Russia’s war in Ukraine: September 10, 2022

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CNN military analyst says what happens in Ukraine over the next few weeks could define the next few years. Here's why
02:31 - Source: CNN

What we covered

  • Ukrainian forces have entered the strategic city of Izium after five months of Russian occupation, Kyiv officials said Saturday.
  • In its first response to the gains made by Ukrainian forces in the last few days, the Russian Defense Ministry said that “the decision was made to regroup Russian troops” and redirect to Donetsk region.
  • A senior Ukrainian official said that the “main artery” for Russian forces through the Kharkiv region has been cut off, and Ukrainian forces are also reported to have a new front against Russian defenses on the border of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
13 Posts

Follow the latest news on Russia’s war in Ukraine here and read more about today’s developments in the posts below. 

Zelensky says negotiations with Russia are "impossible" at the moment

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said negotiations with the Russian Federation surrounding the end of the war are currently “impossible” while he was at the annual Yalta European Strategy meeting in Kyiv on Saturday.

“We want to end the war, but the space and opportunities have changed. Society does not want to talk to terrorists. Although one can communicate even with terrorists, because they know what they want,” Zelensky said. “There is no reassurance that [the Russians] will do what they say they will do. I think they won’t. No one believes them. Like they say, they can’t be the ones to shake hands with.”

Zelensky added “Russians are not ready to admit they have occupied our country. This means there will be no substantial dialogue.”

“In order for us to open a diplomatic corridor with [Russia], they must show political will, that they are ready to give back foreign land.”

He later said the upcoming winter would be “the most difficult winter in the whole world” and “a turning point in the liberation of the Ukrainian territories occupied by Russia.”

Zelensky claims about 2,000 square kilometers of Ukraine retaken this month

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's nightly address on Saturday, September 10.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed the country’s military has retaken more than 2,000 square kilometers of territory since the beginning of the month.

“At this time, within the framework of active actions since the beginning of September, about 2,000 kilometers of our territory have already been liberated,” Zelensky said in his nightly address on Saturday.

He also thanked the Ukrainian military who “distinguished themselves in the Kharkiv direction” and to the ones in Balakliya who “returned full control to the city.”

Russian-backed official in Kharkiv calls on civilians to leave as Ukrainians consolidate gains 

The most senior Russian-backed official in the Kharkiv region, Vitaly Ganchev, has provided a bleak assessment of the situation after a rapid Ukrainian advance across much of the region.

In a video message published on Telegram, Ganchev said:

“I again recommend to all citizens of Kharkiv region to leave the territory in order to preserve their lives. It is dangerous right now to be inside of your own homes.”

Ganchev, speaking from an undisclosed location, said, “We are ready to provide you with all the necessary help. Our representatives remain on the territory and are facilitating the evacuation of citizens.”

It’s unclear how many residents of Russian-controlled areas wish to leave. Much of the region has already fallen to Ukrainian forces.

“Our Army is doing everything in their power of course. Even right now I can hear our military aviation working,” Ganchev added. But he acknowledged settlements in Kharkiv were under constant fire by Ukrainian forces.

He said officials from the administration were assisting at border crossings into the Russian Federation.

Ukraine claims it has inflicted further losses on Russian forces in south, officials say

A tank of Ukrainian Army advances to the fronts in the northeastern areas of Kharkiv, Ukraine on September 8.

The Ukrainian military says losses have been inflicted on Russian forces in the Kherson region of southern Ukraine as well as in Kharkiv region.

The General Staff, in an operational update Saturday, said “the liberation of settlements that were temporarily captured by the Russian occupiers in the Kharkiv region and in the South Buh direction continues. For the safety of our servicemen, official information will be provided later.”

South Buh includes much of the southern front in Mykolaiv and Kherson.

The General Staff claimed “the command of the Russian occupying forces in the Kherson region is trying to strengthen the city of Kherson by deploying reserves. Thus, new enemy units have been spotted in the regional center.”

It also said the Russians were trying to restore traffic across one of several damaged bridges on the river Dnipro, but the bridge remained under the “fire control” of Ukrainian artillery.

The General Staff said the Russian 106th Airborne Division had lost nearly 60 soldiers to Ukrainian action in the past 24 hours. It said Russian commanders were trying to reconstitute the First Army Corps by transferring troops from other units.

Separately, the Ukrainian Operational Command in the south said Russian forces were continuing efforts “to increase ammunition stocks and manpower reserves, and is looking for alternative ways to deliver weapons and equipment.” To that end, it said a new unit of Chechen forces, numbering some 1,300 troops, had arrived in the region, it said.

