Russia's Putin and France's Macron discuss the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant over the phone as Ukraine continues with its lightning counter-offensive on the 200th day of the conflict.

A Ukrainian military vehicle drives to the front line during a fight, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, near Izyum, Kharkiv region, Ukraine, April 23, 2022.
A Ukrainian military vehicle drives to the front line during a fight, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, near Izyum, Kharkiv region, Ukraine, April 23, 2022. (Reuters)

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Zelenskyy confirms recapturing key city of Izyum

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has confirmed Ukrainian troops have recaptured the strategic city of Izyum in the east of the country from Russian forces as part of a large-scale counter-offensive.

In an address to the nation marking 200 days since the beginning of Russia's assault, Zelenskyy thanked Ukrainian forces who "liberated hundreds of our cities and villages ... and most recently Balakliya, Izyum and Kupiansk," naming three important hubs recently captured by Kiev's army.

The head of the Ukrainian military announced early Sunday that as much as 3,000 sq km (1,158 square miles) had been wrested from Russia since the offensive began at the beginning of this month.

Military observers have said the confirmed recapture by Ukraine of Izyum would represent a serious blow to Moscow's military ambitions in east Ukraine.

Attacks at Ukraine nuclear plant could be 'catastrophic', warns Putin

President Vladimir Putin has warned his French counterpart of the potential "catastrophic consequences" of what he said were Ukrainian attacks on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in a Russian-controlled area of Ukraine.

During a telephone call with Emmanuel Macron, Putin "drew attention to regular Ukrainian attacks on (Zaporizhzhia nuclear) facilities, including a radioactive waste storage facility, which is fraught with catastrophic consequences," the Kremlin said in a statement.

Putin said Russian specialists at the plant were taking steps to ensure its safety and said Moscow was ready to continue work with the UN's atomic agency to agree on "non-politicised" solutions to problems at the facility.

Macron asks Putin to withdraw weapons from Ukraine nuclear plant

French President Emmanuel Macron has asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to withdraw Russian heavy and light weaponry from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Macron's office said.

The Elysee said Macron had told the Russian leader in a call that "the Russian occupation was the reason for the risks" and asked him to withdraw "heavy and light weapons" from the site.

The largest nuclear power plant in Europe has been a focal point of fighting in recent weeks, raising concerns of a potential nuclear incident.

Russia behind east Ukraine total blackout: Zelenskyy

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said Russia is responsible for sweeping electricity cuts across east Ukraine, accusing Moscow of having deliberating hit civilian infrastructure.

"A total blackout in the Kharkiv and Donetsk regions, a partial one in the Zaporizhzhia, Dnipropetrovsk and Sumy regions," Zelenskyy said in a statement on social media, blaming "Russian terrorists".

"No military facilities," he added. "The goal is to deprive people of light and heat."

Backup power line to Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant restored, IAEA says

A backup power line to the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (ZNPP) inside Ukraine has been restored, providing it with the external electricity it needs to cool its reactors, the International Atomic Energy Agency said on Sunday.

"After yesterday's restoration of (the) power line...#ZNPP operator this morning shut down its last operating reactor, which over past week had been providing ZNPP w/ required power after it was disconnected from grid," the IAEA said on Twitter.

"This power can now come from the grid instead."

Turkish, Ukrainian ministers discuss grain exports, humanitarian aid

Türkiye’s national defence minister has held a phone call with Ukraine’s defence and infrastructure ministers.

In the talks with Ukrainian counterpart Oleksiy Reznikov and Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov, Hulusi Akar exchanged views on grain shipments as well as humanitarian aid to Ukraine, the Turkish National Defence Ministry said in a statement.

During the call, Akar said he was pleased by the work carried out in cooperation and coordination at the Joint Coordination Centre, the statement added. He also underlined that Türkiye’s humanitarian aid to Ukraine will continue.

Türkiye, the UN, Russia and Ukraine signed an Ankara-brokered agreement in Istanbul on July 22 to resume grain exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports, which were paused after the Russia-Ukraine conflict erupted in February.

Final reactor at Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant stopped

Ukraine’s atomic power operator said that the last reactor at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant has been shut down after the plant was reconnected to the electricity grid.

The six-reactor Zaporizhzhia plant was disconnected from the grid last week after all its power lines were disconnected as a result of fighting in the area, and was operating in “island mode” for several days, generating electricity for crucial cooling systems from its only remaining reactor in operation.

Nuclear operator Energoatom said that one of the power lines was restored late Saturday, allowing plant operators to shut down the last reactor. 

Gazprom's planned gas supplies to Europe via Ukraine at same level

Russia's Gazprom said it will ship 42.4 million cubic metres (mcm) of natural gas to Europe via Ukraine, the same volume as on Saturday.

Ukraine continues to make significant gains in the Kharkiv region, UK says

Britain said that Ukrainian forces have continued to make significant gains in the Kharkiv region over the last 24 hours.

Russia has likely withdrawn units from the area, but fighting continues around the cities of Kupiansk and Izium, the British Defence Ministry said in its daily intelligence bulletin on Twitter.  

Ukraine FM: We need more weapons

The success of a counter-offensive against Russia shows Ukraine can beat Moscow's forces but Kiev needs more weapons from its partners, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has said.

Moscow abandoned its main bastion in northeastern Ukraine in a sudden collapse of one of the war's principal front lines after Ukrainian forces made a rapid advance.

Kuleba, speaking at a news conference with visiting German counterpart Annalena Baerbock, said some allies had initially been hesitant to send weapons, citing the risk of antagonising Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Now, thank God, we are no longer hearing this argument ... we have demonstrated we are capable of defeating the Russian army. We are doing that with weapons given to us," he said. "And so I reiterate: the more weapons we receive, the faster we will win, and the faster this war will end."

For live updates from Saturday (September 10), click here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies