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Latest Developments in Ukraine: Sept. 7

People take part in a rally demanding that Russia be recognized as a state sponsor of terrorism after killing Ukrainian prisoners of war, defenders of the Azovstal Iron and Steel Works in Mariupol, in a prison in Olenivka, outside of Donetsk, Sept. 6, 2022.
People take part in a rally demanding that Russia be recognized as a state sponsor of terrorism after killing Ukrainian prisoners of war, defenders of the Azovstal Iron and Steel Works in Mariupol, in a prison in Olenivka, outside of Donetsk, Sept. 6, 2022.

For full coverage of the crisis in Ukraine, visit Flashpoint Ukraine.

The latest developments in Russia’s war on Ukraine. All times EDT.

11:20 p.m.: Senior U.N. and Russian officials met in Geneva on Wednesday to discuss Russian complaints that Western sanctions were impeding its grain and fertilizer exports despite a U.N.-brokered deal to boost Russian and Ukrainian shipments of the commodities, Reuters reported.

The United Nations, Turkey, Ukraine and Russia agreed on July 22 on what was described by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as a package deal to restart Ukraine's Black Sea grain and fertilizer exports and facilitate Russian shipments.

While the United States and others have stressed that Russian food and fertilizer is not subject to sanctions imposed over Moscow's invasion of its neighbor, Russia has asserted there has been a chilling effect on its exports.

Putin said the accord was delivering grain, fertilizer and other food to the European Union and Turkey rather than to poor countries, which he said was its original goal.

"It may be worth considering how to limit the export of grain and other food along this route," he said, adding that Russia would continue to abide by its terms.

The pact is up for renewal in late November.

10:55 p.m.: Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened to halt all energy shipments to Europe if Brussels goes ahead with a proposal to cap the price of Russian gas and suggested restricting a U.N.-brokered deal for Ukrainian grain exports via the Black Sea, Reuters reported.

In a combative speech to an economic forum in Russia's Far East region, Putin said on Wednesday that Russia would not lose its war in Ukraine, which he says is being waged to ensure Russian security and to protect Russian speakers there.

9:05 p.m.: The Pentagon said Ukraine's forces were making "slow but meaningful progress" on the battlefield, Reuters reported, and they were doing better in the south than Russia.

Ukraine's military command for the southern district said its forces killed 108 Russian soldiers and destroyed 37 pieces of military hardware on Wednesday amid Russian shelling and air strikes.

Reuters was not able to verify battlefield reports.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy reported "good news" from the Kharkiv region east of Kyiv, saying some settlements had been recaptured from Russian forces.

In an evening video address, Zelenskyy cited "the extremely successful hits in areas where the occupiers are concentrated" and said Ukrainian artillery had made successful strikes against Russian forces in the south.

8:04 p.m.: President Vladimir Putin's ruling United Russia party on Wednesday proposed holding referendums on November 4 to annex territories taken by Moscow's forces in Ukraine, Agence France-Presse reported.

"It would be right and symbolic" to hold the votes on November 4, Russia's Day of National Unity, party secretary general Andrey Turchak said on its website.

Putin recognized the Donetsk and Lugansk regions of eastern Ukraine as independent days before launching Russia's military offensive on February 24.

6:55 p.m.: Watching the powerful, historical testament to the horrors of war and the depths of human cruelty in "The Kiev Trial" at the Venice Film Festival, it can seem that little has changed, Agence France-Presse reported.

The out-of-competition documentary by Ukrainian director Sergei Loznitsa uses archival footage of a now-forgotten war crimes trial of 15 Germans held in Kyiv in 1946.

But the atrocities that witnesses recount in the black-and-white film has echoes of war crimes that Ukraine accuses Russia of having committed on its soil in recent months.

The International Criminal Court is currently investigating war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Ukraine.

"History repeats itself when we do not learn from history. When we don't study and don't want to know," Loznitsa told journalists Sunday.

5:55 p.m.: Britain's new foreign secretary, James Cleverly, calls his counterpart in Ukraine, Dmytro Kuleba.

5:10 p.m.: Ukraine's president says tons of grain from his country will arrive in the coming weeks in Somalia, where famine approaches and the global crises of food security and climate change put millions at risk, The Associated Press reported.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's comment came as Russian President Vladimir Putin accuses the West of sending most of the grain from Ukraine's reopened ports to Europe instead of poorer and hungrier parts of the world.

Speaking at an economic forum in Vladivostok on Wednesday, Putin suggested that Russia may talk with Turkey about revising the deal that lifted Russia's blockade on Ukrainian ports and allowed ships safe passage. Russia has alleged this before, but this is the first time Putin has echoed it.

The Joint Coordination Center, run by the U.N., Turkey, Russia and Ukraine, in an email to The Associated Press said 100 outbound ships, almost all of them commercial vessels, have left Ukrainian ports so far carrying more than 2.3 million metric tons.

Breaking down the shipments by continent, the JCC said 47% of the cargo has been sent from Ukraine to Asia, with 20% of that to Turkey — a popular destination as a major miller of wheat.

