Russian forces have targeted a dam on the Inhulets River near Kryvyi Rih — President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's home city — with eight cruise missiles, according to Ukrainian officials, leading to flooding in parts of the city and residents being evacuated.
Oleksandr Vilkul, the head of the Kryvyi Rih military administration, said on Telegram last night that Russian missiles had hit a "very large hydrotechnical structure," widely reported as a dam near the city. Rising water levels on the river led a city official to ask residents to leave parts of the city.
In other news overnight, Zelenskyy was involved in a car accident, the president's office said late last night, but was unhurt in the incident that took place in Kyiv.
Presidential Press Secretary Serhii Nykyforov said last night that "a car collided with the car of the President of Ukraine and escort vehicles" and that law enforcement officers would "find out all the circumstances of the accident."
Earlier on Wednesday, he said the country's armed forces were moving forward "towards victory" as he praised the return of the Ukrainian flag to recaptured territory.
U.S. announces new $600 million security assistance package for Ukraine
The Biden Administration has approved another arms package worth $600 million to further assist Ukraine in its ongoing battle against Russia, according to the Department of Defense.
The package is said to include additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), artillery rounds, vehicles, and counter-unmanned aerial systems, among other equipment.
It marks the 21st drawdown of equipment from Department of Defense inventories since August last year.
So far, Washington has sent more than $15.1 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of Russia's unprovoked war in Ukraine.
— Natalie Tham
Germany says it will deliver two more multiple rocket launchers to Ukraine
Germany will supply two more multiple rocket launchers to Ukraine, Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said.
"We have decided to deliver two more MARS II multiple rocket launchers including 200 rockets to Ukraine," she told a Bundeswehr conference.
The training of Ukrainian operators was expected to start in September, she said.
"On top of this, we will send 50 Dingo armored personnel carriers to Ukraine," Lambrecht announced, referring to an armored vehicle that the German military extensively used during NATO's military operation in Afghanistan.
She also said a deal on a circle swap of infantry fighting vehicles with Greece and Ukraine was almost completed, meaning Germany would soon hand over 40 Marder IFVs to Greece while Greece, in turn, would pass on 40 of its Soviet-built BMP-1 IFVs to Ukraine.
One in six Ukrainian crop storage facilities has been damaged by Russia, new report finds
A new report from the watchdog group Conflict Observatory finds that the Russian invasion of Ukraine has rendered approximately 15% of Ukraine's crop storage facilities inoperable, either because they have been seized by Russian troops or they have been damaged beyond repair in the fighting.
In a press release highlighting the report, a U.S. State Department spokesman noted that the deliberate destruction of civilian food storage facilities may constitute a war crime. The United States "calls for further investigation through appropriate mechanisms," the release said.
Ukraine's status as a major global exporter of grain has helped turn its regional war with Russia into a global food crisis.
Several large countries, including Egypt, Malaysia and Indonesia depend upon Ukraine for more than a quarter of their total wheat imports.
--- Christina Wilkie
Destruction in the village of Nova Husarivka, recently liberated by Ukrainian forces
New photos have emerged from the village of Nova Husarivka in northeastern Ukraine, which was recently liberated after months of Russian occupation. The photographs were shot by Gleb Garanich for Reuters.
The images reveal a massive amount of damage to civilian homes and infrastructure. They also reveal several pieces of Russian artillery that appear to have been abandoned by Russian troops during their hasty retreat from the village during the first week of September.
Below, Nova Husarivka resident Vitali Orlov looks at a Russian multiple rocket launch system at his destroyed farm.
Here, a destroyed Russian Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) can be seen abandoned near the village.
Below, Olena Kushnir looks at Russian shells near her destroyed house.
Local resident Olha Nemashkina stands inside her destroyed house in the village of Nova Husarivka.
--- Scott Mlyn
IAEA board passes resolution calling on Russia to leave Zaporizhzhia
The International Atomic Energy Agency's board of governors passed a new resolution demanding that Russia end its occupation of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, diplomats at today's closed-door meeting said.
The document calls on Russia to "immediately cease all actions against, and at, the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant and any other nuclear facility in Ukraine."
It was passed with 26 votes in favor, two against and seven abstentions, the diplomats said.
Russia and China were the countries that voted against while Egypt, South Africa, Senegal, Burundi, Vietnam, India and Pakistan abstained, they added.
IAEA inspectors visited the nuclear plant, Europe's largest, in late August, and said they planned to leave two inspectors at the plant on a permanent basis as long as the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues.
Biden to meet with family members of Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan
President Joe Biden will meet Friday with the wife of Brittney Griner and the sister of Paul Whelan, the two high-profile Americans currently detained in Russia, the White House confirmed.
"He wanted to let them know that they remain front of mind and his team is working on this every day -- making sure that Brittney and Paul return home safely," said White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
"As we have said before, we believe Russia is illegally detaining Brittney and Paul under intolerable conditions," she added.
Griner was sentenced in August to nine years in prison after pleading guilty to drug charges. Whelan was convicted of espionage in June 2020 and sentenced to 16 years behind bars.
"We would love to be saying today that we have news about Brittany and Paul coming home today, unfortunately that is not where the negotiations are at this time," Jean-Pierre said.
The Biden administration recently proposed a prisoner swap with Russia to secure Griner and Whelan's release, but Moscow rejected the deal.
"The Russians should accept the offer that we have put on the table," said Jean-Pierre.
--- Emma Kinery
Ukrainian military reports conducting more than 140 fire missions in the past day
The Ukrainian military is continuing its major counteroffensive advance on the Russian occupied city of Kherson in Southern Ukraine, a spokesman for the Ukrainian military reported in a Facebook post Thursday.
