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Ukraine Latest: Zelenskiy Vows to Press Ahead and Retake Country

·7 min read
Ukraine Latest: Zelenskiy Vows to Press Ahead and Retake Country

(Bloomberg) --

Most Read from Bloomberg

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy renewed his pledge to retake all Russian-controlled territory after Ukraine’s recent advances. Russian pop star Alla Pugacheva joined her husband in protesting the war, telling social media followers that young Russian men were dying for “illusory purposes.”

US President Joe Biden warned Vladimir Putin against using nuclear weapons in Ukraine. The Russian president earlier threatened to step up attacks on civilian targets as his ground invasion is repelled in northeastern Ukraine.

The UK defense ministry said Russia is putting Putin’s words into action, and “has likely extended the locations it is prepared to strike” in a bid to undermine Ukraine’s morale.

(See RSAN on the Bloomberg Terminal for the Russian Sanctions Dashboard.)

Key Developments

  • Biden Meets Griner, Whelan Families as Russia Sits on Swap Offer

  • Putin Threatens New Military Strikes on Ukraine Infrastructure

  • Zelenskiy Says Russia Responsible for Grave Site Found in Izyum

  • Russia Puts Rate Path in Doubt After Smallest Cut This Year

  • Modi Urges Peace in Ukraine, Joining Xi in Questioning Putin

  • Putin’s War Is Deepening a Tussle for Influence in Central Asia

On the Ground

Ukraine is pressing its offensive in the northeast and took control of Oskil River’s left bank on Saturday, military officials said. Ukraine’s General Staff said Russian troops are focused on fully occupying the Donetsk region and that some Russian units suffered loss rates between 50% and 90% in their retreat from the Kharkiv area. The claim couldn’t be verified. Russian troops shelled a psychiatric hospital in the Kharkiv region close to the Russian border as they evacuated, killing four doctors, the region’s governor said.

(All times CET)

Ukraine Seeks UK Support on War Crimes Probes (9:50 p.m.)

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal sought UK support for war-crimes investigations against Russia during a trip to London for Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral.

Shmyhal said he told House of Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle about alleged Russian crimes against civilians in Izyum and the Kharkiv region, and is counting on the UK’s “steady support” for a tribunal to bring Russia’s “political leadership” to justice, according to a Twitter post by Shmyhal.

Zelenskiy Hints at Next Offensive (9:38 p.m.)

President Volodomyr Zelenskiy renewed his pledge to retake all Russian-controlled territory, saying there’s “not a lull” but rather “preparation for the next sequence” after recent victories, Ukrinform reported.

City names such as Mariupol, Melitopol and Kherson will be heard “even more often and louder when we liberate them,” as well as regions including Donetsk and Luhansk, the agency quoted Zelenskiy as saying Sunday in his latest video address.

Ukraine Forces Cross Key Oskil River, Military Says (5:30 p.m.)

Ukrainian forces have crossed to the left bank of the Oskil River in the Kharkiv region, and now control both banks as they continue to press a counteroffensive, according to military officials.

Troops repelled Russian attacks near recently liberated Kupyansk and Hoptivka close to the Russian border and in the west of Donetsk region, officials said.

Pugacheva Seeks Foreign-Agent Label in Protest (3:30 p.m.)

Russian pop legend Alla Pugacheva joined the ranks of Kremlin critics after publishing a rare political post to her 3.4 million Instagram followers. She asked Russia’s Ministry of Justice to label her a “foreign agent” in solidarity with her husband, showman Maxim Galkin, who has openly criticized Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Galkin received the foreign-agent label on Friday. The legal category has been widely used against Kremlin critics and independent journalists.

Pugacheva, 73, who came to prominence well before Vladimir Putin became president, said she supported Galkin in his call to stop the deaths of Russians for “illusionary goals,” even as she avoided mentioning Ukraine directly. Public reference to events in Ukraine as war can be punishable in Russia. The post has been “liked” over 298,000 times.

