Ukraine LIVE: Kremlin embarrassment as Russia budgeting for 134k additional deaths

Ukraine LIVE: Kremlin embarrassment as Russia budgeting for 134k additional deaths

Jack Walters

Ukrainian forces release rare footage of successful counter attack against Russia

Ukrainian soldiers have released rare footage of their counter attacks against Russian forces in the eastern regions.

In the footage, three  soldiers can be seen slowly advancing on Russian forces before they are fired at.

The clip shows one of the soldiers shooting at the Russian troops with an assault rifle.

Later, the 5th Separate Assault Regiment used truck-mounted missile systems to fire from distance at  troops in Donetsk Oblast.

They then shield in a makeshift trench, strategising how to advance further in the region and then walk through a local town abandoned by Russian troops. 

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Jack Walters

Macron shamed as UK trains thousands of Ukrainian troops while France trains just 40

France has trained just 40 Ukrainian soldiers compared to the thousands already trained in the UK.

Brexit Britain has so far been deemed so efficient that six of its military allies in the West have sent trainers to accelerate its military programme.

Under Operation Interflex, the UK has trained nearly 5,000 Ukrainian troops and has set up a target of 10,000.

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Jack Walters

EU descends into chaos as Macron rejects VDL plans to escape Putin’s energy grip

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the European Union has been scrambling to end its reliance on Moscow’s energy exports.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been gradually squeezing gas supplies flowing into Europe, as a way to exert pressure on the bloc.

However, measures to end Europe’s dependence while bringing down wholesale gas costs have not gone as well as EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen would have liked, as the bloc descends into chaos over her plans. 

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Jack Walters

Germany seizes control of three Russian-owned oil refineries

Germany has seized control of three Russian-owned oil refineries, as tensions between Moscow and the European Union escalate to new heights.

Berlin has been scrambling to save energy and protect its supplies, as fears grow that Russian President Vladimir Putin could completely cut off gas flows by this winter.

Germany’s energy regulator is set to take over control of stakes in oil refineries in Schwedt, Karlsruhe and Vohburg, which together account for around 12 percent of the country’s oil processing capacity.

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Jack Walters

Putin humiliated as Pope Francis says supplying weapons to Ukraine is justified

Speaking to reporters on the Papal Plane returning from a three-day trip to Kazakstan, the Pontiff urged Kyiv to be open to eventual dialogue with Moscow even though it might “smell” as it would be difficult for Ukrainians to accept.

The Pope argued that the Roman Catholic Church ‘s “Just War” principles meant that deadly weapons could be used in a proportionate way for self-defence in the event of an invasion, a position which Ukraine currently finds itself in. 

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Jack Walters

Macron slams Russia over ‘atrocities’ in Izium

The French President has slammed Russia after Volodymyr Zelensky claimed the Kremlin had left a horrific in the newly retaken city of Izyum.

He said: “I condemn in the strongest possible terms the atrocities committed at Izium in Ukraine under the Russian occupation.

“The perpetrators will be held responsible for their actions.

“There is no peace without justice.”

Jack Walters

Good evening!

Good evening. I’m Jack Walters. I will be bringing you the latest Ukraine developments over the next eight hours. Please feel free to get in touch with me as I work if you have a story or tips to share! Your thoughts are always welcome.

Email: jack.walters@reachplc.com 

Twitter: @JTWalters99

Aliss Higham

What is the Donbas?

The Donbas region of Ukraine refers to the old coal and steel-producing areas in the east. 

The regions, Luhansk and Donetsk, run from outside Mariupol in the south all the way to the northern border. 

Russia formally recognises these breakaway areas as independent from Ukraine. 

Russian forces seized more than a third of the area after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. Donbas is predominantly Russian-speaking and Putin has repeatedly spoken about “liberating” it completely.

Despite sharing a language, these areas are no longer pro-Russian. 

