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Ukraine-Russia war – live: Zelensky accuses Putin of ‘criminal and unprovoked aggression’ violating UN charter

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russia of committing “criminal and unprovoked aggression” as he came face-to-face with Vladimir Putin’s officials for the first time since his country was invaded.

The aggression violated both the norms of war and the UN Charter itself, he told a special meeting of the UN’s security council.

All eyes were on possible interactions between Mr Zelensky and foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, but Mr Lavrov was not in Russia’s seat as Mr Zelensky spoke.

Earlier, Ukrainian forces struck a Russian Black Sea fleet command post near Sevastopol in Crimea, the Ukrainian military said.

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The Moscow-installed governor of the city – a resort where Vladimir Putin spends his summer holidays – said a missile attack had been prevented.

Some reports described it as a “kamikaze drone” hit and that Russia had downed several drones in the area. Russia seized and annexed Crimea in 2014.

Separately, footage of an inferno near the Adler International Airport in Sochi circulated on Telegram.

“There were no casualties,” the mayor of Sochi, Alexei Kopaigorodskyi, said on the Telegram platform.

Key Points

  • Drones shot down over Russian cities near Ukraine border in overnight attack

  • At UN General Assembly, Biden asks world to stand by Ukraine

  • Moscow court declines to consider appeal by US reporter Gershkovich against pre-trial detention

  • Russia violating UN Charter, Zelensky tells security council

UN incapable of defending national borders, says Zelensky

19:46 , Jane Dalton

Ukraine’s President Zelensky has repeated his call for reform of the UN’s general assembly and security council to end the war.

“574 days of pain, losses, and struggle have already passed since the start of the full-scale aggression launched by the state, which, for some reason, is still present here among the permanent UNSC members,” he wrote on social media.

In a long thread he wrote: “All in the world see what makes the UN incapable. This seat in the Security Council, which Russia occupied illegally, through backstage manipulations following the collapse of the USSR, has been taken by liars whose job is to whitewash Russia’s ongoing aggression and genocide...

“Veto power in the hands of the aggressor is what has pushed the UN into a dead end...

“Humankind no longer pins its hopes on the UN when it comes to the defence of the sovereign borders of nations.”

His proposals included expanding membership of the security council to include Germany and the African Union, among others.

He said the epicentre of efforts to protect territorial integrity and sovereignty and human rights, as well as preventing aggression and genocide should be in UN’s general assembly and security council.

“If reform of UN institutions is necessary for this, then we should not be afraid of it. We are ready to work together with UN members who joined the Peace Formula on draft resolutions and amendments to the UN Charter.”

The council has met dozens of times since Russia invaded Ukraine, but it has been unable to take any action because Moscow holds a veto.

Four die in Russian shelling

21:12 , Jane Dalton

Russian forces have shelled the city of Toretsk in eastern Ukraine, killing four people, the Ukrainian General Prosecutor’s Office said.

The office, in a report on the Telegram messaging app, said that two people had died inside the city and two more in the adjacent town of Pivnichne.

The tense encounter that almost happened — but didn’t

18:57 , Jane Dalton

Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov avoided staring each other out across the UN Security Council’s famous horseshoe-shaped table:

Ukraine, Russia and the tense U.N. encounter that almost happened — but didn't

Russian ambassador objects to Zelensky speaking

18:46 , Jane Dalton

Before Ukraine’s President Zelensky took the floor to speak to the security council’s 15 members, Russian ambassador Vassily Nebenzia objected.

Albanian prime minister Edi Rama, serving as president of the tense session, responded with a gibe at Moscow, which has long said the invasion does not amount to a war but was a “special military operation”.

“I want to assure our Russian colleagues and everyone here that this is not a special operation by the Albanian presidency,” Mr Rama said to muted laughter across the room.

“There is a solution for this,” he continued. “If you agree, you stop the war and President Zelensky will not take the floor.”

Mr Nebenzia said the session was a show.

Lavrov runs over by at least 20 minutes

18:29 , Jane Dalton

The speech of Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov lasted for more than 24 minutes. Security Council delegates had been asked to limit speeches to four minutes.

Nazis can skip queue to join EU, Lavrov claims

18:25 , Jane Dalton

Nazis could “skip the queue” to join the EU, Sergei Lavrov claimed - in contrast with countries such as Turkey, where talks had dragged on.

Mr Lavrov’s rambling speech to the security council has already lasted much longer than those of other delegates and is continuing with regular swipes at Western “aggression” and “hypocrisy”.

Russian minister accuses West of fomenting global tensions

18:16 , Jane Dalton

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov accused the West after the cold war of ignoring the legacy of the founding fathers of the UN, fomenting “new global tensions”.

He accused the US and allies of meddling in Ukraine’s politics since fall of the Soviet Union to force pro-western policies in Kyiv, which did not represent the views of the people of Donbass (the Russian-occupied area of Ukraine), Mr Lavrov said.

And he accused the West of trying to suppress Russian culture, including people using their native language.

Volodymyr Zelensky left the security council meeting after his speech, avoiding a clash with Mr Lavrov and his team.

Russia committing war crimes daily, says Blinken

18:02 , Jane Dalton

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken cited heinous examples of homes being targeted and children being removed form their homes, saying Russia was committing war crimes daily.

He listed examples of acts of destruction he said Russia was carrying out, including targeting grain supplies, using Iranian drones.

“It’s hard to imagine a country demonstrating more contempt of the UN,” Mr Blinken said.

But Ukrainians were not giving up, he said.

He pledged the US would continue to do more than its share of supporting the war effort and send a clear message to aggressors.

UK gives £3m to food programme as Russia ‘targets hungry'

17:54 , Jane Dalton

The UK is giving another £3m to the UN Food Programme following disruptions to grain supplies, the UK’s deputy prime minister told the security council.

Oliver Dowden said the “hungry and malnourished people of the developing world” were also victims of Russia’s “war of choice”.

Russia was impervious to UN demands and conducted sham elections in Ukraine’s sovereign territory, he said, as he highlighted the need for “effective multilateralism” to secure peace, restore grain flows and help Ukraine in its recovery”.

Poland angered by Zelensky grain remarks

17:31 , Jane Dalton

Poland summoned Kyiv’s envoy to the foreign ministry, after comments by Ukraine’s president on a ban on grain imports angered the government in Warsaw, which is toughening its stance ahead of October elections.

Poland has been one of Ukraine’s staunchest allies, but the countries are now embroiled in a deepening conflict over agricultural imports since Poland, along with Hungary and Slovakia, extended a ban on grain imports from their war-torn neighbour.

President Volodymyr Zelensky told the United Nations General Assembly Kyiv was working to preserve the land routes for grain exports, but he added that the “political theatre” around grain imports was only helping Moscow, which invaded Ukraine last year.

“(Deputy Foreign Minister Pawel Jablonski) conveyed the Polish side’s strong protest against the statements made by President V. Zelensky at the UN General Assembly yesterday, alleging that some EU countries feigned solidarity while indirectly supporting Russia,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

UN must remove Russia’s veto, says Zelensky

17:21 , Jane Dalton

Volodymyr Zelensky called for the UN General Assembly to remove Russia’s veto power on the security council.

Ukraine is exercising its right to self-defence, the Ukrainian president told the meeting.

And he said support for Ukraine amounted to backing for the aims of the UN Charter.

He called on nations to support Kyiv’s 10-point peace plan – which the Kremlin has previously rejected.

Russia appears isolated in UN meeting

16:57 , Jane Dalton

All eyes were on the Russian delegation as Ukraine’s Mr Zelensky came face-to-face with their officials for the first time since his country was invaded.

But Russia appeared isolated in the security council chamber, according to Washington Post reporter Michael Birnbaum.

“Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya is sitting alone at the table with other members of the Russian delegation behind him. No merriment and small talk for the Russians,” he reported.

Zelensky calls for reform of council to reach peace

16:48 , Jane Dalton

President Zelensky called for reform of the security council.

“Our aspiration for peace should drive the reform,” he told the special gathering of international delegates.

Russia violating UN Charter, Zelensky tells security council

16:43 , Jane Dalton

Volodymyr Zelensky has started addressing the special United Nations Security Council session, saying Ukrainian soldiers were doing what the UN security council should be doing by vote.

He accused Russia of “criminal and unprovoked aggression” that violated the UN Charter.

 (EPA)
(EPA)

US to give Kyiv fresh aid as Zelensky plans Washington trip

16:30 , Jane Dalton

US president Joe Biden plans to announce a significant military aid package for Ukraine on Thursday to coincide with a visit to Washington by president Volodymyr Zelensky, a US official has said, on condition of anonymity.

Watch live - Live: World leaders gather for UN General Assembly

14:22 , Lydia Patrick

There is speculation of a Zelensky and Lavrov face-to-face showdown.

Cargo ship crew evacuated after explosion near Romanian Danube port

14:12 , Lydia Patrick

The crew of a Togo-flagged general cargo ship bound for one of Ukraine‘s Danube river ports were evacuated early on Wednesday after an explosion on board near the Romanian port of Sulina, Romanian officials said.

The Seama ship reported an explosion early on Wednesday and requested the evacuation of the 12-person crew near Sulina, where the Danube flows into the Black Sea.

“At the moment the causes ... are unclear, whether it was a mine or merely an explosion in the engine room,” Romanian Transport Minister Sorin Grindeanu told reporters.

A former explosion on Romania Danube Ports (Provided)
A former explosion on Romania Danube Ports (Provided)

ICYMI: Sochi fuel depot goes up in flames in suspected first drone strike on Putin’s summer resort town

13:36 , Lydia Patrick

A suspected “kamikaze drone” attack targeted resort city Sochi where Vladimir Putin spends his summer holidays and led to a massive fuel tank going up in flames, said officials.

This is the first suspected drone strike made on the Russian president’s resort city during the course of his full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Mr Putin has also hosted the 2014 Olympic games in the city.

Sochi fuel depot up in flames in first drone strike on Putin’s summer resort town

Zelensky and Lavov face-to-face showdown expected to at United Nations Security Council

13:00 , Lydia Patrick

Volodymyr Zelensky faces an in-person showdown with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov at a meeting of the UN Security Council today, after warning Russia’s evil “cannot be trusted”.

Mr Zelensky is due to speak today at a UN Security Council meeting about Ukraine. Russia is a permanent, veto-wielding member of the council, and Mr Lavrov is expected to make remarks.

Asked whether he would stay in the room to listen, Mr Zelensky said, “I don’t know how it will be, really.”

Yesterday, the Ukrainian leader delivered a powerful speech to fellow UN leaders and urged for the world to unite against Putin.

He warned of Russia using tactics that he claimed to be more catastrophic than those of nuclear destruction.

He said:”But truly not the nukes are the scariest now.“While nukes remain in place, the mass destruction is gaining its momentum.”

The last time Zelensky and Lavrov faced each other at the UN Security Council in September 2022 was an explosive encounter. Lavrov called Zelensky a ‘b******’ and stormed out of the room.

UN General Assembly (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
UN General Assembly (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Putin formally accepts invitation to visit China in October

12:30 , Lydia Patrick

Putin is set to visit China this October on his first trip abroad since the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant against him.

The Kremlin denies the allegation that he deported children from Ukraine.

 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Putin’s Black Sea holiday resort rocked by drone strike

11:43 , Lydia Patrick

A ‘kamikaze drone attack’ struck Putin’s black sea holiday resort this morning, reports claim.

Telegram footage shows fire near the Adler International Aiport in Sochi.

Plumes of black clouds can be seen in the video footage as the strike hit a tank containing ‘1,200 tons of diesel’ The Metro reported.

A previous blast in the Black Sea (via REUTERS)
A previous blast in the Black Sea (via REUTERS)

Ukrainian soldiers say Western arms would speed up counteroffensive

11:20 , Lydia Patrick

Ukrainian troops on the eastern front say they need more arms to accelerate their successful Bakhmut counteroffensive against Russia, report Reuters.

Kyiv says it has recaptured two villages south of Bakhmut which will help its forces advance on the shattered city, which has been occupied by Russian forces since May.

But troops taking cover in a bunker near Bakhmut this week said they were still heavily reliant on Soviet-era Grad multiple rocket launchers, and dream of receiving the more sophisticated U.S.-made HIMARS rocket launchers.

“Things would be brighter, a lot more interesting if we had HIMARS,” one soldier, who gave his name only as Denys, said as explosions echoed nearby.

“Or at the very least one of those made Czech-made Vampires (rocket launchers),” he said to Reuters.

 (Ukraine armed forces)
(Ukraine armed forces)

Russia suffer significant losses in Western Zaporizhzhia, say ISW

10:50 , Lydia Patrick

Russian losses have ‘significantly increased’ over recent days in Western Zaporizhzhia, according to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

They reported:

Russian losses have reportedly significantly increased in western Zaporizhia Oblast in recent days, and the Russian military likely struggles with a lack of available combat-effective units that the Russian command is willing to laterally redeploy to this sector of the front.

ISW

EU to ask China to push Russia towards ‘just peace’ in Ukraine

10:15 , Lydia Patrick

European Council President Charles Michel will ask China directly at the United Nations Security Council to do more to push Russia towards a “just peace” in Ukraine, according to his draft speech seen by Reuters at the UNGA.

At the Security Council meeting held on Wednesday during the annual high-level U.N. General Assembly in New York, Michel will call for “a just peace that respects the U.N. Charter and its core principles the territorial integrity of a sovereign nation, says Reuters.

China’s Vice President Han Zheng is in New York for the annual gathering of world leaders for the UNGA, and is currently expected to attend the meeting of the 15-member council for China, diplomats said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is also expected to attend the council meeting.

Charles Michel  will ask China to push Russia towards peace
Charles Michel will ask China to push Russia towards peace

More grain conflict in Poland

09:57 , Lydia Patrick

Poland may ban the import of more Ukrainian agricultural products if Kyiv escalates the conflict over a ban on grain imports, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki warns.

The warning comes Poland, Slovakia and Hungary announced their own restrictions on Ukrainian grain imports despite the European Comission’s decision to not extend prexisting ban over Ukraine’s five neighbouring countries.

Ukraine was one of the world’s top grain exporters before Russia’s 2022 invasion reduced its ability to ship agricultural produce to global markets. Ukrainian farmers have relied on grain exports through neighbouring countries since the conflict began as it has been unable to use the favoured routes through Black Sea ports.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Russian jet crashed during training flight

09:50 , Lydia Patrick

A Russian Su-34 fighter jet crashed in Voronezh region in Central Russia during a training flight on Wednesday morning, TASS news agency reported citing the defence ministry.

The plane was flying without ammunition and crashed in a deserted area, the report said. The crew of two people ejected and was later evacuated, it added.

The cause of the accident could be a technical malfunction, the ministry said.

The jet crash which killed Yevgeny V. Prigozhin (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
The jet crash which killed Yevgeny V. Prigozhin (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Sochi fire extinguished

08:54 , Lydia Patrick

A fire at a fuel tank near an airport in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi has been extinguished, the city’s mayor said on Wednesday.

“There were no casualties,” the mayor, Alexei Kopaigorodskyi, said on the Telegram messaging platform.

“The airport and the entire transport system are operating as normal,” report Reuters.

The cause of the fire is being investigated further.