CNN cannot independently verify the Ukrainian claims.

Mayor of Izium: City "liberated" from Russians

The mayor of Izium in Kharkiv region, Vladimir Matsokin, has said in a radio interview the city has been liberated.

Matsokin told a Ukrainian radio station: “Our Armed Forces of Ukraine are in Izium. It cannot be said that the military operation to liberate Izium is over, but our military is working.”

Matsokin said above the city on the Kremenets mountain “our blue-and-yellow flag is already fluttering. This has been confirmed.”

“This is a real holiday — the Liberation Day of our city,” Matsokin added. “Sept. 10 is the day of the liberation of Izium from Russian invaders.”

CNN earlier Saturday reported that according to Ukrainian military officers involved in the operation, the first units had entered Izium. There are no reports of Russian resistance; it appears most Russian units had already left the city.

Ukrainian soldiers have posted several videos and images of their presence at the entrances to the city.

Ukrainian official says Russian troops' "main artery" through Kharkiv region is severed

A senior Ukrainian official said that the “main artery” for Russian forces through Kharkiv region has been severed.

Yurii Mysiagin, a Ukrainian member of Parliament and deputy head of the parliament’s committee on national security, said on Telegram that a “few days ago, military experts said that the Armed Forces of Ukraine were trying to take the main logistical artery of the Russians in the Kharkiv region under full fire control.”

He said that artery ran from Vovchansk in the north, close to the Russian border, down to Izium, on the border of Donetsk region — a distance of some 125 kilometers (approximately 77 miles).

“And today our fighters succeeded,” Mysiagin said. “Now there is only one way out for the occupiers — to leave this area, flee, retreat.”

Ukrainian forces appear to be moving toward city of Lysychansk in Luhansk region

Ukrainian forces appear to have opened a new front against Russian defenses on the border of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

The head of the regional military administration for Luhansk, Serhiy Hayday, posted a message indicating that the city of Lysychansk was the target of the new offensive. 

The city was lost to Russian forces and their allied militia after weeks of fierce fighting in June.

Hayday posted: “Lysychansk, a great Ukrainian city. There will be a lot of reconstruction work.”

Hayday later told Ukrainian media outlets Suspilne and Channel 5 that Ukrainian units had reached the outskirts of the city of Lysychansk.

CNN is unable to confirm his claim.

Lysychansk was the last city of any consequence to have been captured by the Russians, but they subsequently failed to make further advances into the neighboring Donetsk region.

The reported Ukrainian advance toward Lysychansk comes as Ukrainian ground forces complete a sweep through much of what was Russian-held territory in Kharkiv region, depriving the Russians of a critical front in their attack on Donetsk region.

In another sign of Ukrainian advances, the head of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic, Denis Pushilin, admitted that the situation in northern Donetsk had become “pretty tough.” 

Pushilin said on his Telegram channel that in the town of Lyman, not far from the Ukrainian-held city of Sloviansk, that “the situation is pretty tough, just like in a number of settlements in the North of the Republic.”
“However, I’m in touch with the local administrations, with emergency services and with our units. There is more information but I can not reveal it for now, as it might harm our units,” he said.

Hayday said that locals in the city of Lysychansk have reported the hasty departure of Russian officials from the city.

Speaking to CNN by phone, Hayday said that according to residents, “the occupiers, including both the collaborators and the military, are running away in a hurry.”

“Locals have videos and photos proving that,” Hayday said. He said the visual evidence could not be shared for security reasons.

Hayday also suggested that there was an exodus of pro-Russian officials and collaborators in Luhansk toward Russia. “Those from Svatove, Starobilsk, Novopskov are trying to leave, not to Luhansk, but to the border with Russia at Milove.”

CNN is unable to verify Hayday’s claim, but at least one border crossing into Russia has seen lines of vehicles forming.  

Hayday also told CNN that the Russians had failed to build a defensive line in Luhansk. “Svatove, Starobilsk — this is an open rural countryside, so there’s nowhere to hide.”

He claimed Russian forces were leaving the town of Svatove. If true, it would be significant as Svatove is a key link in Russian supply lines to parts of occupied Luhansk region.

Hayday also confirmed to CNN that “partisans” had raised the Ukrainian flag in the town of Kreminna, north of Lysychansk.

Russian military leaving Kharkiv region "temporarily," Russian-backed administration says

The Russian backed-local authorities in the north of Kharkiv region have announced that the Russian military is leaving the area “temporarily.”

The Military-Civic Administration of the Vovchansk district, through which many Russian supplies travel toward the front lines, said in a brief Telegram post: “Russian military are leaving Volchansk‼️ [Vovchansk] temporarily. City’s population continues to evacuate.”

