Ukraine-Russia war – live: Putin’s Black Sea fleet commander ‘killed in attack on Crimea navy HQ’

Ukraine have claimed that the commander of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, Admiral Viktor Sokolov, was killed in the missile strike on Sevastopol on Friday.

The Ukrainian Special Operations Forces said in a social media update on Monday that he was among the 34 killed during the missile strike of the Black Sea fleet headquarters. They also claimed that 105 other occupiers were injured.

The Russian defence ministry initially said that Friday’s strike killed one service member at the Black Sea Fleet headquarters, but later issued a statement that he was missing. They have not yet commented on the latest claims.

Kyiv launched the missile attack on the fleet based in the port city of Sevastopol in occupied Crimea on Friday morning.

Ukrainian officials said the attack, targeting what is believed to be the best of Russia’s navy, was timed to coincide with the naval commanders’ meeting. On Saturday morning, it followed this up with another missile attack on Sevastopol, according to a local Russian-installed official.

The strike sent plumes of black smoke billowing from the building. The special forces added that: “The headquarters are beyond repair.”

Key Points

  • Russia’s Black Sea fleet commander killed in Sevastopol missile strike, Ukraine claims

  • Ukrainian forces ‘occupying half of Verbove in counteroffensive breakthrough'

  • US ‘to give Kyiv ATACMS long-range missiles’

  • Ukrainian counteroffensive pushes through Putin’s final line of defence

Fire rips through Odesa hotel after Russian missile strike

08:46 , Athena Stavrou

Air strikes on the Odesa region have destroyed a high-rise hotel and killed at least two people.

Early on Monday morning, Russian attacks in the region left a high-rise hotel destroyed and at least two workhouse workers dead.

An air strike on Monday night saw further attacks on the key Ukrainian grain exporting port of Izmail, injuring two people and damaging infrastructure, the governor of the Odesa region said on Tuesday.

A fire ripped through Hotel Odesa, which was not in use at the time, as a result of the strike on Monday morning.

Footage shared by the State Emergency Service of Ukraine on Monday morning (25 September) shows authorities working on the site.

Polish experts confirm missile that hit grain facility, killing two, was Ukrainian

09:35 , Athena Stavrou

Polish experts have confirmed that the missile that killed two people at a grain facility in southern Poland in November was fired by Ukraine, Rzeczpospolita daily reported, citing sources.

On November 15 2022, a missile struck the the village of Przewodów near the Polish border with Ukraine, killing two people.

The explosion of the missile in NATO-member Poland fuelled fears that the war in Ukraine could spiral into a wider conflict by triggering the alliance’s mutual defence clause, but at the time Warsaw and NATO said that they believed that it was a Ukrainian stray, easing worries about escalation.

Reuters reported that sources with knowledge of the investigation told Rzeczpospolita that Poland had established that the missile that landed in the village of Przewodow was an S 300 5-W-55 air-defence missile fired from Ukrainian territory.

“This rocket has a range of 75 km to 90 km,” the newspaper cited a source as saying. “At that time, the Russian positions were in a place from which no Russian missile could reach Przewodow.”

Rzeczpospolita reported that the Ukrainian side has not made any material available to Polish investigators.

It quoted Lukasz Lapczynski, spokesman for the Polish prosecutor’s office, as saying the prosecutor had received the experts’ opinion but was not disclosing its content as it was confidential.

Ukraine has denied that one of its missiles had landed in Poland. Lapczynski could not immediately be reached for comment and the prosecutor’s office did not immediately respond to an emailed request.

Polish experts believe the missile that hit the village of Przewodow was fired by Ukraine (REUTERS)
Polish experts believe the missile that hit the village of Przewodow was fired by Ukraine (REUTERS)

Ukrainian MP calls for an urgent upgrade to air defences around Odesa, following repeated Russian attacks.

09:07 , Athena Stavrou

Ukrainian MP Kira Rudik has called for an urgent upgrade in the air defence around Odesa, following repeated Russian attacks.

She posted to social media platform X, previosuly known as Twitter, to say: “Odesa region urgently needs an air defence upgrade as Russia escalates air attacks. We must protect everyone and everything until Russians are weakened and stopped.”

08:40 , Athena Stavrou

Odesa’s regional authority has shared two pictures showing the damage done to the port city overnight.

Firefighters battle the flames after the Odesa region was hit by Russian air strikes again (EPA)
Firefighters battle the flames after the Odesa region was hit by Russian air strikes again (EPA)
At least two injured in overnight attack in Odesa region (EPA)
At least two injured in overnight attack in Odesa region (EPA)

Power cut reported following Ukrainian drone attack

08:10 , Athena Stavrou

A Ukrainian drone attack on Russia’s Kursk resulted in power being cut off to about seven settlements in the region, the region’s governor Roman Starovoyt said on Tuesday. He said there were no reports of injuries.

Earlier, Russia’s defence ministry said its air defence systems had destroyed one Ukraine-launched drone over the Kursk at around 5:30am. It followed reports of multiple drones being shot down over the region that borders Ukraine on Monday.

There was no immediate comment from Ukraine.

Overnight Russian airstrike damages Ukrainian port and injures two

07:51 , Athena Stavrou

A overnight Russian air strike on the key Ukrainian grain exporting port of Izmail injured two people and damaged infrastructure, the governor of the Odesa region said on Tuesday.

A port building, storage facilities and more than 30 trucks and cars were damaged in the attack, which lasted more than two hours, Oleh Kiper said on the Telegram messaging app.

The Ukrainian military reported shooting down 26 of the 38 Iranian-made attack drones it said were launched by Russia, Reuters reports.

Moscow has intensified its air attacks on Ukrainian ports on the Danube River, including Izmail and Reni, after it quit a grain deal in July that ensured the safe export of Ukrainian grains.

Separately on Tuesday, a Russian missile strike also damaged a local enterprise in the southern Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih, Mayor Oleksandr Vilkul said. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

There was no immediate comment from Russia.

A Russian missile destroyed an Odesa hotel during Monday night’s attacks. Russia hit the region again overnight. (State Emergency Service Ukraine/Telegram)
A Russian missile destroyed an Odesa hotel during Monday night’s attacks. Russia hit the region again overnight. (State Emergency Service Ukraine/Telegram)

Why did Russia invade Ukraine?

