Ukraine claimed it has killed Adm Viktor Sokolov, the commander of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, along with 33 other officers, in one of Kyiv’s boldest attacks yet on the occupied peninsula of Crimea.
A UN investigation into human rights violations in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion warned that evidence indicates the use of torture by Russian forces has been “widespread and systematic”.
Canada became embroiled in an escalating political controversy after members of its House of Commons were encouraged to join in a standing ovation for an individual who fought in Ukraine with a Nazi military unit accused of war crimes during the second world war.
A Russian drone and missile strike near Odesa damaged port infrastructure, a grain silo and an abandoned hotel and injured one person, as attacks on Ukraine killed four civilians and wounded 13 in the past day, Ukrainian officials said.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has confirmed that his army had taken delivery of US Abrams battle tanks, boosting Kyiv’s forces in their slow-moving counteroffensive against Russian troops.
Poland raised the prospect of providing Ukraine with older weapons from his country’s arsenal after they are replaced with more modern equivalents, in an apparent attempt to defuse a row that caused relations to sour last week.
Hungary will not support Ukraine on any issue in international affairs until Ukraine restores “the former rights for ethnic Hungarians on its territory”, the Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán, told his country’s parliament.
The EU’s trade commissioner has warned that China’s position on the war in Ukraine could endanger its relationship with Europe, while calling for a more balanced economic relationship with China and noting an EU trade deficit of nearly $425bn.
Germany plans to halve the federal aid it allocates for states to cover expenses of receiving and integrating refugees next year as part of budget-tightening amid soaring inflation after years of generous spending, sources have told Reuters.
More than 1 million people sought refuge in Germany after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Supporting them has taken a toll on the country’s cities and municipalities and the country’s 16 states have been demanding more federal funds to cover refugees’ expenses next year.
Today, Berlin informed the states it would allocate a maximum of €1.7bn as support for refugees’ expenses in 2024, down from €3.75bn this year, two government sources said, who declined to be named due to the confidentiality of the meeting. The federal government did not promise that it will match 2023 funding in the following years.
A spokesperson for the finance ministry said a meeting of the federal and states’ governments on the issues had yielded no results ahead of a planned consultation with the chancellor in November. “Essentially, the states are responsible for the accommodation and care of refugees. The federal government is aware of the national dimension,” the spokesperson added.
The government would also eliminate its contribution to the costs of caring for and integrating Ukrainian refugees, the sources added.
Ukraine has claimed it has killed Adm Viktor Sokolov, the commander of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, along with 33 other officers, in one of Kyiv’s boldest attacks yet on the occupied peninsula of Crimea.
The Ukrainian military said Friday’s attack on the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea fleet in Sevastopol was timed to coincide with a meeting of naval officials.
“After the strike on the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea fleet, 34 officers died, including the commander of the Russian Black Sea fleet. Another 105 occupiers were wounded. The headquarters building cannot be restored,” the special forces said on the Telegram messaging app.
The Russian defence ministry has not yet commented on Ukraine’s claim. Moscow has previously confirmed Ukraine’s attack but said that one serviceman was missing as a result of the attack.
The Guardian cannot independently confirm Ukraine’s claims about Sokolov or the number of casualties and it was not immediately clear how Ukraine’s military counted dead and wounded people in the attack.
Several close relatives of Sokolov declined to respond to requests for comment.
The Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán, has said his country is in no hurry to ratify Sweden’s bid to join Nato, suggesting the Nordic country could face further delays in becoming a member of the military alliance.
Speaking during the opening autumn session of Hungary’s parliament, Orbán told lawmakers that “nothing is threatening Sweden’s security,” and that Hungary was therefore in “no rush” to ratify its Nato accession.
Orbán also criticised the Ukrainian government under President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, saying Hungary would “not support Ukraine on any international issue” until the language rights of a sizeable Hungarian minority in western Ukraine were restored.
Hungary is the only Nato member country besides Turkey that hasn’t yet approved Sweden’s bid to join the alliance. The Nordic nation, along with neighbouring Finland, dropped its longstanding military neutrality after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, and quickly signalled its intention to join Nato, reports AP.
Orban said Hungary had been “deceived” by a EU plan to allow Ukrainian grain to transit across Hungary after shipments across the Black Sea were hindered by the war with Russia, and that shipments of Ukrainian products ostensibly bound for Africa had been sold in Hungary for lower prices, pressuring domestic producers.
