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Latest Developments in Ukraine: Sept. 9

Ukrainian authorities on Sept. 9, 2022 exhumed two bodies in Hrakove, Ukraine, for which they suspect a war crime, in this village taken over by the Ukrainian army from Russian forces on Wednesday.

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

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

10:01 p.m.: NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg urged allies on Friday to supply Kyiv with winter gear such as clothing, tents and generators to enable Ukrainian troops to continue fighting Russia's invasion in the cold season, Reuters reported.

Average winter temperatures are below freezing for much of the country and it is not unusual for temperatures to drop to minus 15 degrees Celsius.

"The winter is coming, it's going to be hard, and therefore we need both to continue to supply weapons and ammunition but also winter clothing, tents, generators and all the specific equipment which is needed for the winter," Stoltenberg told reporters after meeting U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Brussels.

"Partly because the size of the Ukrainian army has just increased so much, they need more of this kind of winter equipment, and NATO is particularly focused on how we can provide tens of thousands of, for instance, winter uniforms," Stoltenberg added.

Stoltenberg called on NATO allies to ramp up defense production, as well to stock up their own inventories so they could deliver more weapons to Kyiv.

9:13 p.m.: Some people with disabilities in Ukraine remain trapped in life-threatening situations and must be evacuated to ensure they can access basic needs like food and heating as winter approaches, the U.N. disability rights committee said on Friday, according to Reuters.

The U.N. said in a special report that it was "gravely concerned" about the situation of people with disabilities in the country, since Russia invaded on February 24.

Jonas Ruskus, vice-chair of the committee, said at least 12 people with disabilities had died in a residential institution in territory under Russian control.

He said the committee was also aware of people with disabilities "kept in inhuman conditions, subjected to ill treatment and used as human shields by the Russian Federation armed forces."

8:09 p.m.: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday that Russia's push to send reinforcements showed the "huge costs" Moscow was paying in its bid to capture and hold Ukrainian territory, Agence France-Presse reported.

Blinken's comments on the cost of the war came during a visit to Brussels on Friday where he was meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

"There are a huge number of Russian forces that are in Ukraine and unfortunately, tragically, horrifically President Putin has demonstrated that he will throw a lot of people into this at huge cost to Russia," he said.

His assessment comes a day after a surprise visit to Kyiv during which he unveiled another $2.8 billion in military aid and hailed Ukraine's "clear and real" frontline gains.

7 p.m.: Poland's premier Mateusz Morawiecki and Latvia's President Egils Levits, were in Kyiv for talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy about military and energy security amid the region's efforts to roll back its dependence on Russian energy sources, the Associated Press reported.

6:10 p.m.: The British Ministry of Defense provides a daily update of the situation in Ukraine.

5 p.m.: Ukraine is bracing for a new wave of Russian cyberattacks likely aimed at freezing its citizens in coming months and crippling its spending power.

The attacks, according to an assessment shared Friday by a top Ukrainian cyber official, are expected to include precision cyber strikes, combining virtual efforts against key systems with physical action targeting critical infrastructure as winter approaches.

"We saw this scenario before,” Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation Georgii Dubynskyi told VOA’s Jeff Seldin and other reporters on the sidelines of a cybersecurity conference in Washington.

4:15 p.m.: In Ukraine on Friday, the road from Kharkiv, the country's second-largest city, heading southeast toward Balakliya was open Friday, Agence France-Presse journalists said, with queues at several checkpoints and civilian and military vehicles dotting the road.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Thursday that in total Ukraine's army had retaken from Russian forces about 1,000 square kilometers since the beginning of the month.

In the area around Kharkiv city, Ukrainian forces penetrated 50 kilometers beyond Russian lines and took back more than 20 towns and villages, military officials said earlier.

The counter-offensive also has shown progress in the south of the country, particularly in the Kherson region, as well as in Kharkiv and in the industrial Donbas province in the east.

