Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told citizens that he had good news “both from the frontline and on the diplomatic front” in his nightly video address on Tuesday.
“First: the Ukrainian army is carrying out a pretty fast and powerful advance in the south of our country as part of the current defense operation,” Zelenskyy said. “Dozens of settlements have already been liberated from the Russian sham referendum this week alone.”
He said gains had been made in the Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Kharkiv regions.
He went on to list several smaller settlements in Kherson specifically, saying that they had been “liberated from the occupier and stabilized.” He also described his list of locations as “far from complete.”
Russian Defense Ministry maps presented as part of a regular briefing earlier in the day had appeared to show a similar story in Kherson. Although the ministry made no mention of lost ground, the designation of the location of the front line and the areas in Russian control was much smaller than on the previous day.
Ukraine has issued comparatively little information on its counteroffensive efforts, citing the need for secrecy about active operations. One strategically important town, Lyman, was recaptured at the weekend.
He concluded by saying that he had signed a presidential decree “designating null and void all decrees of the President of the Russian Federation and all acts adopted to implement these decrees for attempted annexation of our territory from 2014 until today.” Earlier on Tuesday, Russia ratified its illegal annexation of the Kherson, Luhansk, Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions.
Here is more news from or concerning the war in Ukraine on Tuesday October 4.
US to provide $625 further million in military aid
US President Joe Biden told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that Washington would provide Kyiv with an additional $625 million (€627 million) in security aid, the White House said in a statement.
The package will include HIMARS rocket launchers, artillery systems and ammunition, and armored vehicles, according to the statement.
The addition of four HIMARS systems will bring the total number sent to Ukraine by Washington up to 20. The launchers have been a key tool for Ukrainian forces, giving Kyiv the ability to strike bridges that Moscow uses to supply its troops.
In his conversation with Zelenskyy, Biden “pledged to continue supporting Ukraine as it defends itself from Russian aggression for as long as it takes,” the White House said.
Biden also told Zelenskyy that Washington would “never recognize” Russia’s annexation of Ukrainian territory, the White House said in a statement.
The US State Department said the arms package would come from Pentagon stockpiles.
The new package would mark more than $16.8 billion in US security aid for Kyiv since the start of Russia’s invasion, and $17.5 billion since the start of Biden’s presidency.
UN rights council says annexation will ‘exacerbate’ violations
The UN Human Rights Council said that the Moscow’s annexation of four Ukrainian regions will exacerbate human rights violations in the country.
“With the purported annexation… the Russian Federation has taken steps which deepen rather than resolve the conflict, and exacerbate the human rights violations associated with it,” said Salazar Volkmann, the UN rights office’s field operations chief.
“The people in Ukraine have experienced unspeakable suffering and devastation,” he said.
He said that the office’s Human Rights Monitoring Mission had documented 6,114 civilians killed since February 24, adding that the real death toll is likely much higher. He said that most civilian casualties were caused by explosive weapons being used in populated areas, mostly by Russian forces and affiliated groups.
“The Russian Federation’s armed attack has caused the death of thousands and brought about widespread destruction of civilian objects and infrastructure,” he said.
The UN rights expert said that enforced disappearances and arbitrary detention had become “widespread” in Russian-controlled areas of Ukraine, and that there were “appalling reports of torture and ill-treatment” of civilians and prisoners of war.
The UN General Assembly called an urgent meeting next Monday to discuss Russia’s declaration that it will annex the four Ukrainian territories.
Last week, Moscow vetoed a condemnation of the annexations in the UN Security Council.
Russian Federation Council ratifies annexation of Ukrainian territories
The upper house of the Russian parliament on Tuesday ratified Moscow’s illegal annexation of the Ukrainian regions of Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson.
The “referendums” that took place last week, and the subsequent proposals to annex the regions, have sparked widespread condemnation from the West, while the United Nations deemed the Russian-backed ballots illegal.
But the Kremlin has been steadfast in its determination to follow through with its plans to annex the regions, with its Federation Council voting unanimously to pass a bill incorporating the regions into the Russian Federation, state news agency TASS reported on Tuesday.
President Vladimir Putin, who turns 70 later this week, signed the treaties of accession on Friday with the Russian lower house approving it on Monday. Once Putin signs the annexation bill into law, it will come into force.
The State Duma — the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia — has already passed various laws that cover the Ukrainian territories’ full integration into Russia and provide for a transitional period until 2026.
Released nuclear plant chief won’t return to position — IAEA
The head of the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine will not return to the position, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said.
Ihor Murashov had been detained by Russian forces, which Ukrainian atomic energy service Energoatom described as a “kidnapping.” The UN nuclear watchdog contacted Moscow for clarification, and Murashov was later released.
“The IAEA understands that Mr (Ihor) Murashov is now with his family in territory controlled by Ukraine and will not be continuing with his duties at the [Zaporizhzhia plant],” the IAEA said in a statement. “It is not yet clear who will replace him in this role.”
Amazon faces up to $204,000 fines in Russia
Amazon faces fines of up to 12 million rubles ($204,000, €204,500), Russian news agencies reported.
The online retail giant incurred the fines for failing to delete content Moscow considers to be illegal. Russia has fined a number of other foreign IT firms for the same offence.
A Moscow court said that two cases had been drawn up against Amazon. Both were related to a “violation of the procedure of restricting access to information,” Russia’s TASS news agency reported.
