Russia says its troops leave key town of Lehman

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Ukrainian troops entered a strategic eastern town on Saturday after besieging Russian troops, challenging President Vladimir Putin’s claims of annexing the region the previous day. Russia’s defense minister confirmed that its troops had withdrawn “under the threat of being surrounded”.

Putin said Moscow was annexing four occupied Ukrainian territories “forever” and repeatedly warned he would use all available means to defend them. The United States and EU member states condemned the move. The United States has sanctioned hundreds of Russians, including Russia’s central bank governor Elvira Nabiulina and Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak, a key figure in Russia’s dealings with OPEC.

Russia’s state-controlled Gazprom suspended gas supplies to Italy on Saturday, exacerbating Europe’s energy crisis. Ukraine released a video of what it said was the execution of 24 people, including children, in the “grey zone” between occupied and no-man’s land.

(For the Russia sanctions dashboard, see RSAN on the Bloomberg Terminal.)

major development

  • Putin’s War Machine Funds Unaffected by Latest U.S. Sanctions

  • Russia cuts gas supply to Italy starting Saturday, Eni says

  • Russian rapper commits suicide to avoid Ukraine war call-up

  • Putin vows annexation of occupied Ukrainian lands ‘forever’

  • Russian troops flee key eastern Ukraine town in latest setback

  • Putin’s threats bombed for months at Ukrainian ports

on the ground

Ukraine’s military general staff said Saturday that Russian troops were attacking eastern and southern Ukrainian-held areas, including civilian housing and infrastructure. Over the past 24 hours, Moscow’s forces have carried out missile, aerial and artillery attacks on military and civilian targets in dozens of settlements. Ukrainian troops attacked Russian weapons installations and military logistics bases. A power station in the Odessa region and many homes in Mykolaiv were hit by Iskander and C-300 rockets on Saturday morning, Ukraine’s Interfax news agency reported. The governor of the occupied region said the smoke billowing near Belbek airport in Sevastopol, Crimea, was caused by a plane that overran the runway and caught fire. Dramatic images of black smoke flooded social media.

All time CET:

Putin critic wins Latvian election, exit polls show (7:01pm)

Latvian Prime Minister Chris Janis Karins’ party has won parliamentary elections, knocking a Russian-backed political force from the top spot for the first time in more than a decade, an exit poll showed.

Backed by opposition to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Kalins’ new Solidarity party won 22.5 percent of the vote in Saturday’s vote, while the upstart United List party won, according to an exit poll by the Baltic state public broadcaster. 11.5% of the votes came in second.

Cullins’ party has been one of the most vocal advocates of tougher EU sanctions following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. He called on NATO to strengthen its eastern flank, including Latvia’s 214-kilometer (132-mile) border with Russia.

Attack on civilians in ‘grey zone’ has left 24 dead, Ukraine says (6 p.m.)

Russian troops attacked a civilian convoy in the Kupikhansk district of Kharkiv region on Sept. 25, firing at people inside private cars, Ukrainian Security Service officials said Saturday.

A live video of the so-called “grey area” between the occupied Slavtov of Luhansk and the liberated Kharkiv has just come to light. Russia has not commented on the incident.

“Seven cars were hit and 24 people were killed, including 13 children and a pregnant woman,” Ukraine’s Interfax news agency reported.

Moscow troops leave Lehmann in battle setback (5:25 p.m.)

Kyiv’s army recaptured the strategic town of Lehman in the east of the country on Saturday, its second major victory in as many weeks and a victory over Russian President Vladimir Putin’s claim to annex the region a day earlier challenge.

The Russian Defense Ministry said its troops “withdrew to a more favorable position in the face of the threat of siege”.

The recapture of Lehman, which Russian forces captured in May, restored Kyiv’s control of a key road and rail hub. It could pave the way for Ukrainian troops to advance further into cities such as Sivye Donetsk and Lysichansk in the neighboring Luhansk region.

Russian troops flee key eastern Ukraine town in latest setback

Gazprom cuts off gas supply to Italy (3:40pm)

Russian state-owned Gazprom PJSC suspended gas supplies to Italy on Saturday, exacerbating Europe’s energy crisis.

“Starting today, Gazprom will no longer deliver gas to Eni,” said a spokesman for Eni SpA, Italy’s largest oil company.

Gazprom supplies natural gas to Italy through a pipeline through Austria. The deadline appears to be only for Italy, with Austria continuing to get gas. A company spokesman said more Russian gas had been allocated to OMV than recently.

France prepares new Caesar cannons for Ukraine: Le Monde (3pm)

France is preparing to supply the Ukrainian army with as many as 12 new Caesar cannons, the French daily reported on Saturday, but did not say how it obtained the information. The weapons were originally shipped to Denmark.

Although an agreement in principle has been reached between the governments of France, Ukraine and Denmark, technical negotiations are still ongoing.

