Ukraine news – latest: Russia denies Kyiv has ‘weakened’ it in Kherson counter-offensive

Zelensky says they will push Russian forces ‘to the border’

Russia has denied Kyiv’s claim to have “unquestionably weakened” Moscow’s forces through a counteroffensive in southern Ukraine.

After launching a long-anticipated attack against Russian positions in Kherson region on Monday, the Ukrainian army said it had inflicted heavy losses on the Kremlin. It reported that 82 Russian soldiers had been killed and 30 units of equipments had been destroyed.

Moscow hit out at such allegations on Tuesday, saying the “enemy’s offensive attempt failed miserably”.

This comes after Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky told Russian soldiers to flee over the border.

“If they want to survive – it’s time for the Russian military to run away. Go home,” he said in his nightly address on Monday. “Ukraine is taking back its own,” he added.

Oleksiy Arestovych, one of Mr Zelensky’s senior advisers, said Ukraine’s army had managed to overwhelm Russian defences in several places within “a few hours”.

In its latest update on the Ukraine war, the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) said Ukrainian artillery strikes had increased near Russian-held Kherson on 29 August. However, it said it was unable to give further details.

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Map of Ukrainian counteroffensive

Yesterday, Ukraine announced that it had launched a counterattack near the Russian-held city of Kherson.

Here’s a map of the frontline, courtesy of the US think tank the Institute for the Study of War (ISW):

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379 children killed by Putin’s war, says Ukraine

Russian attacks have killed 379 children and injured more than 735 others, according to Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office.

In its latest update, it said the highest number of casualties were reported in the Donetsk region, where 388 children have been killed or injured.

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EU ministers discuss increasing weapons production to help Ukraine

Six months into the war in Ukraine, EU ministers have spoken about increasing weapons production to help Kyiv fight off Moscow’s troops.

The EU’s store of weapons are low given its ongoing support to Ukraine, the bloc’s most senior foreign diplomat said. “We are depleting our stocks. We are providing so many capacities to Ukraine that we have to refill our stocks,” Josep Borrell told reporters on Tuesday.

Over two days of meetings in Prague, the bloc’s foreign and defence ministers will discuss pooling military resources and buying weapons in bulk.

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First humanitarian grain ship to leave Ukraine during war arrives in Djibouti

The first humanitarian grain ship to leave Ukraine since a deal was brokered with Russia has reached Djibouti.

The Lebanese-flagged Brave Commander reached the east African country with 23,000 tonnes of wheat onboard.

This comes after the Russian blockade of Ukrainian ports raised fears about the worsening global food crisis, with regions such as East Africa facing their worst drought in decades.

The World Food Programme announced on Tuesday that a second humanitarian shipment had left Ukraine bound for Yemen. It will stop in Turkey en route so that the grain can be milled into flour, the UN said.

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Germany and France oppose Russian tourist visa ban

Germany and France will oppose demands from the Baltic states that Russian tourists be banned from the EU.

Ahead of a meeting of the bloc’s foreign ministers in Prague later today, Berlin and Paris laid out their position in a document seen by Reuters.

“While understanding the concerns of some member states in this context we should not underestimate the transformative power of experiencing life in democratic systems at first hand, especially for future generations,” they said.

“Our visa policies should reflect that and continue to allow for people-to-people contacts in the EU with Russian nationals not linked to the Russian government,” they added.

All five EU countries that share a border with Russia have called for a visa ban, saying the step is needed to put further pressure on Moscow.

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Four dead in Russian shelling of Kharkiv, says regional governor

At least four people have been killed and another four injured on Tuesday in Russian shelling in the city of Kharkiv, the regional governor has said.

“As a result of the shelling of the central part of Kharkiv, at least 4 people died and 4 more were injured,” Oleh Synehubov wrote on Telegram.

Despite evidence to the contrary, Russia denies that its forces have deliberately targeted civilians.

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Russia suffers heavy losses in southern Ukraine, Kyiv claims

Ukraine said it has inflicted heavy losses on the Kremlin’s forces in the south, with 82 Russian troops reportedly killed and 30 units of equipments allegedly destroyed.

Operation Command “South” also said the Ukrainian army had hit three Russian ammunition depots and a makeshift bridge. The Independent has been unable to verify the claims.

The command’s spokesperson said on Monday that its counteroffensive around Kherson “had unquestionably weakened the enemy”.

However, Russia hit out at the claims, suggesting the “enemy’s offensive attempt failed miserably”.

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Photos from Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant

Experts from the UN’s nuclear watchdog will reach the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant later this week to conduct safety tests.

This comes after Ukraine and Russia accused each other of endangering the site, with reports of shelling in the vicinity of its nuclear reactors.

Yesterday, the US-based satellite company Maxar published pictures from the site. They show recent damage to the roof of a building near the nuclear reactors and a group of armoured personnel carriers close-by.

After Ukraine and the UN called for the site to be demilitarised, Russia said it has no plans to leave the facility.

(Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies)

(Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies)

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EU could establish military training mission for Ukraine, says senior diplomat

The EU could agree to establishing a military training mission for Ukraine, the bloc’s foreign policy chief has said.

“A general, overall political agreement (on a joint training mission) is what I think we have to get today…I hope we will have a political green light for this mission,”Josep Borrell said from Prague on Tuesday.

Up until now, individual countries have been training Ukrainian troops in how to operate donated Western weapons, but there has been no bloc-wide policy.

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Ukraine increases artillery strikes against Russian positions near Kherson, says MoD

Ukrainian artillery strikes against Russian positions in the south of the county increased on Monday, the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said.

The UK’s latest update on the Ukraine war suggested Kyiv has launched a counterattack near the Russian-held city of Kherson.

Although Moscow has sought to reinforce its positions around the city since early August, its troops are still vulnerable there, according to the MoD.

“Most of the [Russian] units around Kherson are likely under-manned and are reliant upon fragile supply lines by ferry and pontoon bridges across the Dnipro,” it said.

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