Ukraine Daily Summary - Sunday, September 18

Russia's FSB officers tortured residents of newly liberated Kupiansk, Kharkiv Oblast -- Russian forces shell thermal plant in Sloviansk, Donetsk Oblast -- Sanctions begin to harm Russia's military industry -- Russia continues to prioritize strategically meaningless offensives, fails to halt Ukrainian advances -- and more

Ukraine Daily

Sunday, September 18

Russia’s war against Ukraine


A woman looks from window oafter Russian Forces withdrawal from the Izium city, Kharkiv Oblast, Ukraine on September 16, 2022. (Photo by Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

SBU: Russia’s FSB officers tortured residents of newly liberated Kupiansk, Kharkiv Oblast. Based in then-occupied Kupiansk, they had tortured local residents, threatening to send them to a minefield and kill their families, Ukraine’s Security Service reported on Sept. 17. One of the victims said, “For 40 minutes, they had been using a stun gun on me, then they shot at me with either an airgun or a gas gun, I don’t know – I was in a bag.” As Ukraine recaptured settlements in Kharkiv Oblast, law enforcement started uncovering potential crimes the Russian forces committed during the occupation.

Ministry: More than 80,000 Ukrainians evacuated from war-torn regions since August. The Ministry for the Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories reported that over 30,000 people from Zaporizhzhia Oblast were evacuated, as well as over 24,000 people from Kherson Oblast, 17,000 (including 3,000 children) from Donetsk Oblast, and more than 5,000 from Kharkiv Oblast.

Governor: Russian forces shell thermal plant in Sloviansk, Donetsk Oblast. Donetsk Oblast Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko reported on Sept. 17 that the Russian attack damaged the city’s power plant, and firefighters are fighting the fire at the site. The water supply in the neighboring town of Mykolaivka was affected as a result of the latest shelling, according to Kyrylenko.

NATO: Sanctions begin to harm Russia’s military industry. Western sanctions are starting to hurt Russia’s ability to make advanced weaponry for the war in Ukraine, Rob Bauer, who chairs NATO’s Military Committee, told Reuters. NATO sees signs of Russia’s decreased ability to produce replacements for cruise missiles and more sophisticated weaponry, Bauer said. On Sept. 16, unnamed U.S. officials told CNN they were disappointed about sanctions not having a bigger impact on the Russian economy.

Czech minister calls Izium atrocities ‘unthinkable and abhorrent’ in 21st century. Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky called for punishing all Russian war criminals following the discovery of a mass burial site in Izium, a Kharkiv Oblast town that was liberated by Ukrainian troops earlier in September. Evidence has been piling up that Russian troops massacred hundreds of people in Izium.

Lithuanian FM: Condemnation won’t stop genocide. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis called for tanks to be sent to Ukraine following the discovery of mass graves in Izium, Kharkiv Oblast.

Zelensky: Ukrainian army captured hundreds of Russian POWs during counter-offensive in Kharkiv Oblast. President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview with Reuters that the new Russian POWs have “significantly added” to the list of captured soldiers. He also said that Russia has more POWs than Ukraine. “Our task is to have more of them in order to return our own,” Zelensky said.

Zelensky: West shouldn’t be afraid of Russian nuclear blackmail. President Volodymyr Zelensky said that talks with Russia due to fear of its nuclear arsenal would be the worst result, which would embolden Russia and could lead to World War III. “I can’t even understand how the world’s security and intelligence agencies and powerful minds can let Russia even think about (using nukes),” he said.

Papal representative comes under fire near Ukraine’s frontline in Zaporizhzhia Oblast. A bus with Polish-born Cardinal Konrad Krajewski and three other participants of a humanitarian mission was shelled, the Vatican News reported. All of them escaped the incident unscathed. “For the first time in my life I didn’t know where to run. Because it’s not enough to run. You have to know where to go,” Krajewski said.

General Staff: Russian military prepares ways of retreat in Kherson Oblast. Specifically, Russian troops sank nine railroad cars near the Kakhovka hydropower plant in order to build a crossing on the Dnieper, Ukraine’s General Staff said.

ISW: Russia continues to prioritize strategically meaningless offensives, fails to halt Ukrainian advances. The Institute for the Study of War reports that Russian troops continued to conduct unsuccessful assaults in Donetsk Oblast. Meanwhile, Ukraine continues its counter-offensive without meaningful defensive maneuvers from Russia, leaving most of the Russian-occupied parts of Kharkiv and Luhansk oblasts vulnerable, the ISW reports. According to the experts, Ukrainian advances around the Oskil River and north of the Siverskyi Donets River could allow a possible encirclement of Russian forces in Lyman.

