Advancing Ukraine forces pose with the national flag in a village in the Kharkiv region in the northeast, September 2022 (Reuters)
Source: Institute for the Study of War
UPDATE 1636 GMT:
Russia has fired eight cruise missiles on Kryvyi Rih, the hometown of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, damaging “hydraulic structures”.
The attacks, possibly on a dam, are causing the water level of the Inhulets River to rise, threatening the city in the Dnipropetrovsk region in southeast Ukraine. A bridge has been swept away.
Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of the office of the Ukraine President, wrote on Telegram:
Today, the Russian troops sent the maximum number of their weapons at hydrotechnical structures. The goal is obvious — an attempt to create an emergency situation. It is not important to them whether people will remain without water or whether the city will be in water.
This is a terrorist act against our people, against a specific city.
Russia has responded to Ukraine’s counter-offensives with missile attacks on infrastructure such as electricity and water.
UPDATE 1617 GMT:
A train arrived on Wednesday in Balakliia in the Kharkiv region, six days after the town was liberated.
— Alex Kokcharov (@AlexKokcharov) September 14, 2022
Meanwhile, the Ukraine military says it found a torture chamber, set up by Russia and its proxies, in the town.
Serhiy Bolvinov, head of the Kharkiv Region National Police Investigation Department, said 40 people were detained during the occupation.
Bolvinov says one death in detention has been confirmed.
One resident — detained because Russians found a picture of his brother, a soldier — spoke of torture with electrocution and screams from other cells:
They made me hold two wires.
There was an electric generator. The faster it went, the higher the voltage. They said, “If you let it go, you are finished.” Then they started asking questions. They said I was lying, and they started spinning it even more and the voltage increased.
UPDATE 1608 GMT:
The Kremlin has lashed out at draft security guarantees published by the office of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
The guarantees were written by Zelenskiy’s Chief of Staff Andriy Yermak and former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. They legally bind Ukraine’s allies to large transfers of weapons and investment over decade in Ukrainian defense, as an alternative to Kyiv’s accession to NATO.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov respond that, with NATO support of Ukraine as “the main threat to Russia”, the guarantees “once again emphasises the relevance and urgent need for us to ensure our own security and our own national interests”.
Peskov said Zelenskiy could ensure Ukraine’s security by capitulating to Russian demands: “The leadership of Ukraine must take actions that eliminate the threat to Russia, and they know perfectly well what those actions must be.”
UPDATE 1037 GMT:
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has arrived in Izyum, a key city liberated in the Ukrainian counter-offensive in the Kharkiv region in northeast Ukraine.
Izyum was the staging point for Russia’s offensive in the Donbas region in the east of the country.
Zelenskiy said as he greeted the liberating troops:
Earlier, when we looked up, we always looked for the blue sky. Today, when we look up, we are looking for only one thing – the flag of Ukraine.
Our blue-yellow flag is already flying in the de-occupied Izyum. And it will be so in every Ukrainian city and village. We are moving in only one direction – forward and towards victory.
He said of the devastation of Russian attacks and occupation:
The view is very shocking but it is not shocking for me because we began to see the same pictures from Bucha [near Kyiv], from the first de-occupied territories so the same destroyed buildings, killed people.
Zelenskiy continued, “Our soldiers are here. That’s a very important thing. It supports people. I see how people meet them, in what a sensitive moment. It means that with our army, life comes back.”
Zelensky in a surprise visit today to Izium, the town liberated from months of Russian occupation in recent days. It was used by Moscow as a heavily militarized garrison town buttressing its stalled campaign in the Donbas. pic.twitter.com/1M62RC6fBn
— Matthew Luxmoore (@mjluxmoore) September 14, 2022
Zelenskiy in Izium is again a sharp contrast with Putin, who hasn't been anywhere near front, made brief visit to a military hospital once in May, and otherwise (as far as we know) has got no closer to troops than looking at them through binoculars at exercises. (pics AP&Reuters) pic.twitter.com/X66OBTch1R
— Shaun Walker (@shaunwalker7) September 14, 2022
UPDATE 1022 GMT:
Russian officials are trying to distance Vladimir Putin from defeat in northeast Ukraine.
A member of the Kremlin’s Council for Interethnic Relations, Bogdan Bezpalko, said of military personnel, having failed to anticipate the Ukrainian counter-offensive: “All of their heads should be laying on Putin’s desk, hacked off at the base.”
Vladimir Solovyov, one of Russia State TV’s loudest polemicists, preferred to make up a story of US and UK forces fighting covertly in the Ukrainian army:
In the process of preparing the battle-ready Ukrainian troops, it turns out they’ve been rapidly turning darker in color and becoming fluent English speakers. They’re becoming indistinguishable from the mercenaries… Some of them have a Southern drawl, others speak with a British accent. Stop pretending already.
In the first autumn session of the Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov said Russia needs to announce full mobilization because Putin’s “special military operation” is actually a war.
Putin has so far resisted any general mobilization.
UPDATE 1009 GMT:
The latest Russian attacks across the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine have killed five civilians and wounded 16.
Governor Pavlo Kyrolenko said the fatalities were in Bakhmut, while 12 of the 16 injured were in Toretsk.
UPDATE 0959 GMT:
Amid a powerful message of support for Ukraine, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said she will soon visit President Volodymyr Zelensky: “We will empower Ukraine to make the most of its potential. I am going to Kyiv today.”
