A man stands atop a Russian tank and flies the Ukrainian flag, defying the Russian occupation of Kherson in southern Ukraine (File)
Source: Institute for the Study of War
UPDATE 1708 GMT:
Western officials have spoken further about Russia’s “extremely fragile” position in occupied Kherson in southern Ukraine (see Original Entry).
The officials observed “a significant force on the wrong side of the Dnipro River”. Asked if Kherson city could be liberated by Ukraine within a week, they responded, “It is conceivable that something happens within a week, but it’s also perfectly conceivable that it doesn’t.”
The officials said Russia cannot sustain its missile strikes on civilian areas and infrastructure as it is “rapidly exhausting its supply of long range, precision munitions”, having exhausted 2/3rds already.
UPDATE 1655 GMT:
Vladimir Putin has threatened to withdraw Russia’s agreement to the export of Ukrainian grain.
In July, Russia and the UN brokered an agreement to lift Russia’s five-month blockade of Black Sea ports, affecting 25 million tons of Ukrainian grains.
But Putin said the sea route should be closed if it is used for “acts of terror”.
Speaking at a news conference in the Kazakh capital Astana, Putin said that there was “no need” for talks with US President Joe Biden.
Defying criticism within Russia, he declared his “partial mobilization of September 21 a success, saying 222,000 reservists will be called up within the next two weeks.
UPDATE 1646 GMT:
Ukraine has filed court papers against 45 suspected war criminals, of whom 10 have been already convicted for crimes committed since the Russian invasion on February 24.
Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin said on Thursday in The Hague on Thursday, “We all understand that crimes committed by Russia in Ukrainian territory are not only against Ukrainian people. These crimes are against the civilized world.”
He said Ukraine has notified another 186 suspects in absentia.
The European Union’s judicial agency, Eurojust, announced an expansion of its investigation team on Thursday. The team of prosecutors, established within a week of Vladimir Putin’s invasion, include Lithuania, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia, Romania, Ukraine, and the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.
UPDATE 1636 GMT:
French food company Danone is giving up 90% of its dairy food business in Russia, with a potential write-off of up to 1 billion euros ($978 million).
Danone will retain its infant nutrition unit in the country.
Russia accounted for about 5% of Danone’s sales in the first nine months of 2022.
The company did not disclose to whom the business would be transferred.
Earlier this week the vehicle manufacturer Nissan offloaded its assets to the Russian State for 1 euro, absorbing a loss of about $687 million.
UPDATE 0851 GMT:
Russian State media says there are casualties after an ammunition dump in the village of Oktyabrsky, in the Belgorod region of Russia near the Ukraine bordeer, exploded.
The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation said it has launched an enquiry.
UPDATE 0815 GMT:
Elon Musk says he will no longer provide critical Starlink satellite services in Ukraine. His company SpaceX is asking the US Defense Department to cover the annual cost of $400 million.
“We are not in a position to further donate terminals to Ukraine, or fund the existing terminals for an indefinite period of time,” SpaceX’s director of government sales wrote to the Pentagon in September.
SpaceX activated Starlink in Ukraine shortly after Vladimir Putin’s invasion in February 24.
Musk is under federal investigation over his attempt to acquire Twitter. Last week he tweeted a “peace” proposal backing Russia’s takeover of Crimea and area in east and south Ukraine seized this year.
UPDATE 0424 GMT:
There is renewed criticism of the Russian military command amid reports of the first deaths of newly-mobilized men on the frontline in Ukraine, 23 days after Vladimir Putin announced the call-up.
Military bloggers, some embedded with Russian forces, posted on Telegram that casualties are likely higher than announced because of inadequate due to poor command and lack of training, equipment, and unit cohesion.
The commander of the 58th Combined Arms Army of the Southern Military District, Mikhail Zusko, is chastised for immediate deployment of mobilized men without any pre-combat training on the collapsing frontline in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian outlets have claimed that the Kremlin arrested Zusko because of the combat losses.
Milbloggers reported that relatives found half of the troops of the 15th Regiment in a hospital in Belford, Russia near the Ukrainian border. The regiment was bombarded with heavy artillery fire as it tried to reach the frontline in Donetsk. It reportedly had no orders, military command supervision, signal, or supplies.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: Under pressure from Ukraine’s counter-offensive in the south of the country, Russia has advised residents to evacuate the Kherson region, “annexed” only 23 days ago by Vladimir Putin.
Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin said on State TV:
The government took the decision to organise assistance for the departure of residents of the [Kherson] region to other regions of the country.
We will provide everyone with free accommodation and everything necessary.
Moscow responded to the appeal of the Russian proxy head of Kherson, Vladimir Saldo:
We suggested to all people of the Kherson region to, if they wish, leave to other regions to protect themselves from missile hits.
In addressing the leadership of [Russia], I ask you to help organise this work.
Ukraine’s counter-offensive was launched in late August. Troops made gradual progress while eroding Russian capabilities with strikes on bridges, ammunition depots, and logistics and supply positions.
On October 3, the Ukrainians broke through Russian defensive lines and liberated more than 500 square km (188 square miles) of territory.
Five more settlements were liberated on Wednesday. Russian forces tried to consolidate a new frontline west from the village of Mylove, northeast of Kherson city. However, amid intense fighting, they are no longer protected by the Inhulets River.
UK military intelligence predicted the call for evacuation by the Russian proxy authorities: “It is likely that they anticipate combat extending to the city of Kherson itself.”
Russia seized Kherson city days after the launch of the invasion on February 24. Its liberation opens up the possibility of advance along the Black Sea and puts pressure on Crimea, occupied by Russia since 2014.