Zelensky tells UN to not do deals with ‘evil’ Russia: ‘Ask Prigozhin whether Putin can be trusted’

08:30 , Lydia Patrick

Volodymyr Zelensky condemned ‘evil’ Russia and emphatically warned fellow leaders of stop ‘shady deals’ with Russia.

He said: “Evil cannot be trusted – ask Prigozhin if one bets on Putin’s promises,” Mr Zelensky said on Tuesday, claiming he was aware of “attempts to make some shady deals behind the scenes.”

“Please, hear me. Let unity decide everything openly.”

Read the full story here

Zelensky tells UN to not do deals with ‘evil’ Russia: ‘Ask Prigozhin’

Zelensky’s UN speech warned of Putin’s ‘World War'

07:39 , Lydia Patrick

The Ukrainian president addressed other world leaders in his UN General Assembly speech, urging them to unite as he claims country suffers under conditions worse than nuclear destruction.

Volodymyr Zelensky travelled to New York to deliver his speech to the UNGA to stress the need for collaboration and peace.

Zelensky delivered UN speech in New York (Getty Images)
Zelensky delivered UN speech in New York (Getty Images)

He argues Russia holding nuclear weapons isn’t the scariest part of the war, but rather the weaponisation of other things such as food, energy and children.

He said:

But truly not the nukes are the scariest now.

While nukes remain in place, the mass destruction is gaining its momentum. The aggressor is weaponising many other things and those things are used not only against our country but against all of yours as well.

Zelensky

Why did Russia invade Ukraine?

07:00 , Eleanor Noyce

Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine has been raging for one year now as the conflict continues to record devastating casualties and force the mass displacement of millions of blameless Ukrainians.

Vladimir Putin began the war by claiming Russia’s neighbour needed to be “demilitarised and de-Nazified”, a baseless pretext on which to launch a landgrab against an independent state that happens to have a Jewish president in Volodymyr Zelensky.

Ukraine has fought back courageously against Mr Putin’s warped bid to restore territory lost to Moscow with the collapse of the Soviet Union and has continued to defy the odds by defending itself against Russian onslaughts with the help of Western military aid.

More here:

Here’s why Putin really invaded Ukraine

ICYMI: Shapps pledges ‘unwavering support’ for Ukraine in first meeting with Umerov

06:00 , Eleanor Noyce

Grant Shapps pledged the UK’s “unwavering commitment” to Ukraine with tens of thousands more artillery shells as he met the country’s new defence minister for the first time.

The Defence Secretary attended the 15th meeting of the Ukraine Defence Contact Group (UDCG) at the US Air Force base in Ramstein, Germany, alongside Chief of the Defence Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radakin.

The group brings together ministers and senior officials from nearly 50 nations to coordinate international support for the war-torn nation.

Nina Lloyd reports:

Shapps pledges ‘unwavering support’ for Ukraine in first meeting with Umerov

Drones shot down over Russian cities near Ukraine border in overnight attack

05:58 , Arpan Rai

Russia’s air defence units have shot down two Ukrainian drones flying over Belgorod and Oryol oblasts as Kyiv increases the pace of its counteroffensive against Moscow’s invasion.

The drone attacks come as Ukraine overtook two key villages recently and has stepped up counter attacks on Russia. Drone and missile attacks deep inside Russia and on Russia-controlled territory have shot up drastically in recent months, with the Russian defence ministry blaming the “Kyiv regime” for what it calls “terrorist attacks”.

While Ukraine has seldom responded to accusations of attacks, it has expressed satisfaction at the destruction of Russian military infrastructure and critical military sites.

Drones shot down over Russian cities near Ukraine border in overnight attack

ICYMI: Russia is ‘weaponising’ food, energy and children in war on Ukraine, Zelensky tells UN

05:00 , Eleanor Noyce

Russia is “weaponising” everything from food and energy to abducted children in its war against Ukraine, president Volodymyr Zelensky told leaders at the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday.

While the world has agreements that restrict arms, “there are no real restrictions on weaponization,” he said.

He was addressing the gathering at a sensitive point in his country’s campaign to maintain international support for its fight.

Alastair Jamieson reports:

Russia is ‘weaponizing’ food, energy and children in Ukraine, Zelensky tells UN

Ukraine complains to WTO about Hungary, Poland and Slovakia banning its farm products

04:00 , Eleanor Noyce

Ukraine is filing a complaint at the World Trade Organization against Hungary, Poland and Slovakia after they banned grain and other food products coming from the war-torn country, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said Tuesday.

It lays bare a widening rift with the three members of the European Union, which has been a pivotal backer of Kyiv as it works to fight off Russia’s invasion.

In a break with the wider EU, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia have announced bans on grain and other food from Ukraine, a major agricultural supplier to parts of the world where people are going hungry. The 27-nation bloc last week lifted restrictions on Ukraine’s exports to five member states, also including Romania and Bulgaria.

More here:

Ukraine complains to WTO about Hungary, Poland and Slovakia banning its farm products

Biden calls on world leaders to stand up to Russia’s ‘naked aggression’ against Ukraine

03:00 , Eleanor Noyce

President Joe Biden on Tuesday called on world leaders to uphold the UN Charter’s “core tenet” of sovereignty and territorial integrity by supporting Ukraine’s fight against Russia’s invading forces during remarks at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Mr Biden reminded the world leaders who had gathered to hear him at UN headquarters that the annual gathering, which he described as one that is “dedicated to peaceful resolution of conflicts,” was once again “darkened by the shadow of war, an illegal war of conquest brought without provocation by Russia against its’ neighbour, Ukraine”.

Mr Biden said the US, which has been Ukraine’s chief supporter during the nearly two-year war, wants the conflict to end, and stressed that “no nation wants this war to end more than Ukraine”.

Andrew Feinberg reports:

Biden calls on UN leaders to stand up to Russia’s ‘naked aggression’ against Ukraine

Why new fighting in Azerbaijan's troubled region may herald a new war

02:00 , Eleanor Noyce

Azerbaijan’s launch of reportedly intense artillery firing in the Nagorno-Karabakh region on Tuesday raised fears that another full-scale conflict with Armenia could be underway, less than three years after a war that killed more than 6,000 people.

Nagorno-Karabakh, with a population of about 120,000, is an ethnic Armenian region of Azerbaijan that has been a flashpoint since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The region and sizable surrounding territories came under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by the Armenian military at the 1994 end of a separatist war. Azerbaijan regained the territories and parts of Nagorno-Karabakh itself in fighting in 2020.

Read more:

Why new fighting in Azerbaijan's troubled region may herald a new war

Ukraine ‘has one month to hold knife to Crimea’s throat’ and force Putin into peace talks

01:00 , Eleanor Noyce

Ukraine has just four weeks to hold a “knife at Crimea‘s throat” and force Vladimir Putin into peace talks before Russia’s army recoups over winter, experts have warned.

Professor Mark Galeotti, academic and author of more than 20 books on Russia, said Volodymyr Zelensky’s troops need to move another 10 miles southwards to be in range of striking key Russian supply routes in Crimea.

He claimed this is the only “serious” chance Ukraine has to force Mr Putin into negotiations before the Russian army has the opportunity to regroup over winter.

Alexander Butler reports:

Ukraine warned it has one month window to force Putin into talks

ICYMI: Kremlin says Russia and China must edge closer to counter Western efforts to contain them

Wednesday 20 September 2023 00:01 , Eleanor Noyce

A senior Kremlin official on Tuesday called for closer policy coordination between Moscow and Beijing to counter what he described as Western efforts to contain them as he hosted China’s top diplomat for security talks.

Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of Russia’s Security Council chaired by President Vladimir Putin, told Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi that Moscow “seeks progressive development and strengthening of the Russian-Chinese relations of comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation.”

“Amid the campaign unleashed by the collective West that is aimed at the double containment of Russia and China, it’s particularly important to further deepen Russian-Chinese coordination and interaction on the international arena,” Patrushev said.

Read more:

Kremlin says Russia and China must edge closer to counter Western efforts to contain them

ICYMI: A Moscow court delays decision on the appeal of jailed Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich

Tuesday 19 September 2023 23:00 , Eleanor Noyce

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich filed an appeal Tuesday to be released from jail on espionage charges, but the Moscow City Court did not immediately rule on it, causing confusion from Russian media that reported contradictory results from the closed session.

The court said in a statement it sent Gershkovich’s case back to a lower court due to procedural violations. The state news agency Tass reported the court had rejected Gershkovich’s appeal, meaning he will remain jailed until Nov. 30.

Before the session was closed, Gershkovich appeared in the glass defendants’ cage, smiling at journalists and wearing a yellow sweater and blue jeans. He was detained in March while on a reporting trip to the city of Yekaterinburg, about 2,000 kilometres (1,200 miles) east of Moscow.

In case you missed it:

A Moscow court delays decision on the appeal of jailed Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich

Flames rage from destroyed warehouse after Russian drone strike on Lviv

Tuesday 19 September 2023 22:30 , Eleanor Noyce

A Russian drone attack over the city of Lviv, Ukraine, early on Tuesday 19 September heavily damaged a warehouse facility and injured a 26-year-old man, according to the regional governor.

Maksym Kozytsky reported that 15 out of 18 drones were intercepted.

Footage from the ground shows flames raging from a warehouse, as firefighters battle to control the blaze.

The state emergency service said the fire, caused by the drone attack, has reached 9,450 square meters.

A total of 27 out of 30 Shahed drones were intercepted Monday night across Ukraine, according to the Air Force report.

Watch:

Flames rage from destroyed warehouse after Russian drone strike on Lviv

ICYMI: Putin still has ‘well over 200,000 troops’ in occupied Ukraine, top US general says

Tuesday 19 September 2023 21:50 , Eleanor Noyce

Ukraine could take time to “kick out” over 200,000 of Vladimir Putin’s troops from its soil even if its military counteroffensive achieves all its goals, a soon-to-retire US military general has claimed in a new interview.

The comments come as Ukraine has stepped up its counteroffensive against Russia in the last few days by retaking a couple of key villages near battle-worn Bakhmut and launched joint intelligence ops in Crimea, the territory Moscow illegally annexed in 2014.

“There’s well over 200,000 Russian troops in Russian-occupied Ukraine,” General Mark A Milley, who is set to retire as the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in an “exit interview” to CNN.

Arpan Rai reports:

Putin still has ‘well over 200,000 troops’ in occupied Ukraine, top US general says

Zelensky tells Russia to stop war so world can fight climate, other crises

Tuesday 19 September 2023 21:20 , Eleanor Noyce

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky implored world leaders gathered at the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday to stand united against Russia’s invasion and said Moscow had to be pushed back so the world could turn to solving pressing global challenges.

Zelensky drew applause as he took his place at the United Nations General Assembly lectern in New York for his first in-person appearance at the annual UNGA since Russia invaded his country in 2022.

“Ukraine is doing everything to ensure that after Russian aggression, no one in the world will dare to attack any nation,” he said. “Weaponisation must be restrained, war crimes must be punished, deported people must come back home and the occupier must return to their own land.”

“We must be united to make it - and we’ll do it.”

He accused Russia of manipulating global food markets to seek international recognition of ownership of land it seized from Kyiv.

In a nod to the Global South, whose support he is seeking in his standoff with Russia, Zelensky spoke about the worsening climate crisis and natural disasters, mentioning the recent earthquake in Morocco and floods in Libya.

“We have to stop it. We must act united to defeat the aggressor and focus all our capabilities and energy on addressing these challenges,” he told the General Assembly.

Voices: Republican supporters of Ukraine don’t sweat the GOP critics

Tuesday 19 September 2023 20:50 , Eleanor Noyce

The fight amongst Republicans about how to keep the government open has many facets, but perhaps one of the most fraught ones includes whether to include support for Ukraine. And it is coming just as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is about to come to Washington.

Earlier this year, I reported how Republican backing for Ukraine was always fraught, with some being sceptical about US support for the country as Russian President Vladimir Putin continues his assault and some elected officials are outright hostile to Ukraine and Mr Zelensky. The split between pro-Ukraine and anti-Ukraine Republicans came on full display during the first GOP presidential primary debate as well.

Erica Garcia writes:

Republican supporters of Ukraine don’t sweat the GOP critics

UN General Assembly: Ukraine urgently needs air defenses -NATO head

Tuesday 19 September 2023 20:25 , Eleanor Noyce

Ukraine urgently needs air defenses, including ammunition, spare parts and maintenance for the systems the Ukrainian military already has, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told Reuters on Tuesday.

Stoltenberg said the war, now well into its second year, was a “war of attrition” but not a stalemate, given the gains Ukraine has made with a counteroffensive it began in June to try to reclaim territory occupied by Russian forces.

“If we want an end to the war, if we want a just and lasting peace, then military support to Ukraine is the right way,” said Stoltenberg in an interview while in New York for the annual high-level United Nations General Assembly. “Ukraine needs many different types of support.”

“There is an urgent need for air defense, not only new systems, but also ammunition, maintenance, spare parts ... We see that air defense is saving lives every day in Ukraine and we need to sustain the air defense systems of Ukraine.”

He spoke after a senior State Department official said earlier on Tuesday that reinforcing Ukraine‘s air defenses was key, including to protect critical infrastructure as winter descends.

Stoltenberg declined to say how many rounds of munitions NATO allies can deliver to Ukraine each year, or when exactly F-16s would be delivered to Kyiv.

“Allies are working hard to train (F-16 pilots) as fast as possible,” he said. “The importance of the F-16s is also that it sends a message of long-term and enduring support.”

“We are ready for the long haul. Not because we are able to predict exactly how long this war will last, but because we need to send a message that President Putin cannot wait us out.”

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

UN General Assembly: End wars, focus on climate change instead -Colombia's Petro

Tuesday 19 September 2023 20:05 , Eleanor Noyce

Colombian president Gustavo Petro used his speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday to call for peace summits to resolve conflicts in Ukraine and between Israel and the Palestinians, so humankind can focus instead on addressing climate change.

Petro, Colombia’s first leftist leader, is seeking peace and surrender deals in his own country with rebel groups and crime gangs to end a six-decade conflict which has killed at least 450,000 people.

“I propose ending war so we have the time to save ourselves. I propose the United Nations sponsor as soon as possible two peace conferences. One on Ukraine, the other on Palestine, not because there are not other wars in the world, like in my country, but because it would show how to make peace in all the regions of the world,” Petro, 63, said.

Petro called climate change “the mother of all crises” and said the world should work toward a de-carbonised economy.

 (AP)
(AP)

War crimes tribunal ICC says it has been hacked

Tuesday 19 September 2023 19:51 , Eleanor Noyce

The International Criminal Court (ICC) said on Tuesday its computer system had been hacked, a breach at one of the world’s most high-profile international institutions and one that handles highly sensitive information about war crimes.

The ICC said it had detected unusual activity on its computer network at the end of last week, prompting a response that was still ongoing. A spokesperson declined to comment on how serious the hack was, whether it has been fully resolved, or who might be behind it.

“Immediate measures were adopted to respond to this cybersecurity incident and to mitigate its impact,” the ICC said in a short statement.

The ICC is the permanent war crimes tribunal in the Dutch city of The Hague, established in 2002 to try war crimes and crimes against humanity. Prosecutors at the court are currently conducting 17 investigations into situations in Ukraine, Uganda, Venezuela, Afghanistan and the Philippines, among others.

In March, the court made headlines when it issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin on suspicion of illegally deporting children from Ukraine. The Kremlin rejects the accusations and the court’s jurisdiction.

Highly sensitive documents at the ICC could include anything from criminal evidence to names of protected witnesses, though the court did not disclose what part of its systems had been accessed.

The court said in its statement that it was continuing to “analyse and mitigate the impact of this incident” with the assistance of the Dutch government. It said it was also taking steps to strengthen its cybersecurity.

Zelensky tells UN General Assembly: Russian occupier must return to own land

Tuesday 19 September 2023 19:35 , Eleanor Noyce

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky told world leaders gathered at the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday that Russia was trying to manipulate global food shortages to win international recognition of land it grabbed from Kyiv.

In his first in-person appearance at the annual UNGA since Russia invaded his country in 2022, Zelensky criticized Moscow for what he said was an “attempt to weaponize (a) food shortage on (the) global market in exchange for recognition of some, if not all, of captured territories.”

He accused Russia of committing genocide by kidnapping Ukrainian children and said Kyiv was working on preparing a global peace summit.

“Ukraine is doing everything to ensure that after the Russian aggression, no one in the world would dare to attack any nation,” Zelensky said. “The occupier must return to his own land.”

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Shapps pledges ‘unwavering support’ for Ukraine in first meeting with Umerov

Tuesday 19 September 2023 19:28 , Eleanor Noyce

Grant Shapps pledged the UK’s “unwavering commitment” to Ukraine with tens of thousands more artillery shells as he met the country’s new defence minister for the first time.

The Defence Secretary attended the 15th meeting of the Ukraine Defence Contact Group (UDCG) at the US Air Force base in Ramstein, Germany, alongside Chief of the Defence Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radakin.

The group brings together ministers and senior officials from nearly 50 nations to coordinate international support for the war-torn nation.

Read more:

Shapps pledges ‘unwavering support’ for Ukraine in first meeting with Umerov

Ukraine should remember help it receives from Poland, says Polish president

Tuesday 19 September 2023 19:05 , Eleanor Noyce

Ukraine should remember that it receives help from Poland, the Polish president said on Tuesday, amid a deepening row between the countries over agricultural imports.

“It would be good for Ukraine to remember that it receives help from us and to remember that we are also a transit country to Ukraine,” Andrzej Duda told reporters in New York following an address to the United Nations General Assembly.

 (AP)
(AP)

Russia targets cargo ship in Black Sea

Tuesday 19 September 2023 18:35 , Eleanor Noyce

Russia has targeted a cargo ship in the Black Sea, the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office has alleged.

“Declassified intelligence shows Russia targeted a cargo ship in the Black Sea”, a statement on X, formerly Twitter, read.

“The Russian military’s pattern of targeted attacks against civilian ships demonstrates Putin’s willingness to weaponise food at the expense of the rest of the world.”

ICYMI: A Moscow court delays decision on the appeal of jailed Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich

Tuesday 19 September 2023 18:05 , Eleanor Noyce

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich filed an appeal Tuesday to be released from jail on espionage charges, but the Moscow City Court did not immediately rule on it, causing confusion from Russian media that reported contradictory results from the closed session.

The court said in a statement it sent Gershkovich’s case back to a lower court due to procedural violations. The state news agency Tass reported the court had rejected Gershkovich’s appeal, meaning he will remain jailed until Nov. 30.

Before the session was closed, Gershkovich appeared in the glass defendants’ cage, smiling at journalists and wearing a yellow sweater and blue jeans. He was detained in March while on a reporting trip to the city of Yekaterinburg, about 2,000 kilometres (1,200 miles) east of Moscow.

More here:

A Moscow court delays decision on the appeal of jailed Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich

Why new fighting in Azerbaijan's troubled region may herald a new war

Tuesday 19 September 2023 17:35 , Eleanor Noyce

Azerbaijan’s launch of reportedly intense artillery firing in the Nagorno-Karabakh region on Tuesday raised fears that another full-scale conflict with Armenia could be underway, less than three years after a war that killed more than 6,000 people.

Nagorno-Karabakh, with a population of about 120,000, is an ethnic Armenian region of Azerbaijan that has been a flashpoint since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The region and sizable surrounding territories came under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by the Armenian military at the 1994 end of a separatist war. Azerbaijan regained the territories and parts of Nagorno-Karabakh itself in fighting in 2020.

The latter war ended with an agreement to deploy Russian peacekeepers in the region, but tensions have soared since December when Azerbaijan began blocking the road that connects Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia proper. The artillery firing that Azerbaijan calls an “anti-terrorist operation” started hours after it said four soldiers and two civilians were killed by landmines that it claimed were planted by Armenian saboteurs.

Read more:

Why new fighting in Azerbaijan's troubled region may herald a new war

Biden calls on world leaders to stand up to Russia’s ‘naked aggression’ against Ukraine

Tuesday 19 September 2023 17:17 , Eleanor Noyce

President Joe Biden on Tuesday called on world leaders to uphold the UN Charter’s “core tenet” of sovereignty and territorial integrity by supporting Ukraine’s fight against Russia’s invading forces during remarks at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Mr Biden reminded the world leaders who had gathered to hear him at UN headquarters that the annual gathering, which he described as one that is “dedicated to peaceful resolution of conflicts,” was once again “darkened by the shadow of war, an illegal war of conquest brought without provocation by Russia against its’ neighbour, Ukraine”.

Mr Biden said the US, which has been Ukraine’s chief supporter during the nearly two-year war, wants the conflict to end, and stressed that “no nation wants this war to end more than Ukraine”.

Andrew Feinberg reports:

Biden calls on UN leaders to stand up to Russia’s ‘naked aggression’ against Ukraine

UK pledges tens of thousands of more artillery shells for Ukraine

Tuesday 19 September 2023 17:00 , Eleanor Noyce

Britain will supply “tens of thousands” more artillery shells to Ukraine this year, the government’s defence department announced on Tuesday.

“Today we’ve demonstrated the UK’s unwavering commitment to Ukraine and set out more military support, including pledging tens of thousands more artillery shells to enable Ukraine to defend itself,” defence minister Grant Shapps after a meeting of the Ukraine Defence Contact Group (UDCG) in Germany said.

“We have also set out how the UK will go further in the coming months in our priority support areas, including air defence and long-range strike capabilities, and training.”

Britain, a key defence supplier for Ukraine, is trying to increase its production of weaponry, particularly artillery shells, to try to help Kyiv push back Russian forces and replenish its own stockpiles.

Russia the ‘aggressor’ stands ‘in the way of peace’, Joe Biden tells United Nations

Tuesday 19 September 2023 16:52 , Eleanor Noyce

At the U.N. General Assembly, Joe Biden has warned that Russia the “aggressor” stands “in the way of peace.”

“Russia believes that the world will grow weary and allow it to brutalise Ukraine without consequence,” Biden said in his speech to UNGA. “If we allow Ukraine to be carved up, is the independence of any nation secure?”

Elsewhere, he described the situation in Ukraine as an “illegal war of conquest.”

Watch:

Ukraine ‘has one month to hold knife to Crimea’s throat’ and force Putin into peace talks

Tuesday 19 September 2023 16:37 , Eleanor Noyce

Ukraine has just four weeks to hold a “knife at Crimea‘s throat” and force Vladimir Putin into peace talks before Russia‘s army recoups over winter, experts have warned.

Professor Mark Galeotti, academic and author of more than 20 books on Russia, said Volodymyr Zelensky’s troops need to move another 10 miles southwards to be in range of striking key Russian supply routes in Crimea.