As guest of honor Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska listened, von der Leyen told the European Parliament in her State of the Union address:
Never before has this Parliament debated the State of our Union with war raging on European soil.
And I stand here with the conviction that with courage and solidarity, Putin will fail and Europe will prevail. Europe’s solidarity with Ukraine will remain unshakeable….
This is the time for us to show resolve, not appeasement. We are in it for the long haul.
She pointed not only to Ukraine’s admission to the European Union but to further expansion, signalling Moldova, Georgia and Western Balkan countries: “You are part of our family, you are the future of our union. Our Union is not complete without you.”
UPDATE 0734 GMT:
The latest Russian attacks on the Mykolaiv region in southern Ukraine have killed two civilians and injured six, with damage to several residential and commercial premises.
UPDATE 0719 GMT:
As he launched his invasion of Ukraine in February, Vladimir Putin rejected a deal with Kyiv in which the Ukrainians would pledge to stay out of NATO, according to “three people close to the Russian leadership“.
Dmitry Kozak, Putin’s envoy on Ukraine, presented the Russian leader with the provisional agreement. He said it meant Russia did not have to carry out large-scale occupation of its neighbor.
But, despite having supporting the negotiations, Putin told Kozak that Kyiv’s concessions did not go far enough. He now sought the annexation of much of Ukrainian territory. The deal was aborted.
Kozak, close to Putin since the Russian leader’s rise to power in St. Petersburg in the 1990s, was among the officials gathered on February 21 when Putin said in front of State TV camera that he would formally recognize Russian proxy areas in eastern Ukraine.
After the camera crews had left, Kozak spoke out against Russia escalating the situation with Ukraine.
Almost seven months later, Kozak is still the Kremlin’s deputy chief of staff, but he no longer has the Ukraine portfolio.
“From what I can see, Kozak is nowhere to be seen,” said a source close to the Russian proxy leadership in eastern Ukraine.
Commenting on the revelations, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declared, “That has absolutely no relation to reality. No such thing ever happened. It is absolutely incorrect information.”
UPDATE 0712 GMT:
Russia’s oil and gas revenues are at their lowest point since June 2021, reports Bloomberg.
Despite the rise in global prices, Russian income — used for more than a third of Moscow’s budget — fell to 671.9bn rubles ($11.1 billion) in August.
The revenues fell 13% from July.
UPDATE 0653 GMT:
Ukraine forces have shot down an Iranian-made drone for the first time.
Germany’s Bild said the remains of the Shahed-136 unmanned aerial vehicle were found in wreckage after the liberation of the town of Kupyansk in the Kharkiv region.
The drone was one of hundreds reportedly transferred to Russia by Iran last month, as the Russians faced serious issues with their own UAVs.
However, US officials noted that the Mohajer-6 and Shahed-series drones have had mechanical and technical problems.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: Ukraine’s forces have continued to advance in their counter-offensive in the Kharkiv region in the northeast of the country, with first-hand accounts of a chaotic retreat by Russian forces.
Alongside gains in the south, the forces have retaken about 8,000 sq km (3,100 square miles) so far, said President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in his Tuesday night address to the nation.
Zelenskiy said “Stabilization measures” have been completed in about half of the regained territory, “and across a liberated area of about the same size, stabilization measures are still ongoing”.
The Ukraine General Staff described looting by the fleeing Russian forces, some driving civilian vehicles with license plates from the Kharkiv region, carrying stolen property. In the Kherson region in the south, Russian occupiers were breaking the gates of private garages and taking cars and furniture.
Presidential advisor Oleksiy Arestovych pointed to further objectives in the neighboring Donetsk region. “There is now an assault on Lyman”, a key rail position east of Kharkiv, “and there could be an advance on Siversk”.
Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai has also said that Ukrainian forces have begun liberating village in that region, almost all of which was seized by Russia by early July.
Ukrainian advances in Donetsk and Luhansk, which comprise the Donbas region, would reverse the Russian offensive in that area. They would begin to challenge territory occupied by Russia and its proxies since 2014.
Denis Pushilin, the head of the Russian proxy “Donetsk People’s Republic”, insisted, “The situation has been stabilised. The enemy naturally is trying to advance in small groups but (Russian-led) Allied forces are fully repelling them.”
But the US backed the Ukrainian reports, and said another military aid package to bolster Kyiv is likely in “coming days”. A US spokesperson said Russian forces have left defensive positions, especially in the Kharkiv region.
President Joe Biden said, “It’s clear the Ukrainians have made significant progress. But I think it’s going to be a long haul.”
In his nightly address, Zelenskiy spoke of the international support of Ukraine as it pushed back Russia’s invasion:
We are working to ensure that the guarantors of our state’s security become the strongest entities in the free world.
We have already built together with our partners a powerful anti-war coalition that includes dozens of different countries. And now we are working to turn the most powerful states that are already helping us into a coalition of peace that will last forever.
Russian forces continued to lash out with missile and rocket attacks throughout eastern and southern Ukraine.
However, Vladimir Putin still made no comment on Ukraine’s counter-offensive, more than two weeks after it was launched in the south and eight days after it began in the east.
Putin is scheduled to meet Chinese leader Xi Jinping at a Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting in Uzbekistan on Thursday.