Defence specialist Konrad Muzyka, head of Rochan Consulting, said: “Mariupol was one of the most pro-Russian cities in Ukraine and to level it is beyond my comprehension.”

Aliss Higham

Ukraine consolidating gains in north

Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder at a briefing with reporters: “In the north, what we assess is that the Ukrainians are consolidating their gains after taking back significant territory, and that the Russians are attempting to shore up their defensive lines after having been pushed back.”

Gen. Ryder also said that Ukrainian forces are making “deliberate, calculated forward movement” with their counteroffensive in the Kherson area.

“As always, our focus continues to remain on providing them the support that they need in their fight.”

Aliss Higham

99% of Izium bodies suffered ‘violent death’

According to officials, 99 percent of exhumed bodies from the mass burial in Izium had signs of violent death.

Ukraine’s regional administration head said Friday of the mass burial site discovered after Kyiv’s forces recaptured the east Ukrainian town of Izium. 

Oleg Synegubov, head of Kharkiv regional administration, said on social media: “Among the bodies that were exhumed today, 99 percent showed signs of violent death.”

Aliss Higham

How have Vladimir Putin’s aims changed since the start of the invasion?

Vladimir Putin’s aims have shifted since the invasion began February 24, 2022. 

His initial aim was to overrun Ukraine and depose its government. 

The Russian leader claimed this was a preventative measure to prevent Ukraine from joining the Western defensive alliance NATO.

After a month of failures, he abandoned his bid to capture the capital Kyiv and turned his ambitions to “liberating the Donbas region” in Ukraine’s east and south.

Aliss Higham

Blinken: Chinese and Indian concern ‘reflective’ of the world

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said concern by Chinese and Indian leaders about the war in Ukraine “is reflective of concerns around the world about the effects of Russia’s aggression on Ukraine, not just on the people of Ukraine… but on countries and people across the entire planet.”

Speaking at a press conference today: “It’s an aggression not just against Ukraine and its people, it’s an aggression against the very principles of international relations that help keep peace and security,”

Aliss Higham

UN votes to allow Zelensky to speak – with some exceptions

The UN General Assembly has voted to allow Ukrainian President Zelensky to address the 77th session of the Assembly via video link.

The vote was 101 in favor and seven against, with 19 abstentions, including China.

The countries voting against were Russia, Belarus, North Korea, Eritrea, Nicaragua, Syria and Cuba.

Aliss Higham

Putin pulls rug from under ‘convenient scapegoat’ Shoigu- Kremlin turns sour

The Kremlin’s admission of Russia’s recent losses could be an attempt to deflect criticism for its failures away from Vladimir Putin and onto the Russian Ministry of Defence, experts have claimed. Following a successful counter-offensive by Ukraine in Kharkiv, Russian state-tv began extensively discussing the country’s losses in a rare admission of Moscow’s failures. The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) assessed in its September 13 campaign report that the “Kremlin’s acknowledgment of the defeat is part of an effort to mitigate and deflect criticism for such a devastating failure away from Russian President Vladimir Putin and onto the Russian Ministry of Defence and the uniformed military command.” The ISW added that the blame Kremlin sources are shifting away from Putin is being directed at “underinformed military advisors within Putin’s circle.”

David Marples, a professor of Russian and East European history at the University of Alberta in Canada, told Newsweek that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who was appointed by Putin himself in 2012, despite having no military background, is “a convenient scapegoat” for Russian war losses.

Professor Marples added that he believes Shoigu “has been left out of military planning for some time now.”

An intelligence update from the British Ministry of Defence late last month cited independent Russian reporting that Mr Shoigu was being “sidelined within the Russian leadership, with operational commanders briefing President Putin directly on the course of the war.”

Aliss Higham

Modi blasts Putin over war in Ukraine

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has told President Putin that “now is not the time” for war” in a direct public accusation.

It comes after President Putin also failed to get China onside at a summit in Uzbekistan this week.

