Ukrainian forces are “gradually gaining ground” in their counter-offensive against Russian forces, the head of Nato said during a visit to Kyiv.
Jens Stoltenberg said “every metre that Ukrainian forces regain is a metre that Russia loses” at a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
His comments come after Grant Shapps, the Defence Secretary, made a surprise trip to Kyiv to meet with Mr Zelensky.
The president’s office said that Mr Shapps discussed how to bolster Ukraine’s air defences, crucial in countering a new Russian missile campaign aimed at power plants.
Mr Stoltenberg also said he was “constantly pushing” Nato allies to provide more support to Ukraine and speed up delivery, “not least” of air defence systems.
03:00 PM BST
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02:50 PM BST
Hope for the world’s hungry as Ukraine breaks Russian shipping blockade
In the middle of last week, military commanders, diplomats, grain markets and aid agencies worldwide were keenly tracking the progress across the Black Sea of an apparently unremarkable cargo ship, reports Ben Farmer.
Closely hugging the Romanian and Bulgarian coasts, the Resilient Africa chugged its way from the Ukrainian port of Chornomorsk into the Bosphorus and on to the Middle East.
The 250ft merchant ship laden with 3,000 tonnes of grain had completed a notable passage. Sailing under the flag of Palau, it had defied Moscow’s blockade and become the first commercial vessel to visit and depart Ukraine since Russia pulled out of a safe-passage deal for exports and instead threatened to attack them.
Read the full story here
02:48 PM BST
Putin has lost control of the war, head of UK armed forces says
Vladimir Putin has lost control of the war, the head of the UK’s Armed Forces said during a meeting with Volodymr Zelensky in Ukraine.
Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, Chief of the Defence Staff, said recent strikes on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in annexed Crimea are “another example of how Ukraine retains the initiative” more than 19 months after Moscow launched its full-scale invasion.
“Putin has lost control of the war he started, and Russia is diminished as a consequence,” he added.
Admiral Radakin’s remarks came as he made a surprise visit to Kyiv alongside Defence Secretary Grant Shapps.
Mr Zelensky reportedly discussed beefing up air defences in Ukraine with Mr Shapps, amid fears that Russia will use long-range missiles and drones to target critical energy infrastructure in the coming months.
The Defence Secretary said it was an “honour” to meet with the Ukrainian leader and vowed the UK would continue to stand “shoulder to shoulder” with Kyiv.
02:36 PM BST
Power station damaged in Russian attack in southern Ukraine
Russian shelling damaged a combined heat and power station in southern Ukraine overnight, the Ukrainian energy ministry said.
Ukraine’s national grid operator, Ukrenergo, had earlier on Thursday described the plant as a thermal power station but an energy ministry statement said all thermal power plants in territory controlled by Ukraine were in operation.
“Unfortunately, last night a combined heat and power station in one of the towns in the south of the country was damaged by shelling,” the ministry said.
It said the station had not been in operation at the time of the attack and a warehouse had caught fire. The blaze was subsequently extinguished, it added.
02:00 PM BST
Zelensky appoints British actor as United24 ambassador
Volodymyr Zelensky has appointed British actor Mark Strong as an official ambassador of the United24 charity.
The Kingsman and Deep State star, 60, was thanked by Mr Zelensky for his “powerful support” of Ukraine.
Mr Strong will help rebuild Ukrainian schools and support Ukrainian teachers in his role, United24 said.
During a video-call between the pair, Mr Strong told Mr Zelensky: “It is an honour for me to become a voice for Ukrainian children on the world stage, so that they can have a better future.”
“Ukrainian children deserve to receive everything they need,” he added.
United24 was launched by Mr Zelensky to raise charitable donations for Ukraine following Russia’s invasion.
01:49 PM BST
Putin says votes in occupied Ukraine are step towards ‘full entry’ into Russia
Vladimir Putin said that elections conducted this month in Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine marked a step towards their full integration into Russia.
The votes in the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions - all partly under Russia’s control - were denounced by Kyiv as illegal.
Russia said a year ago that it was annexing the four regions, in an act condemned as unlawful by most countries at the United Nations.
“This is, of course, a significant event, an important step towards the full entry of the new regions into the single legal, state space of our big country,” Putin told a meeting of newly elected governors, referring to the recent elections and describing them as fair.
01:18 PM BST
Kazakhstan won't help Russia evade sanctions, president tells Germany
Germany should not fear that Kazakhstan will try to help Russia circumvent Western sanctions imposed over its invasion of Ukraine, Kazakh President Tokayev has said, after talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin.
He said Kazakhstan continued to call for talks between Russia and Ukraine on ending the war, now in its 20th month, and that it had no concerns about Moscow threatening its own territorial integrity.
The large former Soviet state in Central Asia shares a long border with Russia and is home to a large ethnic Russian minority.
12:59 PM BST
'Every metre that Ukrainian forces gains is a metre that Russia loses'
More comments from Jens Stoltenberg, the Nato Secretary-General, during a visit to Kyiv.
