Fri, 07 Oct 2022

Ukraine's nuclear energy agency on Monday accused Moscow's troops of an attack on the country's second largest nuclear plant in the south. The accusations come after the Moscow-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine - Europe's largest atomic facility - faced frequent shelling in recent months, raising fears of a nuclear incident. Read about the day's events as they unfolded on FRANCE 24's liveblog. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).

This live page is no longer being updated. For more of our coverage of the war in Ukraine, click here.

05:15am: Ukrainian soldiers cheer swift advance into Donbas

"We were ready to fight. But for them to just abandon the whole front line... We really weren't expecting that," said one Ukrainian soldier.

Among the items the Russian soldiers left behind were weapons, ammunition, pictures of Lenin and Playboy pinups, as FRANCE 24's Gulliver Cragg and Gwendoline Debono report from Izium:

September 20, 12:18am: Ukraine troops press counteroffensive deeper into Donbas

Ukraine said its troops have marched farther east into territory recently abandoned by Russia, paving the way for a potential assault on Moscow's occupation forces in the Donbas region as Kyiv seeks more Western arms.

In a sign of nervousness from a Moscow-backed administration in Donbas about the success of Ukraine's recent offensive, its leader called for urgent referendums on the region becoming part of Russia.

"The occupiers are clearly in a panic," Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a televised address late on Monday, adding that he was now focused on "speed" in liberated areas.

"The speed at which our troops are moving. The speed in restoring normal life," Zelenskiy said.

The Ukrainian leader also hinted he would use a video address to the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday to call on countries to accelerate weapons and aid deliveries.

"We are doing everything to ensure Ukraine's needs are met at all levels - defence, financial, economic, diplomatic," Zelenskiy said.

Serhiy Gaidai, Ukrainian governor of Luhansk, a province in the Donbas now under control of Russian troops, said Ukraine's armed forces had regained complete control of the Luhansk village of Bilohorivka and were preparing to fight to retake the entire province.

"There will be fighting for every centimetre," Gaidai wrote on Telegram. "The enemy is preparing their defence. So we will not simply march in."

6:12pm: Baltic nations close borders to Russians over Ukraine war

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania closed their borders Monday to most Russian citizens in response to the wide domestic support in Russia for the war in Ukraine.

Under the coordinated travel ban, Russians wishing to travel to the Baltic countries as tourists or for business, sports or cultural purposes will not be allowed in even if they hold valid visas for the European Union's checks-free Schengen Area.

The prime ministers of the three Baltic nations and Poland agreed earlier this month to stop admitting Russian citizens, saying the move would protect the security of the four European Union member nations.

"Russia is an unpredictable and aggressive state. Three-quarters of its citizens support the war. It is unacceptable that people who support the war can freely travel around the world, into Lithuania, the EU," Lithuanian Interior Minister Agne Bilotaite said Monday.

"Such support for hostilities can pose threats to the security of our country and the EU as a whole," she added.

The ban includes exceptions for humanitarian reasons, family members of EU citizens, Russian dissidents, serving diplomats, transportation employees and Russians with residence permits or long-stay national visas from the 26 Schengen countries.

4:05pm: Pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine jail OSCE staffers for 13 years

Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine sentenced two employees of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to 13 years in jail on treason charges, Russian news agencies reported Monday.

In April, authorities in Lugansk announced the arrest of two OSCE staffers Dmitry Shabanov and Maxim Petrov for alleged espionage.

"The judges found Dmitry Shabanov guilty... and sentenced him to 13 years in prison," the RIA Novosti news agency reported, quoting the Supreme Court of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People's Republic.

A few hours later, the court propnounced the same sentence on Petrov.

According to separatist authorities, Shabanov was recruited in 2016 by a former officer of Ukraine's SBU security service and an agent of the US Central Intelligence Agency.

Between August 2021 and April 2022, he collected "information on the movements of military equipment as well as units of the Lugansk People's Army" and "sent them to the CIA agent", the separatists said.

The OSCE "unequivocally" condemned the sentences as "totally unacceptable so-called 'legal proceedings'".

12:41pm: Ukrainian shelling of Donetsk city kills at least 13, says Russian-backed mayor

Thirteen people were killed in artillery shelling on Monday in the east Ukrainian separatist-held city of Donetsk, the city's Russian-backed mayor said.

In a statement posted on the Telegram messenger app, Donetsk's separatist mayor Alexei Kulemzin said that 13 civilians including two children had been killed in the strike on Donetsk's Kuybyshevsky district.

He said that the number of wounded was being confirmed. Donetsk city has been controlled by the Russian-backed Donetsk People's Republic since 2014. The Ukrainian army continues to hold positions on Donetsk's outskirts, and the city has come under artillery fire repeatedly in recent months.

11:00am: Kremlin says Ukrianian war crimes claims are 'a lie'

The Kremlin on Monday rejected claims Russian forces committed war crimes in Ukraine's Kharkiv territory as a "lie".

"It is the same scenario as in Bucha. It's a lie, and of course we will defend the truth in this story," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday, when asked about statements by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that Russian forces had committed war crimes in the Kharkiv region of Ukraine.

8:01am: Russia may have lost four combat jets in Ukraine in last 10 days, UK says

Russia has highly likely lost at least four combat jets in Ukraine within the last 10 days, taking its attrition to about 55 since the beginning of its invasion, the British military said on Monday.

There is a realistic possibility that the uptick in losses was partially a result of the Russian Air Force accepting greater risk in a move to provide close air support to Russian ground forces under pressure from Ukrainian advances, the Defence Ministry said in its daily intelligence on Twitter.

Russian pilots' situational awareness is often poor, it said. "There is a realistic possibility that some aircraft have strayed over enemy territory and into denser air defence zones as the front lines have moved rapidly."

7:57am: Ukraine says Russia strikes Pivdennoukrainsk nuclear power plant, reactors undamaged

Russian troops have struck the Pivdennoukrainsk nuclear power plant in the southern Mykolaiv region, but its reactors have not been damaged and are working normally, Ukraine's state nuclear company Energoatom said on Monday.

A blast took place 300 metres (yards) away from the reactors and damaged power plant buildings, Energoatom said in a statement. The attack has also damaged a nearby hydroelectric power plant and transmission lines.

5:25am: Ukraine says its troops advance to eastern bank of Oskil river

Ukrainian troops "have pushed across the Oskil. From yesterday, Ukraine controls the east bank," the Ukrainian Armed Forces wrote on Telegram late Sunday.

Serhiy Gaidai, governor of Luhansk region, wrote on Telegram: "Luhansk region is right next door. Decoccupation is not far away."

Crossing the Oskil is another important milestone in Ukraine's counter-offensive in the northeastern Kharkiv region as it flows south to the Siversky Donets River, which goes right through Luhansk, one of two provinces in the Donbas region. Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky vowed to keep up the pressure on Moscow after Ukraine's rapid gains in Kharkiv this month.

"Perhaps it seems to some of you that after a series of victories we now have a lull of sorts," he said in his regular nightly address on Sunday. "But there will be no lull. There is preparation for the next series ... For Ukraine must be free. All of it."

US President Joe Biden also said victory for Ukraine meant removing Russian forces from the entire country, and pledged US support for as long as it takes.

"Winning the war in Ukraine is to get Russia out of Ukraine completely and to recognise the sovereignty. They're defeating Russia," he said in an interview with CBS's "60 Minutes" broadcast on Sunday.

"Russia's turning out not to be as competent and capable as many people thought they were going to be."

Originally published on France24

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