Firefighters battle a blaze set by a Russian strike on Lviv in western Ukraine, September 19, 2023

EA on Channel News Asia: The Progress of Ukraine’s Counter-Offensive

Wednesday’s Coverage: Zelenskiy Speaks to UN About Peace and Russia’s “Genocide”

Map: Institute for Study of War


Bulgaria has expelled the head of the Russian Orthodox Church in the capital Sofia and two Belarusian priests for acting in the interests of the Russian State.

The Bulgarian National Security Agency accused the clerics of implementing Moscow’s “hybrid strategy to purposefully influence the socio-political processes in Bulgaria in favour of Russian geopolitical interests”.

The agency only identified the men by initials and nationalities. However, the Russian Embassy in Sofia said the representative of the Russian Orthodox Church in Sofia, Archimandrite Vassian, was one of the three.

The Embassy snapped that the expulsions were “rude” and “flagrant”: “The current Bulgarian leadership has set itself the task of destroying… the socio-political, cultural and humanitarian ties between our states.”

Bulgarian authorities expelled 70 Russian diplomatic staff last year.


Officials in Ukraine’s State security service SBU say an attack destroyed a command center of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet near Sevastopol in Russian-occupied Crimea on Wednesday.

The officials said the missile strike was a joint special operation of the SBU, the Air Force, and the Navy.

They claimed that the base was a backup command post to avoid potential attacks on primary areas of deployment. The SBU said the strike followed verified reports about the presence of enemy fleet commanders at the center.

Earlier today, Ukraine’s military said a drone and missile attack had struck the Saky airbase in Crimea, with at least 12 Su-24 and Su-30 warplanes stationed at the airfield (see 0914 GMT).


The immediate aftermath of this morning’s Russian missile strike on Cherkasy, south of Kyiv:


The Russian Government is limiting exports of petrol and diesel fuel to avoid shortages on the domestic market.

The price of domestic petrol reached a record high this week, amid a drop in the value of the rouble, rising global oil prices, and repair work at refineries.

Russian outlets have reported that farmers in some regions have been unable to harvest grain due to a shortage of fuel.


The UK’s Crown Prosecution Service has authorized a charge of “conspiracy to conduct espionage” against five Bulgarians — three men and two women — suspected of spying for Russia.

Nick Price, the head of the CPS’s Special Crime and Counter-Terrorism Division, said:

Orlin Roussev, 45, Bizer Dzhambazov, 41, Katrin Ivanova, 31, Ivan Stoyanov, 31, and Vanya Gaberova, 29, will be charged with conspiring to collect information intended to be directly or indirectly useful to an enemy for a purpose prejudicial to the safety and interest of the state between 30 August 2020 and 8 February 2023.

All five defendants are scheduled to appear at a London magistrates court on September 26.


National grid operator Ukrenergo has updated on the power situation after this morning’s Russian attacks (see 0844 GMT).

Due to the hostilities and other reasons, 398 settlements remained without electricity as of the morning.

Currently, the operation of main power grids in [Rivne and Zhytomyr] has been restored, and household consumers are being supplied with power in the regional power company grids.

The attack also damaged power grids in Dnipropetrovsk, Kyiv and Kharkiv regions. Emergency repair work began immediately after the air raid alarm went off.

The power supply is restored, subject to the security situation and with the permission of the military.


In a breakthrough for Ukraine’s grain exports, Slovakia is lifting the ban on movement of Ukrainian supplies.

Agricultural ministers of the two countries set up a licensing system for the grain. Ukraine agreed to halt a complaint filed against Slovakia with the World Trade Organization.

Polish Agriculture Minister Robert Telus, which has escalated its dispute with Kyiv (see 0559 GMT), is reportedly in talks via phone with Ukrainian counterpart Mykola Solsky.

The Ukraine Agriculture Ministry said the two sides had confirmed their “close and constructive ties and agreed to work out an option to cooperate on export issues in the near future”.

The next negotiations will take place in the coming days, during which the issues prepared by both sides will be discussed.

Poland and Slovakia, along with Hungary, extended unilateral bans on imports of Ukrainian grain last Friday.


Ukraine’s military is claiming a drone and missile attack on the Saky airbase in Russian-occupied Crimea.