Wow. Indian PM Narendra Modi directly tells Putin that now is not the time for war in a stunning public accusation. “I know that today’s era is not an era of war, and I have spoken to you on the phone about this,” Modi said.

u2014 Mary Ilyushina (@maryilyushina) September 16, 2022

Aliss Higham

Putin accuses Ukraine of abandoning agreements – ‘lets see how this ends’

Speaking at a press conference at the end of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Uzbekistan, President Putin said: “The Kyiv authorities abandoned all agreements, they were thrown into a drawer and announced that they would not seek any agreements with Russia, but would seek victory on the battlefield.

“Well, the flag is in their hands. They are now just trying to do this by conducting this counteroffensive.

“Let’s see how this ends.”

Aliss Higham

Why did Vladimir Putin invade Ukraine?

Vladimir Putin started the invasion of his southwestern neighbour on February 24, 2022. 

He told the Russian people his goal was to “demilitarise and de-Nazify Ukraine”. 

Putin’s declared aim was to protect people subjected to what he called eight years of bullying and genocide by Ukraine’s government.

But this escalation came after years of rhetoric claiming that Ukraine rightfully belonged to Russia. 

Putin also claimed the invasion was necessary to protect Russia from the possibility of Ukraine joining the Western defensive alliance NATO. 

Aliss Higham

Blinken: Izium amounts to war crimes

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said the discovery of the mass burial site in Izium is “part, horrifically, of a continuing, ongoing story”.

He said in a news conference” “In many instances, these will amount to war crimes.”

He said there is a need to “build the evidence and document the atrocities that have been committed”.

Aliss Higham

What is a HIMARS?

The High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) has been credited with stopping Russia in its tracks, with retired US Army General Mark Hertling last month describing the missile system as a “game changer”. 

Built by Lockheed Martin, the mobile platform can either be equipped with six guided rockets which have a range of roughly 40 miles, or one Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), which has a range of about 185 miles.

Aliss Higham

USA to add $600 million in security assurances

The US department of defence announced today that it will provide an additional $600m security assistance to Ukraine. 

The package includes:

Additional HIMARS

36,000 105mm artillery rounds

1,000 precision-guided 155mm artillery rounds

Four counter-artillery radars

Four trucks and eight trailers to transport heavy equipment

Counter-unmanned aerial Systems

Mine-clearing equipment

Claymore anti-personnel munitions

Demolition munitions and equipment

Small arms and ammunition

Aliss Higham

Who is Volodymyr Zelenksy?

Volodymyr Zelensky is the 6th President of Ukraine, a position he has held since 2019. 

Prior to his career in politics, Mr Zelensky was a comedy actor and starred in a show called Servant of the People, in which funnily enough, he played the role of the Ukrainian President. 

He also recorded the voice of Paddington Bear in the Ukrainian dubbing of the British films Paddington and Paddington 2. 

For his courageous leadership in the war against Russia, Mr Zelensky appeared on TIME’s list of the world’s most influential people in 2022. 

Aliss Higham

Signs of torture from Izium mass burial site

President Zelesnky has said signs of torture were evident as bodies are exhumed from the mass burial site found in Izium.

President Zelensky wrote: “The whole world should see this.

“A world in which there should be no cruelty and terrorism.

“But all this is there. And its name is Russia.

“More than 400 bodies were found at the mass burial site in Izium.

“With signs of torture, children, those killed as a result of missile attacks, warriors of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

“Russia leaves only death and suffering. You won’t run away. You won’t hide. Retribution will be justly dreadful.”

Bodies from Izium

(Image: GETTY)

Aliss Higham

Who is Vladimir Putin?

Vladimir Putin has been the President of Russia since 2012. 

He previously held this position from 2000-2008 and was Russia’s Prime Minister from 1999 to 2000, and again from 2008 to 2012.

Before his career in politics, he was a KGB foreign intelligence officer for 16 years. 

