Day 198 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Kyiv has Freed over 1,000 square kilometers of Territory since September 1

Ukraine | September 9, 2022, Friday // 09:39|  views

@Gerashchenko_en, Twitter

Here are the highlights of events related to the war in Ukraine over the past 24 hours:

Zelensky: “Since September 1, we have liberated over 1,000 square kilometers with dozens of villages and towns

The Ukrainian army has recaptured dozens of villages and towns from the Russian forces, President Volodymyr Zelensky announced in his late night address.

According to the Russian side, Ukrainian reports of a counteroffensive are untrue and are just a way to get more weapons from the West.

Ukrainian military reported new successes of the counteroffensive against Russian forces along the Southern Bug River and in the Kharkiv region. In some areas, Ukrainian forces have advanced tens of kilometers, more than 20 villages and towns have been liberated.

President Volodymyr Zelensky published a video on social networks in which the Ukrainian army claims to have regained control over the town of Balakliia in the Kharkiv region.

"The flag of Ukraine flies over a free Ukrainian city under a free Ukrainian sky," said Zelensky, who in his evening address stated:

"Within the defense operations, our heroes have already liberated dozens of settlements. In total, since September 1, more than 1,000 square kilometers of our territory have been liberated, all state activities are aimed at the needs of the front and the protection of our people."

However, the Russian-appointed authorities in the part of the Kharkiv region that it captured claim that Balakliia remains under their control. Russian authorities in the Kherson region claim that Ukrainian soldiers involved in the attempted offensive have been captured and that the Ukrainian side has suffered heavy losses since the start, with 3,000 soldiers already dead. According to the Russian side, only a few peripheral villages were captured.

There can be no question of any breakthrough by the Ukrainian forces and no counteroffensive, said the Russian Permanent Representative to the UN Security Council, Vasyl Nebenzya. According to these claims, they are "utopia and suicide" and propaganda "in order to beg for new weapons from the West". In addition, sharing offensive plans with the entire world public goes against the principles of military strategy, Nebenzya noted.

Ukraine is at a "watershed" moment, United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken commented in Kyiv. He announced billion in loans and grants from the US government to buy US arms. Another 1 billion and 200 million dollars under the same program Washington provides to 18 countries threatened by Russian aggression. Bulgaria is among them.

A Ukrainian flag is already flying over Balakliia

A series of photos and videos appeared on Telegram channels, which show that the Ukrainian Armed Forces have managed to completely capture Balakliia in the Kharkiv region.

The yellow-blue flag is already flying over the city. The flag is also raised above the city council.

The city in the Kharkiv region was surrounded on three sides by the forces of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, and units of the Russian Guard were based there.

In the city, Ukrainian forces have managed to capture fighters from the Russian special rapid reaction force. Among those who surrendered is Lt. Col. Andrey Sichevoi, head of the "Zapad" (West) group.

Yesterday, Brigadier General Oleksiy Gromov, Deputy Chief of the Main Operational Department of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, announced that the Ukrainian Armed Forces had already liberated more than 20 settlements in the Kharkiv region.

"Currently, the military units have penetrated the enemy's defenses to a depth of up to 50 km. Filtering activities continue in a number of settlements. In the course of the active operations in Kharkiv, more than 20 settlements were liberated," said Gromov.

A mine hit a Romanian ship, no one was injured in the blast

A Romanian navy trawler struck a mine drifting in the Black Sea while trying to defuse it in bad weather on Thursday, but the 75-man crew were unharmed by the explosion, the defense ministry in Bucharest said.

Mines began appearing in the Black Sea after Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, and Romanian, Bulgarian and Turkish military teams have been disarming those floating in their waters.

The ministry said the ship was alerted to a mine drifting about 25 nautical miles northeast of Romania's Black Sea port of Constanta, but was unable to defuse it before being hit by it due to strong winds and waves.

"There were no casualties or injuries following the explosion, the 75 military personnel on board were not in danger, the ship's buoyancy was not affected and there was no major damage on board," the ministry said in a statement.

The Black Sea is of crucial importance for the transportation of grain, oil and oil products. Since the beginning of the war, Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria and Ukraine have destroyed 28 mines in the western part of the Black Sea, the ministry said.

A separatist leader in eastern Ukraine has rejected one of Russia's arguments for invading the country

A high-ranking military commander of the separatists in eastern Ukraine openly rejected one of Russia's arguments to invade the country, DPA reported.