The administration quoted a member of the Russian parliament, Evgeniy Evtushenko, as saying that the local headquarters would be moved across the border to the Russian city of Belgorod.

“In order to save civilians’ lives, Russian Armed Forces have made a decision to leave our city. [The] City’s administration will be moved to Belgorod. Its branches will be in Kursk, Yakutsk, Vladivostok and St. Peter[s]burg till the situation in the city stabilizes,” Evtushenko said.

“Russian armed forces will return control of all Russian land in Kharkiv region,” he added.

Vovchansk has been an important link in the Russian military’s supply chain from Belgorod, and it remained under Russian control even as Ukrainian forces retook some territory north and east of the city of Kharkiv in May.

Macron and Zelensky discuss Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant and support for the IAEA mission

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Rafael Grossi talks to the press after his visit to the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant on September 1.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky discussed the situation around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant and expressed their support for the International Atomic Energy Agency mission.

During a phone call on Saturday, both leaders “shared the same demand for a withdrawal of Russian forces from the area to guarantee the safety and security of nuclear facilities,” the Elysee Palace said in a statement.

Macron also asked Zelensky “about developments in the conflict on the ground and about Ukraine’s needs which France could help to meet,” the French presidency said.

Russian Defense Ministry says forces in Kharkiv were told to redirect to Donetsk and "regroup"

In this handout photo taken from video released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on Friday, September 9, Russian military vehicles drive to the Kharkiv direction on a mission in Ukraine.

In its first response to the gains made by Ukrainian forces in the last few days, the Russian Defense Ministry has said that “the decision was made to regroup Russian troops in the areas of Balakleya and Izyum and redirect their efforts in the Donetsk direction.” 

The ministry said in a series of statements Saturday: “The operation to liberate Donbas included a number of diversionary and demonstration actions marking the actual troop activities,” and claimed that Russian forces had “destroyed more than two thousand Ukrainian and foreign combatants, including well over 100 armored vehicles and artillery in three days.” 

The ministry said the “Russian Federation’s forces were reduced and redeployed to the DNR [Donetsk People’s Republic] over three days,” and had “opened heavy fire on the enemy in order to prevent incurring losses.”

The ministry did not acknowledge any retreat from Kharkiv, suggesting instead a planned redeployment. 

Earlier Saturday, the ministry briefing displayed a map of territorial control in Ukraine showing that Kupiansk and Izium were still in Russian hands. Neither city is any longer held by Russian forces. 

Ukrainian defense minister says allies are "amazed" by success of Ukrainian forces 

Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov holds a news conference about the support for Ukraine in Copenhagen, Denmark August 10.

Oleksiy Reznikov, the Ukrainian defense minister, said that Ukraine’s allies are “amazed” by the recent successes of the country’s military.

Speaking at the end of a meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group in Ramstein, Germany, Reznikov said that Ukraine’s “partners were positively amazed by the dynamics of our troops’ activities: in the south under the command of Lieutenant General Andriy Kovalchuk and in the east under the command of Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi.”

His remarks came as Ukrainian forces made rapid progress in retaking territory held by Russian forces since the spring in the eastern region of Kharkiv. 

Reznikov said that at all the meetings with Ukraine’s allies, “there are certain key words that determine the focus of the discussion. At our first meeting in April, those words were ‘timing’ and ‘transition.’ “

“We have come a long way since then,” he said. “More and more Russians are beginning to believe that things around them are going in the wrong way.”

Thanks to allied assistance, Ukraine had received hundreds of artillery units, Reznikov said. “Ukrainian soldiers are bringing terror upon the enemy with accurate and indivertible strikes of M142 Himars, M270 MLRS and MARS II. HARM missiles are already leaving the enemy without radars.”

“The increase in the scale of aid as well as the successful actions of the Ukrainian defense forces that have held back the Russian invasion for almost 200 days, have significantly affected the priorities,” he said.

He said the key words were now “sustain,” “long-term,” and “training,” adding “Moscow still has a lot of resources. Victory will not come instantly. But it will definitely come.”

Reznikov said that “the task of training Ukrainian soldiers has been raised to a qualitatively higher level.” The training program initiated by the UK had already received thousands of Ukrainian soldiers. “30,000 soldiers will be trained within this program alone. They will return to Ukraine completely ready for battle,” he said.

“The sooner the war ends with our victory, the quicker the social and economic difficulties provoked by the Kremlin will be overcome throughout Europe,” he said.

Ukrainian forces enter city of Izium as Russian forces are routed in large area of Kharkiv