07:00 , Eleanor Noyce

Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine has been raging for one year now as the conflict continues to record devastating casualties and force the mass displacement of millions of blameless Ukrainians.

Vladimir Putin began the war by claiming Russia’s neighbour needed to be “demilitarised and de-Nazified”, a baseless pretext on which to launch a landgrab against an independent state that happens to have a Jewish president in Volodymyr Zelensky.

Ukraine has fought back courageously against Mr Putin’s warped bid to restore territory lost to Moscow with the collapse of the Soviet Union and has continued to defy the odds by defending itself against Russian onslaughts with the help of Western military aid.

More here:

Here’s why Putin really invaded Ukraine

Inside Putin’s attempts to indoctrinate Russia’s youth by encouraging ‘self-sacrifice’

06:30 , Eleanor Noyce

Russian textbooks praising Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine are an attempt to encourage “self-sacrifice” among schoolchildren, experts have warned.

In September, Russia rolled out new history textbooks to schools that claim Ukraine is an “ultranationalist state” being used as a “battering ram” by the United States to “destroy Russia”.

One chapter claims that Ukrainian membership of Nato could have led to a catastrophic war and “possibly the end of civilisation”, an outcome it says Russia had to prevent.

Alexander Butler reports:

Inside Putin’s attempts to indoctrinate Russian youth by encouraging ‘self-sacrifice’

Ukraine launches new missile attack near Putin’s military airfield in Crimea’s Sevastopol

05:40 , Arpan Rai

Ukraine has launched a fresh missile attack on a military airfield in Crimea’s Sevastopol, officials said.

Sevastopol, a vulnerable Russian target in Crimea where Moscow parks its Black Sea Fleet, has come under repeated targeting in recent months as Ukraine looks to destroy Vladimir Putin’s logistics and infrastructure on the peninsula that Russia had illegally annexed in 2014.

Russian air defence units downed a missile near the Belbek military airfield in the late hours on Monday, Russian-backed governor Mikhail Razvozhayev said on his official Telegram channel early Tuesday.

Sevastopol remained under an air raid alert starting around 11.30pm on Monday, as per Mr Razvozhayev’s Telegram message. It continued for an hour, covering midnight, as Russian air defence systems were activated.

Arpan Rai reports here:

Ukraine launches new missile attack near Putin’s military airfield in Sevastopol

Swiss ‘millionaire’s playground’ plays host to Ukraine refugees

05:30 , Eleanor Noyce

Zug, Switzerland’s wealthiest canton, is famous for its flawless alpine vistas and low taxes. And here in the rolling hills sits Kloster Menzingen monastery, a temporary home to 160 Ukrainian refugees who have fled their war-torn country.

“They were bombing my city last night,” explains law graduate Hana, 28, from Odesa, as she walks along the gloomy corridor in the southern wing of the convent.

“This is our life, waking up to news that our towns and cities are once more under siege,” she says.

Paddy Dowling has more:

Swiss ‘millionaire’s playground’ plays host to Ukraine refugees

Heartwarming moment Russian bomb victim, 6, learns to ride bike again

04:30 , Eleanor Noyce

This is the heartwarming moment a six-year-old Ukrainian girl who lost her leg to a Russian missile strike learns to ride a bike again with the help of her prosthetic leg she named Kesha.

Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence posted footage of brave Marinya cycling a small tricycle through cones as she recovers from the bombing of Kherson in May last year.

The girl, the first Ukrainian child to be fitted with a prosthetic since the Russian invasion, manages to complete the course solo under the watchful eye of physiotherapists at The Kyiv Institute of Rehabilitation.

Barney Davis reports:

Heartwarming moment Russian bomb victim, 6, learns to ride bike again

ICYMI: Russia ‘weaponised food and deliberately caused starvation’ in Ukraine

03:30 , Eleanor Noyce

Russia has weaponised food and deliberately caused starvation in Ukraine, a war crimes dossier is set to allege.

Working alongside Ukraine’s public prosecutor, leading human rights lawyers are preparing a report to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The dossier will document examples of hunger being used as a “weapon” over the course of the 18 month war, with the evidence aiming to encourage the ICC to launch a prosecution that could see Vladimir Putin indicted.

Read more:

Russia ‘weaponised food and deliberately caused starvation’ in Ukraine

Ukraine is building an advanced army of drones. For now, pilots improvise with duct tape and bombs

02:30 , Eleanor Noyce

Flying above enemy lines, a Ukrainian reconnaissance drone sends a clear image back to soldiers hiding in a basement a few kilometres away: A Russian armoured vehicle is idling along a key logistics route, looking like easy prey in the artillery-scarred green landscape.

Then, in a flash, the image disappears, and the drone operator’s screen is replaced by a jumble of black and white pixels.

“Snow,” says a calm commander known by the battlefield name Giocondo, who allowed The Associated Press to follow him and his unit of drone pilots on condition of anonymity to protect their identities. High-tech warfare cuts two ways, and the Russians use electronic beams to disable the drone’s signals.

More here:

Ukraine is building an advanced army of drones. For now, pilots improvise with duct tape and bombs

Putin gives defence chief one month deadline to stop Ukrainian counteroffensive in its tracks

01:30 , Eleanor Noyce

Vladimir Putin wants the Ukrainian counteroffensive halted by early October and has instructed Russia’s defence minister Sergei Shoigu to improve the situation, according to a Kremlin insider cited by a US-based think-tank monitoring the war.

“Putin reportedly gave Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu a deadline of one month until early October 2023 to improve the situation on the frontlines, stop Ukrainian counteroffensives, and have Russian forces regain the initiative to launch an offensive operation against a larger city,” the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said in an intelligence update on Sunday.

It said the Russian military command is likely ordering relentless attacks with the hope of forcing the Ukrainian counteroffensive to culminate, even at a high cost to Russian military capabilities, if the claims are true.

Arpan Rai reports:

Putin wants Ukrainian counteroffensive halted before early October, report says

Prime Minister Orbán says Hungary is in no rush to ratify Sweden's NATO bid

Tuesday 26 September 2023 00:30 , Eleanor Noyce

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said Monday that his country is in no hurry to ratify Sweden‘s bid to join NATO, suggesting the Nordic country could face further delays in becoming a member of the military alliance.