The JCC said 36% of cargo has been sent to Europe and 17% to Africa, with 10% of that amount to Egypt alone. Smaller amounts have gone to Sudan, Kenya, Somalia and Djibouti.

4:03 p.m.: Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked the European Union on Wednesday for confirming $4.97 billion in macro-financial aid but said the country needed a "full-fledged" program of financing from the International Monetary Fund, Reuters reported.

Zelenskyy made the comments in a Twitter post following a conversation with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who he said discussed plans to further strengthen Ukraine's defense capabilities.

Ukraine's Economy Minister Yulia Svyrydenko last month told Reuters that the government would begin negotiations with the IMF in September. She declined to say how much Ukraine would request in a new program but said it should be "relatively large" and needed to be agreed quickly to help free up funds from other creditors and reassure investors.

3:21 p.m.: Valeriy Zaluzhny, the commander in chief of Ukraine's armed forces, said publicly for the first time on Wednesday that Ukraine had carried out missile strikes that hit Russian military bases in annexed Crimea, Agence France-Presse reported.

Ukraine has "successfully carried out missile strikes on enemy military bases, including Saki airfield," Zaluzhny wrote in an article published by the state-run Ukrinform news agency.

Major blasts at the Saki air base in Crimea last month, which left at least one person dead and destroyed military aviation hardware, have been explained by Moscow as an accident.

But analysts have said that satellite imagery pointed to a likely attack by Ukrainian forces, with no public acknowledgement by Kyiv officials at that time.

2:28 p.m.: The U.K. Ministry of Defense provides a daily intelligence report on its assessment of the war in Ukraine.

12:05 p.m.: Russian President Vladimir Putin has criticized grain exports from Ukraine under a U.N.-brokered deal, claiming that they are failing to reach poorer countries as intended, and he warned that the current food crisis could intensify into a "humanitarian catastrophe,” RFE/RL reported.

The comments raise doubt about the fate of a six-week-old deal brokered by the United Nations and Turkey to ship millions of tons of grain from Ukraine's blockaded ports.

Speaking at the Eastern Economic Forum in the eastern city of Vladivostok on September 7, Putin suggested that Moscow will "have to think about changing routes" for Ukrainian grain shipments.

Asked by Reuters whether Moscow had initiated changes in the grain-export deal, Ukrainian Agriculture Minister Mykola Solskiy said after Putin's speech that "we have not seen anything at our level."

Global food and energy prices have spiked since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion to subdue smaller post-Soviet neighbor Ukraine.

11 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says he spoke to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz Tuesday and discussed plans for further strengthening Ukraine’s defense capabilities.

10:14 a.m.: Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that journalists who have left the country had long held anti-Russian views and were looking for a pretext to leave, The Associated Press reported.

He also told the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok that the awarding of last year's Nobel Peace Prize to a Russian independent journalist was politically driven.

Putin made those comments two days after a Russian court upheld the revocation of the license of the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, whose editor-in-chief Dmitry Muratov shared the 2021 Nobel prize.

Many journalists, both Russian nationals and foreigners, left the country following the passage in March of a law imposing severe penalties for comments that purportedly discredit the actions of Russian soldiers in Ukraine.

8:24 a.m.: Russia said on Wednesday it was imposing sanctions on a host of European Union citizens in response to what Moscow says is the West's “unfriendly anti-Russian” policy.

In a statement, the foreign ministry said it was banning a number of the European military leaders, senior security figures and representatives of weapons companies from entering Russia. It did not name the individuals.

7:21 a.m.: The European Commission will propose a price cap on Russian gas, alongside measures including a mandatory EU cut in electricity use during peak hours, and a cap on the revenues of non-gas power generators, the bloc’s chief said on Wednesday.

“We will propose a price cap on Russian gas ... We must cut Russia’s revenues which Putin uses to finance this atrocious war in Ukraine,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told reporters.

6 a.m.: Ukraine is looking at the option of shutting down its Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant for safety reasons and is worried about the reserves of diesel fuel used for backup generators, Reuters reported Wednesday, citing Kyiv’s top nuclear safety expert.

The imperiled facility — Europe’s largest nuclear power plant — remains disconnected from the Ukrainian grid after shelling cut its external power lines. Moscow and Kyiv accuse each other of shelling the plant risking a nuclear disaster.

“The option of switching off the station is being assessed, if conditions necessitating the station to be switched off arise,” Oleh Korikov, acting head of Ukraine’s State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate, told a news briefing by video link.

He said the facility was supplying its own electricity needs, but that backup diesel generators would have to be fired up if it remained disconnected, though he gave no time frame for that eventuality.

He said it was extremely difficult to replenish the reserves of diesel because of Russia’s February 24 invasion. Moscow’s troops captured the plant in early March, but it is still operated by Ukrainian technicians.

“We could potentially reach a situation where the diesel runs out, which would cause an accident involving the damage of the active zones of the reactors, which would cause the expulsion of radioactive substances into the environment,” he said. “This would have consequences not only for the territory of Ukraine, but also cross-border consequences.”

Shutting down the vast, six-reactor nuclear plant would pile further strain on Ukraine which is already bracing for a winter of energy shortages as the war rages on in its east and south.

