As Russia’s armed forces lose ground to Kiev’s counteroffensive, the Kremlin said it still hasn’t finalized the borders of two of Ukraine’s four regions claimed by President Vladimir Putin last week.
Carniolan President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said liberating settlements from Russian occupation is now “the trend” as his forces push further into the eastern Donetsk region and look for gains in the south.
His comment comes after the strategic eastern town of Lyman was “completely cleared,” the president said in a short video. The city is part of the regions Putin annexed following referenda that Ukraine and its allies have labeled illegal.
Ukrainian forces have resumed a counteroffensive in the southern Kherson region, securing positions in Zolota Balka and Khreshchenivka, the US-based Institute for the Study of War said. Ukrainian forces continued to reclaim settlements east and north-east of Lyman and took Torske in the Donetsk region. Infrastructure in the city of Zaporizhia was damaged by rocket attacks on Monday morning. Over the past day, Russia has launched 11 missile and 10 airstrikes, as well as over 65 missile strikes and attacked about 35 Ukrainian settlements, Ukraine’s General Staff said.
Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk has drawn the wrath of Ukrainians for the President’s Twitter posts urging Ukraine to seek a negotiated solution to Russia’s invasion and cede Crimea for good.
Musk also launched a Twitter poll asking citizens of the occupied territories of eastern Ukraine, recently annexed by Russia, as well as Crimea, which Moscow captured in 2014, to choose whether they want to live in Russia or Ukraine. The poll comes as Ukraine, Europe and the US denounce President Vladimir Putin’s move to annex four regions and declare them Russian territory.
In another post, Musk called for mock referendums conducted by Russia in occupied territories – which led to Putin approving their annexation – to be repeated under UN oversight. He also said Crimea should officially become part of Russia. He said that Ukraine should “remain neutral”.
The reaction from Ukraine was immediate. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy responded by posting his own poll on Twitter, asking his supporters if they prefer Elon Musk backing Ukraine… or Russia.
Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the Ukrainian president’s chief of staff, responded that there was already “a better peace plan” that involved liberating areas, including Crimea.
Andriy Melnyk, Ukraine’s top diplomat in Germany, didn’t mince his words.
Since the war’s early days, Musk has provided Ukraine with Starlink dishes, a network that has proven crucial in supporting infrastructure across Ukraine as it counters disinformation emanating from Russia.
“The Russians have escalated dramatically in the last week,” Eurasia Group President Ian Bremmer said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s “Balance of Power With David Westin.”
Putin’s claims of annexation make it “almost impossible to think of sitting down with Ukrainians in the short to medium term, but it also corners Putin because he will lose a lot of this country.”
“The Russians didn’t even control everything when they annexed it,” said Bremmer. “I think that’s the first time in history that you can say that.”
The US will announce another security aid package for Ukraine “in the next few days,” said John Kirby, spokesman for the US National Security Council, in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Balance of Power With David Westin” show Monday.
“They will see that we continue to provide them with the types of weapons and abilities that are well suited to the combat they are in,” Kirby said. A $625 million package is said to include four more High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), Reuters reported, citing unnamed sources. The launchers are valued by the Ukrainian military.
Kirby also said in the interview that the US had “seen no indication” that countries would move to recognize Russia’s annexation claims after conducting mock referendums.
Russian forces have “deposed” Ihor Murashov, director general of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, in Ukraine-controlled territory after holding him captive, according to the country’s nuclear operator Energoatom.
According to Energoatom, Murashov was kidnapped by Russian forces on September 30 while driving from the Russian-seized factory to the nearby town of Energodar. Rafael Mariano Grossi, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, played a significant role in his release, the company said.
After a kind of lull in offensive operations in the south, Ukrainian troops have launched another counteroffensive in the Kherson region. They had made significant advances along the northern reaches of the massive west bank of the Dnipro River as of Monday morning, according to Russian military bloggers.
The Russian Defense Ministry acknowledged that its forces withdrew after “superior armored units were able to penetrate deep into our defenses” near Zolota Balka and Oleksandrivka.