Prosecutor General’s Office: Russian forces have committed over 34,000 war crimes. Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office reported on Sept. 17 that it has recorded 34,441 war crimes committed by the Russian military since the start of the full-scale invasion on Feb. 24. Ukrainian law enforcement agencies have also recorded 15,807 crimes against Ukraine’s national security.

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Estonia’s ex-President Kaljulaid: Bringing Ukraine closer to EU can set example for Russia. Estonia has shown unwavering support for Ukraine ever since Russian forces started their all-out invasion in February. And this support has not faltered.

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Ukrainians emerge from a 6-month nightmare in newly liberated territories. Six months into the occupation of Izium in Kharkiv Oblast, Russian forces announced a mysterious strict 24-hour curfew on Sept. 8.

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The human cost of Russia’s war

Russia bombards civilians in three Ukrainian regions overnight, kills at least 2. Donetsk Oblast Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko reported on Sept. 17 that two civilians were killed in the cities of Bakhmut and Sviatohirsk within the last 24 hours, while 11 others were wounded.

Mayor: Russian strike on Kramatorsk, Donetsk Oblast, injures at least 3 people. Kramatorsk Mayor Oleksandr Honcharenko said on Sept. 17 that Russia attacked a residential neighborhood.

Governor: Russian shelling injures 5 in Donetsk Oblast. Russian forces targeted Kostiantynivka, damaging residential buildings and injuring five civilians, including one child, Donetsk Oblast Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said on Sept. 17.

Russia hits Kramatorsk, wounds 5 civilians. Donetsk Oblast Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko reported that Russian troops shelled the city with S-300 missiles. A 16-year-old teenage girl was among the injured people. The oldest wounded civilian is 72 years old. The Russians damaged 32 residential buildings and completely destroyed two houses, Kyrylenko said.

International response

Politico: Ukraine continues quiet negotiations to receive high-end US weapons. While Ukraine stopped publicly asking for air defense and fighter jets that could change the tide of the war, Kyiv and Washington are discussing whether to send three items – Patriot air defense systems, F-16 fighter jets, and Gray Eagle drone – as long-term financing deals, Politico reported, citing sources on both sides.

PM Shmyhal: Ukraine receives $1.5 billion from US. It is the last tranche of the $4.5 billion grant provided by the U.S. from the World Bank’s trust fund, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said. Ukraine will spend the money on pensions and social care. On Sept. 14, Shmyhal said Ukraine relies on its foreign partners to face massive expenses in the coming year as the budget deficit in 2023 may amount to around $38 billion.

General Staff: Spain sends 5 cargo planes with artillery ammunition to Ukraine. In total, Spain has delivered 75 pallets of ammunition for large-caliber artillery systems to Ukraine over the “last several days,” according to Ukraine’s General Staff. The country is also currently delivering military cold weather gear to Ukraine. “(This) is an example of Spain’s decisive and constant support of the Ukrainian people,” said Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles.

In other news

IAEA: Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant re-connected to national grid after repair. The International Atomic Energy Agency said that one of the four damaged power lines that supplied the plant with electricity had been repaired. This will help the plant to cover electricity needs for reactor cooling and “other essential safety functions,“ the agency said. The plant’s last operating reactor was shut down on Sept. 11. Even when the reactors are no longer operating, a “secure off-site power supply from the grid and back-up power supply systems are essential for preventing a nuclear accident, “ the report reads. The plant is located in the Russian-occupied town of Enerhodar, Zaporizhzhia Oblast.

Ship carrying 30,000 tons of grain for Ethiopia departs Odesa Oblast. A cargo ship left Odesa Oblast on Sept. 17 and is heading towards the Port of Djibouti, after which the grain it carries will be sent to Ethiopia, according to the Odesa Regional Military Administration. On Sept. 16, Turkey’s Defense Ministry reported that five cargo ships left Odesa Oblast via the “grain corridor.” Ukraine has exported at least 3.33 million metric tons of grain since Russia and Ukraine signed an agreement brokered by the UN and Turkey on Aug. 1 to allow grain exports to restart.

Maxar publishes satellite imagery of mass burial site in liberated Izium, Kharkiv Oblast. High-resolution Maxar satellite imagery shows the entrance of the city’s Pischanske cemetery in March and five months later under Russian occupation. The mass burial site reportedly contains around 440 bodies. Evidence has been piling up that Russian troops massacred hundreds of people in Izium.

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Today’s Ukraine Daily was brought to you by Oleksiy Sorokin, Asami Terajima, Denys Krasnikov, Dinara Khalilova, Oleg Sukhov, Natalia Datskevych, Anastasiya Gordiychuk, and Sergiy Slipchenko.

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