Latest news from Russia and the war in Ukraine

Russian units around Kherson ‘probably understaffed’, UK says

Russian servicemen in the Kherson area on May 19, 2022. Russian units in and around Kherson are likely to be understaffed and may lack cohesion, according to the latest intelligence from the UK

Olga Maltseva | AFP | Getty Images

Russian units in and around Kherson – a city in southern Ukraine currently occupied by Russian forces and for which Ukraine has launched a counter-offensive to reclaim it – risk being understaffed and could lack cohesion, according to the latest information from the United Kingdom.

“The 49th Combined Arms Army of the Southern Military District (SMD) was most likely reinforced by elements of the 35th Combined Arms Army of the Eastern Military District (EMD). Most of the [Russian] Units around Kherson are likely understaffed and dependent on fragile ferry supply lines and pontoon bridges across the Dnipro,” the UK Ministry of Defense said on Twitter on Tuesday.

The ministry said the integration of the SMD and EMD units “suggests a significant reorganization of the Russian force in Ukraine”.

The ministry added that “there is a realistic possibility that Russia has decided to rationalize the several semi-independent operational commands that contributed to its poor performance at the start of the invasion” and that if Ukraine succeeds in undertaking sustained offensive operations in the direction of Kherson, “the cohesion of this untested structure will probably be a key factor in the durability of the Russian defenses to the south”.

—Holly Ellyatt

“We will chase them to the border,” says Zelenskyy

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he was confident that Ukrainian forces would push back Russian occupation forces on the pre-2014 borders after a counteroffensive began in southern Ukraine earlier this week.

“The occupiers need to know: we will pursue them to the border. To our border, the line of which has not been changed,” Zelenskyy said in his late-night video address Monday.

“If they want to survive – it’s time for the Russian military to flee… If they don’t hear me – they will have to deal with our defenders, who won’t stop until they stop. will not have liberated everything that belongs to Ukraine,” he added. added.

Private Volodimyr stationed on the front line at an undisclosed position in Mykolaiv Oblast. Ukrainian forces have launched a counter-offensive in the southern regions, especially around Mykolaiv, strategically located near the Black Sea.

Sopa Pictures | Light flare | Getty Images

Ukraine has appeared to gain confidence in recent weeks with the targeting of Russian-occupied territory in southern Ukraine, including Crimea, which it annexed in 2014. Kyiv officials said they would now fight to reclaim the peninsula, home to Russia’s Black Sea. Fleet, along with the city of Kherson, which fell to Russian forces at the start of the war.

“Does anyone want to know what our plans are? You won’t hear any details from a really responsible person. Because this is war. And so it’s happening in war,” said Zelenskyy.

A spokesman for Ukraine’s Southern Military Command told NBC News on Monday that Russian troops were already withdrawing from parts of the country’s south as the counteroffensive began, although some experts expressed caution, saying it was too early to start drawing conclusions from Ukraine’s counterattack. .

—Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine says Russians are withdrawing from certain positions in the south

A spokesman for Ukraine’s Southern Military Command told NBC News that Russian troops are withdrawing from parts of the country’s south, where Kyiv claims to have launched a counteroffensive against Russian troops.

Natalia Humeniuk, spokeswoman for the Southern Military Command, said in a telephone interview that “under the pressure of our actions, the enemy began to retreat. It is currently recorded that the enemy withdrew from some of his positions,” NBC News reported. .

NBC News was unable to verify the spokesperson’s claims, and Humeniuk and outside observers expressed caution about the initial findings.

The The British Ministry of Defense said on Tuesday morning local time that Ukraine intensified artillery fire along the front in southern Ukraine from August 29, but “it is not yet possible to confirm the extent of Ukrainian advances.”

Neil Melvin, director of international security studies at the Royal United Services Institute in London, told NBC News that initial reports indicated “Ukrainian forces broke through the first set of Russian defenses in places around Kherson.”

—Ted Kemp

Putin is using Zaporizhzhia to hijack Ukraine’s energy supply, White House says

A Russian serviceman patrols the territory of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Energodar on May 1, 2022. The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, seized by Russian forces in March, is in southeastern Ukraine and is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe and among the 10 largest in the world.

Andrei Borodulin | AFP | Getty Images

The Biden administration has welcomed news that the International Atomic Energy Agency will soon inspect the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

The White House has also argued that Russia is using its control of the facility to compromise Ukraine’s energy supply.

“It would require knowing exactly what he has in mind and it is difficult for us to know on any day, especially on any issue concerning Ukraine,” the spokesman said. National Security Council John Kirby, on a conference call, asked about Russian President Vladimir. Putin’s intentions.

“What we can piece together, based on their activities and actions, is that at the very least we are certifying that by holding this plant he can hold Ukraine hostage to his own power supply capability,” Kirby said.

“The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant essentially controls all the electrical power for much of southern Ukraine and even beyond, so it can hold that power hostage. It…could actually potentially use a part of that energy inside Russia if he wanted to,” Kirby said. added.

—Amanda Macias

Nearly 7 million Ukrainians became war refugees from Russia

Nearly 7 million Ukrainians have become refugees and moved to neighboring countries since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, the UN Refugee Agency estimates.

More than 3.9 million of these people have applied for temporary resident status in neighboring Western countries, according to data collected by the UN Refugee Agency.

“The escalating conflict in Ukraine has resulted in civilian casualties and the destruction of civilian infrastructure, forcing people to flee their homes in search of safety, protection and assistance,” the agency wrote.

—Amanda Macias

IAEA inspectors will start work at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant “in the coming days”

A serviceman with a Russian flag on his uniform stands guard near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant during the Ukraine-Russia conflict outside the Russian-controlled town of Enerhodar in Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine August 4, 2022 .

Alexander Ermoshenko | Reuters

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency are expected to arrive in Kyiv today and will start their work at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant “in the coming days”.

IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi will lead the team of 14 international experts, the ministry said.

“Ukraine’s position is clear: the occupation of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant by Russian troops and the import of a large amount of military equipment and ammunition into its territory in violation of all international rules expose the nuclear power plant to extreme danger, including causing an incidental nuclear explosion,” the ministry wrote in a statement, according to a translation by NBC News.

—Amanda Macias

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