“Every metre that Ukrainian forces gains is a metre that Russia loses.
“Ukrainians are fighting for their families their future, their freedom.
He added: “Moscow is fighting for imperial delusions.”
12:51 PM BST
Comment: Ukraine’s new drone submarine will finish off Russia’s battered Black Sea Fleet
Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is in trouble.
In the 20 months since Russia widened its war on Ukraine, Ukrainian forces have bled the fleet with ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and explosives-laden drone boats.
And the fleet’s problems are about to get a lot worse.
In late August, a Ukrainian company revealed the country’s first one-way drone submarine: an 18-foot-long, torpedo-like robot that could haul hundreds of pounds of explosives over a distance of up to 600 miles and strike Russian warships where they’re most vulnerable: below the waterline.
Read more from David Axe here
12:23 PM BST
Ukraine 'gradually gaining ground,' says Nato chief
Ukrainian forces are “gradually gaining ground” in their counter-offensive against Russian forces, Jens Stoltenberg, the Nato Secretary-General has said.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Mr Stoltenberg also said Russian troops were fighting for Moscow’s “imperial delusions”.
The pair met in Kyiv as Ukraine seeks more Western support for its counteroffensive against Russian forces.
12:04 PM BST
Zelensky: Ukraine joining Nato just a 'matter of time'
Ukraine joining Nato is just “a matter of time,” Volodymr Zelensky has said, as he welcomed the chief of the Western security bloc, Jens Stoltenberg, to Kyiv.
”(It is) a matter of time before Ukraine becomes a de jure member of the alliance. We are doing everything to bring this time closer,” the Ukrianian president said at a joint press conference with the Nato chief.
11:34 AM BST
Thermal power plant in southern Ukraine damaged in Russian attack
Russian shelling damaged a thermal power plant in southern Ukraine late on Wednesday, Ukraine’s national grid operator has said.
State-run Ukrenergo gave no other details about the location of the plant or the extent of the damage.
“Yesterday evening a thermal power plant in the southern region was damaged as a result of massive enemy shelling,” Ukrenergo said.
11:26 AM BST
Russia launches 'massive' drone attack on Ukraine
Russia launched a “massive” drone attack on Ukraine overnight, Kyiv has said.
Russian unmanned aerial vehicles were intercepted over Black Sea coastal regions and further inland, Nataliya Gumenyuk, spokeswoman for the Ukrainian southern military command, said.
Ukraine’s Air Force said its air defence systems shot down 34 of 44 Shahed drones that Russia launched overnight,
Ms Gumenyuk added: Russia “does not stop the pressure and searching for new tactics: namely, with the use of mass attacks.”
“Tonight, several groups of strike UAVs were launched... air defence worked along almost the entire southern direction - in Odesa, Mykolaiv regions. Also, much higher north - the enemy aimed its attacks on central Ukraine,” she said, adding that Ukraine was still assessing the damage.
In recent months, Russia has ramped up attacks on Ukraine’s grain-exporting infrastructure in the southern Odesa and Mykolaiv regions.
10:57 AM BST
In pictures: Shapps in Ukraine
10:17 AM BST
Poland 'don't need this grain war,' says Kuleba
“We don’t need this grain war and neither does Poland,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has said, amid an escalating grain exports dispute between Kyiv and Warsaw.
In an interview with Interfax-Ukraine, Mr Kuleba said the row was detrimental to both countries.
“We have conveyed clear signals to Poland about our commitment to a constructive solution to this situation.
“We don’t need this grain war and neither does Poland,” he said, warning the row could worsen ahead of Polish elections next month.
09:55 AM BST
Russia Olympic boss says Asian Games exclusion 'unacceptable'
Russia’s Olympic chief has criticised Asian Games organisers for rowing back on a decision to allow athletes from Russia and Belarus to compete at the multi-sport event in Hangzhou, China.
The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) voted in July to allow up to 500 Russian and Belarusian athletes at the Games but the International Olympic Committee (IOC) confirmed in early-September that the nations would not participate due to “technical” reasons.
Russian Olympic Committee President Stanislav Pozdnyakov said his body had been waiting for specifics about their athletes’ participation but was “stonewalled” by organisers.
“From the point of view of diplomacy, I think that such things are simply unacceptable; they did not even inform us that they reconsidered their decision to invite us,” he said in comments published by Russia’s TASS news agency.
Russian and Belarusian athletes have been largely banned from international competition since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.
09:34 AM BST
France calls on Turkey and Hungary to 'deliver on Sweden Nato bid'
France has urged Turkey and Hungary to come through on Sweden’s stalled bid to join Nato.
Hungary and Turkey in July lifted their vetoes against Sweden’s entry into the Atlantic alliance, but have been slow to ratify its membership.
