Ukrainian forces advance against Russian fighters in Kherson and Bakhmut

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Ukrainian forces continued their advance against Russian forces in the southern Kherson region on Tuesday, pushing back Russian mercenaries from Bakhmut in eastern Donetsk and gaining new momentum in Luhansk, where they seized a key highway between the cities of Kremina and Svyatov.

In a day of heavy fighting and rapid developments in multiple combat zones, the Ukrainians appeared to build on their recent success in retaking occupied territories and pushing Moscow’s forces back that President Vladimir Putin claims now belong to Russia.

Away from the battlefield, the Kremlin continued to push the claim, repeatedly claiming without evidence that Kyiv was preparing to use “dirty bombs,” which combine conventional explosives with radioactive material — a charge denied by the United States and other Western nations.

US officials said Moscow’s accusations raised a threat that Russia itself was planning a radiation attack, possibly as a pretext to justify further escalation of the war amid its continued regional pushback.

In a statement on Tuesday, Ukraine’s nuclear power operator Energoatom issued a similar warning, citing Russian military control of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in Enerhodar. “Energoatom assumes that such actions of traders may indicate that they are preparing a terrorist act using nuclear material and radioactive waste stored at the ZNPP site,” the statement said.

Putin’s war in Ukraine is becoming more deadly and dangerous amid renewed fears of some form of radiation attack as each side tries to redraw the facts on the ground before winter. Russia launched a relentless bombing campaign against Ukraine’s energy system this month, using missiles and attack drones apparently to plunge the country into cold and darkness.

In Washington, President Biden faced pressure With unprecedented U.S. economic and military aid to Ukraine and few liberal Democrats in Congress to negotiate with Russia, Putin has left little room for diplomacy in addition to his 2014 invasion and annexation of Crimea, illegally annexing four Ukrainian territories.

Putin failed in his initial plan to topple Ukraine’s government by conquering Kyiv, and Ukrainian officials say he now has no choice but to defeat Russia on the battlefield as he refuses to withdraw his troops and end the war.

Biden and the Group of Seven leaders this month endorsed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s call for a “justice of peace” that includes Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty, future security guarantees, possible reconstruction by Russia and accountability for Russian war crimes.

As Ukraine continues its military gains, pro-Kremlin military bloggers and analysts confirmed new blows to Russia’s military on Tuesday, including in Luhansk, Ukraine’s most occupied region in the east, where Russia has a strong hold.

“Ukrainian forces have resumed their counteroffensive towards Luhansk,” the pro-Russian Wargonzo Project said in its daily military update, adding that Ukrainian forces had taken control of a major highway between the Luhansk cities of Svatov and Kremina.

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“Russian artillery is actively operating on the left bank of the Zerebets River and is trying to stop the transfer of reinforcements to the enemy, but the situation is very difficult,” Wargonzo added.

In the Donetsk region, Wagner’s paramilitary force, under the command of Saint Petersburg merchant Yevgeny Prigozhin, found itself under pressure from Bakhmut, where mercenaries had spent several weeks holding the city and making small gains. Military experts said the attempt to capture Bakhmut had little strategic value, but Prigozhin saw the fight as an opportunity to gain political rewards while regular Russian army units lost ground in other combat zones.

Ukrainian forces recaptured a concrete factory east of Bakhmut, the Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank, reported in an update on Monday. On Sunday, Prigozhin acknowledged the slow pace of Wagner’s progress, saying he was only gaining “100-200 meters a day”.

“Our units are constantly facing very strong enemy resistance, and I note that the enemy is well-prepared, motivated and working confidently and harmoniously,” Prigozhin said in a statement published by the press service of his catering company. “It doesn’t stop our soldiers from moving forward, but I can’t comment on how long it will take.”

Also the Washington Post Reported Prigozhin recently spoke personally to Putin about his military’s handling of the war in Ukraine, a sign of his growing assertiveness in Kremlin circles as he builds up his own privately controlled forces. recruiting Volunteers and Convicts.

In the southern Kherson region, four claimed by Moscow, Russian troops prepared to defend the city of Kherson, as they retreated east of the Dnieper River and abandoned key positions.

