September 11, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Tara John and Rhea Mogul, CNN

Updated 0604 GMT (1404 HKT) September 12, 2022
5 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
7:29 a.m. ET, September 11, 2022

Ukraine says Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has been "completely shut down"

From CNN's Dennis Lapin, Josh Pennington and Sophie Jeong

The Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant is seen in Enerhodar, Ukraine on July 9, 2019.
The Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant is seen in Enerhodar, Ukraine on July 9, 2019. (Dmytro Smolyenko/Ukrinform/Abaca/Sipa/AP)

The last operating reactor at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (ZNPP) has been shut down after a transmission line linking the plant to Ukraine’s power system was restored, the country’s nuclear agency Energoatom said on Sunday. 

The plant, the largest nuclear complex of its kind in Europe, was "completely shut down” after the plant’s number 6 power unit was disconnected from the grid at 3:41 a.m. local time, the agency said in a statement, adding that “arrangements for its cooling and transfer to a cold state are underway.”

Energoatom said that one of the transmission lines was restored to its operational capacity Saturday, making it possible to power the plant from Ukraine’s energy system and shut down the number 6 power unit and transfer it to the “safest state – cold shutdown.” 

The reactor was disconnected from the Ukrainian grid last week and was operating in an “island mode,” generating electricity and using its own energy to power cooling systems.

Last week, a report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) called for the "immediate establishment of a nuclear safety and security protection zone" around the nuclear power plant.

There is an urgent need for interim measures to prevent a nuclear accident arising from physical damage caused by military means," the IAEA wrote in its report.

The highly anticipated report came days after IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi led an expert mission to Zaporizhzhia, in what was the first independent look at the condition of the facility since Russia seized it at the start of the war.

3:14 a.m. ET, September 11, 2022

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

From CNN’s Mariya Knight

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's nightly address on Saturday, September 10.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's nightly address on Saturday, September 10. (Official President Zelensky Facebook Page)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed the country’s military has retaken more than 2,000 square kilometers (772 square miles) of territory since the beginning of the month.

“At this time, within the framework of active actions since the beginning of September, about two thousand 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.”

3:14 a.m. ET, September 11, 2022

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

From CNN's Julia Kesaieva and Tim Lister

Destroyed armored vehicles litter the road in Balakliya, Ukraine's Kharkiv region, on September 10, 2022.
Destroyed armored vehicles litter the road in Balakliya, Ukraine's Kharkiv region, on September 10, 2022. (Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images)

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."

3:31 a.m. ET, September 11, 2022

Ukrainian forces appear to have opened a new front near the Donetsk and Luhansk regions

From CNN's Tim Lister, Vasco Cotovio and Julia Kesaieva

The entrance of the city of Izium, Ukraine is seen on September 10.
The entrance of the city of Izium, Ukraine is seen on September 10. (Telegram @Tsaplienko/Reuters)

Saturday’s rapid advance did not end with Izium, as Ukraine appeared 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, indicated the city of Lysychansk was the target of the new offensive.

Lysychansk was the last city in the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine to fall under Russian control in July, after weeks of intense fighting. Hayday told CNN on Saturday “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.

"Those from Svatove, Starobilsk, Novopskov are trying to leave, not to Luhansk, but to the border with Russia at Milove," he added.

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.

In another sign of Ukrainian advances, the head of the self-proclaimed 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.

3:13 a.m. ET, September 11, 2022

Ukrainian forces entered key city of Izium on Saturday, according to officials

From CNN's Tim Lister, Mariya Knight, Victoria Butenko, Darya Tarasova and Vasco Cotovio

Ukrainian forces patrol after Ukrainian army took control some of the villages in Kharkiv, Ukraine on September 9.
Ukrainian forces patrol after Ukrainian army took control some of the villages in Kharkiv, Ukraine on September 9. (Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Ukrainian forces entered the eastern city of Izium on Saturday, signaling the possibility that the war in Ukraine might be entering a new phase, one in which Russian troops are scrambling to hold onto the territory they captured over the past six months.

Russian forces were forced to flee the strategic eastern city just five days after Ukrainian forces began a new offensive eastward through the Kharkiv region.

A Ukrainian officer involved in the operation told CNN on Saturday: “We have just started clearing the town. First military units are in.”

Izium Mayor Vladimir Matsokin also said in a radio interview that the city had been liberated from Russian forces.

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."

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

The most senior Russian-backed official in the Kharkiv region, Vitaly Ganchev, also 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."