Speaking during the opening autumn session of Hungary’s parliament, Orbán told lawmakers that “nothing is threatening Sweden’s security,” and that Hungary was therefore in “no rush” to ratify its NATO accession.

Orbán’s statement came after other high-ranking Hungarian officials recently suggested that Sweden’s ratification may not be put on the parliamentary agenda at all during the autumn session. On Thursday, the caucus leader of Orbán’s Fidesz party, Mate Kocsis, said he saw “little chance” that parliament would vote on the matter this year.

Read more:

Prime Minister Orbán says Hungary is in no rush to ratify Sweden's NATO bid

Chechen leader Kadyrov says he's proud of son for beating up prisoner

Monday 25 September 2023 23:30 , Eleanor Noyce

The leader of Russia’s Chechnya region, Ramzan Kadyrov, said on Monday he was proud of his teenage son Adam for beating up a prisoner accused of burning the Koran.

Kadyrov posted the comments on Telegram, accompanied by a clip in which a young man in khaki clothing is seen punching and kicking another man cowering in a chair before wrestling him to the floor and slapping him on the head.

The Chechen leader, who styles himself as a ruthless ally of President Vladimir Putin, said he was releasing the video to settle any doubts about whether the incident, first reported last month, had really taken place.

“He beat him, and he did the right thing,” Kadyrov said.

“Without exaggeration, yes, I am proud of Adam’s action,” he said, adding that he respected the boy for acquiring “adult ideals of honour, dignity and defence of his religion.”

The prisoner, Nikita Zhuravel, had complained about the attack to Russia’s human rights ombudswoman, who said last month she had referred the issue to her counterpart in Chechnya.

Kadyrov, 46, has ruled Chechnya with an iron hand since becoming president in 2007, following in the footsteps of his father Akhmat who was killed in a bomb blast in 2004. He has enjoyed generous funding from Putin to rebuild the mainly Muslim region which suffered devastation in two wars following the collapse of the Soviet Union when it tried to break away from Moscow’s control.

Russian oil supplies continue to spike despite G7 price cap sanctions, data shows

Monday 25 September 2023 22:30 , Eleanor Noyce

Russian crude oil supply surged 50 per cent this spring despite sanctions imposed by the G7 countries in the backdrop of continuing war in Ukraine, data from commodities tracker and analytics company Kpler showed.

An analysis of shipping and insurance records from August showed almost three-quarters of all seaborne Russian crude flows travelled without any western insurance in August, reported the Financial Times.

The move was a lever enacted by the G7 nations, the European Union and Australia which imposed a $60-a-barrel price cap last December as the coalition looked to restrict Russia’s ability to finance its invasion of Ukraine.

Arpan Rai reports:

Russian oil supplies continue to spike despite G7 price cap sanctions, data shows

How Ukraine’s forces have surged back against Russia

Monday 25 September 2023 21:30 , Eleanor Noyce

Ukraine’s forces have made a number of breakthroughs against Russian positions in recent weeks as intense fighting rages on in southern and northeastern parts of the country.

The counteroffensive launched by Ukraine in June had been making gradual, if slow progress, in pushing back Vladimir Putin’s troops from land seized since the invasion began.

But at the start of the month, there were signs that Kyiv’s troops were starting to make inroads, as they broke Russia’s first defensive line near Zaporizhzhia, in the southeast of the country.

Joe Middleton reports:

How Ukraine’s forces have surged back against Russia

Air alert lifted in Sevastopol, missile attack thwarted - governor

Monday 25 September 2023 20:43 , Eleanor Noyce

Russian forces repelled an attack on the Crimean port of Sevastopol on Monday, downing one missile, the Russian-installed governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev, said on Telegram.

Razvozhayev, citing preliminary data, said Russian air defence units downed a missile near the Belbek military airfield.

An air raid alert was subsequently lifted. Traffic on the main bridge linking the Russian mainland with the Crimean Peninsula, annexed from Ukraine in 2014, was restored.

At least one Ukrainian missile struck the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea navy in Sevastopol last Friday.

ICYMI: Russia unleashes hypersonic missiles on Odesa port in overnight attack

Monday 25 September 2023 20:30 , Eleanor Noyce

Russian forces have pounded the city of Odesa in an overnight attack, damaging port infrastructure, a grain silo and an abandoned hotel and injuring one person.

Ukrainian air defences destroyed 19 Iranian-made Shahed drones and 11 cruise missiles, the vast majority of them were directed at the Odesa region, Ukraine’s military said.

It said Russia also fired two hypersonic missiles that destroyed grain storage facilities.

Lydia Patrick reports:

Russia unleashes hypersonic missiles on Odesa port in overnight attack

Russian military repels missile attack on Crimea’s Sevastopol - local official

Monday 25 September 2023 20:11 , Eleanor Noyce

The Russian military is repelling a missile attack on Crimea’s Sevastopol, the Russian-installed governor of Sevastopol Mikhail Razvozhayev said in his Telegram channel.

“According to preliminary data, the air defense forces shot down one missile near the Belbek airfield,” Razvozhayev said.

What is behind renewed tensions between Serbia and Kosovo?

Monday 25 September 2023 19:30 , Eleanor Noyce

Tensions between Serbia and Kosovo flared anew over the weekend when some 30 heavily armed Serbs barricaded themselves in an Orthodox monastery in northern Kosovo, setting off a daylong gunbattle with police that left one officer and three attackers dead.

Sunday’s clash was one of the worst since Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008. It came as the European Union and the U.S. are trying to mediate and finalize yeraslong talks on normalizing ties between the two Balkan states.

There are fears in the West of a revival of the 1998-1999 war in Kosovo that claimed more than 10,000 lives and left over 1 million homeless.

More here:

What is behind renewed tensions between Serbia and Kosovo?

Sevastopol governor announces air alert, Crimean Bridge traffic halted

Monday 25 September 2023 19:21 , Eleanor Noyce

The Russian-installed governor of Crimea’s Sevastopol Mikhail Razvozhayev announced an air alert in the city on Monday evening.