He claimed this is the only “serious” chance Ukraine has to force Mr Putin into negotiations before the Russian army has the opportunity to regroup over winter.

Alexander Butler reports:

Ukraine warned it has one month window to force Putin into talks

Latvia to shut one of two Belarus border crossings to stop illegal migrants

Tuesday 19 September 2023 16:22 , Eleanor Noyce

Latvia’s government decided on Tuesday to close one of its two border crossing points with Belarus as the prime minister accused Minsk of again using illegal migrants as a “hybrid threat” to undermine the Baltic state’s security.

In 2021, Latvia, Poland and Lithuania faced an immigration crisis when thousands of people, mostly from the Middle East and Africa, began crossing from Belarus.

The three countries, all members of NATO and the European Union, eventually resorted to pushing the migrants back, a policy that remains in place.

Fifty officers now working at the Silene border station will be redeployed to guard the actual border, in what Latvia’s border guard chief has described as “the most tense situation since 2021” due to an influx of migrants from Belarus.

Guards have turned back 894 people attempting to cross the border in the last six days, taking September’s total to 1,773, Latvian news wire LETA reported.

“Border tensions are increasing, and Belarus is engaging more and more in such a hybrid threat, that we have an increasing number of illegal travellers”, Latvian Prime Minister Evika Silina told reporters.

The border crossing point has been closed to “send signals internationally”, she added.

However, Belarus Border Guard said on its website on Tuesday that the Silene crossing point remained open and that Latvia had not informed it of any changes.

Poland and Lithuania have fenced their borders with Belarus and the new Latvian government has pledged to finish its own fence by the end of the year.

Belarus is a close ally of Russia. It allowed Russian armed forces to use its territory as a staging post to invade Ukraine, Belarus’ southern neighbour, in early 2022. In May this year, Russia deployed tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus.

Flames rage from destroyed warehouse after Russian drone strike on Lviv

Tuesday 19 September 2023 16:05 , Eleanor Noyce

A Russian drone attack over the city of Lviv, Ukraine, early on Tuesday 19 September heavily damaged a warehouse facility and injured a 26-year-old man, according to the regional governor.

Maksym Kozytsky reported that 15 out of 18 drones were intercepted.

Footage from the ground shows flames raging from a warehouse, as firefighters battle to control the blaze.

The state emergency service said the fire, caused by the drone attack, has reached 9,450 square meters.

A total of 27 out of 30 Shahed drones were intercepted Monday night across Ukraine, according to the Air Force report.

Watch:

Flames rage from destroyed warehouse after Russian drone strike on Lviv

Ukraine complains to WTO about Hungary, Poland and Slovakia banning its farm products

Tuesday 19 September 2023 15:50 , Eleanor Noyce

Ukraine is filing a complaint at the World Trade Organization against Hungary, Poland and Slovakia after they banned grain and other food products coming from the war-torn country, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said Tuesday.

It lays bare a widening rift with the three members of the European Union, which has been a pivotal backer of Kyiv as it works to fight off Russia’s invasion.

In a break with the wider EU, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia have announced bans on grain and other food from Ukraine, a major agricultural supplier to parts of the world where people are going hungry. The 27-nation bloc last week lifted restrictions on Ukraine’s exports to five member states, also including Romania and Bulgaria.

Read more:

Ukraine complains to WTO about Hungary, Poland and Slovakia banning its farm products

At UN General Assembly, Biden asks world to stand by Ukraine

Tuesday 19 September 2023 15:49 , Eleanor Noyce

U.S. president Joe Biden appealed to world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday to stand with Ukraine against Russian invaders, hoping Republicans in Congress will also take notice.

“Russia believes that the world will grow weary and allow it to brutalize Ukraine without consequence,” Biden said in his speech to UNGA. “If we allow Ukraine to be carved up, is the independence of any nation secure?”

Biden’s address at the annual gathering was the centrepiece event of his three-day visit to New York, which will include meetings with the heads of five Central Asian nations, and the leaders of Israel and Brazil.

Biden, a Democrat, has made rallying U.S. allies to support Ukraine a leading component of U.S. foreign policy, arguing the world must send a clear signal to Russian President Vladimir Putin that he will not be able to outlast the West.

Biden has faced criticism from some Republicans who want the United States to spend less money on the war effort.

Former President Donald Trump, the front-runner for the Republican nomination in the 2024 presidential election, has vowed to seek a quick end to the war if returned to power.

Trump has voiced scepticism about Washington’s engagement with traditional allies, including NATO, and has been complimentary of Putin.

House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy, the leading Republican in Washington, has questioned whether the United States should keep sending billions of dollars in weaponry to Ukraine.

In his speech, Biden argued that Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine and occupation of territory violated the founding U.N. Charter, a main principle of which is respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Biden echoed remarks of U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who in his opening speech to UNGA on Tuesday said Russia’s invasion “has unleashed a nexus of horror.”

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Ukraine lawyers insist that UN's top court has jurisdiction to hear Kyiv's case against Russia

Tuesday 19 September 2023 15:21 , Eleanor Noyce

Ukraine insisted Tuesday that the United Nations’ highest court has jurisdiction to hear a case alleging that Moscow abused the genocide convention to justify launching its devastating invasion last year.

Kyiv wants judges at the International Court of Justice to order Russia to halt its attacks and pay reparations. But it appears unlikely Moscow would comply. Russia has flouted a binding interim order issued by the court in March last year to end its invasion.

“Russia’s defiance is also an attack on this court’s authority. Every missile that Russia fires at our cities, it fires in defiance of this court,” the leader of Ukraine’s legal team, Anton Korynevych, told the 16-judge panel.

Mike Corder reports:

Ukraine lawyers insist that UN's top court has jurisdiction to hear Kyiv's case against Russia

Kremlin says Russia and China must edge closer to counter Western efforts to contain them

Tuesday 19 September 2023 15:05 , Eleanor Noyce

A senior Kremlin official on Tuesday called for closer policy coordination between Moscow and Beijing to counter what he described as Western efforts to contain them as he hosted China’s top diplomat for security talks.

Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of Russia’s Security Council chaired by President Vladimir Putin, told Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi that Moscow “seeks progressive development and strengthening of the Russian-Chinese relations of comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation.”

“Amid the campaign unleashed by the collective West that is aimed at the double containment of Russia and China, it’s particularly important to further deepen Russian-Chinese coordination and interaction on the inetrnational arena,” Patrushev said.

More here:

Kremlin says Russia and China must edge closer to counter Western efforts to contain them

UN chief assails Russia's war in Ukraine for 'unleashing nexus of horror'

Tuesday 19 September 2023 14:49 , Eleanor Noyce

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday assailed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a violation of the U.N. Charter, telling the annual U.N. gathering of world leaders that the war “has unleashed a nexus of horror.”

He warned that the world badly needs Ukrainian food and Russian food and fertilisers to stabilise markets and guarantee food security, adding - to the applause of leaders - “I will not give up on my efforts to make it happen.”

G7 countries recognise Russia settling in Ukraine war for longer term, U.S. says

Tuesday 19 September 2023 14:35 , Eleanor Noyce

There is a recognition among the G7 advanced countries that Russia is settling into its invasion of Ukraine for the medium and long term, and therefore the collective response should focus on supporting it accordingly, a senior State Department official said on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters on the condition of anonymity, the official said reinforcing Ukraine‘s air defenses was key not only for the battlefield but also to protect Ukraine‘s critical infrastructure as the winter settles in.

Macron and Starmer ‘reaffirm will’ to support Ukraine and its people

Tuesday 19 September 2023 14:19 , Eleanor Noyce

French President Emmanuel Macron and British opposition leader Keir Starmer on Tuesday stressed the importance of strengthening the cooperation between the two countries as well as the need to guarantee economic and energetic security in Europe.