Ukraine’s military said in an operation on Tuesday Update Russian forces have established “defensive positions” on the east bank of the Dnieper, leaving short passages for a possible retreat from the west bank.

Speculation has been rife for weeks about whether Moscow is preparing to leave the Kherson region after Ukrainian forces have made steady gains in the south.

“I don’t know all the nuances and plans of the command, but I don’t exclude the surrender of Kherson because from a military point of view its defenses can be defeated at this moment,” a popular Russian military blogger, who writes under the moniker Zapisky Veterana, wrote in a Telegram post. “But I think that if it is decided to fight until victory in Moscow, then there is nothing sad in the surrender of Kherson because this war has been here for a long time.”

“The Russian position in Upper Kherson Oblast, however, is probably uncertain,” the Institute for the Study of War said, adding that Ukrainian forces may have captured the Upper Kherson region by the end of the year.

Kremlin-installed authorities are forcing residents to evacuate the west bank of the Dnieper, claiming without evidence that Kyiv is preparing attacks on the Kakhovka hydroelectric plant as well as “dirty bomb” allegations.

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United States, France and Britain Moscow Accused for using it as a pretext to escalate accusations of the dirty bomb, and warned that Putin’s government would face additional punitive action from the West.

“If he were to use a so-called dirty bomb, it would be another example of his brutality,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said Monday. “It will have consequences for Russia. … We are very clear about that.”

On Tuesday, the Kremlin called Washington’s disbelief of Russia’s claims “an impermissible and frivolous approach”.

After a two-week bombing campaign of Ukrainian cities, including Moscow Systematically targeted Energy infrastructure to reduce access to electricity and heating, Kyiv is more concerned about citizens who endure severe winters.

Ukrainian officials have pressed European officials in recent weeks for more sophisticated weapons, particularly advanced air defense systems needed to fend off Russian airstrikes.

The country is also facing an urgent cash crisis, with officials raising questions about how Ukraine will find enough funds to continue the brutal days, weeks and months ahead. According to early October forecasts from the World Bank, Ukraine’s economy will 35 percent of the contract this year.

On Tuesday, Germany hosted a conference in Berlin in partnership with the European Union on reconstruction, although the conversation seemed particularly premature as Russia’s bombing campaigns caused new damage and destruction every day.

Zelensky has said Ukraine needs about $38 billion in emergency financial aid for next year — a number that does not include the hundreds of billions it may need once the fighting stops.

Although top officials routinely trumpet EU support for Ukraine, there are questions about short- and long-term follow-through.

Although European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has emphasized plans to help Ukraine until 2023, for example, EU officials acknowledge delays in receiving an estimated $9 billion in loans pledged earlier this year.

US Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen in recent weeks Pressured European counterparts to increase financial aid to Kyiv And indirectly questioning the decision to give loans instead of grants.

“We are calling on our partners and allies to join us by quickly delivering on their existing commitments to Ukraine and stepping up to do more — to help Ukraine continue its essential government services and to help Ukraine rebuild and recover,” Yellen said. this month.

In a video address to a European Council summit in Brussels last week, Zelensky called out European leaders for failing to provide needed financial aid quickly enough.

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“Thank you for the funds that have already been allocated,” Zelensky said. “But the remaining 6 billion in this package – which is critically needed this year – has not yet been decided.”

“It is within your power today to agree in principle on the provision of this aid to our state,” he added.

With existing requirements unmet, some wonder how seriously to take the EU’s promises of an effort on the scale of the Marshall Plan, which will be completed at an unknown date.

A Q&A published by Germany’s Group of Seven Presidencies Ahead of Tuesday’s conference, it was noted that the event would not include a “pleasing segment.” Instead, the aim is to “underline that the international community is united and determined to support Ukraine”.

In private conversations, some EU diplomats have questioned whether the bloc should allocate resources to rebuild a country still at war, particularly given Europe’s own energy and economic crises.

Indeed, as von der Leyen spoke in Berlin on Tuesday, efforts to find common ground among the EU’s own member states focused on emergency energy measures in Brussels.

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