5:30 a.m.: Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday his country has not lost anything from its military operation in Ukraine and has strengthened Russia’s sovereignty.

Speaking at an economic forum, Putin said all of Russia’s actions “are directed at helping the people of the Donbas.”

“This will eventually lead to the strengthening of our country from the inside and in its foreign policy,” Putin said.

Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, and after abandoning a push toward the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, has focused its military efforts in the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine where pro-Russian fighters have battled Ukrainian forces since 2014.

Putin also criticized an agreement brokered by the United Nations and Turkey that restarted Ukrainian grain shipments amid a global food crisis, saying the exports were not going to the world’s poorest countries.

4:30 a.m.: The Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have reached agreement in principle to restrict the entry of Russian citizens traveling from Russia and Belarus, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics said on Wednesday.

3:35 a.m.: A Ukrainian presidential adviser said on Wednesday that Russia had no grounds to review the landmark deal allowing Ukraine to export grain from ports in the Black Sea and that the terms of the agreement were being strictly observed, Reuters reported.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, made the comments to Reuters after Russian President Vladimir Putin said he would discuss amending the deal to limit the countries that can receive cargo shipments.

Podolyak described the remarks from Russia as “unexpected” and “groundless.”

3:05 a.m.: Russia’s Gazprom said it had signed an agreement to start switching payments for gas supplies to China to yuan and rubles instead of dollars, Reuters reported.

The shift is part of a push by Russia to reduce its reliance on the U.S. dollar, euro and other hard currencies in its banking system and for trade, a drive that Moscow has accelerated since it was hit with Western sanctions in response to its invasion of Ukraine.

Russia has been forging closer economic ties with China and other non-Western countries, in particular as new markets for its vital hydrocarbon exports.

2:30 a.m.: Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Moscow had done everything it could to ensure Ukraine was able to export grain, Reuters reported.

He said that problems on the global food market were likely to intensify and that a humanitarian catastrophe was looming.

2:20 a.m.: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Russia is cutting natural gas flows to Europe in retaliation for sanctions, adding that Europe is “reaping what it sowed,” Reuters reported.

Russia indefinitely halted the flows through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline and has cut or shut down supplies on three of its biggest westward gas pipelines since its invasion of Ukraine began on February 24. Oil supplies have also been redirected eastwards.

“Europe is actually reaping what it sowed,” Erdogan told reporters on Tuesday in Ankara on Tuesday, adding that sanctions drove Putin to retaliate using energy supplies.

“Putin is using all his means and weapons, and the most important of these is natural gas. Unfortunately — we wouldn't want this but — such a situation is developing in Europe,” Erdogan said. “I think Europe will experience serious problems this winter. We do not have such a problem,” he added.

Turkey, which has Black Sea borders with both Russia and Ukraine, has said joining sanctions against Russia would have hurt its already strained economy and argued that it is focused on mediation efforts.

2 a.m.:

1:45 a.m.: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday Moscow had sent a request to the International Atomic Energy Agency, or the IAEA, requesting “additional explanations” on some areas in their report from a visit to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Reuters reported, citing the Interfax news agency.

1:15 a.m.: A newly downgraded U.S. intelligence finding says the Russian Ministry of Defense is in the process of purchasing millions of rockets and artillery shells from North Korea for its ongoing fight in Ukraine.

“The information that we have is that Russia has specifically asked for ammunition,” Pentagon press secretary, Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said. “I’m not able to provide any more details than that at this point in time. But it does demonstrate and is indicative of the situation that Russia finds itself in, in terms of its logistics and sustainment capabilities as it relates to Ukraine.”

A U.S. official says the fact Russia is turning to the isolated state of North Korea demonstrates that its military “continues to suffer from severe supply shortages in Ukraine, due in part to export controls and sanctions.”

The official spoke Monday on the condition of anonymity to discuss the intelligence determination.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said there were no indications that the arms purchase had occurred yet or that any North Korean munitions had made it onto the Ukrainian battlefield. Still, he said the talks alone were “just another indication of how desperate Putin's becoming.”

12:05 a.m.: Five commercial vessels carrying a total of 129,538 metric tons of grain and other food products are expected to move Wednesday under the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

The five vessels that the Joint Coordination Center has authorized to move are:

  • Seaguardian from Yuzhny/Pivdennyi to Cartagena, Spain, carrying 62,266 metric tons of barley, wheat, and sunflower seed.
  • Super Henry from Odesa to Kenya, carrying 51,400 metric tons of wheat.
  • Dignity from Chornomorsk to Turkey, carrying 8,200 metric tons of sunflower seed.
  • Eliana from Chornomorsk to Tekirdag, Turkey, carrying 5,200 metric tons of sunflower oil.
  • Kaptan Cevdet from Chornomorsk to Bandirma, Turkey, carrying 2,472 metric tons of soya beans.

As of Tuesday, the total tonnage of grain and other foodstuffs exported from the three Ukrainian ports is 2,212,972 metric tons. A total of 204 voyages (108 inbound and 96 outbound) have been enabled so far.

Some information in this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

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