"Ukraine has been preparing for a defensive war," Oleksandr Khodakovsky wrote in Telegram, citing documents found by his fighters in captured Ukrainian positions. He added that he had found no evidence that Kyiv had planned aggression.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, one of its arguments being that it wanted to prevent an attack on parts of Donetsk and neighboring Luhansk region controlled by separatists it supports. At the same time, Moscow has set itself the goal of the "complete liberation" of the "Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics" (DPR and LPR) proclaimed by the rebels (i.e. the complete takeover of the two eastern Ukrainian regions).

Alexander Khodakovski is the founder of the "Vostok" (East) Brigade, which is part of the "People's Militia" of the DPR. Its combat unit took part in the capture of the Ukrainian strategic port on the Sea of ​​Azov, Mariupol, in May. Now the "Vostok" Brigade is attacking Ugledar - a city controlled by Kyiv forty kilometers southwest of Donetsk, DPA notes.

Before joining the ranks of separatists in the Donetsk region, until 2014 Khodakovsky headed the regional anti-terrorist division of the Security Service of Ukraine. He was involved in attempts by the then pro-Russian government in Kyiv to quell pro-Western protests in the Ukrainian capital in the winter of 2013-2014.

According to the US, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians were forced to go to Russia, which Moscow denies

The United States has said it has evidence that "hundreds of thousands" of Ukrainian citizens have been interrogated, detained and forcibly deported to Russia in a "series of horrors" overseen by Russian presidential officials, the Associated Press reported.

Russia immediately dismissed the claim as "fantasy," calling it the latest invention in a Western disinformation campaign.

The accusation was made during a Security Council meeting convened by the United States and Albania to discuss Russian "filtering operations".

These are Ukrainians who voluntarily flee the war in their homeland and those who have been forcibly relocated to Russia, who pass through a series of "filtering" points where their treatment is said to range from interrogation, data collection and searched until separated from others, tortured, sent to a detention center in Russia, and some never seen again. In July, the Associated Press reported that nearly 2 million Ukrainian refugees had been sent to Russia, many by forcible transfer.

US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said estimates from various sources, including the Russian government, indicate that Russian authorities have interrogated, detained and forcibly deported between 900,000 and 1.6 million Ukrainians. She said they were sent to Russia, often to isolated regions in its far eastern regions.

The US spokeswoman said an estimated thousands of children had been filtered, with "some of them separated from their families and given to orphanages before being given up for adoption in Russia". According to the US, in July alone, "more than 1,800 children were transferred from Russian-controlled areas of Ukraine to Russia," she said.

Russia's ambassador to the UN, Vasily Nebenzya, accused the West of trying to smear his country.

He said more than 3.7 million Ukrainians, including 600,000 children, had gone to Russia or to Russian-controlled separatist regions in eastern Ukraine, but they were "not being held in prisons".

According to Nebenzya, these Ukrainians went through a "registration procedure, not filtering", that is, the procedure for them is similar to that for Ukrainian refugees in Poland and other countries of the European Union.

In response to his words, Thomas-Greenfield called for UN access to Ukrainians living in Russian-controlled areas and reiterated that the International Committee of the Red Cross and the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine "must have unhindered access to all persons detained in connection with the ongoing war".

Ilze Brands Kehris, the UN's assistant secretary-general for human rights, called on Russia to give her Geneva-based office access to all places of detention. She added that any adoption of Ukrainian children in Russia would violate the Geneva Convention, which prohibits changing the personal status of a child, including its nationality.

The UN human rights agency also documented that men and women believed to have ties to the Ukrainian military or government, or to hold pro-Ukrainian or anti-Russian views, "have been subjected to arbitrary detention, torture, ill-treatment” and were transferred to penal colonies, Kehris also said.

The energy ministers of the EU countries are meeting at an extraordinary meeting dedicated to energy security

The energy ministers of the EU member states are meeting today at an extraordinary meeting organized by the Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU and dedicated to energy security.

At the meeting, it is planned to discuss measures against high energy prices and to present an assessment of the readiness of the Union for the upcoming winter.

At the center of the discussions are expected to be proposals to impose a ceiling on the price of Russian gas, as well as ideas to decouple the price of electricity from that of gas and to seize excess profits from energy companies and compensate households and businesses with them.

Bulgarian Acting Minister of Energy Rosen Hristov will also take part in the meeting.

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Tags: Balakliia, Ukraine, Russia, US


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