Russia-Ukraine war: Ukrainian forces close in on Lyman; head of nuclear plant reported abducted – live | World news

Ukrainian forces close in on Lyman

Ukraine has encircled Russia’s forces around a bastion that is critical for Moscow at the eastern town of Lyman, in an operation that is still under way, a Ukrainian military spokesperson said on Saturday.

Russia’s forces at Lyman totalled about 5,000 to 5,500 soldiers, but the number of encircled troops may have fallen because of casualties and some soldiers trying to break out of the encirclement, said Serhii Cherevatyi, spokesperson for Ukraine’s eastern forces, according to Reuters.

Cherevatyi said:

Lyman is important because it is the next step towards the liberation of the Ukrainian Donbas. It is an opportunity to go further to Kreminna and Sievierodonetsk, and it is psychologically very important.

On Saturday, Luhansk’s governor, Serhiy Haidai, said via Telegram:

The occupiers trapped in Liman asked the Russian command to allow them to leave the city, but were refused.

He added: “The possibilities of delivering ammunition to the Russians to the surrounded city or a peaceful exit from the settlement are already blocked.”

Key events

Russia is trying to transfer the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to the Russian energy firm Rosatam, says head of Ukraine’s atomic energy company

Speaking with BBC News on Saturday, Petro Kotin said “they are trying to make our personnel just to sign the accurate deals for the work at Rosatam”.

His remarks come after reports that the Ukrainian director-general of the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Ihor Murashov, had been detained by a Russian patrol on Friday afternoon.

Citing previous attempts, Kotin added:

We expect that they’re trying to make him accept this move from Russians to catch the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant by Rosatam.

Kotin also described Murashov as the main person responsible for the plant’s safety, which is currently operated by 7,000 people on site.

Here’s a video of Ukraine’s armed forces raising the nation’s flag before the entrance sign to the city of Lyman, where Ukraine said it encircled thousands of Russian troops earlier today.

Ukraine’s armed forces raising the blue and yellow flag above the #Lyman entrance sign on the outskirts of the city. “Stabilisation measures” are being carried out, eastern command says, amid reports that around 5000 Russian soldiers remain trapped inside pic.twitter.com/xWnp4YbkX7

— Luke Harding (@lukeharding1968) October 1, 2022

The Danish prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, said she shared key information on the damaged Nord Stream pipelines with Liz Truss at a meeting in Downing Street.

Following the meeting, outside No 10, Frederiksen told PA news:

Of course, it has been very important for me to underline that the Danish authorities have said that this this is not an accident. This is sabotage and it is critical infrastructure. So of course, this is a very serious situation.

Both Britain and Denmark have reaffirmed their support for Ukraine, following Vladimir Putin’s annexation of four regions on Friday.

We talked most of all about the situation in Ukraine and the so-called referendums in Ukraine. As you know, Britain and Denmark are very supportive of Ukraine and we will continue to be so and to continue our work and our co-operation.

Russia-Ukraine war: Ukrainian forces close in on Lyman; head of nuclear plant reported abducted – live | World news
Liz Truss and Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen in Downing Street. Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has requested clarifications from Russian authorities following reports that the director-general of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has been detained.

A spokesperson for the IAEA, the UN nuclear watchdog, told Reuters:

We have contacted Russian authorities and are requesting clarifications.

Earlier, we reported that Ihor Murashov had been detained on his way from Europe’s largest nuclear plant to the town of Enerhodar at about 4pm on Friday.

Petro Kotin, the head of Ukraine’s atomic energy company, said his detention “jeopardises the safety of operation of Ukraine and Europe’s largest nuclear power plant”.

Here are the latest photos from Ukraine and elsewhere:

A local resident walks on the destroyed bridge over the Donets river in Staryi Saltiv, east of Kharkiv.
A local walks on the destroyed bridge over the Donets river in Staryi Saltiv, east of Kharkiv. Photograph: Sergey Bobok/AFP/Getty
More and more Ukrainian people return their home country, Ukraine from Poland or transiting through Poland from other countries.
More and more Ukrainian people are returning to their home country from Poland, or transiting through Poland from other countries. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty
Russian President Vladimir Putin stands on stage during a concert marking the declared annexation of the Russian-controlled territories of four Ukraine’s Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, after holding what Russian authorities called referendums in the occupied areas of Ukraine that were condemned by Kyiv and governments worldwide.
Russian President Vladimir Putin stands on stage during a concert marking the declared annexation of the Russian-controlled territories of four Ukraine regions, Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. Photograph: Sputnik/Reuters
A man with a Russian flag on his uniform stands guard near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
A man with a Russian flag on his uniform stands guard near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear reactor. Photograph: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters
Youngsters play a group game at the Arch of Freedom of the Ukrainian people square in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Children play at the Arch of Freedom of the Ukrainian people square in Kyiv. Photograph: Francisco Seco/AP

Summary

It’s 12pm in Ukraine, here’s the latest:

  • Ukraine has encircled Russia’s forces around a bastion that is critical for Moscow at the eastern town of Lyman, in an operation that is still under way. Russia’s forces at Lyman totalled about 5,000 to 5,500 soldiers, but the number of encircled troops may have fallen because of casualties and some soldiers trying to break out of the encirclement, according to a spokesperson for Ukraine’s eastern forces.