“Brussels claimed that without Ukrainian grain, serious famine threatened African countries,” Orbán said. “After transit across the Black Sea was made impossible by the war, Hungary opened a solidarity transit corridor at Brussels’ request so that food could get to Africa from Ukraine and across Hungary. Let’s say it straight: They deceived us.”
Orbán said that cheaper Ukrainian grain had flooded Hungarian markets, creating a supply glut that had harmed its agricultural industry. Together with Slovakia and Poland, Hungary it instituted an import ban on 23 Ukrainian agricultural products on 15 September, but will continue to allow their transfer across its territory.
Fragments of a missile were found in a village in Moldova’s breakaway Transnistria region today after a Russian aerial attack on neighbouring Ukraine overnight, regional authorities have said.
The pro-Moscow separatist region broke away after a brief civil war after the collapse of the Soviet Union and is not recognised internationally, AFP reports.
“An S-300 missile warhead ... fell in [the village of] Chitcani, near a house, and got stuck in the ground,” Oleg Belyakov, co-chair of a commission in charge of peacekeeping operations in Transnistria, told Russia’s state-run Tass news agency. According to preliminary data provided by the demining team, it “bears the markings of a 1968 model,” he said.
Moldova said it has launched an investigation. “At this stage, neither the origin of the identified object is clear, nor is its trajectory confirmed by independent sources,” the defence ministry said.
According to local media, the missile landed on the backyard of a villager from Chitcani, who claimed he heard a loud explosion around 1am and found the missile in the morning. Both the Ukrainian and Russian armies use Soviet-designed S-300 surface-to-air missiles.
The new death and casualty figures reported today by Ukraine after the missile strike that blasted the Crimean headquarters of the Russian navy last week are a steep increase from the figures cited by its intelligence chief, Kyrylo Budanov, at the weekend.
He said at least nine people were killed and 16 others wounded in the attack that left the building smouldering. He also said Alexander Romanchuk, a Russian general commanding forces along the key south-eastern frontline, was “in a very serious condition”.
Now Ukraine claims 34 officers were killed, including the fleet commander, Adm Viktor Sokolov, with 105 injured, but it has provided no evidence and the claims have not yet been independently verified. The figures are also vastly different from what Russia has reported.
Russia’s military announced the attack on the building and initially said one member of military personnel was killed but later said the person was not killed but missing. Moscow has provided no further updates, AP reports.
Ukraine’s military also offered more details about Friday’s attack. It said the air force conducted 12 strikes on the Black Sea Fleet headquarters, targeting areas where personnel, military equipment and weapons were concentrated. It said that two anti-aircraft missile systems and four Russian artillery units were hit.
Joe Biden has imposed trade restrictions on 11 Chinese and five Russian companies, accusing some of supplying components to make drones for Russia’s war effort in Ukraine.
The commerce department, which oversees export policy, added a total of 28 firms, including some Finnish and German companies, to a trade blacklist, making it harder for US suppliers to ship them technology, AP reports.
Nine of the companies, including China’s Asia Pacific Links Ltd and Russia’s SMT-iLogic, allegedly took part in a scheme to supply the previously blacklisted Special Technology Centre with drone parts for Russia’s main intelligence directorate of the general staff (GRU).
“We will not hesitate to take swift and meaningful action against those who continue seeking to supply and support Putin’s illegal and immoral war in Ukraine,” said Alan Estevez, the commerce department’s chief of export controls.
Andrzej Duda, the president of Poland, has raised the prospect of providing Ukraine with older weapons from his country’s arsenal after they are replaced with more modern equivalents, in an apparent attempt to defuse a row that caused relations to sour last week.
Mateusz Morawiecki, the Polish prime minister, said last week that Warsaw would not send any more weapons to Ukraine as it sought to restock its own military arsenal amid a simmering row over Ukrainian grain exports to EU countries that have caused prices to fall.
But Duda’s comments today come as the US state department announced Washington had signed a $2bn (£1.6bn) foreign military financing direct loan agreement to support Poland’s defence modernisation
“In addition to its central support role in facilitating international assistance to neighbouring Ukraine, Poland has demonstrated its ironclad commitment to strengthening regional security through its robust investments in defence spending,” the department said.
Duda said donating newer equipment was off the table. “This equipment must be used to strengthen the Polish military. We aren’t spending billions to just hand it over,” he said. “When the old equipment is replaced with modern hardware, I see no problem in sending it to Ukraine.”
Polish farmers have criticised the EU decision to lift customs duties on Ukrainian grain in May 2022 after Russia blockaded Ukraine’s Black Sea ports – the main route for its exports – following its invasion of Ukraine.
