President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday confirmed Ukrainian troops had recaptured the strategic city of Izyum in the eastern part of the country from Russian forces as part of a large-scale counter-offensive. Earlier, French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin had discussed the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, the Kremlin said in a statement. Read our live blog to see how all the day’s events unfolded. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).

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10:14pm: Zelensky says key east Ukraine city of Izyum ‘liberated’

President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday confirmed Ukrainian troops had recaptured the strategic city of Izyum in the eastern part of the country from Russian forces as part of a large-scale counter-offensive.

In an address to the nation marking 200 days since the beginning of the Russian invasion, Zelensky thanked Ukrainian forces who had “liberated hundreds of our cities and villages … and most recently Balaklia, Izyum and Kupiansk,” naming three important hubs recently captured by Kyiv’s army.


09:06pm: Ukraine officials blame Russia for blackouts across eastern part of country

Ukrainian authorities in the eastern part of the country have accused the Russians of bombing strategic infrastructure, which has led to power cuts in large parts of the country.

The governor of the Kharkiv region in northeastern Ukraine said that Russian strikes on “critical infrastructure” had cut off electricity and water supplies. His counterpart in the central-eastern region of Dnipropetrovsk said that Russian forces had “hit energy infrastructure” in retaliation for their “defeat on the battlefield”.

8:24pm: Power drops in northeast Ukraine region, says governor

Power levels dropped in Ukraine’s northeastern region of Sumy on Sunday and the region’s governor urged residents to unplug electrical devices.

“Electric tension has fallen in the network through the region,” Dmytro Zhyvytsky wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

“I recommend disconnecting electrical devices as much as possible.”

5:51pm: Macron asks Putin to withdraw Russian weapons from Zaporizhzhia

In a telephone conversation with Vladimir Putin on Sunday, Emmanuel Macron stressed the need to ensure the safety of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and asked Russian forces to withdraw their heavy and light weapons from the site, the Elysée said.

The French president “recalled that the Russian occupation was the cause of the risks weighing today on the integrity of the Zaporizhzhia plant” and asked “that the IAEA’s recommendations be followed up on to ensure the site’s safety,” the French presidency added in a statement.

4:39pm: Putin discusses Ukrainian nuclear plant with Macron

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron discussed the security situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine, the Kremlin said on Sunday.

Speaking by phone, the two leaders expressed readiness for “non-politicised” talks on the matter with the participation of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), according to a statement published on the Kremlin’s website.

Putin warned his French counterpart of the potential “catastrophic consequences” of what he said were Ukrainian attacks on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest, which remains under Russian control.

4:16pm: Russian maps show massive withdrawal of Russian army from Kharkiv region 

A map of Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, which the Russian Defence Ministry presented on Sunday at its daily briefing, showed that the Russian army had withdrawn en masse from the region.

According to the map shown in the video of the briefing, released by the ministry, on Sunday the Russian army controlled only a small part of the territory east of the Kharkiv region, behind the Oskol river.

1:17pm: ‘Thousands’ fleeing Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, Russian official says

A Russian official in a southern region bordering Ukraine said on Sunday that thousands of people had crossed the border as the Ukrainian army claimed to have pushed back Moscow’s forces in the east. 

“Over the past day, thousands of people have crossed the border. Most of them went to relatives in their own vehicles. Today, there are 1,342 people being housed in 27 temporary accommodation centres in the region,” Vyacheslav Gladkov, the governor of the Belgorod region, said in a video statement on social media.

11:36am: Ukraine says it has recaptured over 3,000 square kilometres this month

Ukraine said Sunday its forces had recaptured more than 3,000 square kilometres (1,158 square miles) this month from Russian troops in a counter-offensive centred on the country’s northeast.

“Since the beginning of September, more than 3,000 square kilometres have been returned to Ukrainian control. Around Kharkiv, we have begun to advance not only in the south and east, but also to the north. We are 50 kilometres (31 miles) from the border,” Ukrainian general Valeriy Zaluzhny said in a statement on social media.

9:37am: Kyiv says recapture of Izium district ‘ongoing’ in east Ukraine

Ukraine said Sunday its forces were working to wrest control of towns and villages around the strategic hub of Izium from Russian troops as part of a sweeping counter-offensive in the country’s east.

“Our forces entered Kupiansk. The liberation of settlements in the Kupiansk and Izium districts of the Kharkiv region is ongoing,” the Ukrainian military said in a general battlefield update Sunday, 200 days into Russia’s invasion.

9:25am: Russia announces troop pullback from Ukraine’s Kharkiv area

Russia’s defense ministry announced Saturday that it was pulling back troops from two areas in Ukraine’s eastern Kharkiv region, where a Ukrainian counter-offensive has made significant advances in the past week. 

Ukraine’s quick action to reclaim Russia-occupied areas in the northeastern Kharkiv region forced Moscow to withdraw its troops to prevent them from being surrounded and leave behind significant numbers of weapons and munitions in a hasty retreat as the war marked 200 days on Sunday. 

The Russians’ pullback marked the biggest battlefield success for Ukrainian forces since they thwarted a Russian attempt to seize the capital, Kyiv, at the start of the nearly seven-month war.

“The Russian army in these days is demonstrating the best that it can do – showing its back,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video released by his office Saturday night.

“And, of course, it’s a good decision for them to run,” he added.

9:24am: Ukraine says final reactor at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant switched off

Ukraine said Sunday the sixth and final reactor at the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station in the south of the country was no longer generating electricity.

“Today, September 11, 2022, at 3:41am (0141 GMT), unit No. 6 of the ZNPP was disconnected from the power grid. Preparations are under way for its cooling and transfer to a cold state,” state nuclear agency Energoatom said in statement.

Ukraine and its allies have been increasingly concerned about the safe operation of the Zaporizhzhia plant — the largest nuclear plant in Europe – and recent fighting there has raised fears of a serious incident.

The UN’s atomic watchdog warned earlier this week that a blackout in the nearby town of Energodar had “compromised the safe operation” of the nuclear facility.

Energoatom said Sunday that a cold shutdown was the “safest state” for the reactor. 

Earlier: Ukraine has retaken more than ‘2,000 kilometres’ of territory since the beginning of September

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy commended the military in a video address late Saturday, saying it has reclaimed about 2,000 square kilometers (over 770 square miles) of territory so far this month. 

“For the moment, since the beginning of September, around 2,000 kilometres has been liberated,” said Zelensky in his evening address.

Both sides have suffered heavy losses in Europe’s largest conflict since World War II. Ukraine’s military chief said last month that nearly 9,000 of the country’s soldiers have been killed in action. And while Moscow hasn’t reported its own losses since March, Western estimates put the toll as high as 25,000 dead, with the wounded, captured and deserters bringing the overall Russian losses to more than 80,000.

Ukraine has sought to mobilise the population to reach an active military of 1 million people while Russia, in contrast, has continued to rely on a limited contingent of volunteers for fear that a mass mobilisation could fuel discontent and upset internal stability. 

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)

© France Médias Monde graphic studio

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