"It's very tough, but we are moving forward," Ukrainian commander-in-chief General Valeriy Zaluzhny said Friday.

3:45 p.m.: Russia said on Friday it was dispatching reinforcements to the Kharkiv region in eastern Ukraine where Kyiv's forces have announced robust gains as part of a broader counter-offensive, Agence France-Presse reported.

State media broadcast footage of columns of Russian tanks, support vehicles and artillery traveling along paved roads and dirt tracks, emblazoned with the letter Z, the symbol of Moscow's invasion.

A Moscow-installed official in the region, Vitaliy Ganchev, said in televised remarks that "fierce battles" were under way near Balakliya, a town in the Kharkiv region that Ukraine said it had recaptured on Thursday.

"We do not control Balakliya. Attempts are being made to dislodge the Ukrainian forces, but there are fierce battles and our troops are being held back on the approaches," Ganchev said.

3:20 p.m.: European Union finance ministers on Friday backed a $5 billion loan for Ukraine to help keep its schools, hospitals and other operations running during the war, Reuters reported.

Meeting in Prague, the ministers also discussed longer-term options to help Ukraine fund its reconstruction in the future, as well as possible other options to provide short-term financing.

EU countries have been offering ongoing support regarding financial and military aid to Ukraine. The $5 billion loan is part of an overall $9 billion package announced in May. The first $1 billion was sent in August.

Czech Finance Minister Zbynek Stanjura said upcoming meetings would decide how the remaining $3 billion dollars in the package could be split into loans or grants.

2:40 p.m.: Ukrainian forces are showing signs of battlefield successes in two counteroffensives, said U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. The United States will support Kyiv in its fight against invading Russian troops "as long as it's needed," he added.

Austin's comments in Prague on Friday follow evidence that Ukrainian troops have made advances in the southern Kherson region and in districts east and southeast of Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, RFE/RL reported.

While Kherson has been the focus of major fighting for the past couple of weeks, the push from Kharkiv has unfolded over the past couple days with lightning speed.

"We see success in Kherson now," Austin told reporters in Prague after meeting with his Czech counterpart, Jana Cernochova.

"We see some success in Kharkiv and so that is very encouraging," he added.

2:08 p.m.: Ukraine has recaptured several settlements in the Kharkiv region from Russian forces in a "very sharp and rapid" advance, said the head of the Russian-backed administration for the Kharkiv region in a live online broadcast on Friday, Reuters reported. Kyiv says it has pushed up to 50 kilometers past Russian lines this week and recaptured dozens of settlements.

"The enemy is being delayed as much as possible, but several settlements have already come under the control of Ukrainian armed formations," said Vitaly Ganchev on state television host Vladimir Solovyov's daily livestream. His remarks were one of the first Russian official acknowledgements of major battlefield setbacks.

"We don't know what the combat situation there is now, or what the humanitarian situation is," he said. "Reserves have been brought up from Russia, and we hope to regain control of these settlements in the next few days."

1:34 p.m.: Russia's invasion caused more than $97 billion in damage to Ukraine through June 1, but it could cost nearly $350 billion to rebuild the country, according to a report released Friday by the World Bank, Ukrainian government and European Commission.

The report said Ukraine had suffered $252 billion in losses through disruptions to its economic flows and production and other war-related expenses. It added the displacement of one-third of all Ukrainians is expected to increase the poverty level from 2% before the war to 21%.

The report said $105 billion is needed for urgent priorities, such as rebuilding schools and hospitals. And it noted it is important to prepare for the upcoming winter by repairing homes, restoring heating and purchasing gas.

The report said the numbers were preliminary and would likely rise as the war continued.

12:18 p.m.: The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said shelling has caused a near blackout in the town near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine where the plant’s operators live, adding to the increasingly precarious situation at the plant.

Rafael Grossi said in a statement Friday he learned from IAEA staff on-site about the blackout, which developed the night before at the plant.

The power infrastructure feeding the town of Enerhodar has been destroyed by shelling of the switchyard at the town’s thermal power plant, leading to a complete power blackout, the statement said.