Traffic on the main bridge linking the Russian mainland with the Crimean Peninsula which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014 has been temporarily suspended, the operator of the bridge said.

On 22 September at least one Ukrainian missile struck the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea navy in Sevastopol.

Russian air strikes on Ukraine kill four, damage grain and port facilities

Monday 25 September 2023 19:14 , Eleanor Noyce

Russian air strikes and shelling killed six people in Ukraine and caused “significant damage” to infrastructure at the Black Sea port of Odesa and to grain storage facilities, Ukrainian officials said on Monday.

The air attacks were part of a campaign that has made it harder for major grain producer Ukraine to export its products since Moscow quit a deal in mid-July that had enabled Black Sea shipments and helped combat a global food crisis.

The strikes have intensified as Kyiv presses on with a counteroffensive in the south and east that has made slow gains but could be boosted by the delivery of U.S.-made Abrams tanks, announced on Monday by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

“Another massive attack on Odesa!”, Economy Minister Yulia Svyrydenko said on X. “The attack resulted in the destruction of grain storage facilities and significant damage to the seaport.”

Oleh Kiper, the Odesa region governor, said the facilities that were hit had contained almost 1,000 tons of grain and that the bodies of two men were found under the rubble of a warehouse where grain was stored.

Ukraine‘s military said 19 Iranian-made Shahed drones and 11 cruise missiles were shot down overnight, most of them directed at Odesa region. The grain storage facilities that were destroyed were hit by two supersonic missiles, it said.

British troops train Ukrainian soldiers in mine disposal skills

Monday 25 September 2023 18:30 , Eleanor Noyce

British Royal Engineers sappers have given training to Ukrainian soldiers to help them disable mines, munitions and other explosive devices that are being used in the war in Ukraine.

Mines present one of the biggest obstacles to the Ukrainian Armed Forces as they seek to take back occupied land from Russia.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Putin’s illegal invasion has left Ukraine’s fields and towns covered in deadly landmines and unexploded munitions, which presents an immediate danger to its citizens now and for years to come.

“The Royal Engineers are using their world-leading experience to train Ukraine’s bomb disposal experts, who can pass on these lifesaving skills to their own recruits and ensure a safer future for all Ukrainians.”

Watch:

British troops train Ukrainian soldiers in mine disposal skills

US, Poland sign $2 bln defense loan agreement, State Dept. says

Monday 25 September 2023 17:40 , Eleanor Noyce

The United States has signed a $2 billion direct loan agreement to support Poland’s defense modernisation program, the State Department said on Monday.

The foreign military financing deal advances the two countries’ defense cooperation as Poland seeks to boost its armed forces following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“In addition to its central support role in facilitating international assistance to neighbouring Ukraine, Poland has demonstrated its ironclad commitment to strengthening regional security through its robust investments in defense spending,” the State Department said in a statement on Monday.

Poland is a top U.S. ally and has topped NATO’s spending charts this year. The military alliance has forecast Poland pouring 3.9% of gross domestic product into military goals, almost twice NATO’s current 2% target.

The U.S. will provide $60 million for the cost of the $2 billion loan, which will be used to help pay for Poland’s defense modernisation program with weapons purchases from the U.S., the State Department said.

Russia tells Armenian PM: you are making a big mistake by flirting with West

Monday 25 September 2023 17:20 , Eleanor Noyce

Russia told Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Monday that he had only himself to blame for Azerbaijan’s victory over Nagorno-Karabakh because he had insisted on flirting with the West rather than working with Moscow and Baku for peace.

Pashinyan said in an address to the nation on Sunday that Russia had failed Armenia by not providing more help to avert the crisis over the breakaway region, adding that he would have to transform Armenia’s security alliances.

Russia’s foreign ministry hit back with a strongly worded attack on Pashinyan.

“We are convinced that the Yerevan leadership is making a massive mistake by deliberately trying to destroy Armenia’s multi-faceted and centuries-old ties with Russia while making the country hostage to the geopolitical games of the West,” it said.

Azerbaijan seized Karabakh in a lightning offensive last week, sending thousands of ethnic Armenians fleeing into Armenia. Baku has promised to protect the rights of the roughly 120,000 Armenians who call Karabakh home but many refuse to accept its assurances.

Karabakh is internationally viewed as Azerbaijani territory.

Russia, which has about 2,000 peacekeepers in the region, said Pashinyan was trying to absolve himself “of responsibility for failures in domestic and foreign policy by shifting the blame to Moscow”.

Putin gives defence chief one month deadline to stop Ukrainian counteroffensive in its tracks

Monday 25 September 2023 17:00 , Eleanor Noyce

Vladimir Putin wants the Ukrainian counteroffensive halted by early October and has instructed Russia’s defence minister Sergei Shoigu to improve the situation, according to a Kremlin insider cited by a US-based think-tank monitoring the war.

“Putin reportedly gave Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu a deadline of one month until early October 2023 to improve the situation on the frontlines, stop Ukrainian counteroffensives, and have Russian forces regain the initiative to launch an offensive operation against a larger city,” the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said in an intelligence update on Sunday.

It said the Russian military command is likely ordering relentless attacks with the hope of forcing the Ukrainian counteroffensive to culminate, even at a high cost to Russian military capabilities, if the claims are true.

Putin wants Ukrainian counteroffensive halted before early October, report says

US made tanks arrive in Ukraine

Monday 25 September 2023 16:30 , Athena Stavrou

US made Abrams tanks have arrived in Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Monday, Reuters reports.

“Good news from Minister (of Defence Rustem) Umerov. Abrams are already in Ukraine and are being prepared to reinforce our brigades,” he said on the Telegram messaging app.

He did not specify how many of tanks had arrived.

The jet-powered American tanks were a top demand from Ukraine until Washington finally offered more than 30 of them in January. European countries have already sent dozens of German-made Leopards and some British Challengers.

The delivery comes nearly four months into Ukraine’s big offensive to recapture Russian-occupied territory. Kyiv has reported slow, steady progress so far, capturing villages and ground that it says improves its position, but has yet to force a major Russian retreat as it did three times last year. Moscow says the Ukrainian offensive has already failed.