Aliss Higham

Putin claims he wants war to ‘end as soon as possible’

President Putin has told Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi he wants to end the invasion, but Ukraine are refusing to comply.

The pair met today at the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

According to a readout from the Kremlin, he said: “I know your position regarding the conflict in Ukraine, your concerns which you continuously express.

“We will do everything for all of this to end as soon as possible.”

“Unfortunately, the leadership of Ukraine announced its refusal from the negotiation process and that it wants to achieve its goals by military means.”

Aliss Higham

384 children killed in Ukraine

The latest figures from Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s office state 384 children have tragically been killed since the invasion began in February.

The largest number of casualties have been reported in the Donetsk.

Additionally, some 753 children have been injured since Russia invaded on February 24.

u26a1ufe0f Prosecutor Generalu2019s Office: Russiau2019s war has killed 384 children, injured 753 since Feb. 24.

The largest number of casualties was reported in Donetsk Oblast, where 393 children have been killed or injured.

u2014 The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) September 16, 2022

Aliss Higham

Five Russian-installed officials killed

The Russian-backed separatist authorities have blamed Ukraine for the deaths.

Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for these attacks, which took place in Russian-occupied territory through the south of Ukraine.

A bad day for Russian-installed officials in Ukraine today:

– Luhansk People’s Republic Prosecutor General and his deputy killed in bomb attack in their office

– “Several” killed and injured in apparent rocket strike on Kherson administration building

u2014 Felix Light (@felix_light) September 16, 2022

Aliss Higham

Clarification

Reuters has issued an advisory to say that it is withdrawing a story reported earlier and repeated in this blog at 1.54pm this afternoon.

The report claimed bodies had been found with rope around their necks in Izium.

The advisory note reads “This story is being withdrawn because Reuters reporters did not see the bodies with rope around their necks.”

We are awaiting further notice from Reuters.

Aliss Higham

Good afternoon

Good afternoon from London. I’m Aliss Higham, I’ll be bringing you all the latest developments on Ukraine today. Please feel free to get in touch with me as I work if you have a story or tips to share! Your thoughts are always welcome.

Email: aliss.higham@reachplc.com

Olivia Stringer

Bodies found in mass burial sites found with rope around necks

Several bodies found in mass graves in Izyum were found with ropes around their neck and their hands tied. 

440 bodies were recovered from the grave, Ukrainian officials have reported. 

Izyum was liberated from Russian control last week following a counter-offensive from Ukraine. 

Olivia Stringer

Kremlin-linked private military group recruiting prisoners -MoD

Kremlin-linked private military group, the Wagner Group is reportedly recruiting prisoners for service in Ukraine. 

The prisoners have reportedly been offered commutation of their sentence as well as cash incentives. 

The UK Ministry of Defense said that a recently released video likely shows Wagner owner Yevgeny Prigozhin making a recruitment pitch to prisoners.

In the video, Prigozhin emphasises that he is only seeking ‘fighters for assault units’.

Tara Fair

Another Russian Su-25 attack aircraft destroyed

Another Russian Su-25 attack aircraft has been destroyed over the Kherson region, according to the Ukrainian Air Force. 

The Sukhoi Su-25 Grach is a Soviet-Union-era subsonic, single-seat, twin-engine jet aircraft that is still being used by the Russian military today. 

A Ukrainian counter-offensive is currently taking place in Kherson. 

Ukrainian fighters were able to take advantage of a weaker presence of Russian forces in Kharkiv, following the redeployment of Russian fighters to Donetsk and the southern axis, where a Ukrainian offensive in Kherson presented a threat.

Sukhoi Su-25 (Image: GETTY)

Tara Fair

Russian forces strike dam in Zelensky’s home town again

Russian forces have struck a dam and pump in Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s hometown Kryvyi Rih again following an attack on Wednesday. 

The attack to hydraulic structures on Wednesday caused serious flooding and led to residents being evacuated from their homes. 