Russia Says It Held Off Attacks in Kherson Area (1:04 p.m.)

Russia’s defense ministry, in a daily briefing, said it had held off Ukrainian attacks in the Kherson region, where Kyiv’s forces have been mounting a counteroffensive.

The New York Times, citing Ukrainian officials, reported that Ukraine had leveled a cotton mill in Kherson used as a Russian base and are focusing on supply lines used by Moscow’s forces. Ukraine’s military officials have lately maintained “operational silence” about the southern counteroffensive, the Institute for the Study of War said.

Social media footage overnight from Kherson showed a firefight in the streets and around the city’s railway station. It was unclear who was involved in the fighting in the occupied city in southern Ukraine.

Russia Focused on ‘Meaningless’ Operations, ISW Says (9 a.m.)

Russian forces are conducting “meaningless offensive operations” around Donetsk City and Bakhmut in Ukraine’s east rather than “defending against Ukrainian counteroffensives that continue to advance,” according to the Institute for the Study of War.

The US-based think tank said Moscow’s failure to rush in reinforcements leaves most of occupied northeastern Ukraine highly vulnerable, adding that “Russian theater decision-making remains questionable.”

Ukrainian forces have liberated additional settlements, and appear to be expanding positions east of the Oskil River and north of the Siverskyi Donets River and could envelop Russian troops holding around Lyman, ISW said.

China, Russia Plan Strategic Consultations (8:51 a.m.)

China and Russia will hold two days of strategic security consultations starting Sunday in Beijing, the 17th round of such talks and the first since May 2021, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced.

Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of Russia’s Security Council, will attend the consultations at Beijing’s invitation.

China, Russia to Hold 17th Strategic Security Consultation

Australia Won’t Ban Russian Tourists, Defense Minister Says (8 a.m.)

Australia won’t prohibit Russian tourists from entering the country despite calls from Ukraine’s ambassador to do so, its defense minister said. “This is not something we are considering at the moment,” Richard Marles told the ABC’s Insiders program on Sunday.

Australian sanctions are directed at the Russian government and “not focused on the Russian people themselves,” said Marles, who is also the deputy prime minister.

Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia has urged the government to stop issuing tourist visas to Russians. Poland and the Baltic states said this month they’ll impose tough restrictions on visas issued to Russian citizens.

Russia Increasing Missile Hits on Civilian Targets, UK Says (7:30 a.m.)

“Russia has increased its targeting of civilian infrastructure” in the past week even when there’s no perceptible military effect, the UK defense ministry said, in what it called an effort to “directly undermine the morale” of Ukraine’s government and people.

Recent targets included Ukraine’s electricity grid and a major dam in Kryvyi Rih, Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s home town.

The tactic echoes comments by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who threatened on Friday to step up attacks on civilian targets as Moscow’s front-line efforts are thwarted. Russia has launched “several thousand” long range missiles since February, the UK said.

Nuclear Plant Reconnected to Grid, IAEA Says (5:06 p.m.)

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is again receiving electricity directly from Ukraine’s national grid after repairs to one its of main external power lines damaged during the conflict, the UN’s atomic agency said.

The plant, Europe’s largest, shut its last operating reactor on Sept. 11. It now has the electricity it needs “for reactor cooling and other essential safety functions,” the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a post on its website.

The IAEA has had monitors at the site for the past two weeks, following a visit from a team lead by Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi. On Saturday Grossi described the situation at Zaporizhzhia as “still precarious.”

Biden Tells Putin, ‘Don’t. Don’t. Don’t’ Use Nuclear Weapons (2:52 p.m.)

Joe Biden said Vladimir Putin would face a “consequential” US response if the Russian president used nuclear or chemical weapons in the war in Ukraine.

“Don’t. Don’t. Don’t,” Biden said in an excerpt from an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” when asked what he would say if Putin were considering using tactical nuclear weapons or chemical weapons in the almost seven-month-old conflict.

(An earlier version corrected Pugacheva’s name in the first paragraph.)

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