Grain prices dropped sharply in several EU states and the issue has become a hot-button topic ahead of Poland’s general election on 15 October and threatens to create a major rift between Poland and Ukraine, as well as deepening mistrust between Warsaw and the EU.
“Since the start of the war in Ukraine, our situation has changed dramatically,” Wieslaw Gryn, a farmer who grows wheat, oilseed rape, sugar beet and maize on 900 hectares in eastern Poland near the Ukrainian border, told AFP. “Following the Ukrainian grain imports, we do not have anywhere to sell our produce and the prices have fallen so much that they do not cover costs of production.”
The Polish president, Andrzej Duda, has said: “Following the opening of the market, a large number of Polish farmers found themselves in a very difficult situation.”
Together with several other countries neighbouring Ukraine, Poland banned imports. Brussels authorised restrictions by several member states as long as transit was allowed to continue but it ordered the measures to be lifted on 15 September.
Since then, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia have defied Brussels by extending their embargo saying they had to protect their farmers – prompting Ukraine to seek an intervention by the World Trade Organization.
Jarosław Kaczyński, the leader of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, has said that agreements between Poland and Ukraine after Russia’s invasion “did not include a clause to abolish Polish agriculture”.
Russian state media has claimed that Ukrainian forces have been driven from the village of Orekhovo-Vasilevka, north of Bakhmut.
Vladimir Rogov, chair of a pro-Russian seperatist movement in the area, wrote on Telegram, according to the Tass news agency:
On the northern flank of the Artyomovsk direction, Russian soldiers knocked out Ukrainian Armed Forces militants from the village of Orekhovo-Vasilevka. Carrying out an attack, our guys took the Nazis by surprise – they did not expect the assault and were forced to flee.
Citing regional governor Oleksandr Prokudin, Suspilne reports that in Beryslav a 55-year-old man has died of injuries sustained earlier today in a strike on the city which was already known to have claimed two lives.
Orbán signals further delay in Hungary ratifying Sweden's bid to join Nato
Hungary is not in a hurry to ratify Sweden’s Nato accession, the prime minister, Viktor Orbán, told parliament on Monday, Reuters reports, flagging a further delay in a process that has been stranded in the Hungarian parliament since July 2022.
“I wonder if there is something urgent that would force us to ratify Sweden’s Nato bid. I cannot see any such circumstance,” he said.
Here is a reminder of our video report from Friday of the strike on Sevastopol, which Ukraine now claims killed 34 officers, including the commander of the Russian Black Sea fleet, and wounded another 105.
Reuters notes it is not immediately clear how Ukraine’s special forces have counted the dead and wounded in the attack. Russian-installed officials in Crimea confirmed the Ukrainian attack on Friday, saying that at least one missile struck the fleet headquarters. Russia unilaterally annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
Ukrainian sources are claiming that Russian Black Sea fleet admiral Viktor Sokolov died in the missile strike on Sevastopol on Friday. It is important to note at this point it is a claim that has not been independently verified. The Russian ministry of defence is yet to make any comment.
Commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet admiral Viktor Sokolov died in the missile strike on the Fleet's headquarters, along with 34 more officers. 105 more were wounded. The building is not suitable for restoration - Special Operations Forces of Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/2EQHl7WxJy— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) September 25, 2023
Hungary will not support Ukraine on any issue in international affairs until Ukraine restores “the former rights for ethnic Hungarians on its territory”, the Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán, told his country’s parliament today.
Hungary has clashed with Ukraine over what it says are curbs on the rights of roughly 150,000 ethnic Hungarians to use their native tongue, especially in education, Reuters reports, after Ukraine passed a law in 2017 restricting the use of minority languages in schools.
AFP previously reported that the reforms had forced middle schools that taught in Russian and other minority languages to make the switch, while obliging shops, restaurants and the service industry to engage customers in Ukrainian unless clients specifically ask to switch.
It also reportedly regulated the use of language in Ukrainian culture, meaning that others languages could only be used in theatres in cases of “artistic necessity”.
A piece in Open Democracy said it was “another attempt to divide Ukrainian citizens” and that while would “be possible to change some of the law’s problems via amendment later … it’s impossible to change the message that the Ukrainian authorities have sent”.
Officials in Kiev said the initiative aimed to revitalise a national language that was subjugated first during the Russian Empire and then in Soviet times.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has confirmed that his army had taken delivery of US Abrams battle tanks, boosting Kyiv’s forces in their slow-moving counteroffensive against Russian troops.
“Good news from [defence] minister [Rustem] Umerov. Abrams are already in Ukraine and are preparing to reinforce our brigades,” Zelensky said on social media.