“I am grateful to our allies for fulfilling the agreements! We are looking for new contracts and expanding our supply geography,” Zelenskiy added.

U.S. President Joe Biden said last week that the first American Abrams tanks would be delivered to Ukraine this week.

Read more from The Independent:

What are Abrams tanks and why is the US sending them to Ukraine?

Video captures fire ripping through Odesa hotel after Russian missile strike

Monday 25 September 2023 16:00 , Athena Stavrou

Infrastructure near the port of Odesa, Ukraine, was damaged as a result of a Russian drone and missile strike over the region last night, according to regional head Oleh Kiper.

Mr Kiper said two people working in a warehouse that was struck had been killed.

A fire ripped through Hotel Odesa, which was not in use at the time, as a result of the strike. Mr Kiper said firefighters extinguished the flames overnight.

Footage shared by the State Emergency Service of Ukraine on Monday morning (25 September) shows authorities working on the site.

Three confirmed dead following Russian aerial bomb attack in Beryslav

Monday 25 September 2023 15:30 , Athena Stavrou

The death toll in Beryslav has risen to three according to Ukrainian officials, following Russian aerial bomb attacks this morning.

Earlier, the governor of Kherson Oblast, Oleksandr Prokudin, confirmed that a 73-year-old man and a 70-year-old woman died as a result of the attack.

He reported via the Telegram messaging app on Monday afternoon that one more person, a 55-year-old man, has also died. He added that another woman is injured and in hospital.

Earlier, the governer said that Russian forces dropped four aerial bombs on the city in the Kherson Oblast region in southern Ukraine. He said one of them hit the housing and exploitation office building while another destroyed a residential building.

Unfortunately, it became known about the death of a 55-year-old man who was hit by enemy aircraft in Beryslav. Doctors fought for his life in the morning, but the injuries were too severe. In total, the Russian airstrike on the city claimed the lives of three people, and another woman is in the hospital.

Governer of Kherson Oblast Oleksandr Prokudin via Telegram message

What happened in Sevastopol?

Monday 25 September 2023 15:00 , Athena Stavrou

Ukraine have claimed to have killed the commander of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, Admiral Viktor Sokolov, in the missile strike on Sevastopol on Friday.

Kyiv launched the missile attack on the fleet based in the port city of Sevastopol in occupied Crimea on Friday morning.

Ukrainian officials said the attack, targeting what is believed to be the best of Russia’s navy, was timed to coincide with the naval commanders’ meeting.

On Saturday morning, it followed this up with another missile attack on Sevastopol, according to a local Russian-installed official.

The Ukrainian military said the air force conducted 12 strikes on the Black Sea Fleet headquarters, targeting areas where personnel, military equipment and weapons were concentrated. It said two anti-aircraft missile systems and four Russian artillery units were hit.

The Ukrainian Special Operations Forces said in a social media update on Monday that Admiral Viktor Sokolov was among the 34 killed during the missile strike of the headquarters. They also claimed that 105 other occupiers were injured.

Russia have not yet commented on the claims and have previously reported only one serviceman as missing.

Smoke billowed out from the headquarters on Friday (AP)
Smoke billowed out from the headquarters on Friday (AP)

Russia’s Black Sea fleet commander killed in Sevastopol missile strike, Ukraine claim

Monday 25 September 2023 14:17 , Athena Stavrou

Ukraiane has claimed that the commander of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, Admiral Viktor Sokolov, was killed in the missile strike on Sevastopol on Friday.

The Ukrainian Special Operations Forces said in a social media update on Monday that he was among the 34 killed during the missile strike of the headquarters. They also claimed that 105 other occupiers were injured.

Russia have not yet commented on the claims and have previously reported only one serviceman as missing.

Ukraine has claimed that the commander of Russia's Black Sea Feet, Admiral Viktor Sokolov, has been killed in the Ukrainian attack in Sevastopol on Friday. (REUTERS)
Ukraine has claimed that the commander of Russia's Black Sea Feet, Admiral Viktor Sokolov, has been killed in the Ukrainian attack in Sevastopol on Friday. (REUTERS)

Canadian parliament House speaker issues apology after accidentally honouring Nazi

Monday 25 September 2023 14:00 , Athena Stavrou

Canada’s House of Commons gave a standing ovation to a Ukrainian veteran who had served in a Nazi SS unit during the Second World War - without realising who he was.

Yaroslav Hunka, 98, was sitting in the gallery when he was described as a “Ukrainian hero” and a “Canadian hero” to applause from prime minister Justin Trudeau and president Volodymyr Zelensky.

House speaker Anthony Rota has since apologised after it emerged that Hunka served in the 14th Waffen-SS Grenadier Division, a voluntary unit made up mostly of ethnic Ukrainians under Nazi command.

Canadian parliament accidentally honours Nazi - with Zelensky and Trudeau applauding

Russia tortured some victims to death, UN Human Rights Council hears

Monday 25 September 2023 13:20 , Athena Stavrou

Russia’s torture methods in parts of Ukraine it occupied have been so brutal that it tortured some of its victims to death, the head of a United Nations mandated investigative body said on Monday.

The Chair of the Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, Erik Mose, told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva his team had “collected further evidence indicating that the use of torture by Russian armed forces in areas under their control has been widespread and systematic”.

He added: “In some cases, torture was inflicted with such brutality that it caused the death of the victim.”

Mose’s commission visited parts of Ukraine formerly held by Russian forces such as in Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions. It found that torture was committed mainly in detention centres operated by the Russian authorities, Reuters reports.

The commission has previously said that violations committed by Russian forces in Ukraine, including the use of torture, may constitute crimes against humanity.

Russia denies committing atrocities or targeting civilians in Ukraine. Russia was given an opportunity to respond to the allegations at the council hearing but no Russian representative attended.

Russia ‘weaponised food and deliberately caused starvation’ in Ukraine

Monday 25 September 2023 12:50 , Athena Stavrou

Russia has weaponised food and deliberately caused starvation in Ukraine, a war crimes dossier is set to allege.

Working alongside Ukraine’s public prosecutor, leading human rights lawyers are preparing a report to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The dossier will document examples of hunger being used as a “weapon” over the course of the 18 month war, with the evidence aiming to encourage the ICC to launch a prosecution that could see Vladimir Putin indicted.

