Ukraine has recaptured a village close to the eastern city of Lysychansk, in a small but symbolic victory that means Russia no longer has full control of the Luhansk oblast, one of Vladimir Putin’s key war aims. Luhansk’s governor, Serhiy Haidai, said Ukraine’s armed forces were in “complete control” of Bilohorivka. “It’s a suburb of Lysychansk. Soon we will drive these scumbags out of there with a broom,” he said. “Step by step, centimetre by centimetre, we will liberate our entire land from the invaders.”
The pace of Ukrainian forces’ advance in the north-east had thrown Russian forces into a “panic”, Ukraine’s president said in his nightly address. Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he was now focused on “speed” in liberated areas. “The speed at which our troops are moving. The speed in restoring normal life,” he said.
Ukrainian forensic experts have so far exhumed 146 bodies, mostly of civilians, at a mass burial site near Izium in the east of the country, the regional governor said on Monday. Oleh Synehubov, the governor of the Kharkiv region, said the exhumed bodies included two children. The Kremlin has denied allegations that Russian forces had committed war crimes in Ukraine’s Kharkiv province.
The pro-Russian separatist self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) has said 10 civilians were killed and 15 wounded overnight by shelling from Ukrainian forces on the territory that the DPR occupies. Officials of the similarly self-proclaimed separatist Luhansk People’s Republic have informed the Russian news agency Tass that seven people were killed, including three children, in the village of Krasnorichenske, which it occupies.
Ukraine’s armed forces have sunk a barge carrying Russian troops and equipment across the Dnieper River near Nova Kakhovka in the Kherson region, the Kyiv Independent reports.
Security fears have almost certainly led Russia’s Black Sea fleet to relocate its kilo-class submarines from Sevastopol in Crimea to Novorossiysk in southern Russia, the UK Ministry of Defence says in its latest intelligence briefing on the war.
The pro-Russian separatist “public council” of the occupied Kherson region in Ukraine appealed on Tuesday to the Russian-installed regional leader, Volodymyr Saldo, to hold a referendum on joining the Russian federation without delay. It said “the need for such a step was caused, among other things, by acts of terror by the Ukrainian authorities and Nato”.
It follows similar moves in Donbas on Monday, where Denis Pushilin, the self-appointed head of the DPR, called on his fellow separatist leader in Luhansk to combine efforts towards preparing a referendum on joining Russia. “Our actions should be synchronised,” Pushilin said in a video posted to social media on Monday.
Dmitry Medvedev, the hawkish longtime ally of Putin, on Tuesday backed calls for referendums in occupied areas, saying that bringing them into the Russian Federation would mean “the geopolitical transformation in the world will become irreversible”. “Encroachment on the territory of Russia is a crime, the commission of which allows you to use all the forces of self-defence,” he said.
The British prime minister is expected to vow to match the UK’s spending on military support to Ukraine next year at the same level as this year when she speaks at the UN general assembly. Liz Truss told reporters as she travelled to New York: “Ukraine’s victories in recent weeks have been inspirational. My message to the people of Ukraine is this: the UK will continue to be right behind you every step of the way. Your security is our security.”
Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has told PBS in the US in an interview that all the land invaded by Russia should be returned to Ukraine, including Crimea, which was annexed by Putin’s forces in 2014. He said: “If a peace is going to be established in Ukraine, of course, the returning of the land that was invaded will become really important.”
Erdoğan also repeated Turkey’s objections to Sweden joining Nato, saying: “Sweden has been a cradle for terrorism and the terrorists have infiltrated all the way into their parliaments. And, in Stockholm, we see terrorists are demonstrating all the time. And they are attacking the innocent Turkish descendants. We have given all the evidence relevant to these developments to our Swedish interlocutors.”
Hungary’s foreign minister has said the EU should not consider new sanctions against Russia as that would only deepen the energy supply crisis and hurt Europe.
A US defence official has told CNN that the possibility of the US providing tanks to Ukraine is “absolutely on the table” but will happen immediately because of issues with training, maintenance and sustainment.