Zelensky did not elaborate on how many tanks had arrived in the country, nor on how long it would take for them to be deployed to the front line.
Washington had promised to provide 31 Abrams tanks to Kyiv at the start of the year, part of more than $43bn in security assistance pledged by the US over the past 18 months.
US officials had said the tanks would be paired with 120 mm armour-piercing depleted uranium rounds. The decision to provide Abrams tanks to Ukraine represented a U-turn as American defence officials had repeatedly said they were ill-suited for Kyiv’s forces due to their complexity.
The New York Times reported that Zelensky had requested at least 300 Western tanks for the counteroffensive, but cited an expert which said it had so far received about half.
Ukraine claims to have killed commander of Russia's Black Sea fleet
Ukraine has claimed it has killed the commander of Russia’s Black Sea fleet in an unprecedented missile strike on the naval headquarters in the annexed Crimean peninsula last week.
It marked a major blow for Moscow, which has suffered a string of attacks on the strategically important port of Sevastopol in recent months, AFP reports.
“Thirty-four officers were killed, including the commander of the Black Sea fleet. Another 105 occupiers were wounded,” Ukraine‘s special forces said.
The strike on Friday sent plumes of black smoke billowing from the building in central Sevastopol, the largest city in Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014. “The headquarters are beyond repair,” the special forces added.
Russia’s defence ministry said on the day of the attack that one serviceman was missing, after having initially reported that one person had been killed.
The decision to allow some 600 members of a volunteer unit that was under the command of the Nazis to live in Canada after the second world war has long been a source of controversy.
It was the subject of a government commission of inquiry in the 1980s into whether Canada had become a haven for war criminals. Members of the division were accused of killing Polish and Jewish civilians.
The Nuremberg tribunals found the Waffen-SS guilty as an organisation of war crimes but not the the First Ukrainian Division, better known as the Waffen-SS “Galicia” Division or the SS 14th Waffen Division.
Only Germans from Germany itself were able to fight in the German army, so non-German volunteers who believed in Nazi aims or sought to use Nazi power for their own ends were organised into SS divisions.
In 1985, Canada’s then prime minister, Brian Mulroney, established the commission of inquiry on war criminals in Canada after an MP claimed the Nazi doctor Josef Mengele might be in the country. On the issue of the Galicia division, the commission’s head, Jules Deschênes, ruled that members “should not be indicted as a group”.
The members of Galicia division were individually screened for security purposes before admission to Canada. Charges of war crimes of Galicia division have never been substantiated, either in 1950 when they were first preferred, or in 1984 when they were renewed, or before this commission.
Russia has declared it has placed Piotr Hofmański, the president of the International Criminal Court, which is seeking the arrest of Vladimir Putin, on its wanted list.
“Hofmański Piotr Jozef, Polish. Wanted under an article of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation,” said a notice in the Russian interior ministry database. The ministry did not provide details of the allegations against Hofmański.
In March, the Hague-based court announced an arrest warrant for Putin on the war crime accusation of unlawfully deporting Ukrainian children. The ICC also issued a warrant against Maria Lvova-Belova, Russia’s presidential commissioner for children’s rights, on similar charges.
Russia has earlier issued arrest warrants for ICC prosecutor Karim Khan and several judges. Russia, which is not a member of the ICC, insists the warrant against Putin is “void”.
A UN investigation into human rights violations in Ukraine reported today that the commission had “continued to investigate individual situations of alleged transfers of unaccompanied minors by Russian authorities to the Russian Federation”.
But the head of the investigation team, Erik Mose, said there was “a lack of clarity and transparency on the full extent, circumstances, and categories of children transferred”. “The commission is of the view that insufficient knowledge about the precise number and circumstances of children transferred may hamper an expeditious return process,” he added.
The EU’s trade commissioner has warned that China’s position on the war in Ukraine could endanger its relationship with Europe, while calling for a more balanced economic relationship with China and noting an EU trade deficit of nearly $425bn.
Valdis Dombrovskis, in a speech at China’s prestigious Tsinghua University, said that the EU and China face significant political and economic headwinds that could cause them to drift apart. “The strongest, yet not the only, headwind is Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, and how China positions itself on this issue,” he said.
The EU trade commissioner urged China to address the lack of reciprocity in the economic relationship, saying “the figures speak for themselves” and that China has created a more politicised business environment to protect its national security and development interests, reports AP.
The Chinese government has tried to remain neutral on the war in Ukraine rather than join the US and much of Europe in condemning the Russian invasion. Dombrovskis, who is Latvian, noted that territorial integrity has always been a key principle for China in international diplomacy.
