Ukraine latest: Russian forces said to be encircled in Lyman

Russian troops are said to be surrounded by Ukrainian forces in the strategic eastern city of Lyman, a day after President Vladimir Putin claimed the area as part of Russia and held a ceremony and pop concert to mark the occasion.

Putin said Moscow was annexing four occupied Ukrainian regions “forever” and repeated warnings that he’d use all available means to defend the territories. The US and European Union members denounced the move. The US sanctioned hundreds of Russians, including central bank head Elvira Nabiullina and Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak, a key figure in Russian dealings with OPEC. The UK also sanctioned Nabiullina.

Ukraine’s atomic power provider accused Russian troops on Saturday of detaining the head of the occupied Zaporizhizhia nuclear plant. Kyiv has asked the international community to help secure.

Key developments

  • Putin’s War Machine Funding Is Unscathed by Latest US Sanctions
  • OPEC+ to Hold In-Person Oil Meeting Next Week in Vienna (1)
  • Putin Vows Annexation of Occupied Ukraine Lands Is ‘Forever’
  • US Sanctions Russia’s Central Bank Chief, Top Oil Official
  • Putin’s Threats Ring Hollow in Ukraine Port Bombarded for Months
  • Ukraine Launches NATO Bid Despite Long Odds on Wartime Move

On the ground

Russian troops are pursuing attacks against Ukrainian-held areas in the east and south, including civilian housing and infrastructure, Ukraine’s military general staff said Saturday. Over the past 24 hours, Moscow’s forces staged missile, air and artillery strikes against military and civilian targets in dozens of settlements. Ukrainian forces struck Russian weapons complexes and military logistical sites, it said. Igor Girkin, the former commander of separatist forces in the Donbas, said late Friday that Russian forces in Lyman, in the Donetsk region, are totally surrounded. He accused military commanders of “idiocy “ for allowing it to happen. A power station in the Odesa region and many residences in Mykolaiv were struck with “Iskander” and C-300 rockets Saturday morning, Interfax-Ukraine reported.

All times CET:

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry Demands Return of Atomic Plant Official (1:46 p.m.)

Ukraine’s foreign affairs ministry called on the international community — including the United Nations and its nuclear agency, as well as the Group of Seven nations — to help secure the release of Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant director Ihor Murashov.

A Russian patrol seized Murashov on Friday afternoon and took him to an undisclosed location, Ukraine’s state nuclear company Energoatom said in a Telegram post.  Russian officials haven’t commented on the claim.

Poland Cracks Down on Russian Guest Workers (1:28 p.m.)

Poland plans to end simplified work permits for Russian citizens on the heels of its recent travel-visa ban, according to a draft law.

About 35,000 Russians used the simplified procedure last year, typically to take up seasonal jobs. Poland’s government says Russia’s invasion of requires stricter rules to avoid the risk of hybrid attacks by those allowed easy access to the country.

Russian Troops Said to be Encircled in Lyman (10:08 a.m.)

Some 5,000 Russian troops are said to be surrounded around Lyman as Kyiv’s forces push to recapture the strategic rail hub in Ukraine’s east, a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin said he’d annexed the region.

The Moscow-backed forces have no way of leaving the town beyond “trying to escape, die or surrender,” Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai said on Facebook. If Lyman is liberated, Ukraine’s army may press east toward Kreminna, he said. Five nearby settlements were liberated on Saturday, a military spokesman said.

“Ukraine is about to capture Lyman and it shows its military prowess again by humiliating the Russian army,” Mick Ryan, a defense analyst and retired Australian general, said on Twitter.

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Ukraine’s Zelenskiy Thanks Biden for Signing Bipartisan Aid Bill (9:54 a.m.) 

Thank you @POTUS for signing into law $12.35 bln in supplemental support for ????????. The day before, the bill was backed by both houses of ???????? Congress. We appreciate this powerful act of solidarity of the ???????? people with ????????. And the bicameral and bipartisan support of our state. 1/2

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Ukraine Atomic Plant Chief Said to be Detained by Russia (9 a.m.) 

Moscow’s troops detained the head of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant as he was driving to the nearby city of Energodar, the Ukrainian state nuclear company Energoatom said in a Telegram post.

A Russian patrol seized Ihor Murashov, the plant’s director-general, on Friday afternoon, stopping his car and blindfolding him before taking him to an undisclosed location, according to the post. Russian officials haven’t commented on the claim.

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

Black Sea Grain Initiative Has Shipped 5.5M Tns So Far, Minister Says (8:30 a.m.)

A total of 5.5 million tons of agricultural products were shipped from three Black Sea ports in Aug-Sep under the safe-transit agreement brokered by Turkey and the UN, Ukraine’s infrastructure minister said.

“This is important not only for countries facing hunger but for the entire world,” Oleksandr Kubrakov said on Twitter. “Such export volumes positively affect the dynamics of food prices.”

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