Grossi said, given the situation, there is significant risk of an impact on the availability of essential staff at the site to continue to safely operate Zaporizhzhya.

"I therefore urgently call for the immediate cessation of all shelling in the entire area," Grossi said. "Only this will ensure the safety and security of operating staff and allow the durable restoration of power to Enerhodar and to the power plant."

Grossi added that the IAEA understands that, as a result of the development, the operator is considering shutting down the only remaining operating reactor. The plant would then be fully reliant on emergency diesel generators for ensuring nuclear safety and security functions, he said.

11:02 a.m.:

10:30 a.m.: Poland is interested in buying power from Ukraine's Khmelnytskyi nuclear plant, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said in Kyiv on Friday after talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

While in Kyiv, Morawiecki held meetings to discuss the geopolitical situation, the energy market, energy and military security, his spokesman said.

"We could use some electricity from Ukraine. I heard from President Zelenskyy that Ukraine will be soon ready to sell power from Khmelnytskyi and I thanked him for that," Morawiecki told a news briefing he held along with Ukraine's president.

Ukraine has sought to increase electricity exports to the European Union to boost cash flow to its utilities hit by a drop in electricity use since the Russian invasion. Meanwhile, Ukrainian electricity would help the EU cope with reduced gas supplies from Russia.

9:09 a.m.: Russian state television broadcast an interview on Friday acknowledging that Kyiv had achieved a "substantial victory", after Ukrainian forces burst through the frontline in a lightning advance, Reuters reported.

The Ukrainian breakthrough near Kharkiv was the fastest advance reported by either side for months, and one of the biggest shifts in the war's momentum since Russian forces abandoned a disastrous assault on the capital Kyiv in March.

Earlier, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said troops had "liberated dozens of settlements" and reclaimed more than 1,000 square kilometers of territory in Kharkiv region in the east as well as Kherson in the south in the past week.

Western military analysts say the advance puts the Ukrainians within striking distance of the main railway Moscow has relied on to sustain its force in eastern Ukraine and could leave thousands of Russian troops at risk of being cut off.

8:32 a.m.: European Union energy ministers were split on Friday over whether to cap Russian gas prices, as they met to work out steps to shield citizens and businesses from sky-high energy bills, Reuters reported.

The ministers who came to the emergency meeting indicated broad backing for moves to prevent power providers from being crushed by a liquidity crunch. Several of them said it was urgent to decouple the price of gas from other cheaper energy sources.

The talks aim to cut back options for further discussion, rather than reaching a final decision on ways to tackle a crisis fueled by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. But many of the ministers said agreement and action needed to be swift.

"We are in an energy war with Russia," Czech Industry Minister Jozef Sikela said. "We have to send a clear signal that we would do whatever it takes to support our households, our economies."

8:05 a.m.: Swiftly advancing Ukrainian troops were approaching the main railway supplying Russian forces in the east on Friday, after the collapse of a section of Russia's front line caused the most dramatic shift in the war's momentum since its early weeks, Reuters reported.

In a video address, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said troops had "liberated dozens of settlements" and reclaimed more than 1,000 square kilometers of territory in Kharkiv region in the east and Kherson in the south in the past week.

Zelenskyy posted a video in which Ukrainian soldiers said they had captured the eastern town of Balakliia, which lies along a stretch of front stretching south of Kharkiv, Ukraine's second largest city.

The Ukrainian military said it had advanced nearly 50 kilometers through that front after an assault that appeared to take the Russians by surprise.

5:17 a.m.: The Institute for the Study of War, a U.S. think tank, issued its latest assessment of the Ukraine conflict. It said Ukrainian successes on the Kharkiv City-Izyum line are creating fissures within the Russian information space and eroding confidence in Russian command to a degree not seen since a failed Russian river crossing in mid-May.