“Russia’s war is a blatant breach of this principle,” he said. “So it’s very difficult for us to understand China’s stance on Russia’s war against Ukraine, as it breaches China’s own fundamental principles.”
UN says evidence indicates the use of torture by Russian forces has been ‘widespread'
A UN investigation into human rights violations in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion has today warned that evidence indicates the use of torture by Russian forces has been “widespread and systematic”.
Speaking to the UN human rights council, the head of the investigation team, Erik Mose, said that the commission, which had travelled to Ukraine more than 10 times, “may also clarify whether torture and attacks on energy infrastructure amount to crimes against humanity”.
The commission had also “collected further evidence indicating that the use of torture by Russian armed forces in areas under their control has been widespread and systematic”, he said.
The torture was mainly taking place in detention centres controlled by Russian authorities, he said, adding that in some cases it was “inflicted with such brutality that it caused the death of the victim”, AFP reports.
In the Kherson region, the commission had found that “Russian soldiers raped and committed sexual violence against women of ages ranging from 19 to 83 years”.
Such acts were often accompanied by “threats or commission of other violations”, Mose said, adding that “frequently, family members were kept in an adjacent room, thereby forced to hear the violations taking place”.
The team, he said, also recalled the need for the Ukrainian authorities “to expeditiously and thoroughly investigate the few cases of violations by its own forces”.
Russia denies committing atrocities or targeting civilians in Ukraine. Russia was given an opportunity to respond to the allegations at the council hearing but no Russian representative attended, reports Reuters.
A Russian drone and missile strike near Odesa damaged port infrastructure, a grain silo and an abandoned hotel and injured one person, as attacks on Ukraine killed four civilians and wounded 13 in the past day, Ukrainian officials said today.
Ukraine’s air force reported downing all Russian drones overnight, but one of 12 Kalibr missiles and two P-800 Oniks cruise missiles apparently made it past air defences the day after the war in Ukraine entered its 20th month.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has said that the celebration in the Canadian parliament of a Ukrainian man who served in a Nazi unit during the second world war illustrates a careless disregard for historical truth.
“Such sloppiness of memory is outrageous,” Peskov told reporters. “Many western countries, including Canada, have raised a young generation that does not know who fought whom or what happened during the second world war. And they know nothing about the threat of fascism.”
He added that Russia was waging an “irreconcilable fight” against fascism that was “trying to find its feet in the centre of Europe, in Ukraine”.
The episode – for which Canada’s house of commons speaker has apologised, suggesting he was unaware the man had fought for the Nazis – plays into the narrative promoted by Russian president Vladimir Putin that he sent his army into Ukraine last year to “demilitarise and denazify” the country, a European democracy whose Jewish president lost family members in the Holocaust, reports Reuters.
At a televised meeting with historians this month, Putin stressed the part that “local nationalists and anti-Semites” had played in the murder of 1.5 million Jews in Ukraine during the Holocaust and said “this has a direct relation to the present day”.
However, Dominique Arel, chair of Ukrainian studies at the University of Ottawa, has told CBC News that the division of the former soldier, Yaroslav Hunka, had seen thousands of Ukrainians volunteer – many in the spirit of winning Ukrainian independence.
US officials have announced the arrival of the first of some 31 US-made Abrams tanks promised to Ukraine, in an initial delivery of an unspecified number which will be followed by further tanks.
The New York Times reports:
The Abrams will be among other tanks in Ukraine’s arsenal that it could use to push into, and possibly reclaim, Russian-held territory in Ukraine’s eastern and southern regions, where fighting has ground on for months without major breakthroughs. But Kyrylo Budanov, the head of Ukraine’s military intelligence, has warned that the Abrams would need to be deployed ‘in a very tailored way, for very specific, well-crafted operations,’ or risk being destroyed.
If they are simply sent to the front lines to try to punch through Russian defenses, General Budanov said last week in an interview with an American military blog, ‘they will not live very long on the battlefield. They need to be used in those breakthrough operations, but very well prepared.’
The American decision to donate the Abrams tanks unlocked the transfer from European nations of several dozen German-made Leopard tanks, another sophisticated Western weapon, which Berlin had been unwilling to allow without a similar commitment from the United States. Britain delivered at least 14 of its Challenger 2 tanks in the spring.
Ukraine and the US have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) under which Kyiv will receive up to $522m for strengthening the resilience of the Ukrainian energy system, the US embassy in Ukraine said.
