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Russia’s losses appear to be mounting in southern Zaporizhzhia region, analysts say

Russian losses in the southern Zaporizhzhia region of Ukraine have increased significantly as Ukraine’s counteroffensive makes gains, according to an analysis from the Institute for the Study of War, released late on Tuesday.

Ukraine has reported a number of advances in the last week in the south and east, with the recapture of two villages Andriivka and Klishchiivka just south of Bakhmut in Donetsk. It’s a notable victory, although Russian officials say the settlements are still being contested.

The ISW noted in its analysis that “Russian and Ukrainian sources credited superior Ukrainian combat coordination, more precise artillery fire, and stronger electronic warfare systems for recent Ukrainian advances south of Bakhmut amid continued discussions of significant Russian losses in the area.”

A Bradley IFV crew member of the 47th Magura Mechanized Brigade who took part in the fighting to liberate Robotyne village from Russian invaders, in southeastern Ukraine.

Nurphoto | Nurphoto | Getty Images

After recent reports of a Ukrainian breakthrough in one of three main layers of Russian defenses in southern Ukraine, the country’s armed forces appear to be building on gains. The ISW noted that “Russian losses have reportedly significantly increased in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast [region] in recent days, and the Russian military likely struggles with a lack of available combat-effective units that the Russian command is willing to laterally redeploy to this sector of the front.”

The spokesperson for Ukraine’s Tavria region’s forces operating in the south, Colonel Oleksandr Shtupun, stated in a national telethon Monday evening that Russian forces lost 313 soldiers on Sept. 18 and that this had “significantly increased” since the previous two days, in which an estimated 200 Russian soldiers had been killed each day.

More than 5 square kilometers of territory in the south had been liberated in the past week, Shtupun said, and Russia was pulling up its reserves. Shtupun stated that Russian Airborne Forces had been drawn in to conduct defensive operations in region and that “Storm-Z” units, made up of Russian convicts, have also been observed.

— Holly Ellyatt

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arrives in New York

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov chairs a Security Council meeting on defending the principles of the U.N. Charter at the U.N. Headquarters in New York on April 24, 2023.

Timothy A. Clary | AFP | Getty Images

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arrived in New York last night “to participate in the political week of the U.N. General Assembly,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Telegram.

Lavrov missed the first day of the 78th session of the U.N. General Assembly, during which U.S. President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy separately addressed the assembly, both making impassioned calls to global leaders to continue their support for Ukraine and warning of the dangers Russia’s poses to global peace.

He is due to the attend the U.N. Security Council meeting on Wednesday, where he could encounter Zelenskyy.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a post that Lavrov “will take part in a number of multilateral events, including those organized by the UN Security Council, BRICS, CSTO [the Collective Security Treaty Organization, an intergovernmental military alliance in Eurasia] and the Group of Friends for the Defense of the UN Charter. Events are also planned within the SCO [Shanghai Cooperation Organisation].”

In addition, the ministry said, Lavrov intends to hold about 20 bilateral meetings with colleagues from various states and heads of international organizations. A conversation with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is also planned.

Lavrov will address the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 23.

— Holly Ellyatt

Zelenskyy due to push peace plan when he addresses UN Security Council

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters on Sept. 19, 2023, in New York City.

Adam Gray | Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is due to address the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday in a meeting that is expected to see him come face to face with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry confirmed last night that Lavrov had arrived in New York for the meeting, with posts on Telegram showing Lavrov greeting Russia’s Permanent Representative to the U.N. Vasily Nebenzya and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Anatoly Antonov.

Russia is one of five permanent members (along with the U.S., U.K., France and China) of the U.N.’s Security Council, a body responsible for maintaining global peace and stability. It has faced calls for its removal since invading Ukraine in February 2022.

Zelenskyy, Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken are among the delegates expected at the meeting Wednesday, at which Lavrov is expected to speak and where Ukraine’s leader is expected to present Kyiv’s peace plan.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks at the General Debate of the U.N. General Assembly. More than 140 heads of state and government are on the list of speakers.

Michael Kappeler | Picture Alliance | Getty Images

“Last year, I presented the outlines of the Ukrainian peace formula at the UN General Assembly and later and Indonesia I presented the full formula. And over the past year, the peace formula became the basis to update the existing security architecture,” Zelenskyy said as he addressed the U.N.’s General Assembly on Tuesday.

“Now we can bring back to life the UN Charter and guarantee the full power for the rules based world order. And tomorrow, I will present that at a special meeting of the UN Security Council.”

— Holly Ellyatt

U.S. urges Ukraine allies to ‘dig deep’ on ground-based air defense

U.S. United States Secretary of Defense LLoyd Austin (L) and U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley speak to the media following the 15th meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group at Ramstein Air Base on September 19, 2023 in Ramstein-Miesenbach, Germany.

Sean Gallup | Getty Images News | Getty Images

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin has urged members of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, an alliance of around 50 countries, to “continue to dig deep on ground-based air defense for Ukraine.”

Austin said the group had “stepped up” with donations of Patriot, IRIS-T, HAWK, NASAMS, SAMP/T, and other air-defense systems, and that this was saving lives.

