September 20, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Tara Subramaniam, Sana Noor Haq, Adrienne Vogt, Aditi Sangal and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 9:51 p.m. ET, September 20, 2022
4 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
1:02 a.m. ET, September 20, 2022

Ukrainian forces liberate village in Luhansk region, military official says

From CNN's Kostan Nechyporenko in Kyiv

The village of Bilohorivka in the Luhansk region is now entirely under Ukrainian control according to a Telegram post from Sehiy Haidai, head of the Luhansk regional military administration on Monday.

Haydai asked Ukrainians to be patient with their operation to free towns and villages in the Luhansk region, saying it is proving to be a “much more difficult” operation than the liberation of Kharkiv. 

“There will be a hard fight for every centimeter of Luhansk land,” Haidai said. 

Some context: Ukrainian forces stopped Russian advances in Bilohorivka earlier this year. In May, the Ukrainian military blew up two pontoon bridges near Bilohorivka, stopping Russian efforts to cross the Siverskyi Donets River in the Luhansk region. 

In July, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said Ukrainian soldiers “competently repelled another combat reconnaissance attempt near Berestove and Bilohorivka” and that Russian soldiers suffered losses and withdrew.

A CNN team that travelled to Bilohorivka saw destroyed Russian tanks and armed personnel carriers, shattered Russian armor. 

1:01 a.m. ET, September 20, 2022

Fears for nuclear safety as another plant hit by Russian shelling, Ukraine says

From CNN’s Sophie Jeong

Russian troops carried out a missile attack on the industrial site of the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant in the southern Mykolaiv region, but all three power units are operating normally, nuclear operator Energoatom said on Monday.

A “powerful explosion” occurred just 300 meters (984 feet) from the reactors, and the shock wave damaged the power plant buildings, Energoatom said in a statement.

The attack shut down one of the hydropower units of the Oleksandrivska hydroelectric power station, which is part of the South Ukrainian power complex, according to Energoatom. Three high-voltage power lines were down as well.

Some background: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenky said last week that large swathes of eastern Ukraine, including the Kharkiv and Donetsk regions, were without electricity following "deliberate and cynical missile strikes" from Moscow.

12:59 a.m. ET, September 20, 2022

Liberation has finally come to Ukraine's Kharkiv. But scars of Russia's brutal occupation remain

From CNN's Natalie Gallón, Nick Paton Walsh, Kostyantin Gak and Brice Lâiné

There is little respite in victory for Ukrainian forces in the recently liberated Kupiansk. Russian shells still hit its pockmarked streets, marring the skyline with plumes of black smoke.

Intense damage is visible on nearly every building. A huge billboard with an image of a waving Russian flag stands next to the bridge that crosses the Oskil River in the city center, bearing the words, "We are one people with Russia!"

For now, the Ukrainian army has chased Russian forces over the bridge and appears to be building some momentum pushing across the eastern banks of the river towards Luhansk, a key separatist territory controlled by Moscow. CNN witnessed Ukrainian infantry returning from the eastern side on foot. 

Yet inside this city, one of several in the eastern region of Kharkiv that have been liberated, are the telltale signs of a hellish occupation. A former police building was used as a vast detention center by the Russians, where at one point up to 400 prisoners were held in its cramped and dark cells, with eight or nine prisoners per room, Ukrainian authorities told CNN. A brightly painted mural of a Russian soldier with a "Z" on his armband standing next to an elderly woman waving the flag of the former Soviet empire is still visible on one wall.

As authorities continue investigating and clearing liberated towns in the Kharkiv region, they're finding more and more evidence of detention centers and cells used for torture.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Saturday that "more than 10 torture rooms" used by occupying forces have so far been found in the area. "As the occupiers fled, they also dropped the torture devices," he said. 

CNN has reached out to the Russian government for comment but has not received a response.

Kupiansk might be recently liberated but the city is a ghost town, punctuated by destruction and debris.

The very few locals that remain huddle in its empty husk.

Read more

2:41 a.m. ET, September 20, 2022

Russian pop star condemns “illusory aims” of Putin's Ukraine war

From CNN’s Darya Tarasova

Russian singer Alla Pugacheva during a casting session for "the Factor A" a musical television show in Moscow, Russia on March 22, 2011.
Russian singer Alla Pugacheva during a casting session for "the Factor A" a musical television show in Moscow, Russia on March 22, 2011. (Anton Belitsky/Epsilon/Getty Images)

Beloved Soviet-era Russian pop star Alla Pugacheva has criticized the “illusory aims” of Russia’s faltering invasion of Ukraine, becoming the latest high-profile celebrity to voice opposition to the war.

Writing on Instagram Sunday, Pugacheva, 73, expressed her support for her outspoken comedian husband, Maxim Galkin, who was recently designated a “foreign agent” by Russia’s Justice Ministry.

Pugacheva said her husband wished for an end to the death of Russian soldiers, who were “dying for illusory aims that make our country a pariah.”

She said Galkin was a “good real and incorruptible patriot of Russia” who wished for “prosperity” and “freedom of speech,” while she appealed to the ministry to label her a foreign agent as well.

Commenting on his designation on Saturday, Galkin said in a separate Instagram post: “The rationale for this decision was that I allegedly received funds from Ukraine, funds for which I carried out political activities. Well, first of all, I’m not involved in politics. From the stage at my concerts, I am engaged in a humorous genre, political satire, and I have been doing this for 28 years.”

Galkin and Pugacheva, who have two children, left Russia for Israel in March of this year, according to multiple Russian and Israeli media reports. A social media post from a Russian fashion designer said Pugacheva returned to Russia in August. But It is not clear where she is now or where their family permanently resides.