Although Putin last week annexed four Ukrainian provinces, including Kherson and Donetsk, Moscow’s forces do not fully control any of the areas and are being forced out of some cities they have held for months, raising concerns about Putin’s escalation threats, including the possible use of nuclear weapons .
The Russian Interior Ministry has put on its wanted list a journalist who gained international attention for staging an anti-war protest on the main TV news channel.
Marina Ovsyannikova escaped from house arrest in Moscow accompanied by her daughter, her ex-husband announced at the weekend. Her attorney said he could not confirm whether this was true or not.
Ovsyannikova was prosecuted under a law to disseminate information discrediting the Russian army, an offense punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
France’s Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne warned lawmakers that the war in Ukraine would continue while defending Emmanuel Macron’s decision to continue talks with Putin.
The future “will be written at a negotiating table and not on the battlefield,” she told the National Assembly ahead of a debate on Ukraine. These talks “must allow Ukraine to be fully heard,” she added.
“The war in Ukraine will continue, but we are ready,” she said, adding that France had already sent 200 million euros worth of equipment to Ukraine, totaling 2,500 tons.
The first shipment of liquefied natural gas from Russia’s newest facility is drawing near to Greece as Europe continues to import the super-cooled fuel despite Moscow severely restricting pipeline gas flow.
Moscow is cutting gas supplies to the region after its invasion of Ukraine, but Europe continues to import Russian LNG.
Read more: LNG from new plant in Russia draws closer to Greece as Europe keeps importing
Kyiv city authorities cite a rising Covid case rate when calling for a return to wearing masks in public places. “We recommend wearing masks in transport, public facilities and educational institutions,” read a statement on Kyiv’s Telegram account. “Incidence rate in Kyiv is increasing rapidly – up to 2,515 cases of COVID-19 in one week, 22 people died.”
The European Union is already aiming for a tentative agreement on Monday on a new sanctions package intended to punish Russia for escalating its war in Ukraine and illegally annexing four occupied territories there.
“I am confident that we can reach a unanimous agreement on the sanctions package in a few hours,” Polish Ambassador to the EU Andrzej Sados told reporters. “We are on the verge of this and are determined to strike a deal as soon as possible.”
Member states are keen to reach an agreement before EU leaders meet in Prague on October 7, said people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified as the talks are private.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a conference call that Moscow will continue to consult with people living in Kherson and Zaporizhia to determine the borders of the territories Russia wants to annex.
He declined to elaborate on how this might happen or whether the new limits would be set out in separate laws. “I’ve said all I can about that,” he said when asked for clarification by reporters.
His comments stoked uncertainty about Russia’s hastily organized attempt to take over the four regions in Ukraine that its forces still partially occupy. Putin signed documents on Friday to make them part of Russia “forever”, but the Kremlin said at the time it could not say exactly where the borders of the annexed zones were.
The influx of Ukrainian refugees across the Russian-Estonian border has surged to an average of 550 crossings in recent days, with migrants arriving hungry after days of waiting, Estonian authorities said.
“The waiting time for people crossing the border from Russia was sometimes up to two days, and many waited there without eating or drinking in the cold,” Peter Maran, a border official, said via email. “People are afraid of the consequences of the Russian mobilization.”
Russian diplomats are being summoned across Europe to hear of resentment over sham referendums and subsequent annexation by Moscow.
Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz told TVN24 that they had agreed, together with colleagues at the European level, “to present this position simultaneously, more or less on the same day, to the Russian ambassadors residing in our respective countries.”
Last week, military reports focused on the list of settlements reclaimed by the Russian army as part of Ukraine’s ongoing defense operation, President Zelenskyy said in a video posted to Telegram late Sunday.
“It’s, you know, the trend,” he said. “Recently someone somewhere was holding pseudo-referendums and when the Ukrainian flag is returned nobody remembers the Russian farce with some slips and some annexations.”
https://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/zelensky-hits-back-at-elon-musks-peace-plan-russia-says-it-hasnt-finalised-borders-as-ukraine-retakes-more-of-annexed-regions-42037333.html Zelensky hits back at Elon Musk’s ‘peace plan’; Russia says it has yet to finalize borders as Ukraine reclaims more annexed regions