Day 560 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Russia withdraws from Robotyne, Blinken visists Kyiv
Day 560 of the invasion of Ukraine. Summary of key events in the last 24 hours:
- Russia acknowledged the loss of Robotyne. It had withdrawn... tactically
- Antony Blinken arrived on an official visit to Kyiv
- One person was killed in a Russian drone attack on Odesa region
- Russia launched a missile attack on Kyiv, Ukraine announced
- Russia says it shot down a Ukrainian drone over the Bryansk region
- The fiercest fighting is now taking place in the Zaporizhzhia region, according to Russia
- Ukraine rejects Turkey's call to soften its stance on the grain deal
- Great Britain declares "Wagner" a terrorist organization
- Putin: The West put ethnic Jew in charge of Ukraine to 'cover up glorification of Nazism’
Russia acknowledged the loss of Robotyne. It had withdrawn... tactically
Russia has admitted that its forces have left the strategic Ukrainian village of Robotyne, Reuters reported, citing BTA. This comes more than a week after Kyiv announced it had retaken the settlement.
Yevgeny Balitsky, head of the pro-Russian administration in Zaporizhzhia region, said in a television interview that the Russian army had withdrawn for "tactical" reasons.
"The Russian army left - tactically left - this settlement, because to remain on bare ground, when there is no way to dig in completely, is devoid of any meaning. That is why the Russian army withdrew to the hills," he said, quoted by the news RBC portal.
Russia has so far not acknowledged the loss of Robotyne, whose capture was announced by Ukraine on August 28. In its daily summary of the fighting yesterday, the Russian Defense Ministry even said that its forces had repelled two Ukrainian attacks in the area.
More than 18 months after the Russian invasion, Ukraine says it is making progress and has breached Russia's first line of defense at several front-line locations, despite Moscow's repeated claims that a Ukrainian counteroffensive launched three months ago was a failure.
The village of Robotyne was defined as the biggest obstacle in the movement of Ukrainian forces to Tokmak, which is the largest city on the road to Melitopol. Its liberation would sever the land bridge between Russia and Crimea and split Moscow's occupation forces in two.
A Russian drone struck Ukrainian port facilities in the Izmail region of the Danube River, killing one person, the local governor said.
Port and agricultural infrastructure were damaged in the night attack, said Oleh Kiper, governor of Odesa Oblast.
Russia also subjected Kyiv to a missile attack in the early hours of today, but Ukrainian air defense shot down all the missiles fired before they reached their target, the capital's military administration wrote in Telegram.
According to eyewitnesses to Reuters, in Kyiv at 05:50 a.m. several explosions were heard, sounding like firing from air defense systems, so far there are no reports of casualties or destruction. At the same time, an air alert was declared throughout Ukraine, which was canceled about an hour later.
Antony Blinken arrived on an official visit to Kyiv
United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived on an official visit to Kyiv. He will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Unian reported.
The American official is already in the capital of Ukraine.
The possibility of his visit became clear a day ago, but the US State Department refused to confirm this information. Currently, Telegram channels are publishing footage from the closed city center.
US Secretary of United States Blinken arrived to Kyiv and met Patron ❤️???????? pic.twitter.com/2ADp65PP0L— Oriannalyla ???????? (@Lyla_lilas) September 6, 2023
Since the beginning of the full-scale war, the United States has provided military and financial support to Ukraine. The total amount of American aid for almost a year and a half of the war is estimated at 66.2 billion dollars. This is the largest amount of US support for any country in the world since the Marshall Plan after World War II.
On August 29, Blinken announced a new aid package in the amount of 250 million dollars. It included AIM-9M air defense missiles, HIMARS munitions, mine clearance equipment and other items.
This is the Secretary of State's third visit to Ukraine during the war. He arrived for the first time together with Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin in April 2022. The two discussed with the Ukrainian authorities the issue of the supply of modern weapons needed by Ukraine and new military aid from the United States.
Already on September 8, Blineken visited Ukraine again. Then he traveled to Irpen in the Къиж region, where he personally saw the consequences of the military aggression of the Russian Federation.
One person was killed in a Russian drone attack on Odesa region
Russian forces attacked the southern part of Odesa region with drones last night, Ukrainian news agency Ukrinform reported.
The agency refers to a statement by Oleg Kiper, the regional governor of Odesa Oblast, in the communication application "Telegram".
"Russian terrorists attacked the Izmail district of Odesa region with drones for almost three hours. Unfortunately, one person was killed. An employee of an agricultural enterprise who was seriously injured and died in hospital," Kiper wrote.
According to the regional governor, destruction and fires were filmed in several settlements. The attack caused damage to port and agricultural infrastructure, reports Ukrinform.
Russia launched a missile attack on Kyiv, Ukraine announced
Russia launched a missile attack on Kyiv in the early hours of the day, but Ukrainian air defenses shot down all the missiles fired before they reached their target, the capital's military administration said on Telegram, as quoted by Reuters.
Eyewitnesses told Reuters that at 05:50 a.m. several explosions sounded in Kyiv, sounding like fire from air defense systems, while at the same time an air alert was declared across Ukraine, which was canceled about an hour later.
"Another missile attack by the enemy against a peaceful city with the aim of killing the civilian population and destroying infrastructure," wrote the head of the Kyiv City Military Administration, Serhiy Popko.
He added that according to initial data, there were no casualties or damage in the Ukrainian capital.
It remains unclear what the scale of the attack was, which involved various types of missiles.
There is no comment from the Russian side.
Russia says it shot down a Ukrainian drone over the Bryansk region
The Russian Defense Ministry said its air defense systems shot down a Ukrainian drone over the border region of Bryansk shortly before midnight, Reuters reported.
Alexander Bogomaz, the governor of the region, said on Telegram that there were no casualties or damage.