Ukraine will receive $422m in new energy assistance and a further $100 million will be subject to the implementation of certain measures including reforms, the embassy said yesterday.
One of the aims is to help Ukraine restore critical infrastructure, it said, following Russian air attacks on power plants and transformers that left millions of people without electricity at times last winter, Reuters reports.
Ukraine has carried out extensive repairs since then but officials have warned of new attacks this winter and Russia struck energy facilities across Ukraine last week.
The MoU is also intended to help Ukraine work towards reform of the energy sector and its transition after the war with Russia to a low-carbon, competitive energy economy integrated with the EU, the US embassy said.
Summary of the day so far …
Ukraine’s southern port of Odesa was hit by Russian missiles overnight, destroying grain stores, the Ukrainian military said Monday. Russia “attacked the south of the country again”, the defence forces of the south of Ukraine said on the messaging platform Telegram. Regional governor Oleh Kiper said almost 1,000 tonnes of grain was stored in the facilities.
Nataliya Gumenyuk, spokeswoman for the Ukrainian southern military command, said Russia was apparently “trying to test out the density of the air defence. They understand that port infrastructure is a priority for our region, and that it is reliably protected. However, that is why the attack that occurred tonight was both massive and by combined means”.
Ukraine’s military said Russia directed 19 drones and 2 Onyx supersonic missiles at Odesa, and fired 12 Kalibr missiles. They claimed all 19 Shaheds and 11 Kalibrs “were shot down”.
A 73-year-old man and a 70-year-old woman have been killed and at least three injured in an attack on Beryslav in Kherson region.
The Russian ministry of defence has reported that it destroyed Ukrainian drones that were over the north-western part of the Black Sea near occupied Crimea, as well as over the Kursk and Bryansk regions. It claims to have shot down eight aircraft-type drones in total. Russia unilaterally claimed to annex Crimea in 2014.
The Kremlin said it was “outrageous” the speaker of Canada’s House of Commons had praised an individual at a parliamentary meeting who served in a Nazi unit during the second world war. Canadian speaker Anthony Rota apologised on Sunday after recognizing 98-year old Yaroslav Hunka as a “Ukrainian hero” before the Canadian parliament. Hunka, who served in the second world war as a member of the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, received two standing ovations from lawmakers during a visit by Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
The Kremlin said on Monday it was “outrageous” that the speaker of Canada’s House of Commons had praised an individual at a parliamentary meeting who served in a Nazi unit during the second world war, Reuters reports.
Anthony Rota apologised on Sunday after recognizing 98-year old Yaroslav Hunka as a “Ukrainian hero” before the Canadian parliament.
Hunka, who served in the second world war as a member of the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, received two standing ovations from lawmakers during a visit by Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
Earlier Tass reported the Russian embassy in Ottawa would send a note to the Canadian foreign ministry and the office of Trudeau condemning the actions in parliament. In a statement to the state-owned Russian news agency, Russian ambassador to Canada Oleg Stepanov said:
The embassy sends a note to the Canadian foreign ministry and the prime minister’s office demanding clarification. The SS is recognised as a criminal organization by the decisions of the Nuremberg Tribunal, which are an integral part of international law. By honouring a member of this criminal community, the Canadian cabinet and members of parliament violated not only moral, but also legal norms. This is an outrage by the Trudeau regime against the history of Canada and the Canadians who gave their lives to liberate the world from nazism as part of the anti-Hitler coalition. The predecessors who went through the second world war, at that moment, I think, turned over in their graves.
All this, of course, is not surprising for those who know the postwar history of the cold war, when a safe haven was specially created in Canada for fugitive nazis and Banderites [Ukrainian nationalists]. The public in Russia must understand what has been brewing in Canada for decades – a neo-nazi nest of the Ukrainian diaspora. And this is a reality that we have and will still have to deal with.
Reuters has a quick snap reporting that, according to the regional governor of Odesa, Oleh Kiper, almost 1,000 tonnes of grain was stored in facilities attacked by Russia overnight in the southern Ukrainian port city.
Citing the regional governor, Suspilne reports that the two people killed in Beryslav were a 73-year-old man and a 70-year-old woman.
Ukraine’s emergency service has issued a before and after photo composite of the hotel that was struck in Odesa overnight. It was not in use.
Suspilne, Ukraine's state broadcaster, reports that the prosecutor’s office has launched an investigation into the attack. It writes:
According to the investigation, the port infrastructure facilities, granaries, warehouses of a private enterprise and several private households in the suburbs of Odesa were damaged. The Odesa naval station and a nearby hotel were severely damaged. Information about the injured is being clarified, the analysis of the debris is ongoing.