  • The Ministry of Defence said Russia’s expansion strategy has resulted in “killing civilians it now claims are its own citizens”.The MoD said Russia is expending “strategically valuable military assets” in attempts to gain tactical advantage.

  • Ukraine’s president thanked his US counterpart, Joe Biden, on Saturday for signing an additional $12.35 bn (£11bn) in support for Ukraine. Volodymyr Zelenskiy said “This help is more important today than ever.”

  • The Ukrainian director-general of the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has been detained by a Russian patrol, according to Energoatom. The company said his detention on Friday “jeopardises the safety of operation of Ukraine and Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.”

  • Turkey which has been at the centre of mediation between the west and Russia, rejected Russia’s annexation of Ukraine, calling the decision a “grave violation” of international law.

  • The World Bank said it will provide an additional US$530m in support to Ukraine, bringing the total aid by the bank to $13bn. The aid is supported by the UK ($500m) and Denmark ($30m).

Ukrainian forces close in on Lyman

Ukraine has encircled Russia’s forces around a bastion that is critical for Moscow at the eastern town of Lyman, in an operation that is still under way, a Ukrainian military spokesperson said on Saturday.

Russia’s forces at Lyman totalled about 5,000 to 5,500 soldiers, but the number of encircled troops may have fallen because of casualties and some soldiers trying to break out of the encirclement, said Serhii Cherevatyi, spokesperson for Ukraine’s eastern forces, according to Reuters.

Cherevatyi said:

Lyman is important because it is the next step towards the liberation of the Ukrainian Donbas. It is an opportunity to go further to Kreminna and Sievierodonetsk, and it is psychologically very important.

On Saturday, Luhansk’s governor, Serhiy Haidai, said via Telegram:

The occupiers trapped in Liman asked the Russian command to allow them to leave the city, but were refused.

He added: “The possibilities of delivering ammunition to the Russians to the surrounded city or a peaceful exit from the settlement are already blocked.”

Russia killing citizens it claims are its own, says UK

The Ministry of Defence said Russia’s expansion strategy has resulted in “killing civilians it now claims are its own citizens”.

The latest intelligence update, published on Saturday morning, comes after Putin signed annexation agreements across four occupied regions in Ukraine, marking the largest forcible takeover of territory in Europe since the second world war.

The MoD said Russia is expending “strategically valuable military assets” in attempts to gain tactical advantage. It added that Russia “almost certainly” struck a convoy outside the town of Zaporizhzhia on Friday, where local media reported 25 civilians had been killed, and more than 50 injured.

Ukraine’s president thanked his US counterpart, Joe Biden, on Saturday for signing an additional $12.35 bn (£11bn) in support for Ukraine.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy wrote on Twitter:

The law provides the financing of defence programs, as well as powerful direct budget support to Ukraine. This help is more important today than ever.

Thank you @POTUS for signing into law $12.35 bln in supplemental support for 🇺🇦. The day before, the bill was backed by both houses of 🇺🇸 Congress. We appreciate this powerful act of solidarity of the 🇺🇸 people with 🇺🇦. And the bicameral and bipartisan support of our state. 1/2

— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) October 1, 2022

Here are the latest photos from Ukraine and elsewhere:

People are seen at the railway station after the annexation of 15 percent of regions of Ukraine.
People arrive in Poland from Ukraine after the annexation of 15{515baef3fee8ea94d67a98a2b336e0215adf67d225b0e21a4f5c9b13e8fbd502} of regions of Ukraine. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty
Soldiers walk amid destroyed Russian tanks
Destroyed Russian tanks in Bucha, in the outskirts of Kyiv. Photograph: Rodrigo Abd/AP
Russian President Vladimir Putin is seen on a screen at a cafe
Vladimir Putin is seen on a screen during the broadcast of a ceremony to declare the annexation of the Russian-controlled territories of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions. Photograph: Alexey Malgavko/Reuters
 Zelenskiy holds a letter
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy holds an application for ‘accelerated accession to Nato’ in Kyiv, Ukraine. Photograph: AP
Ukrainians soldiers carry a wounded comrade
Ukrainians soldiers carry a wounded comrade across a damaged bridge over the Oskil River. Photograph: Scott Peterson/Getty
Person among badly damaged flats
A pedestrian walks among bombed apartments in the town of Sviatohirsk, Donetsk region. Photograph: Anatolii Stepanov/AFP/Getty

Head of Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant abducted, says Ukrainian state agency

The Ukrainian director-general of the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was detained by a Russian patrol, according to Energoatom, the Ukrainian state agency in charge of the plant.

