(Reuters) – Ukraine worked to secure territory reclaimed from occupying Russian forces in a swift counter-offensive and reiterated plans to win back all occupied regions, as U.S. President Joe Biden predicted “a long haul” ahead. FIGHTING AND DIPLOMACY * Vladimir Putin’s chief envoy on Ukraine told the Russian leader as the war began that he […]
Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now
(Reuters) – Ukraine worked to secure territory reclaimed from occupying Russian forces in a swift counter-offensive and reiterated plans to win back all occupied regions, as U.S. President Joe Biden predicted “a long haul” ahead.
FIGHTING AND DIPLOMACY
* Vladimir Putin’s chief envoy on Ukraine told the Russian leader as the war began that he had struck a provisional deal with Kyiv that would satisfy Russia’s demand that Ukraine stay out of NATO, but Putin rejected it and pressed ahead with his military campaign, according to three people close to the Russian leadership.
* Russia has likely used Iranian-made drones in Ukraine for the first time, Britain’s defence intelligence said, after Kyiv reported downing one of the UAVs.
* President Zelenskiy said Ukraine had recaptured around 8,000 square km (3,100 square miles), apparently all in the northeastern region of Kharkiv. About half that area had been made secure and “stabilisation measures are still ongoing” in the other half, he said.
* The Ukrainian deputy defence minister visited the town of Balakliia and said 150,000 people had been freed from Russian rule in recent days.
* Ukraine has made significant progress as it pushes back Russian forces but it is not possible to tell if the war is at a turning point, U.S. President Biden said.
* The United States is likely to announce a new military aid package for Ukraine in “coming days”.
* Ukraine expects the number of Russian attacks on its energy infrastructure to increase ahead of winter.
* Five civilians have been killed in Bakhmut, while 16 were wounded in the Ukraine-controlled part of the Donetsk region, governor Pavlo Kyrylenko wrote on Telegram.
* In the south, Mykolaiv Mayor Oleksandr Sienkevych reported heavy Russian shelling of the city which damaged residential buildings. No reports on casualties.
* Reuters could not verify the battlefield reports.
* Russian authorities are facing challenges in other former Soviet republics, with over a 100 dead amid fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia, as well as shooting between guards patrolling the border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
* German Chancellor Scholz urged Russian President Putin in a phone call to find a diplomatic solution as soon as possible, based on ceasefire, complete withdrawal of Russian troops and respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, a German government spokesperson said.
* All three of the backup power lines at the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine have been restored, the U.N. nuclear watchdog said. The lines had been brought down by shelling around the plant.
(Compiled by Himani Sarkar and Frank Jack Daniel)