Read more:

Russia ‘weaponised food and deliberately caused starvation’ in Ukraine

Devastating damage to Odesa hotel

Monday 25 September 2023 12:20 , Athena Stavrou

Before and after pictures of a hotel in Odesa show the devastating impact of the Russian attack.

At least two people have been killed in the strike and at least one other injured as a result of the missile and drone attacks carried out last night.

Two warehouse workers killed following Russian missile and drone attack

Monday 25 September 2023 11:50 , Athena Stavrou

Two people have been confirmed dead in Odesa following Russian missile and drone attacks overnight.

Odesa’s regional governor, Oleh Kiper, wrote on the Telegram messaging service that the bodies of two people working in the grain warehouse have been found under the rubble.

The warehouse, where 1,000 tons of grain was reportedly stored, was hit by Russian missiles during last night’s attacks.

Suspilne, Ukraine’s state broadcaster, wrote on Telegram: “The body of a second worker who died due to a Russian missile hitting a grain warehouse was found in Odesa, said the head of the Regional Military Administration Kiper.”

The governer wrote on Telegram: “I express my condolences to the family.”

1,000 tons of grain stored in facilities attacked by Russia

Monday 25 September 2023 11:30 , Athena Stavrou

Almost 1,000 tons of grain was stored in facilities attacked by Russia overnight in Odesa, regional governor Oleh Kiper said on Monday.

The port was attacked by Russian missiles during the night. The south command of Ukraine’s armed forces said on the Telegram messaging app earlier that: “The sea port in Odesa suffered significant damage.”

Two confirmed dead following Russian aerial bomb attack in Beryslav

Monday 25 September 2023 11:15 , Athena Stavrou

The death toll in Beryslav has risen to two following Russian aerial bomb attacks this morning.

Governor of Kherson Oblast, Oleksandr Prokudin, confirmed that a 73-year-old man and a 70-year-old woman died as a result of the attack.

He also confirmed via the Telegram messaging app that two more people, a 55-year-old man and a 59-year-old woman were injured.

Earlier, the governer said that Russian forces dropped four aerial bombs on the city in the Kherson Oblast region in southern Ukraine.

He said one of them hit the housing and exploitation office building while another destroyed a residential building.

Monday 25 September 2023 10:55 , Athena Stavrou

Photos released by Ukraine’s Regional Prosecutor’s Office show destroyed buildings following the missile and drone strike on Odessa.

One woman was injured and buildings and port infrastructure were severely damaged in Russia’s overnight missile and drone attack on the port of Odesa in southern Ukraine, Ukraine‘s military said on Monday.

“The sea port in Odesa suffered significant damage, a fire broke out in the port’s hotel, which has not been functioning for several years,” the south command of Ukraine‘s armed forces said on the Telegram messaging app.

They added that firefighters “promptly eliminated” the fire.

A hotel was destroyed in the missile and drone attack (via REUTERS)
A hotel was destroyed in the missile and drone attack (via REUTERS)
Oleh Kiper, governor of the Odesa region, said that a woman was taken to a hospital after a shrapnel injury in result of the blast wave. (via REUTERS)
Oleh Kiper, governor of the Odesa region, said that a woman was taken to a hospital after a shrapnel injury in result of the blast wave. (via REUTERS)
A member of Odesa Regional Prosecutor's Office personnel inspects damage following a Russian military attack. (via REUTERS)
A member of Odesa Regional Prosecutor's Office personnel inspects damage following a Russian military attack. (via REUTERS)

‘Panic’ grips Putin’s military and milbloggers over Ukraine’s advances on battlefield

Monday 25 September 2023 10:35 , Athena Stavrou

Ukraine’s advance on the southern frontline’s Verbove area has triggered “panic” for a Russian source affiliated to Vladimir Putin’s elite military unit VDV, according to a US-based war monitoring think-tank.

The Ukrainian General Staff reported that its forces captured new unspecified locations near Verbove on 24 September and top general Oleksandr Tarnavsky said more breakthroughs are coming for the war-hit nation that is deep into a counteroffensive against Mr Putin’s troops.

A VDV-affiliated source reported that Ukrainian forces broke into Verbove on 22 September and continued attacking the settlement with armoured vehicles as of Sunday, as per The Institute for the Study of War think-tank.

‘Panic’ grips Putin’s military and milbloggers over Ukraine’s advances on battlefield

Russia carries out controlled detonation of Black Sea Fleet headquarters in Sevastopol

Monday 25 September 2023 10:15 , Athena Stavrou

Mikhail Razvozhaev, the governor of Sevastopol, warned residents that the next controlled detonation of the Black Sea Fleet building would be carried out this morning.

He assured residents to not worry if they “hear loud noises” while the work is carried out at 11:25am.

He wrote on the Telegram messaging app: “The next controlled detonation to collapse emergency structures in the Black Sea Fleet building will be carried out at 11:25. Work will continue until approximately 14.00. If you hear loud noises, don’t worry. The situation is under control.”

On Friday, Ukrainian forces attacked the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. The attack left a serviceman missing.

Ukraine attacked the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet on Friday. (AP)
Ukraine attacked the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet on Friday. (AP)

Drones attack Russia’s Tula region where thousands suffered power cut

Monday 25 September 2023 09:55 , Athena Stavrou

Russia’s Tula region came under drone attack in the early hours of Monday as the country engaged its air defence systems to repel strikes, officials said.

The air defence was activated over the region bordering Moscow to its north, reported Russian news agency RIA.

The latest morning attacks caused limitation of air traffic as two of Moscow’s major airports – the Vnukovo and Domedovo – trimmed down operations on Monday. Flights flying into these airports were redirected to other airports, the Tass state news agency reported.

According to preliminary information, no damage or injuries were reported as a result of the attack, the Russian ministry of regional security said.

Drones attack Black Sea, Crimea and Russian city where thousands suffered power cuts

One person killed in southern Ukraine following aerial bomb attack

Monday 25 September 2023 09:31 , Athena Stavrou

One person has been killed and several others are injured in southern Ukraine following Russian aerial bomb attacks this morning.