Rescuers and emergency services are currently working to minimise the damage. 

Valentyn Reznichenko, head of the Dnipropetrovsk Regional Military Administration, confirmed there was serious damage. 

Tara Fair

More than 440 bodies found in Izyum

Provisional estimates suggest the mass grave discovered in Izyum is the biggest in Europe since the aftermath of the Balkan wars in the 1990s. 

Ukrainian forces retook Izyum after thousands of Russian troops fled the area, abandoning weapons and ammunition, and exposing a mass grave that contains more than 440 bodies. 

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky said: “For months a rampant terror, violence, torture and mass murders were [committed] in the occupied territories. 

“Anyone else wants to ‘freeze the war’ instead of sending tanks? We have no right to leave people alone with the Evil.”

450 graves… Only one of the mass graves discovered near Izyum. For months a rampant terror, violence, torture and mass murders were in the occupied territories. Anyone else wants to “freeze the war” instead of sending tanks? We have no right to leave people alone with the Evil. pic.twitter.com/YxGyOZfm1Y

u2014 u041cu0438u0445u0430u0439u043bu043e u041fu043eu0434u043eu043bu044fu043a (@Podolyak_M) September 16, 2022

Tara Fair

Around 10 torture chambers set up by Russian soldiers in Kharkiv

The head of the National Police of Ukraine, Ihor Klymenko, has revealed there were ten places in the territory of Kharkiv where invaders tortured Ukrainians.

At a briefing on Friday in Kyiv, Klymenko said that over the last week, Ukrainian law enforcement officers opened 204 criminal proceedings related to war crimes committed by the Russians.

He said: “Today I can talk about the presence of at least ten torture chambers on the territory of populated areas (Kharkiv region). Two torture chambers are in Balaklia.”

He noted that one of them was on the territory of the Balaklia Police Department.

Tara Fair

Ukraine launches attack on Kremlin-installed officials

Ukrainian forces have launched a long-range rocket attack on a meeting of Kremlin-installed officials in the occupied city of Kherson, where a Ukrainian counter-offensive is currently underway. 

Footage from the scene of the strike showed a plume of black smoke rising from the Court of Appeals building.

The Court of Appeals building is believed to be the headquarters for Russia’s occupation authorities in the southern city.

At the time of the hit, top officials from Russia’s puppet government were said to be holding talks with other regional officials.

The RIA Novosti agency says that at least one person was killed and another was injured as a result of the strike.

It is believed High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) were used in the attack. 

High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) (Image: GETTY)

Tara Fair

Sick videos from Russian soldiers suggest up to 30 bodies in mass grave

Oleg Kotenko, an official with the Ukrainian ministry said videos that Russian soldiers posted on social media indicated there were likely more than 17 bodies in a mass grave discovered in a forest area outside Izyum, Kharkiv.

He said: “We haven’t counted them yet, but I think there are more than 25 or even 30.”

Izyum resident Sergei Gorodko said that among the hundreds buried in individual graves were dozens of adults and children killed in a Russian airstrike on an apartment building.

He said he pulled some of them out of the rubble “with my own hands”.

Tara Fair

Graves marked with numbers in Izyum, Kharkiv

Mass graves marked with numbers have been found in the north-eastern city of Izyum, Kharkiv, after Russian troops were forced to flee by a successful Ukrainian counter-offensive. 

Speaking in his nightly televised address, President Volodymyr Zelensky said: “The necessary procedures have already begun there. More information – clear, verifiable information – should be available tomorrow [Friday].”

Associated Press journalists saw the site in a forest outside Izyum.

Amid the trees were hundreds of graves with simple wooden crosses, most of them marked only with numbers.

A larger grave bore a marker saying it contained the bodies of 17 Ukrainian soldiers.

Investigators with metal detectors were scanning the site for any hidden explosives.