An official in the French armed forces declined to confirm the details of the report, saying only that France had supported Ukraine from the first day of the Russian invasion. French President Emmanuel Macron spoke with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen on Saturday.

Russian rapper ‘Walkie’ commits suicide (2:54pm)

The Russian, known as “Walkie,” committed suicide rather than risk being called up to fight in Ukraine after he recorded an online video telling fans of his decision, Russian media reported Saturday.

Ivan Pettunin, 27, said he was exempt from the draft because of psychological problems, but was concerned that the mobilization order by the authorities would eventually affect all men of draft age.

Ukrainian foreign ministry demands return of atomic plant officials (1:46 p.m.)

Ukraine’s foreign ministry called on the international community – including the United Nations and its nuclear agencies, as well as the Group of Seven nations – to help secure the release of Zaporozhye nuclear power plant director Ihor Mulashov.

On Friday afternoon, a Russian patrol captured Murashov and took him to an undisclosed location, Ukraine’s state nuclear power company Energoatom said in a Telegram post. Russian officials have yet to comment on the claim.

Poland cracks down on Russian guest workers (1:28pm)

Poland plans to end simplified work permits for Russian citizens following its recent travel visa ban, according to a draft law.

About 35,000 Russians used the simplified procedure last year, usually for seasonal work. The Polish government said the Russian invasion required stricter rules to avoid the risk of a hybrid attack by those with easy access to the country.

Russian troops are said to be surrounded in Lehman (10:08 AM)

About 5,000 Russian troops are said to be surrounded around Lehman as forces in Kyiv are trying to retake the strategic railway hub in eastern Ukraine, a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the annexation of the region.

Luhansk Governor Khaidai said on Facebook that Moscow-backed forces had no way of leaving the town other than “trying to escape, die or surrender.” If Lehman is liberated, Ukrainian troops could push eastward toward Crimea, he said. Five nearby settlements were liberated on Saturday, a military spokesman said.

Ukraine surrounds Lehman, a key hub in Russia’s annexed region

“Ukraine is about to occupy Lehman, once again showing its military prowess by humiliating the Russian army,” defense analyst Mick Ryan, a retired Australian general, tweeted.

Ukraine’s Zelensky thanks Biden for signing bipartisan aid bill (9:54 a.m.)

Ukrainian nuclear power plant chief allegedly detained by Russia (9am)

Ukraine’s state nuclear power company Energoatom said in a Telegram post that Moscow’s army detained the head of the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant as he drove to the nearby city of Energodar.

According to the post, a Russian patrol caught the plant’s director general, Ihor Mulashov, on Friday afternoon, stopped his car and blindfolded him before taking him to an undisclosed location. . Russian officials have yet to comment on the claim.

Energoatom president Petro Kotin called for Murashov’s immediate release and urged the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency to intervene. “His (Russian) detention jeopardizes the safety of Ukraine and Europe’s largest nuclear power plant,” Curtin said.

Black Sea Grains Initiative has shipped 5.5 million tonnes so far, minister says (8.30am)

Ukraine’s infrastructure minister said a total of 5.5 million tonnes of agricultural products were shipped from three Black Sea ports between August and September under a secure transport agreement brokered by Turkey and the United Nations.

“This is important not only for countries facing hunger but for the whole world,” Oleksandr Kubrakov tweeted. “Such export volumes have a positive impact on the dynamics of food prices.”

UK says Zaporozhye attack may be ‘long-range anti-aircraft missile’ (8am)

Britain’s Ministry of Defence said Friday’s attack on a civilian convoy southeast of Zaporozhye was “likely a Russian long-range anti-aircraft missile being used for a ground attack”.

“Russia’s stockpile of such missiles is very likely to be limited and a high-value resource designed to shoot down modern aircraft and incoming missiles,” Britain said. Moscow is “killing civilians it now claims to be its own citizens”.

At least 25 people, including two children, were killed in the strike, Ukrainian authorities said. People are preparing to travel to occupied areas to rescue relatives or deliver aid.

Putin’s money unaffected by latest U.S. sanctions (8am)

The latest U.S. measures to sanction Russian officials, their families and others appear to have little real impact on President Vladimir Putin’s ability to use oil and gas revenues to sustain the country’s economy.

“In order to further isolate Russia, the imposition of secondary sanctions, not just threats, needs to be seriously considered,” said Daniel Tannebaum, a former Treasury Department official. “Secondary sanctions force countries to choose between doing business with sanctions targets or imposing sanctions.”

Adding Ukraine to NATO is ‘different time’: US (9:33pm)

U.S. National Security Adviser Jack Sullivan reiterated the Biden administration’s position that Ukraine’s request to join NATO should be considered “at a different time.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said earlier on Friday that Ukraine would speed up its accession to the alliance after Russia formally annexed the Ukrainian region. “The best way for us to support Ukraine is through actual, on-the-ground support in Ukraine, and the Brussels process should take place at a different time,” Sullivan responded.

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