Oleksandr Prokudin, Governor of Kherson Oblast, shared the news following attacks on Beryslav.

He wrote on Telegram: “In the morning, Russian aviation attacked Berislav. The occupiers dropped four aerial bombs on the city. One of them hit the building of the housing and exploitation office. So far, it is known about one dead and several injured. Another aerial bomb destroyed a residential building.”

Ukrainian Ministry of Defence call Odesa attack a “pathetic attempt at retaliation"

Monday 25 September 2023 09:25 , Athena Stavrou

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defence has called the Russian missile attack on Odessa a “pathetic attempt at retaliation”.

In a tweet, Ukraine claimed this morning’s attack was a retaliation to it’s own strike on the Russian Black Sea fleet headquarters in Sevastopol on Friday.

Last week’s attack saw “dozens dead”, according to Ukraine, while Russia say only one soldier is missing.

Russia has not commented on the claims that last night’s attack was a direct retaliation.

Pictures show damage caused in Odesa after Russian missile attack

Monday 25 September 2023 09:05 , Athena Stavrou

Ukrainian military and emergency services have issued photos of damage to infrastructure in Odesa following Russian missile attacks overnight.

Buildings in Odesa were damages following overnight attacks (Defence Forces Southern Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS)
Buildings in Odesa were damages following overnight attacks (Defence Forces Southern Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS)
One woman was confirmed to have been injured as a result of the attacks (Defence Forces Southern Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS)
One woman was confirmed to have been injured as a result of the attacks (Defence Forces Southern Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS)
A fire broke out in a non-residential high-rise in the city of Odesa, the administrative centre of the Odesa region, as a result of the attack, but was promptly extinguished (Defence Forces Southern Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS)
A fire broke out in a non-residential high-rise in the city of Odesa, the administrative centre of the Odesa region, as a result of the attack, but was promptly extinguished (Defence Forces Southern Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS)

Three Russian divisions actively defending against Ukrainian assaults

Monday 25 September 2023 08:45 , Athena Stavrou

Elements of three Russian divisions are actively defending against Ukrainian assaults around the Orikhiv area in southern Ukraine according to US-based war monitoring think-tank, The Institute for the Study of War.

On September 24, Ukrainian forces launched attacks in three directions within the Orikhiv salient from Robotyne against Novoprokopivka, directly into Verbove’s western side and north of Verbove.

Elements of the Russian 42nd Motorized Rifle Division, 76th Air Assault Division and 7th Air Assault Division are have been deployed to defend against the assaults.

The 42nd Motorized Rifle Division are defending at the southernmost point of the Ukrainian salient and are engaging Ukrainian forces in Novoprokopivka while the Russian 76th Air Assault Division have been deployed to the western flank near Kopani towards Robotyne and counterattacking there. The 7th Air Assault Division are deployed on the eastern flank near the Verbove-Novopokrovka line and are counterattacking there also.

‘Panic’ among Putin’s forces as they face “real threat” of Ukrainian forces encircling Russian forces

Monday 25 September 2023 08:25 , Athena Stavrou

A Russian VDV source warned that there is a “real threat” of Ukrainian forces reaching and encircling the 56th VDV Regiment near Novofedorivka.

The source said on September 22 that Ukrainian forces were within 7km of encircling the 56th VDV Regiment and that the regiment would be in a difficult position if its commander did not make a decision to withdraw from Novofedorivka to other previously prepared positions.

Russian sources also reported that Ukrainian forces broke into Verbove on September 22 and continued attacking the settlement with armored vehicles as of yesterday, September 24. The source later reported that Ukrainian forces occupy half of Verbove as of September 24.

Ukrainian forces occupying half of Verbove after successful advance on Russian village

Monday 25 September 2023 08:00 , Athena Stavrou

Russian sources reported to aUS-based war monitoring think-tank, The Institute for the Study of War, that Ukrainian forces broke into Verbove on September 22 and continued attacking the settlement with armored vehicles as of yesterday, September 24.

Geolocated combat footage posted on September 24 shows a Ukrainian BMP operating within Verbove’s westernmost village limits.

A Russian VDV-affiliated source reported that Ukrainian forces entered Verbove for the first time on September 22 and continued pushing east. The source later reported that Ukrainian forces occupy half of Verbove as of September 24.

The source also accused the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) of trying to conceal Ukraine’s tactical progress in Verbove, rhetorically stating: “For how long can Shoigu’s MoD hide the breakthrough in Verbove?”

The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces captured new unspecified locations near Verbove on September 24.

Ukrainian drones destroyed by Russian air defence overnight

Monday 25 September 2023 07:45 , Athena Stavrou

Russia’s defence ministry said on Monday that it’s air defence systems destroyed four Ukraine-launched drones over the northwestern part of the Black Sea and over the Crimean Peninsula.

Separately, the ministry said that four other drones were destroyed overnight over Russia’s Kursk and Belgorod regions.

According to reports, Ukraine’s drone attack on the Kursk region damaged several private houses and an administrative building

It was not immediately known whether there was any damage or injuries as a result of the reported attacks.

Two Ukraine-launched drones were destroyed over the Belgorod region this morning (AFP via Getty Images)
Two Ukraine-launched drones were destroyed over the Belgorod region this morning (AFP via Getty Images)

Russian overnight missile attack injures one in southern Ukraine

Monday 25 September 2023 07:20 , Athena Stavrou

One woman was injured and buildings and port infrastructure were severely damaged in Russia’s overnight missile and drone attack on the port of Odesa in southern Ukraine, Ukraine‘s military said on Monday.

“The sea port in Odesa suffered significant damage, a fire broke out in the port’s hotel, which has not been functioning for several years,” the south command of Ukraine‘s armed forces said on the Telegram messaging app.

They added that firefighters “promptly eliminated” the fire.

Ukraine‘s Air Force said that its air defence systems destroyed 19 Iranian-made Shahed drones, 11 cruise missiles and two hypersonic missiles that Russia launched on Ukraine overnight, vast majority directed at Odesa. Three other drones were destroyed earlier on Sunday, it said.

Oleh Kiper, governor of the Odesa region, said that a woman was taken to a hospital after a shrapnel injury in result of the blast wave. Ukraine‘s south military command posted on its Telegram messaging app several pictures showing a high-rise building with blown up windows and severe damage to its structure.