Olivia Stringer

Latest Russian losses

Russia has lost 54,050 troops since February 24, according to the latest estimates from the Armed Forces of Ukraine. 

The Armed Forces also estimate that Russia has lost 2,199 tanks and 250 planes. 

Olivia Stringer

What is a HIMARS?

The High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) has been credited with stopping Russia in its tracks, with retired US Army General Mark Hertling last month describing the missile system as a “game changer”. 

Built by Lockheed Martin, the mobile platform can either be equipped with six guided rockets which have a range of roughly 40 miles, or one Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), which has a range of about 185 miles.

Olivia Stringer

Kremlin spreads misinformation about Queen

Following her death, Russian State TV is spreading misinformation about the Queen. 

State TV host Olga Skabeeva falsely claimed that the below footage is of the Queen, when in fact the video was filmed between 1899 and 1900, decades before Elizabeth II was even born. 

Even after her passing, Russian state media continues to malign Queen Elizabeth. State TV host Olga Skabeeva falsely claimed that the offensive footage depicts the queen, when in fact it was filmed sometime between 1899 and 1900, decades before Queen Elizabeth was born. pic.twitter.com/XNJDTSYiE8

u2014 Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) September 16, 2022

Olivia Stringer

Mass grave found in newly liberated Izyum

A mass grave has been found in the newly liberated town of Izyum, officials have said. 

Around 4440 bodies were found in the grave, including some people killed by shelling and airstrikes.

Thousands of Russians fled the town last week after a counter-offensive by Ukraine. 

“I can say it is one of the largest burial sites in a big town in liberated (areas)… 440 bodies were buried in one place,” Serhiy Bolvinov, the chief police investigator for Kharkiv region, told Sky News. “Some died because of artillery fire … some died because of air strikes.”

The Ukrainian defence ministry tweeted: “Mass graves are being discovered in Izium after liberation from the (Russians)” and it added that “the current largest burial (site) has 440 unmarked graves.”

Mass graves are being discovered in Izyum after liberation from the russcists. The current largest burial sights has 440 unmarked graves.@ZelenskyyUa : “The necessary procedural actions have already begun there. More information – clear, verified – should be available tomorrow.” pic.twitter.com/IipipvFJpb

u2014 Defense of Ukraine (@DefenceU) September 15, 2022

Olivia Stringer

Putin pulls rug from under ‘convenient scapegoat’ Shoigu- Kremlin turns sour

The Kremlin’s admission of Russia’s recent losses could be an attempt to deflect criticism for its failures away from Vladimir Putin and onto the Russian Ministry of Defence, experts have claimed.

Following a successful counter-offensive by Ukraine in Kharkiv, Russian state-tv began extensively discussing the country’s losses in a rare admission of Moscow’s failures.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) assessed in its September 13 campaign report that the “Kremlin’s acknowledgment of the defeat is part of an effort to mitigate and deflect criticism for such a devastating failure away from Russian President Vladimir Putin and onto the Russian Ministry of Defence and the uniformed military command.”

The ISW added that the blame Kremlin sources are shifting away from Putin is being directed at “underinformed military advisors within Putin’s circle.”

David Marples, a professor of Russian and East European history at the University of Alberta in Canada, told Newsweek that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who was appointed by Putin himself in 2012, despite having no military background, is “a convenient scapegoat” for Russian war losses.

Professor Marples added that he believes Shoigu “has been left out of military planning for some time now.”

An intelligence update from the British Ministry of Defence late last month cited independent Russian reporting that Mr Shoigu was being “sidelined within the Russian leadership, with operational commanders briefing President Putin directly on the course of the war.”

Olivia Stringer

Good morning

Good morning, I’m Olivia Stringer and I’ll be bringing you all the latest developments on the war in Ukraine for the next eight hours. Please feel free to get in touch with me as I work if you have a story or tips to share! Your thoughts are always welcome.

Email: olivia.stringer@reachplc.com 

Twitter: @Livstringer_

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