“The also reaffirmed their will to bring an ongoing support to Ukraine and its people,” the French presidency said in a statement after a meeting between the two men in Paris.

This meeting took place on the eve of King Charles’ state visit to France, from Wednesday to Friday.

Keir Starmer attends a breakfast meeting in central Paris ahead of his bilateral meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, 19 September (Getty Images)
Keir Starmer attends a breakfast meeting in central Paris ahead of his bilateral meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, 19 September (Getty Images)

Moscow court declines to consider appeal by US reporter Gershkovich against pre-trial detention

Tuesday 19 September 2023 14:05 , Eleanor Noyce

A Moscow court on Tuesday declined to consider the latest appeal by U.S. reporter Evan Gershkovich against his pre-trial detention, nearly six months after his arrest on spying charges that he denies.

The court’s press service announced the decision without explanation, after a closed hearing. State news agency RIA said the appeal was being sent back to a lower court because of unspecified “procedural violations”.

Gershkovich, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, was arrested on 29 March in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg on charges of espionage that carry up to 20 years in prison.

No date has been set for his trial, and last month his detention in Moscow’s Lefortovo prison was extended by three months to Nov. 30.

He had failed in two previous appeals, in April and June, against his pre-trial detention.

The United States has designated Gershkovich and Paul Whelan, an American convicted of espionage in 2020 and serving 16 years in a Russian penal colony, as “wrongfully detained”, meaning that it considers the cases against them to be bogus and politically motivated.

“It is unacceptable that Evan Gershkovich and Paul Whelan still languish in Russian prisons on charges that are baseless,” U.S. ambassador Lynne Tracy told reporters after Tuesday’s hearing.

“The United States will not rest until Evan and Paul are safely at home with their families and friends.”

Russia said Gershkovich was caught “red-handed” on a trip to the Urals city of Yekaterinburg, where the FSB security service said he was trying to obtain military secrets.

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich stands in a glass cage in a courtroom at the Moscow City Court, in Moscow, Russia, 19 September 2023 (AP)
Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich stands in a glass cage in a courtroom at the Moscow City Court, in Moscow, Russia, 19 September 2023 (AP)

Russia using genocide 'lie' as pretext to destroy, Ukraine tells World Court

Tuesday 19 September 2023 13:51 , Eleanor Noyce

Ukraine told the U.N.’s highest court in The Hague on Tuesday that Russia justified waging war against Ukraine by invoking “a terrible lie” that Moscow’s invasion was to stop an alleged genocide.

“The international community adopted the Genocide Convention to protect. Russia invokes the Genocide convention to destroy,” Ukraine‘s representative Anton Korynevych told judges.

He called on the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to decide that it has jurisdiction to hear the case fully and eventually rule that Russia must pay reparations for invading under a false pretext.

“Can a state use false allegations of genocide as a pretext to destroy cities, bomb civilians and deport children from their homes? When the Genocide Convention is so cynically abused, is this court powerless? The answer to these questions must be ‘no’,” Korynevych said.

On Monday, Russia urged the ICJ, also known as the World Court, to throw out the case, claiming Kyiv’s legal arguments were “hopelessly flawed”.

Ukraine brought the case before the ICJ, also known as the World Court, days after the Russian invasion on 24 February last year.

Kyiv argues Russia is abusing international law by saying the invasion was justified to stop an alleged genocide in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine says there was no risk of genocide in eastern Ukraine, where it had been fighting Russian-backed forces since 2014. The convention defines genocide as crimes committed “with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such”.

Ukraine has already cleared one hurdle as the court decided in its favour in a preliminary decision in the case in March last year. Based on that, the court ordered Russia to cease military actions in Ukraine immediately.

Russia has so far ignored the ICJ’s orders to stop its military actions and the court has no way of enforcing its decisions. Experts say a full ruling in favour of Ukraine can pave the way for compensation payments.

Korynevych told journalists after the hearing Tuesday that reparations were a key issue for Ukraine in this case. However, any discussion about amounts and implementation “we will be dealing with further on”, he said.

The hearings, set to run until 27 September, will not delve into the merits of the case, but will instead focus on legal arguments about jurisdiction. The court is expected to rule if the case can go forward in several months.

South Korea urges Russia to halt military cooperation with North Korea

Tuesday 19 September 2023 13:36 , Lydia Patrick

South Korea summoned Russia’s ambassador to warn Moscow against any military cooperation with North Korea after last week’s summit raised concerns about a possible arms deal.

First Vice Foreign Minister Chang Ho-jin summoned Russia’s ambassador in Seoul to urge “Russia to immediately halt any moves to expand military cooperation with North Korea and to abide by (UN) Security Council Resolutions,” South Korea’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

Chang said Russia should live up to its role as a member of the U.N. Security Council to address North Korea’s nuclear threat, and added that any actions that threaten its security would seriously undermine Russia’s relationship with South Korea.

Kim Jong-un travelld to Russia and spent six days at Putin’s summit (AP)
Kim Jong-un travelld to Russia and spent six days at Putin’s summit (AP)

Russia's defence minister to visit Tehran on Tuesday

Tuesday 19 September 2023 13:21 , Eleanor Noyce

Russia’s defence minister Sergei Shoigu will visit Tehran on Tuesday, Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency reported, adding that he would meet top Iranian officials.

Since the imposition of Western sanctions on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Tehran and Moscow have deepened their bilateral ties, notably in the military sphere.

Tasnim added that Shoigu would discuss defence cooperation and regional developments with top Iranian officials, including his Iranian counterpart.

On Tuesday, Azerbaijan said its armed forces had launched what it called “local anti-terrorist activities” in the Nagorno-Karabakh region to restore constitutional order by disarming and forcing the withdrawal of Armenian military formations there.

Iran borders both Azerbaijan and Armenia, and has called upon Baku and Yerevan to uphold a 2020 ceasefire backed by Russia.

Last month, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Russia’s military cooperation with Iran would not succumb to geopolitical pressure, following a report that Washington had asked Tehran to stop selling drones to Moscow.

Iran’s air force received in recent weeks the delivery of two Russian Yak-130 pilot training fighters, Tasnim said.

Tehran has acknowledged sending drones to Russia but said in the past that they were sent before Russia’s invasion in Ukraine. Moscow has denied its forces have used Iranian drones in Ukraine.

Russia says Ukraine struck Kostiantynivka with missile on 6 Sept

Tuesday 19 September 2023 13:11 , Eleanor Noyce

Russia said on Tuesday that Ukraine was responsible for an explosion on 6 September in the Ukrainian city of Kostiantynivka this month that killed at least 16 people.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Ukraine had fired a 9M38 missile from a Buk surface-to-air missile system which struck the city.

“Even if it was done unintentionally, it is obvious to everyone: the complete demilitarisation of the Kyiv regime is not just a requirement, but a vital necessity,” Zakharova said.

The New York Times reported that evidence suggested the explosion had been caused by an errant missile fired by Ukraine.

Ukraine blamed Russia for the attack at the time. President Volodymyr Zelensky said it was evidence of the need to destroy “Russian evil.”

Putin still has ‘well over 200,000 troops’ in occupied Ukraine

Tuesday 19 September 2023 13:00 , Lydia Patrick

As Ukraine makes significant gains in its couteroffensive, a US military general has claimed kicking out Putin’ troops, of over 200, 000 could be a lengthy process.

“There’s well over 200,000 Russian troops in Russian-occupied Ukraine,” General Mark A Milley, who is set to retire as the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in an “exit interview” to CNN.

“This offensive, although significant has operational and tactical objectives that are limited in the sense that they do not – even if they are fully achieved – they do not completely kick out all the Russians, which is the broader strategic objective that president Zelensky has,” he said.

