapons to protect its territory, according to a Reuters news agency/Ipsos opinion poll.

The polling suggested continuing backing for President Joe Biden's provision of weapons systems, training and other military assistance for President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's government, despite concerns that the war might escalate if Ukraine is provided longer-range weapons that could hit Russia.

The online poll of 1,005 Americans showed that 73 percent agreed that the United States should continue to support Ukraine, despite Russian warnings that it could make use of its nuclear arsenal. Both Democrats and Republicans agreed, although there was more support among Biden's fellow Democrats - 81 percent - than Republicans - at 66 percent.

Zelensky says more villages recaptured from Russia in southern Ukraine

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that three villages in the country's southern Kherson region had been recaptured from the Russian troops.

"Novovoskresenske, Novogrygorivka and Petropavlivka... were liberated in the last 24 hours," he said in a video posted on social media, adding that the counter-offensive "continues".

For live updates from Wednesday (October 5), click here