TASS did not provide details as to what Amazon content was deemed illegal.
Also on Tuesday, a Moscow court fined the Twitch streaming service 4 million rubles for hosting a video interview with Ukrainian presidential advisor Aleksiy Arestovych. Moscow said that the interview contained “fake” information.
Gazprom says it could cut off Moldova’s gas supplies
Russian energy firm Gazprom said that it could cut off Moldova’s gas supplies due to non-payment.
“Gazprom reserves all rights, including the right of a complete halt to supplies, if the financial commitments (of the Republic of Moldova) are not fulfilled by October 20,” Gazprom said on Telegram.
In the Telegram post, Gazprom accused Moldovan gas company Moldovagaz of having “regularly violated the terms of the contract on the payment deadline for gas supplied” during 2022.
The energy provider said that Moldova has outstanding debts and that it could cut supplies at any time. According to Gazprom, Moldova owes $709 million (€709 million).
At the start of the month, Gazprom reduced supplies to the country, citing issues with transit through Ukraine.
Last month, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz promised to assist Moldova, which has been a candidate for EU membership since June, to tackle the energy crisis.
Nord Stream 2 to examine pipeline after police investigation
Nord Stream 2’s operator said it will examine the condition of the leaking pipeline once a police investigation is completed.
“Copenhagen police are handling the investigation of the crime scene at the Nord Stream 2 leak in the Danish EEZ (exclusive economic zone),” the Switzerland-based operator of the Nord Stream 2 pipelines said. “The Swedish coast guard has cordoned off the area around the leak in the Swedish EEZ.”
The operator added that it was “cooperating with all relevant authorities.”
The Nord Stream 2 pipeline was completed late last year but never went into service, as Berlin suspended its certification in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Russian energy giant Gazprom said flows could resume through Nord Stream 2.
India’s Modi ‘ready to contribute to peace efforts’
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy over the phone and told him that New Delhi is ready to contribute to peace efforts.
“[Modi] expressed his firm conviction that there can be no military solution to the conflict and conveyed India’s readiness to contribute to any peace efforts,” the Indian prime minister’s office said in a statement. He called for “an early cessation of hostilities and the need to pursue the path of dialogue and diplomacy.”
According to the statement, Modi also “reiterated the importance of respecting the UN Charter, International Law, and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states.”
“Prime Minister emphasized the importance India attaches to the safety and security of nuclear installations, including in Ukraine,” the statement said, echoing concerns around conditions at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and others in Ukraine.
India has imported discounted Russian oil and coal since the start of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, as Western states move to reduce their reliance on Russian energy. New Delhi, which has historically maintained a balancing act between Moscow and the West, has also abstained from a number of UN votes condemning Russia’s invasion.
EU takes ‘major step’ away from Russia’s fossil fuels
European Union finance ministers have agreed on how to finance and allocate €20 billion ($19.8 billion) needed to help reduce the bloc’s dependency on Russian energy imports.
EU ministers said that the funding should be raised by taking resources from the bloc’s innovation fund and selling carbon dioxide (CO2) emission licenses to industries sooner than was originally planned.
“Today we achieved a major step forward in strengthening Europe’s autonomy from Russia’s fossil fuels,” said Czech Finance Minister Zbynek Stanjura, who chaired the talks, in a press release.
EU Economy Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis took to Twitter to say: “It will help improve EU energy security and tackle high energy prices by investing quickly where it matters most.”
The allocation of the funds should take into account the extent to which member states are dependent on fossil fuels.
More than 200,000 drafted for military service, says Russian Defense Ministry
More than 200,000 people have already been drafted in to aid Russia’s partial military mobilization, according to Moscow’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.
“Training is taking place on 80 drill sites and six training centers,” said Shoigu.
Though there is concern among the mostly young male conscripts that they might be sent to fight in Ukraine, Shoigu said this will not happen.
Zelenskyy open to Russia talks, but only if Putin is removed
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has signed a decree to formally deem the notion of any talks with his opposite number Vladimir Putin “impossible.”
However, he left the door open to discussions with the country of Russia itself, on the condition that the talks are with a different president.
The Kremlin responded on Tuesday, saying that its “special military operation” — the name it uses to describe its invasion of Ukraine — will continue if Kyiv rules out talks, adding that it “takes two sides to negotiate.”
“We will either wait for the current president to change his position or wait for the next president to change his position in the interests of the Ukrainian people,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
Zelenskyy said last week that Putin “does not know what dignity and honesty are. Therefore, we are ready for a dialogue with Russia, but with another president of Russia.”
Putin’s nuclear threats ‘an attempt to blackmail’ says Baerbock
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said the international community will not be intimidated by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “irresponsible” nuclear threats.
While reiterating that the threats must be taken “seriously,” she said “it’s also an attempt to blackmail us, as we know from the more than past 200 days of this brutal war of aggression.”
More DW content on the war in Ukraine
The Ukrainian military is reportedly advancing against Russian troops along the western bank of the Dnieper River in southern Ukraine. You can read more about it here.
On Monday, the EU summoned the top Russian diplomat to the bloc over the attempt to annex parts of Ukraine while the UN’s nuclear watchdog said the head of the Zaporizhzhia plant had been released. You can read about that and more by clicking here.
jsi,sdi/nm,rt (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)
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