Ukraine latest: Ukraine said to have breached Russian defensive line

The war in Ukraine, which broke out in February 2022 with Russia’s invasion of its neighbor, shows no sign of ending as both sides intensify attacks to gain control of contested regions.

Read our latest updates here. For all our coverage, visit our Ukraine war page.

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Note: Nikkei Asia decided in March 2022 to suspend its reporting from Russia until further information becomes available regarding the scope of the revised criminal code. Entries include material from wire services and other sources.

Here are the latest developments:

Friday, Sept. 1 (Tokyo time)

2:45 a.m. Ukraine has broken through a major Russian defensive line in the south, according to Ukrainian military commanders and Western military analysts, marking a new step in its counteroffensive to take back territory.

After taking the village of Robotyne, Ukrainian forces are reported to be moving east to the village of Verbove, beyond the network of trenches, mines and tank traps that Russia had built to withstand an assault.

Analysts believe that taking the city of Tokmak, which is used by Russia as a logistical hub, is Kyiv’s ultimate goal in the current push.

Thursday, Aug. 31

6:00 a.m. Russian companies made profits of 14.80 trillion rubles ($154.30 billion) in the first six months of 2023, data from the federal statistics service showed on Wednesday, down 11.4% year-on-year amid the fallout from the nation’s invasion of Ukraine. The West targeted dozens of large companies and entire sectors of Russia’s economy, particularly finance and energy, with sweeping sanctions after Moscow launched the war in February last year. Companies engaged in wholesale trade recorded drops in profits, as did those involved in coal mining.

4:30 a.m. White House national security spokesman John Kirby tells reporters the U.S. believes arms negotiations between Russia and North Korea are “actively advancing.”


North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vladivostok in 2019. (Photo by Korean Central News Agency via Reuters)

Kirby adds that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu had tried to convince Pyongyang to sell artillery ammunition to Russia during a trip to North Korea last month. “We remain concerned that … the DPRK continues to consider providing military support to Russia’s military forces in Ukraine,” Kirby said, referring to North Korea and citing “new information” that such talks were advancing.

Overnight, North Korea conducted what it called a tactical nuclear strike drill simulating strikes on South Korea’s command posts and airfields in a “warning” against the U.S. deployment of strategic bombers to the region, state media reports. South Korea and Japan say North Korea launched two missiles into the sea.

Rescuers work at buildings damaged during the night by Russian drone and missile strikes on Aug. 30. (The State Emergency Service of Ukraine/Handout via Reuters)

Wednesday, Aug. 30

2:30 p.m. At least two people were killed and two wounded in an attack on Kyiv on Wednesday morning, says Mayor Vitali Klitschko, on the Telegram messaging app, as debris from targets destroyed by air defenses fell on several buildings in the Ukrainian capital. The bodies of two people were found in a nonresidential building and one person was wounded by glass shards, Klitschko said. “Kyiv has not experienced such a powerful attack since spring. The enemy launched a massive, combined attack using drones and missiles,” said Serhiy Popko, head of the city’s military administration, on Telegram.

11:00 a.m. Ukrainian drones swept across Russia in overnight attacks that destroyed military aircraft and disrupted air traffic, Russian officials say. Attacks by unmanned aircraft were reported in the Pskov, Bryansk, Kaluga, Orlov and Ryazan regions as well as the Russian-occupied Crimean Peninsula, Russian officials said. The most significant attack appeared to be in Pskov about 660 kilometers north of the Ukrainian frontier, near the borders with Estonia and Latvia, where Russian officials said four Il-76 military transport planes were damaged.

8:30 a.m. An alarming rise in global distrust and division coupled with efforts by countries to improve the accuracy and destructive power of nuclear weapons is “a recipe for annihilation,” the United Nations chief warns. In a statement marking the International Day Against Nuclear Tests, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that with nearly 13,000 nuclear weapons stockpiled around the world, “a legally binding prohibition on nuclear tests is a fundamental step in our quest for a world free of nuclear weapons.”

2:39 a.m. The U.S. has announced a $250 million package of military assistance for Ukraine, including AIM-9M Sidewinder missiles for air defense and munitions for HIMARS mobile rocket launchers.

Also included are “155mm and 105mm artillery ammunition, mine-clearing equipment, Javelin and other anti-armor systems and rockets, over 3 million rounds of small arms ammunition, ambulances, demolition munitions for obstacle clearing, as well as spare parts, services, training, and transportation,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says in a news release.

Law enforcement officers guard an area near the grave of Russian mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin.

  © Reuters

1:30 a.m. The chief of Russia’s Wagner Group Yevgeny Prigozhin is buried privately at a cemetery on the outskirts of St Petersburg six days after he died in a plane crash. The funeral takes place away from the glare of the media and in stark contrast to the brazen, self-publicizing style with which Prigozhin had fanned his reputation far beyond Russia for ruthlessness and ambition. Secrecy has surrounded the funeral arrangements for the Wagner mercenary boss who was killed in a plane crash on Aug. 23, two months to the day since staging a mutiny in the biggest challenge to President Vladimir Putin’s rule since he rose to power in 1999.