The information could not be confirmed by an independent source, Reuters noted.
The fiercest fighting is now taking place in the Zaporizhzhia region, according to Russia
The fiercest fighting in the framework of the war in Ukraine is now taking place in the Zaporizhzhia region, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said yesterday, as quoted by the Associated Press.
Shoigu said Ukraine had activated its strategic reserve brigades, whose servicemen are trained by Western instructors. He did not present any evidence for his claim, which the AP could not independently verify.
The think tank Institute for the Study of War said yesterday that Ukrainian forces had overcome some anti-tank trenches and heavily mined sections of the front line that are part of the defense lines of Russian forces in the Zaporizhzhia region. However, the institute stressed that it was unable to say that Russian defense lines had been completely overcome.
Since the start of its counteroffensive about three months ago, Ukraine has advanced seven kilometers into the Zaporizhzhia Oblast, Ukrainian officials say.
Last week, Ukrainian forces overcame Russian fortifications and retook the village of Robotyne. This was the first tactically significant victory of the Ukrainian forces in the Zaporizhzhia Oblast, AP notes.
Ukrainian forces have advanced further in this area and are strengthening their positions, said Pavlo Kovalchuk, spokesman for the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
Military observers are of the opinion that it is enough for the Ukrainian troops to advance 15 kilometers from Robotyne, because in that case the Russian supply routes from east to west will come within their firing range. Accordingly, Ukraine can weaken Russia's combat capability by cutting off the supply routes of ammunition and supplies. However, the Ukrainian counteroffensive has no cover from the air, which makes it painful and slow, the AP points out.
Ukraine rejects Turkey's call to soften its stance on the grain deal
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi's adviser Mykhailo Podolyak yesterday rejected Turkey's offer that Kyiv soften its stance on reviving the Black Sea grain deal, saying Ukraine would not support an easing of sanctions against Russia or a policy of "appeasement", Reuters reported.
"Let's be realistic at the end of the day and stop discussing non-existent possibilities so as not to encourage Russia to commit more crimes," Podolyak said.
He made the comment in response to a question about Turkish President Recep Erdogan's remarks following his talks with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
Podolyak said Russia was "extremely interested" in destroying Ukraine's seaports and grain export infrastructure.
The adviser pointed out that Russia does not need the grain deal and that Moscow is interested in removing Ukraine from the world grain market by raising grain prices and gaining a monopoly on control of the Black Sea.
"Where do you see a space here for ‘softening’ Ukraine's position?" asked Podolyak rhetorically and added: "Let's be clear, we will definitely not play the game of ‘pacifying the aggressor’ and please him by lifting the sanctions."
Erdogan said after talks with Putin that a revival of the grain deal, which Russia pulled out of in July, would soon be possible as Moscow complained that its own grain and fertilizer exports were severely hampered.
A senior Ukrainian official told Reuters earlier today that Kyiv did not expect the situation on the grain deal to change after yesterday's talks between the leaders of Russia and Turkey.
Great Britain declares "Wagner" a terrorist organization
Britain has designated the Russian mercenary group Wagner Group as a terrorist organization, the island's media reported, citing Interior Minister Suella Braverman.
The UK intends to make Wagner a "banned" organization under counter-terrorism laws, putting it on par with Islamic State and al-Qaeda, according to an article in the Daily Mail.
"Wagner is a destructive organization that acts as a military tool of Vladimir Putin's Russia abroad," the newspaper quoted Braverman as saying.
"While the Putin regime decides what to do with the monster it has created, Wagner's continued destabilizing activities only continue to serve the Kremlin's political goals," the statement read.
Under the Terrorism Act 2000, the Home Secretary has the power to ban an organization if he believes it is involved in terrorism.
The banning order makes it a criminal offense to support the group.
Putin: The West put ethnic Jew in charge of Ukraine to 'cover up glorification of Nazism’
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a televised interview yesterday, without citing evidence, that Western powers installed a Jewish president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, to cover up the glorification of Nazism, Reuters reported.
Putin was answering questions from Russian journalist Pavel Zarubin during a meeting of Russia's ”Pobeda” organizing committee, and his remarks were broadcast on Russian state television.
"The Western patrons put at the head of modern Ukraine a man who is ethnically Jewish, with Jewish roots, of Jewish origin. And in this way, in my opinion, they seem to cover up this anti-human essence that is embedded in the foundations of the modern Ukrainian state", Putin said, adding: "This makes the situation extremely disgusting due to the fact that an ethnic Jew covered up the glorification of Nazism and covered up those who at the time led the Holocaust in Ukraine, which was the destruction of 1.5 million people."
According to the Russian leader, this is best understood by ordinary citizens of Israel. "Please look at what they are saying on the Internet," he advised, quoted by TASS.
Putin specified that he was referring to the civilians exterminated by the Nazis and their collaborators during World War II in the Soviet Union.
"It turns out that these are more than 13 million people. Only then was the question about the tragedy of the Holocaust and the killing of Jews separately asked," he added.
According to TASS, at the meeting of the "Pobeda" committee, Putin pointed out historical facts about the repressions on the territory of Ukraine. “These are a million and a half people - women, old people, children, if in total 6 million were destroyed by the Nazis during the Holocaust, then a quarter, or 25 percent, of the Jews were destroyed in Ukraine”.
As justification for its invasion of Ukraine, which it calls a "special military operation", Russia accuses Ukrainian leaders of being neo-Nazis and committing genocide against Russian speakers in Ukraine - a claim that Kyiv and Western countries reject as a baseless pretext for grabbing territory, Reuters notes.
Zelensky, who says his grandfather's brothers were killed in the Holocaust, has repeatedly dismissed as baseless accusations that he supports neo-Nazis in Ukraine.
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