Suspilne reports that the death toll in Beryslav has risen to two.
Suspilne reports that in Beryslav, as well as the known one person killed and three injuries, “there may be people under the rubble of a private house and a utility building. The shelling continues”.
Beryslav is in the northern portion of Kherson region, which is controlled by Ukraine, and is across the Dnipro River from Kakhovka, which has been under occupation by Russia since February 2022.
One person has been killed in Beryslav in Kherson oblast, the regional governor has reported. Suspilne writes on Telegram, citing Oleksandr Prokudin:
In the morning, Russian aviation dropped four guided aerial bombs on Beryslav. One of them hit an office building. So far, it is known about one dead and several injured. Another aerial bomb destroyed a residential building. Information about the victims is being clarified.
The air alert that was declared earlier in some of southern Ukraine has now sounded the all clear.
An air alert has been declared in Mykolaiv.
Tass reports that the Russian ministry of defence has reported that it destroyed Ukrainian drones that were over the north-western part of the Black Sea near occupied Crimea, as well as over the Kursk and Bryansk regions. It claims to have shot down eight aircraft-type drones in total.
Russia unilaterally claimed to annex Crimea in 2014.
Ukraine’s military and emergency services have issued some watermarked photographs of the damage caused in Odesa overnight. Here is a selection.
Russia’s investigative committee has announced on the Telegram messaging app that it is opening investigations into Ukrainian attacks on occupied Zaporizhzhia, and also on the Belgorod region, which is within Russia’s internationally recognised borders. It writes:
As a result of the shelling of the armed forces of Ukraine in the city of Tokmak, Zaporizhzhia region, according to preliminary data, one person was killed and at least thirteen were injured. Three children were among the victims. Residential buildings and civilian infrastructure were also damaged.
In addition, the executive authorities of the Belgorod region reported that the village of Novy Volokonovsky district was attacked by the Ukrainian armed forces. A drone was used to drop an explosive device on a passing car. The driver was injured and received the necessary medical assistance.
Sledcom frequently posts such messages. Russia claimed to have annexed Zaporizhzhia from Ukraine late last year.
This is Martin Belam taking over the live blog in London. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Russia has been able to dodge G7 price cap sanctions on its oil exports.
The Financial Times reports that Russia has managed to evade sanctions by relying on a fleet of tankers which do not operate with G7 insurance to ship its oil exports.
Using this method Russia has managed to find enough tankers to move three-quarters of its production.
Thanks to high prices and a reduced discount on Russian oil since July, it’s thought the Russia government stands to gain $15bn this year.
One injured in Russian attack on Odesa
Ukraine’s southern port of Odesa was hit by Russian missiles overnight, destroying grain stores, the Ukrainian military said Monday.
Russia “attacked the south of the country again”, the Defence Forces of the South of Ukraine said on the messaging platform Telegram.
Since July when Moscow pulled out of a UN-brokered deal allowing safe grain shipments via the Black Sea, Russia has ramped up attacks on Ukraine’s grain-exporting infrastructure in the southern Odesa and Mykolaiv regions.
Nataliya Gumenyuk, spokeswoman for the Ukrainian southern military command, said Russia was apparently “trying to test out the density of the air defence”.
They understand that port infrastructure is a priority for our region, and that it is reliably protected. However, that is why the attack that occurred tonight was both massive and by combined means.
The Defence Forces of the South of Ukraine said Russia directed 19 drones and 2 Onyx supersonic missiles at Odesa, and fired 12 Kalibr missiles.
They claimed all 19 Shaheds and 11 Kalibrs “were shot down”.
One woman was injured and port infrastructure was damaged in Russia’s overnight missile and drone attack, Oleh Kiper, governor of the Odesa region in southern Ukraine, said early on Monday.
A fire broke out in a non-residential high-rise in the city of Odesa, the administrative centre of the Odesa region, as a result of the attack, but was promptly extinguished, Kiper wrote on the Telegram messaging app.
- AFP and Reuters
A Ukraine drone attack on Russia’s Kursk region damaged several private houses and an administrative building, while two Ukraine-launched drones were destroyed over the Belgorod region, local governors said on Monday.
According to preliminary information, there were no casualties as a result of either of the attacks, the governors said in separate statements on the Telegram messaging app.
The scale of the attack on the Kursk region, which borders Ukraine, was not immediately known. Reuters could not independently verify the reports.
Ukraine rarely claims responsibility for attacks inside Russia or on Russian-controlled territory in Ukraine, but has been saying in recent months that destroying Russia’s military infrastructure helps Kyiv’s counteroffensive.