Tuesday, Aug. 29

12:49 p.m. South Korea unveils financial aid of 520 billion won ($394 million) for Ukraine next year, an eightfold increase from this year. The aid package includes 130 billion won for reconstruction, 260 billion in humanitarian aid and another 130 billion won through international organizations, according to South Korea’s 2024 budget. In July, President Yoon Suk Yeol announced his country would provide a “large scale of military supplies” this year without giving details.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, left, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy meet in Kyiv in July.

  © Reuters

1:45 a.m. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit Russia soon to discuss the now-defunct United Nations deal that had allowed Black Sea exports of Ukrainian grain, a spokesperson for Turkey’s ruling AK Party says.

The U.N.- and Turkey-brokered deal collapsed in mid-July, and Erdogan has been working to restore it.

1:30 a.m. Ukraine says it has captured a key southwestern settlement after more than a week of fighting.

Robotyne is in the Zaporizhzhia region and on an important road toward Tokmak, a Russian-occupied road and rail hub.

Kyiv says it believes that its forces have broken through the strongest line of Russian defense and expects that they will now start advancing faster.

12:30 a.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend the G20 summit hosted by India to be held next month, according to a press release from the office of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Putin told Modi in a telephone conversation today that Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov would go to New Delhi to represent Moscow instead in the Sept. 9-10 meeting.

Putin also declined to attend the BRICS summit in South Africa that was held earlier this month. The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant on the Russian president, complicating his travel abroad.

Monday, Aug. 28

3:30 p.m. Russia’s FSB security service has charged a former employee of the U.S. Consulate in the Russian Far East with collecting information on the war in Ukraine and other issues for Washington, state news agency TASS says. The man relayed information to U.S. embassy staffers in Moscow on how Russia’s conscription campaign was impacting political discontent ahead of the 2024 presidential elections in Russia, TASS quoted the FSB as saying.

Russian servicemen and conscripts line up before their departure for garrisons at a recruitment center in Sevastopol, Crimea on July 6.

  © Reuters

3:00 p.m. Two people were killed in an overnight Russian missile attack on Ukraine’s central Poltava region, Gov. Dmytro Lunin says. “As a result of the hostile attack, two people were killed, two people were taken to hospital with minor injuries, and the whereabouts of two more people are currently unknown,” Lunin said on the Telegram messaging app. Lunin said the attack was on an industrial facility. He did not provide further details.

1:00 a.m. A Russian SU-30 military plane escorted a U.S. reconnaissance Reaper drone on Sunday over the Black Sea, RIA news agency reports, citing the Russian defense ministry. TASS news agency said the drone had not breached Russia’s state border.

Sunday, Aug. 27

9:33 p.m. Russia confirms that Yevgeny Prigozhin, chief of the Wagner mercenary group, was among the people killed in a plane crash last week.

Russia’s aviation agency previously published the names of all 10 people, including Prigozhin, on board the private jet that crashed northwest of Moscow on Wednesday. Genetic testing was conducted as part of the investigation into the crash.

“According to their results, the identities of all 10 dead were established,” Russia’s Investigative Committee said in a statement on the Telegram messaging app. “They correspond to the list stated in the flight sheet.”

An emergency services helicopter flies over the site of the crash of a private jet linked to Wagner mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin in Russia’s Tver region on Aug. 24.

  © Reuters

Saturday, Aug. 26

11:45 p.m. Three Ukrainian pilots are killed after two L-39 trainer aircraft collided in midair in central Ukraine, the country’s air force says. The collision took place on Friday and was under investigation, the Interfax-Ukraine news agency reports. The loss of three pilots comes as Ukraine is about to undertake a huge effort to quickly train its air crews on Western-donated F-16 fighter jets, up to 61 of which have been pledged to Kyiv.

5:30 p.m. President Vladimir Putin has ordered Wagner fighters to sign an oath of allegiance to the Russian state after a deadly plane crash believed to have killed Yevgeny Prigozhin, the volatile chief of the mercenary group. Putin signed the decree bringing in the change with immediate effect on Friday after the Kremlin said that Western suggestions that Prigozhin had been killed on its orders were an “absolute lie.” The Kremlin declined to definitively confirm his death, citing the need to wait for test results.

11:10 a.m. Ukraine’s GUR military intelligence agency says a Ukrainian drone attack hit a Russian military base deep inside annexed Crimea. Ukrainian intelligence officials say the attack struck Russia’s 126th Coastal Defence Brigade based in Perevalnoye, a town more than 200 kilometers from Ukraine-controlled territory. “We confirm that there was a hit,” said a GUR spokesman, according to a Ukrainian report. Early on Friday, Russia reported one of the biggest coordinated Ukrainian air raids yet over Russian-controlled territory but said air defense systems had downed all 42 drones attacking Crimea before they could hit their targets.

This portrait of Wagner mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin was at a makeshift memorial near the former PMC Wagner Center in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Aug. 24.

5:30 a.m. Flight recorders from the plane believed to have been carrying Wagner mercenary group boss Yevgeny Prigozhin have been recovered and work is underway to identify the 10 victims of the crash, Russian news agency Interfax reports, the citing Russian Investigative Committee.

“The bodies of 10 victims were discovered during the primary investigative actions at the plane crash site. DNA tests are being carried out to identify them,” the committee is quoted by Interfax as saying. “The investigation will thoroughly analyze all possible theories of the accident.”

Meanwhile, U.S. President Joe Biden tells reporters that American officials are trying to “nail down” what caused the plane to crash in the Tver region north of Moscow.

For earlier updates, click here.

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