In a statement on Saturday, the company said Ihor Murashov had been detained on his way from Europe’s largest nuclear plant to the town of Enerhodar around 4pm on Friday, Reuters reports.

Petro Kotin, the head of Ukraine’s atomic energy company, wrote on Telegram:

He was taken out of the car, and with his eyes blindfolded he was driven in an unknown direction.

With no immediate word on Murashov’s fate, Kotin added:

His detention by the Russians jeopardises the safety of operation of Ukraine and Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (ZNPP) faced calls for a demilitarised zone around the plant last month from the United Nations after Russia and Ukraine blamed each other for shelling at the site that has damaged buildings and caused the disconnection of power lines.

Turkey has rejected Russia’s annexation of Ukraine on Saturday, calling the decision a “grave violation” of international law.

Turkey, which has been at the centre of mediation between the west and Russia, said it had not recognised Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, adding that it rejected Russia’s decision to annex Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, Reuters reports.

This decision, which constitutes a grave violation of the established principles of international law, cannot be accepted. We reiterate our support to the resolution of this war, the severity of which keeps growing, based on a just peace that will be reached through negotiations.

The World Bank has said it will provide an additional US$530m in support to Ukraine, bringing the total aid by the bank to $13bn. The aid is supported by the UK ($500m) and Denmark ($30m), the World Bank said.

Of the total aid of $13bn to Ukraine to date, $11bn had been fully disbursed, the bank added.

The World Bank’s most recent analysis put the total long-term cost of reconstruction and recovery in Ukraine over the next three years at well over $100bn, said Arup Banerji, World Bank regional country director for eastern Europe.

Overnight, Ukrainian forces were reportedly on the doorstep of Lyman in Donetsk, which Moscow’s forces pummelled for weeks to capture this summer.

“Lyman is partially surrounded,” said Denis Pushilin, the pro-Moscow leader in Donetsk, adding later on social media that Russian forces were holding out “with the last of their strength”.

Reports have circulated online of the Ukrainians also reaching Kreminna, 30km further east of Lyman. Hopefully we’ll have more on Ukrainian troops’ advances as the day progresses.

Summary

Hello and thanks for joining today’s live coverage of the Russian war against Ukraine, brought to you by the Guardian. I’m Warren Murray here to get things started. Let’s begin with some of the most recent developments.

  • Russian forces were potentially on the verge of one of their worst defeats of the war after Ukrainian troops recaptured two villages close to the eastern Russian-occupied stronghold of Lyman.

  • Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, proclaimed the annexation of territory seized in his invasion in four regions amounting to 15{515baef3fee8ea94d67a98a2b336e0215adf67d225b0e21a4f5c9b13e8fbd502} of total Ukrainian territory while Kyiv said it would continue its fight to retake the illegally occupied land.

  • Before signing the documents which lay claim to Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Luhansk and Donetsk – an act denounced as illegal by Ukraine, the United States, the European Union and the head of the United Nations – Putin delivered a 37-minute anti-western diatribe.

  • President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he was formally applying for Ukraine to join the Nato military alliance, adding that Kyiv was ready for talks with Moscow but not while Putin remained president.

  • Russia vetoed a UN security council resolution introduced by the US and Albania condemning Moscow’s proclaimed annexations. Russia’s strategic partner China abstained from the vote, as well as India, which has historic defense ties with Russia despite a warming relationship with the United States.

  • The United States responded to the annexations by imposing more sanctions on Russia, targeting hundreds of people and companies, including those in Russia’s military-industrial complex and lawmakers.

  • At least 30 civilians were killed and almost 100 wounded in what Kyiv said was a cynical Russian missile strike on a convoy of civilian cars in southern Ukraine.

  • Putin, without providing evidence, blamed the US and its allies for blowing up pipelines under the Baltic Sea, raising the temperature in a crisis that has left Europe racing to secure its energy infrastructure and supplies.

  • Joe Biden, the US president, said “was a deliberate act of sabotage and now the Russians are pumping out disinformation and lies”, adding that Washington and its allies would send divers to find out what happened.

  • The ruptures on the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline system have led to what is likely the biggest single release of climate-damaging methane recorded, the United Nations Environment Programme said.

Francis McGee

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