The Institute for Study of War (ISW) says a “very dynamic situation” has developed in the Ukrainian counteroffensive around Orikhiv in western Zaporizhia oblast.
According to its latest report, Ukrainian forces have been engaged in an assault at the southern-most point of a salient that has penetrated Russian lines. Russian forces in the area near Novoprokopivka have reportedly been on the defensive, with the ISW saying separate Russian units on the western and eastern flanks of the salient have been engaged in counterattacks in an effort to relieve the mounting pressure.
Tonight's report covers a very dynamic situation in the ongoing UKR counteroffensive near Orikhiv in w. Zaporizhia. The tactical situation is likely changing rapidly & it's too soon to forecast if UKR will achieve an operational breakthrough in the sector🧵https://t.co/9buwsYlhky pic.twitter.com/2F3pg3HnfP— ISW (@TheStudyofWar) September 25, 2023
The ISW says Russian sources report that Ukrainian forces entered Verbove on 22 September and have continued their operations in the area into Saturday. The report also noted speculation among Russian forces that a Ukrainian attack in the area could isolate the 56th VDV regiment, but did not make an assessment about these claims.
It did, however, note that Russian forces appear to have committed their forces to initial defensive lines and have so far not taken the decision to fall back to other prepared lines of defence.
However, the ISW says that the “Ukrainian counteroffensive is in an extremely dynamic phase” and that the organisation is “not prepared to offer any confident forecast of events despite recent positive indicators”.
Welcome back to our ongoing coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This is Royce Kurmelovs and here’s a snapshot of the latest to bring you up to speed.
Air raid alerts sounded across all Ukrainian regions on early on Monday morning with the air force warning of incoming missile and drone strikes. Explosions were reported in Kryvyi Rih and the Black Sea port city of Odesa, which came under sustained fire from drone and missile strikes.
The attacks have injured at least one according to the regional governor, and damaged infrastructure in the city. Russian forces have been stepping up attacks on port infrastructure in recent weeks as Ukraine looks to find alternative routes to maintain grain shipments.
Meanwhile, two people were killed after Russian shelling struck the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson. The region’s governor said at least eight people were also injured in the attack as Ukrainian armed forces responded to Russian advances in the east and south.
The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces says its fighters had repelled Russian attacks on two villages near Bakhmut. Russian forces had “tried to restore lost positions near Klishchiivka … but were unsuccessful.”
In other news:
Ukraine has launched a drone attack on Russia’s Kursk region, which has damaged several private homes and an administrative building. Two other Ukrainian drones were destroyed over the Belgorod region. No casualties have been reported in the attack.
The mayor of Russia’s Kursk had to cancel the Kursk City Day fireworks celebration after a Ukrainian drone struck an administrative building, damaging the roof. There have been more reports of explosions.
Volodymyr Zelenskiy handed awards to two Polish volunteers during a stopover in Poland on Saturday but did not meet any officials amid strained relations between Kyiv and Warsaw over grain imports.
An imprisoned Russian opposition figure has been transferred to a maximum security prison in Siberia, where he was placed in a tiny “punishment cell”, his lawyer Vadim Prokhorov said.
Russia’s suspension of petrol exports will probably limit already tight supplies in the global market and have the biggest impact on countries that depend on Russian fuel supplies, the UK Ministry of Defence has said. In its latest intelligence update, the ministry said Russians had probably faced localised petrol and diesel shortages in recent weeks.
Pope Francis has said the weapons industry is a key driver of the “martyrdom” of Ukraine’s people in the war with Russia, saying countries should not “play games” by promising weapons and then withholding them as this would only continue their misery. The Associated Press reports that the pontiff appeared to refer to Poland’s recent announcement that it was no longer sending arms to Ukraine when reporters asked him about the war as he was returning to Rome from a visit to Marseille, France.
The Russian-installed head of the Donetsk oblast has imposed a curfew banning the presence of civilians on streets and in public places from 11pm until 4am from Mondays to Fridays, Reuters reported. Denis Pushilin published a decree on Sunday that forbade assemblies, rallies and demonstrations, in addition to other mass events, in the Russian-controlled parts of the Donetsk oblast – unless they were permitted by the local operational headquarters for military threat response.
The European Commission has sent another €1.5bn in macro-financial assistance to Ukraine. The commission has pledged a total of €18bn to Ukraine – the country has already received €12bn. The funds go towards keeping essential public services running, such as hospitals, schools and housing for relocated citizens, as well as paying wages and pensions.