“We would like to see Sweden in Nato and we would like to see Turkey and Hungary delivering on what they agreed,” French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna told reporters in Helsinki.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban this week said that ratifying Sweden’s Nato bid was not “urgent”, accusing the Nordic country of having challenged the country’s “democratic nature”.
For his part, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan indicated in July that ratification by the Turkish parliament would not take place before October.
09:13 AM BST
Pictured: A sniper team called "Ghosts of Bakhmut" prepare for their frontline mission
08:46 AM BST
Top military honours awarded to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet despite embarrassing front-line retreat
The commander of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet has awarded some of his country’s highest military honours to naval marines despite an embarrassing retreat from the front lines in southern Ukraine.
Russian media shared a video of Admiral Viktor Sokolov presenting medals to members of the 810th Marine Brigade, in his second public appearance after Ukraine claimed to have killed him in a Storm Shadow missile strike at the fleet’s Crimea headquarters last week.
“The Black Sea Fleet is fulfilling the tasks set by the command confidently and successfully,” Admiral Sokolov said in an interview with Russian media.
“I am sure that the surface force, the submarine force, marine aviation, and the coastal forces successfully fulfil tasks.”
Read more here
08:20 AM BST
Ukrainian troops 'repel Russian attacks on eastern front'
Ukrainian troops held off determined attacks by Russian forces trying to regain lost positions on the eastern front, military officials said.
Ilia Yevlash, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s eastern group of forces, told national television: “We continue to repel intense enemy attacks near Klishchiivka and Andriivka.
“The enemy is still storming these positions with the hope of recapturing lost positions, but without success.”
In the past two weeks, Ukraine has announced the capture of two key villages, Andriivka and Klishchiivka, near Bakhmut.
08:05 AM BST
'Meaningful' meeting with Grant Shapps, says Zelensky
More news on Grant Shapps’ surprise trip to Kyiv.
Volodymr Zelensky said he had a “meaningful meeting” with the British Defence Secretary.
“Thank you for the powerful financial, defence, and humanitarian support of Ukraine!
“Our cooperation in the military sphere significantly expands the capabilities of Ukrainian soldiers on the battlefield.”
08:01 AM BST
Pictured: A woman holds a cat in front of her house in the aftermath of a Russian rocket attack in Kostiantynivka
07:59 AM BST
Neutral Swiss to send back tanks to Germany to rebuild stocks
Neutral Switzerland said it would sell back some of its German-made Leopard 2 tanks to help rebuild stocks depleted by aid to Ukraine.
Germany had asked Switzerland in February to sell back some of the 96 Leopard 2 tanks it has in storage to manufacturer Rheinmetall AG.
To comply with Swiss neutrality laws, Berlin has assured Bern the weapons would not go to Kyiv, but remain in Germany or with a Nato or European Union ally.
Read more from Joe Barnes, The Telegraph’s Brussels Correspondent, here
07:55 AM BST
Shapps: UK support 'remains unwavering'
Grant Shapps, the Defence Secretary, has been in Kyiv this week visiting Volodymr Zelenksy.
He said that he asked the Ukrainian president “what he needs to win.”
I've been back to Kyiv this week to ask President @ZelenskyyUa what he needs to win.
As Ukraine retakes its territory, UK support remains unwavering. We will work tirelessly to bring our partners together to help Ukraine defeat Putin's illegal invasion. Slava Ukraini 🇺🇦🇬🇧 pic.twitter.com/VSkIPO7BBs
— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) September 28, 2023
07:52 AM BST
Zelensky welcomes Grant Shapps to Kyiv
I received UK Defense Secretary @GrantShapps in Kyiv.
I am profoundly grateful to the UK for all the financial, humanitarian, and military support, including crucial long-range capabilities.
We discussed further defense cooperation and steps to strengthen Ukraine’s air defense. pic.twitter.com/hITN23AjD7
— Volodymyr Zelenskyy / Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) September 28, 2023
07:50 AM BST
'Our air defences did an excellent job'
Ukraine’s Air Force said its air defence systems shot down 34 of 44 Shahed drones that Russia launched overnight.
Odesa regional governor Oleh Kiper said his region was the main target, but the attack left no casualties.
“Our air defence forces did an excellent job,” he said on Telegram.
“No hits or destruction. There were no casualties. There were only a few small fires on dry grass as a result of the falling wreckage of the downed Shahed.”
07:46 AM BST
‘Pathetic remnants’ of Wagner return to fight in Ukraine
Several hundred members of Russia’s Wagner private mercenary group have returned to eastern Ukraine to fight but are not having a significant impact on the battlefield, a Ukrainian military spokesman has said.
Wagner fighters played an important role in Russia’s capture of the eastern city of Bakhmut in May 2023, after one of the longest and fiercest battles of Moscow’s 19-month war in Ukraine.
They left Bakhmut after the battle and some went to Belarus under a deal that ended a brief mutiny by Wagner in June 2023, during which it took control of a Russian military headquarters and marched on Moscow.
Read more here
07:43 AM BST
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