“We must continue to push hard to provide Ukraine with the air-defense systems and interceptors that it needs. And right now, in the heat of battle, we must also keep pushing to get Ukraine the ammunition that it needs to keep up the fight, including 155-millimeter ammunition,” he said.

However, no announcements were made at the meeting regarding increased supply of long-range missiles, which Ukraine has repeatedly called for.

This includes Army Tactical Missile Systems, or ATACMS, which have a reach of up to 190 miles (306 km). U.S. supply of ATACMS reportedly remains under discussion.

— Jenni Reid

Moscow judge suspends appeal of reporter Evan Gershkovich

US journalist Evan Gershkovich, arrested on espionage charges, stands inside a defendants’ cage before a hearing to consider an appeal on his extended pre-trial detention at the Moscow City Court in Moscow on September 19, 2023.

Natalia Kolesnikova | Afp | Getty Images

A Moscow judge suspended journalist Evan Gershkovich’s latest appeal against his pre-trial detention on spying charges, according to NBC News.

The judge said there were “procedural violations” that need to be resolved and sent the appeal back to be heard in a lower court. 

Gershkovich, his employer the Wall Street Journal and the U.S. government have strongly denied allegations of spying, and say he was doing his job as a reporter when he was detained in March.

Previous appeals by Gershkovich failed in April and June. His pre-trial detention was extended to Nov. 30 in August, and no date has been set for his trial.

— Jenni Reid

Evidence suggests Ukrainian missile caused market strike, media reports

Eyewitness accounts and an analysis of video and weapon fragments suggest a Ukrainian missile that failed to hit its intended target was the cause of a deadly strike on a Ukrainian market in September, The New York Times reported Monday.

The missile strike on a market in Kostiantynivka killed at least 16 civilians and injured more than 30 others and was initially blamed on Russia. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said it was a “deliberate terrorist attack,” following numerous other incidents of Russian attacks on civilian infrastructure. Russia denies targeting civilians.

However, evidence collected and analyzed by The New York Times — including missile fragments, satellite imagery, witness accounts and social media posts — “strongly suggests the catastrophic strike was the result of an errant Ukrainian air defense missile fired by a Buk launch system,” the newspaper said in a report published Monday.

Firefighters extinguish fire at a market on Sept. 6, 2023, in Kostiantynivka, Ukraine.

Andriy Reznikov | Global Images Ukraine | Getty Images

“The attack appears to have been a tragic mishap. Air defense experts say missiles like the one that hit the market can go off course for a variety of reasons, including an electronic malfunction or a guidance fin that is damaged or sheared off at the time of launch,” the paper said.

The likely missile failure happened amid the back-and-forth battles common in the surrounding area, the paper added, with Russian forces having shelled Kostiantynivka the night before.

A spokesperson for Ukraine’s armed forces told the NYT the country’s security service is investigating the incident, and under national law can’t comment further.

— Holly Ellyatt

Putin and Xi to meet in Beijing in October

Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping for talks in Beijing in October, a close ally of Putin said Tuesday.

“In October, we are counting on detailed bilateral negotiations between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing,” Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of Russia’s Security Council, said at a meeting with Chinese top diplomat Wang Yi, according to the Interfax news agency.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, March 21, 2023.

Xinhua News Agency | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

He said the talks would take place as the international “One Belt, One Road” forum is held in Beijing. Putin will attend the gathering after Xi extended an invitation to him during a high-profile visit to Moscow in March.

The visit to Beijing will be the first that Putin has made since an international arrest warrant was issued for Putin alleging responsibility for the unlawful deportation and transfer of children during the war in Ukraine. The Kremlin denies the allegations.

— Holly Ellyatt

Zelenskyy due to address UN, could come face to face with top Russian officials

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy could be coming face to face with top Russian officials this week as he prepares to address global leaders at the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday.

Zelenskyy is also due to speak at a U.N. Security Council meeting about Ukraine on Wednesday, an event that could see him in the same room as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who is also expected to address the Council.

When asked on Monday whether he would stay to listen to Lavrov’s remarks, Zelenskyy said “I don’t know how it will be, really,” AP reported.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Ed Jones | AFP | Getty Images

Russia is one of five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, and like its other permanent members (the United States, Britain, China and France), it has the power of veto U.N. resolutions; Russia vetoed a Security Council resolution last year condemning the attempted annexation of four Ukrainian regions, for example.

Ukraine has repeatedly questioned how and why Russia continues to occupy a top position in the U.N. when it has itself invaded its neighbor and fostered war and instability.

In his nightly address, Zelenskyy said “territorial integrity of the state is a key principle of all basic international documents, including the UN Charter. And it is necessary to return to it the full force destroyed by the Russian invasion, and to increase the capabilities of the UN to stop aggressions and prevent them. Ukraine will make a clear proposal in this regard to UN members.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visits with wounded Ukrainian soldiers at the Staten Island University Hospital in the Staten Island borough of New York City on September 18, 2023. 

Bryan Woolston | AFP | Getty Images

Zelenskyy arrived in New York on Monday, where he visited Northwell Health’s Staten Island University Hospital to recognize efforts to support medical providers in Ukraine. He also met wounded Ukrainian soldiers who had received advanced prosthetics and critical rehabilitation after being severely injured in the Russian invasion.   

— Holly Ellyatt

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