There was no immediate comment from Russia about the attack.

ICYMI: What are Abrams tanks and why is the US sending them to Ukraine?

Monday 25 September 2023 07:00 , Eleanor Noyce

Ukraine’s military has reportedly succeeded in driving tanks through Russia’s defensive line in western Zaporizhzhia, according to the Institute for the Study of War, a major breakthrough after Vladimir Putin’s forces spent the winter establishing a tough obstacle course of anti-tank ditches, artillery nests and other obstructions.

The institute could not confirm that Ukrainian troops had followed suit at the breakthrough point near Verbove but the news is nevertheless a welcome indication that Kyiv’s counteroffensive is bearing fruit as it seeks to drive the invader from its territory.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky is currently in North America seeking to shore up support from his US counterpart Joe Biden and Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and has already flown out of Washington with the promise of a new $325m military aid package for his country that will include air defence systems and other weaponry to help it through what promises to be another trying winter of combat.

Joe Sommerlad reports:

What are Abrams tanks and why is the US sending them to Ukraine?

Russian airstrikes kill 2 and wound 3 in southern Ukraine as war enters 20th month

Monday 25 September 2023 06:00 , Eleanor Noyce

Russian airstrikes on Sunday killed two people and wounded three others in southern Ukraine’s Kherson province, the region’s governor reported Sunday as the war in Ukraine entered a 20th month.

According to Gov. Oleksandr Prokudin, Russian forces struck the city of Beryslav, destroying an unspecified number of private houses. A woman was killed and three people were wounded, including a police officer, he said.

Another airstrike also killed a 67-year-old man in the village of Lvove, Prokudin said without specifying the type of weapons used in the attack.

Samya Kullab has more:

Russian airstrikes kill 2 and wound 3 in southern Ukraine as war enters 20th month

Inside Putin’s attempts to indoctrinate Russia’s youth by encouraging ‘self-sacrifice’

Monday 25 September 2023 05:00 , Eleanor Noyce

Russian textbooks praising Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine are an attempt to encourage “self-sacrifice” among schoolchildren, experts have warned.

In September, Russia rolled out new history textbooks to schools that claim Ukraine is an “ultranationalist state” being used as a “battering ram” by the United States to “destroy Russia”.

One chapter claims that Ukrainian membership of Nato could have led to a catastrophic war and “possibly the end of civilisation”, an outcome it says Russia had to prevent.

Alexander Butler reports:

Inside Putin’s attempts to indoctrinate Russian youth by encouraging ‘self-sacrifice’

One injured as Russia fires cruise missiles on Odesa

Monday 25 September 2023 04:47 , Arpan Rai

One woman was injured and port infrastructure was damaged in southern Ukraine’s Odesa as Russia launched an overnight missile and drone attack, officials said.

A fire broke out in a non-residential high-rise in the city of Odesa, the administrative centre of the Odesa region, as a result of the attack, but was promptly extinguished, Oleh Kiper, governor of the Odesa region in southern Ukraine, said on his Telegram channel.

The scale of the attack and the full extent of the damage were not immediately clear.

Why did Russia invade Ukraine?

Monday 25 September 2023 04:00 , Eleanor Noyce

Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine has been raging for one year now as the conflict continues to record devastating casualties and force the mass displacement of millions of blameless Ukrainians.

Vladimir Putin began the war by claiming Russia’s neighbour needed to be “demilitarised and de-Nazified”, a baseless pretext on which to launch a landgrab against an independent state that happens to have a Jewish president in Volodymyr Zelensky.

Ukraine has fought back courageously against Mr Putin’s warped bid to restore territory lost to Moscow with the collapse of the Soviet Union and has continued to defy the odds by defending itself against Russian onslaughts with the help of Western military aid.

Read more:

Here’s why Putin really invaded Ukraine

ICYMI: Russia’s Lavrov rubbishes Ukraine peace plan and warns conflict will be resolved on battlefield

Monday 25 September 2023 03:00 , Eleanor Noyce

Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has rubbished Ukraine’s 10-point peace plan and warned the conflict will be resolved on the battlefield if the West stuck to it.

Addressing the UN General Assembly on Saturday, Mr Lavrov dismissed the West as an “empire of lies” and said the plan promoted by Kyiv was “completely not feasible”.

In a letter to Mr Lavrov last month, UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres outlined four measures the UN could facilitate to improve Russia’s grain and fertiliser exports in a bid to convince Moscow to return to the Black Sea deal, which allowed Ukraine to export grain through the corridor and helped address a global food shortage.

Read more:

Russia rubbishes Kyiv peace plan and warns conflict will be resolved on battlefield

Pope blames weapons industry for Russia-Ukraine war and 'martyrdom' of Ukrainian people

Monday 25 September 2023 02:00 , Eleanor Noyce

Pope Francis on Saturday labeled the weapons industry as being a key driver of the “martyrdom” of Ukraine’s people in Russia’s war, saying even the withholding of weapons now is going to continue their misery.

Francis appeared to refer to Poland’s recent announcement that it is no longer sending arms to Ukraine when he was asked about the war during brief remarks to reporters while returning home from Marseille, France.

Francis acknowledged he was frustrated that the Vatican’s diplomatic initiatives hadn’t borne much fruit. But he said behind the Russia-Ukraine conflict was also the weapons industry.

Nicole Winfield reports:

Pope blames weapons industry for Russia-Ukraine war and 'martyrdom' of Ukrainian people

Ukraine says Russia lost ‘top’ navy commanders in Sevastopol missile strike

Monday 25 September 2023 01:00 , Eleanor Noyce

Ukraine says its missile strike on the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea fleet in Crimea successfully targeted a meeting of senior naval officials, with “top” commanders among “dozens of dead and wounded”.

Kyiv launched the missile attack on the fleet based in the port city of Sevastopol in occupied Crimea on Friday morning.

Ukrainian officials said the attack, targeting what is believed to be the best of Russia’s navy, was timed to coincide with the naval commanders’ meeting.

Read more:

Ukraine says Russia lost ‘top’ navy commanders in Sevastopol missile strike