Read the full story by Arpan Rai here

Putin still has ‘well over 200,000 troops’ in occupied Ukraine, top US general says

Ex CEO of top firm accuses Zelensky’s advisor of corruption

Tuesday 19 September 2023 12:36 , Lydia Patrick

The former chief executive of one of Ukraine’s biggest construction firms has accused Zelensky’s aide of bribing public officials and law enforcement, reportReuters.

Oleh Maiborada has spoken out against Oleh Tatarov, a lawyer who is now a senior advisor to President Zelensky. In an interview with Reuters Maiborada alleged when he worked in construction, Tatarov would pay officials to approve building requests.

Maiborada spoke to Reuters in Vienna where has settled to escape prosecution in Ukraine, say Reuters.

Tatarov, the president’s adviser on law enforcement and security agencies since 2020, has denied wrongdoing, report Reuters.

He has said his accusers are trying to settle political scores.

Zelensky has previously said corruption has no place in his administration. He said: “I want to emphasise if those who work with me are suspected of corruption, these people will be fired. And I have not yet seen such examples in my Office,” he said in an interview in December 2020 with Ukraine‘s Focus magazine.

Congress Ukraine (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Congress Ukraine (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

At least three people killed in Russian attack

Tuesday 19 September 2023 12:12 , Lydia Patrick

At least three people have been killed in a Russian attack on the northeastern Ukrainian town of Kupiansk on Tuesday, a regional official said.

“Today, the enemy attacked the town of Kupiansk with a guided air bomb,” Kharkiv region governor Oleh Synehubov said on the Telegram messaging app.

A previous shelling that took place in Kupiansk (AP)
A previous shelling that took place in Kupiansk (AP)

Ukrainian police sergeant killed by Russian shell

Tuesday 19 September 2023 12:06 , Lydia Patrick

A Ukrainian police sergeant has been killed by a Russian shell which hit a trolley bus.

Two more civlians have been injured in the attack, according to local reports.

Russia drastically ramped up military hardware production

Tuesday 19 September 2023 11:36 , Lydia Patrick

Russia has ramped up the production of missiles, drones, combat vehicles and artillery by more than tenfold to supply its army in Ukraine, Moscow’s biggest weapons producer said today.

President Vladimir Putin has ordered production to be cranked up to ensure Moscow achieves the aims of what he calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine despite the West supplying Kyiv with weapons worth billions of dollars and imposing unprecedented Western sanctions on the Russian economy.

Bekhan Ozdoev, industrial director of the armament complex at Rostec, the Russian state corporation which controls much of the weapons industry, said production volumes for various types of weapons had increased from between two and 10 times.

Ozdoev said: “We are going forward at cruising speed, smoke from all the pipes.”

He said there had been significant growth in production of tanks, armoured vehicles, rocket launchers, artillery, the Iskander short-range ballistic missile, the Pantsir medium-range surface-to-air missile system and the hypersonic Kinzhal missile.

A rocket launches from a S-400 missile system (AFP via Getty Images)
A rocket launches from a S-400 missile system (AFP via Getty Images)

Ukraine lawyers insist that UN’s top court has jurisdiction to hear Kyiv’s case against Russia

Tuesday 19 September 2023 11:06 , Lydia Patrick

Ukraine have insisted that the United Nations’ highest court has jurisdiction to hear a case alleging that Moscow abused the genocide convention to justify launching its devastating invasion last year.

Kyiv wants judges at the International Court of Justice to order Russia to halt its attacks and pay reparations, but their cooperation remains doubtful.

Russia has flouted a binding interim order issued by the court in March last year to end its invasion.

“Russia’s defiance is also an attack on this court’s authority. Every missile that Russia fires at our cities, it fires in defiance of this court,” the leader of Ukraine‘s legal team, Anton Korynevych, told the 16-judge panel.

World Court Ukraine Russia (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
World Court Ukraine Russia (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Kyiv filed the case shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine.

It argues that the attack was based on false claims of acts of genocide in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions of eastern Ukraine.

“Russia is waging war against my country in the name of this terrible lie that Ukraine is committing genocide against its own people,” Korynevych said.“

Putin’s brigades ‘suffer heavy losses’ as three Russian brigades targeted

Tuesday 19 September 2023 10:31 , Lydia Patrick

Russian troops face ‘significant losses’ as three brigades have been rendered ineffective and a commander has been killed, according to the Institute of Study of War.

Ukrainian military officer Oleksander Syrskyi said troops destroyed the combat capability of the 72nd Motorized Rifle Brigade (3rd Army Corps), the 31st Guards VDV Brigade, and the 83rd Guards VDV Brigade during the liberation of the villages Andriivka and Klishchiivka, south of Bakhmut.

Russian commander Alexander Khodakovosky claimed the 31st VDV brigade commander had been killed as the Ukrainian counteroffensive liberated Bakhmut.

 (Ukraine armed forces)
(Ukraine armed forces)

Heartbroken Ukrainian girl breaks down in tears after seeing her nursery destroyed in Russian attack

Tuesday 19 September 2023 10:06 , Lydia Patrick

In pictures - the aftermath of Russian blasts on Lviv causing a Warehouse inferno

Tuesday 19 September 2023 09:40 , Lydia Patrick

Black smoke billows over the city after drone strikes in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv

Black smoke billows over the city after drone strikes in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv (AFP via Getty Images)
Black smoke billows over the city after drone strikes in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv (AFP via Getty Images)

Firefighters work at a site of an industrial warehouse damaged by a Russian drone strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine

Firefighters work at a site of an industrial warehouse damaged by a Russian drone strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine (via REUTERS)
Firefighters work at a site of an industrial warehouse damaged by a Russian drone strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine (via REUTERS)

The dramatic blaze at the warehouse struck by Russian attack

Firefighters work at a site of an industrial warehouse damaged by a Russian drone strike (via REUTERS)
Firefighters work at a site of an industrial warehouse damaged by a Russian drone strike (via REUTERS)

Watch Live : World Court hears Ukraine’s response to Russian objections in genocide case

Tuesday 19 September 2023 09:06 , Lydia Patrick

Ukraine claims Moscow falsely applied genocide law to justify Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Why is Zelensky in New York City today?

Tuesday 19 September 2023 08:36 , Lydia Patrick

The Ukrainian President Volodmyr Zelesnsky will join other world leaders in New York City for the United Nations General Assembly to make a security speech.

The war in Ukraine and the climate crisis are expected to be discussed at great lengths as more than 140 leaders gather.

It is not yet clear if he will stay for Russian diplomat Sergei Lavrov’s speech, last year Lavrov called Zelensky a ‘b*******’ and walked out after a strong line of accusations and condemnation aimed at Russia.

The Ukrainian leader questioned world leaders as to why Russia still has a place in the UN ahead of his speech.

He said: “For us, it’s very important that all our words, all our messages, will be heard by our partners. And if in the United Nations still – it’s a pity, but still – there is a place for Russian terrorists, the question is not to me. I think it’s a question to all the members of the United Nations.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Ukraine destroys 27 Russian drones and one missile

Tuesday 19 September 2023 08:06 , Lydia Patrick

Ukraine‘s air defence systems destroyed 27 out of 30 drones and one Iskander ballistic missile that Russia launched on in the early hours of Tuesday, Ukraine‘s air force said on the messaging platform Telegram - as reported by Reuters.

The Iranian-made Shahed drones were destroyed in Ukraine‘s southern, central and western regions, while the missile was launched in the direction of Kryvyi Rih in central Ukraine, it said.

Reuters could not independently verify the report.

 (Kommersant Photo/AFP via Getty I)
(Kommersant Photo/AFP via Getty I)