Ukrainian forces in the Kharkiv Oblast counteroffensives advanced to within 20 kilometers of Russia’s key logistical node in Kupyansk on Sept. 8, the update said, and Ukrainian forces will likely capture Kupyansk in the next 72 hours.

4:26 a.m.: Russia said it would retaliate against European Union curbs on visas for Russians, but would not close itself off from the bloc, Reuters reported.

Earlier Thursday, Poland and the three Baltic states have announced a "common approach" to ban access to their countries for most Russians with EU visas from later this month, moving all four beyond the curbs recently agreed by all 27 EU members, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

The four countries said in a joint statement that the coordinated move by all four on their respective national levels are "not an outright entry ban and commonly agreed legitimate exceptions will remain in force for dissidents, humanitarian cases," and a handful of other circumstances including diplomatic missions and familial links.

They say the bans will go into force separately in their countries by Sept. 19.

3:05 a.m.: Too few ships are arriving in Ukraine to quickly clear mountains of grain built up over months of war despite a U.N.-backed sea corridor, threatening to drive up global food prices and leave the country's cash-strapped farmers struggling to plant crops.

President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday triggered fears that Russia could withdraw support for the sea corridor after he accused Kyiv of using it to export to the European Union and Turkey rather than poor nations that most need the food, particularly in Africa.

Even if the agreement holds, the dangers of sending ships into the heavily mined Black Sea, along with a lack of large vessels and the exclusion of a major port, means volumes transported are well below Ukraine's goal of doubling farm exports to at least 6 million tonnes by October.

"For the moment, we do not send our ships to Ukrainian ports because we don't believe it is safe," Alexander Saverys, chief executive of Belgian headquartered shipping group CMB, which shipped from Ukraine prior to the war, told Reuters.

2:11 a.m.: The United States placed sanctions on an Iranian company that helped to ship drones to Russia for use in Ukraine and warned non-Iranian firms against becoming involved in the trade, Agence France-Presse reported.

The U.S. Treasury said it had placed Tehran-based Safiran Airport Services on its sanctions blacklist, two months after the White House divulged intelligence that Russia was seeking Iranian unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for its war on Ukraine.

The Treasury said Safiran has coordinated Russian military flights between Iran and Russia, including those that carried the UAVs, personnel and related equipment.

1:16 a.m.: The Moscow Exchange is working on a plan to launch trading in the Indian rupee but there are certain "obstacles" on the part of the Indian central bank, an exchange official said, according to Reuters.

Daniil Korablev, head of sales to noncredit organizations, said on social media the launch was "not that simple" and may not happen this year. He did not specify the issues that needed to be resolved.

The exchange was also working to launch trading in the United Arab Emirates' dirham currency. "We are not ready to name the date, but we are working very actively," he said.

Hit by Western sanctions over Ukraine, Russia is actively shifting its trade out of dollars and euros and into the currencies of what it regards as "friendly" countries.

12:02 a.m.: The Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) on Thursday authorized the movement of four outbound vessels carrying a total of 58,800 metric tons of grain and other food products under the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

The four commercial vessels authorized to move Friday are:

Super Bayern from Yuzhny/Pivdennyi to Egypt carrying 33,000 metric tons of corn.

A-line from Chornomorsk to Egypt, carrying 10,700 metric tons of corn.

Lucky from Yuzhny/Pivdennyi to Piraeus, Greece, carrying 6,000 metric tons of corn and 4,400 metric tons of barley.

Sevil from Chornomorsk to Constanţa, Romania, carrying 4,700 metric tons of rapeseed.

In addition, one more vessel whose scheduled departure Thursday was delayed is expected to move Friday, Kiran America from Chornomorsk to China, carrying 30,000 metric tons of barley and 20,000 metric tons of corn.

As of Thursday, the total tonnage of grain and other foodstuffs exported from the three Ukrainian ports is 2,376,291 metric tons. A total of 227 voyages (122 inbound and 105 outbound) have been enabled so far.

Some information in this report came from Reuters and Agence France-Presse.