The statement said at least 12 Su-24 and Su-30 warplanes were stationed at the airfield. The base is used for “training UAV operators” for drones, both for attacks and for coordination of airstrikes.

“Drones were used to defeat the enemy, which overloaded the Russian air defence system, and Neptune missiles were launched,” the military announced.

The Russian Defense Ministry claims that its forces downed 19 Ukrainian drones over Crimea and the Black Sea on Wednesday night.


Ukraine’s military says air defenses downed 36 of 43 missiles fired by Russia on Thursday morning.

Gen. Valerii Zaluzhnyi, the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, posted on Telegram that the cruise missiles launched from southern Russia were “constantly changing course along the route”.

National grid operator Ukrenergo said the attacks shut down power in five regions: Kyiv, Zhytomyr, Dnipropetrovsk, Rivne, and Kharkiv.


Oleksiy Kuleba, the deputy head of the Ukraine Presidential office, says a third person has been killed in the Kherson region by Russia’s attacks this morning.

Tonight, Russia launched a massive missile attack on Ukraine. Civilians, hostels, a service station, a hotel, energy and civil infrastructure are targeted.

Kyiv city, Kyiv region – there are damaged and damaged houses. Cherkasy region – demolition of the rubble of the destroyed hotel continues, ten people are injured, two are in serious condition. Rivne region – part of the regional center without electricity. Lviv Region, Kharkiv Region – were also hit.

Kherson oblast is constantly under fire. During the night, the enemy killed three people and wounded five.

Sincere condolences to their relatives. All affected people are receiving help. Local authorities and all necessary services are on site. The liquidation of the consequences of shelling is ongoing.

Difficult months are ahead – Russia will attack energy and critically important facilities. Do not ignore air raid warnings. Take care of your own safety.

Attempts by the Russians every day and every night to sow panic and terror by shelling our peaceful communities are only confirmation of the inhuman nature of the occupiers.


Two people have been killed in Kherson city in southern Ukraine by Russia’s attacks this morning.

The men, ages 29 and 41, were slain in a Russian strike on a dormitory. At least five civilians — three men and two women — were wounded.

The toll in Cherkasy, south of Kyiv, has risen to seven injured. In Kharkiv, three have been wounded.

An industrial zone was struck in the Lviv region in western Ukraine, damaging buildings and starting a fire. The city of Rivne in northwest Ukraine was also attacked.


Stoking the dispute over Warsaw’s ban on Ukrainian grain imports, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki is threatening to cut off military aid to Kyiv.

“We are no longer transferring weapons to Ukraine, because we are now arming Poland with more modern weapons,” Morawiecki said.

Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia imposed unilateral bans on Ukraine’s grain last Friday, after the European Union refused to extend the measure from September 15 to the end of 2023.

Addressing the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said:

It is alarming to see how some in Europe play out solidarity in a political theater – making a thriller from the grain. They may seem to play their own role but in fact they are helping set the stage for a Moscow actor.

The Polish Foreign Ministry summoned Kyiv’s ambassador yesterday to complain about the remarks. Morawiecki declared:

I am warning Ukraine’s authorities. Because if they are to escalate the conflict like that, we will add additional products to the ban on imports into Poland. Ukrainian authorities do not understand the degree to which Poland’s farming industry has been destabilized. We are protecting Polish farmers.

Kyiv’s Trade Representative Taras Kuchka had tried to defuse the confrontation, stepping back from a threat to sue Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia, “Ukraine wants to avoid a lengthy court in the World Trade Organization framework, and to reach an understanding through negotiations.”

The ban is costing Kyiv more than $175 million a month, says Denys Marchuk, the deputy chairman of the All-Ukrainian Agrarian Council.

If the bans continue, the losses could reach about €600 million ($644 million) by the end of the year.

For us, as a country at war, as a country that has been selling its products well below market prices for a year and a half, the possibility of losing export prospects is very problematic.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Russian strikes have injured at least 14 people, including a 9-year-old girl, across Ukraine early Thursday.

The attacks started fires and damaged residential and commercial buildings.

In Kyiv, seven people were injured, including the girl.

At least six strikes were on civilian infrastructure in the Slobidskyi district of Ukraine’s second city Kharkiv. Two people were taken to hospital.

In Cherkasy, south of Kyiv on the Dnipro River, five people were injured and at least one person was buried under rubble.