Vladyslav Nazarov, of the Southern Operation Command, said artillery units of the Ukrainian Defense Forces executed over 140 fire missions in the past day alone.
Facing Russian soldiers in the south who are better prepared to defend their positions than the Russians in retaken areas of the northeast were, Ukrainians have focused on isolating Russian units by bombing bridges and roads that the Kremlin needs to resupply the front lines.
The photo above and the one below show Ukrainian troops on Thursday in southern Ukraine firing a large artillery gun at Russian positions.
--- Christina Wilkie
U.S. sanctions leader of Russia's campaign to deport Ukrainian children to Russia
The Treasury Department issued first-time sanctions on the leader of one of Russia's most notorious government agencies, the so-called Presidential Commission for Children's Rights.
Maria Alexeyevna Lvova-Belova leads the agency identified by the United Nations as the primary organizer of mass deportations of Ukrainian orphans and children separated from their families to Russia.
At a recent U.N. meeting on the Russian deportation of Ukrainians, U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield reported that in the month of July alone, "more than 1,800 children were transferred from Russian-controlled areas of Ukraine to Russia."
Many of the children were "separated from their families and taken from orphanages before being put up for adoption in Russia," she said.
According to the Treasury Department's sanctions report, Lvova-Belova has spearheaded the "forced adoption of Ukrainian children into Russian families, the so-called 'patriotic education' of Ukrainian children, legislative changes to expedite the provision of Russian Federation citizenship to Ukrainian children, and the deliberate removal of Ukrainian children by Russia's forces."
--- Christina Wilkie
EU's von der Leyen says Europe can do more to ease non-tariff barriers to Ukraine
"So much has changed for the better here in Kyiv," said European Union Commissioner Ursula von der Leyen during a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on the streets of Ukraine's capital.
"We will never be able to match the sacrifice that the Ukrainians are making," von der Leyen told reporters. "But what we can tell you is that you'll have your European friends by your side as long as it takes."
Von der Leyen praised the speed with which the EU and Ukraine have connected Ukraine's electrical grid to the EU, a task that was projected to take at least two years before the war, but which was accomplished in two weeks.
"Ukraine is now delivering electricity to the EU, and this we want to improve and increase and thus create steadfast flows of income to Ukraine," she said.
Making her third trip to Ukraine since the start of the war, von der Leyen emphasized the importance of smoothing out Ukraine's economic integration into Europe.
She noted that 98% of tariffs on Ukrainian exports to the EU have now been lifted. But "there are many non-tariff barriers that we can take away."
The European Parliament voted in June to accept Ukraine as a formal candidate for accession into the EU.
--- Christina Wilkie
Ukrainian medic describes being tortured by Russian soldiers as a POW
Yuliia "Taira" Paievska, a Ukrainian volunteer medic, testified before the U.S. Helsinki Commission that she was tortured over three months in Russian captivity.
"When I was in captivity I was being tortured, and they tried to make me give a confession some kind about alleged crimes which I had never committed," Paieyska said in a hearing at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
"They didn't care to know the truth. They just wanted me to admit guilt of for something I had never committed," she said.
Paievska also detailed the treatment of some of her fellow prisoners, and described situations that appeared to violate Geneva Conventions governing the treatment of prisoners and civilians in war.
"Prisoners in cells, screaming for weeks from the torture and lack of medical help," she told the lawmakers.
"A fighter who was beaten for three hours and then thrown into the basement like a sack, and only a day later someone come to him," she said.
"Pregnant prisoners were well known to their relatives and to the state," Paievska said in an apparent reference to women raped while in captivity.
"A dead child in its mother's arms. A seven year old boy with bullet wounds, dying in my lap," she said.
Russia has denied committing atrocities during its months long invasion of Ukraine. But international investigators have documented hundreds of cases of apparent war crimes, from torture and rape to mass executions.
--- Christina Wilkie
US Navy assault ship takes part in Baltic Sea training
U.S. Navy amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge is taking part in international training in the Baltic Sea amid Russia's war in Ukraine and tensions in the region.
The Kearsarge is the first ship of the Wasp class to take part in international training in the Baltic in at least two decades. Associated Press journalists visited the ship last week.
"It's a first off for us in recent memory and it's been very exciting," said Capt. Tom Foster, the commanding officer of the Kearsarge.
With some other U.S. Navy ships, the Kearsarge has been training for several months with the militaries of Sweden and Finland, which formally applied to join NATO after Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.
The training mission is to promote safety and security in the region.
"In the past several months, we have been operating in the Baltics and in the Mediterranean," said Capt. Aaron Kelley, commander of the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group.
— Associated Press
Ukraine's 'hero medic' testifies before the Senate Helsinki Commission
U.S. lawmakers are hearing testimony this morning from Yuliia "Taira" Paievska, a Ukrainian volunteer medic who gained a following early in the war for her dramatic videos of emergency medical workers on the battlefield.
Paievska saved the lives of 700 people during early days of the war, including children and Russian soldiers.
In March, Paievska was captured in Mariupol and held prisoner by Russia for three months. Following her release this summer, she participated in the international Invictus games for injured veterans, where she won three medals.
"In the first 20 days of this war I spent in Mariupol, which was hell. Then I spent three months in Russian captivity, which was hell, too" Paievska said in her opening remarks at a hearing at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
"When my tormentors advised me to commit suicide, I said no," she said.
--- Christina Wilkie
The 'destruction is serious' in Zelenskyy's home city of Kryvyi Rih after repeated strikes
President Zelenskyy's hometown of Kryvyi Rih in central Ukraine has come under repeated missile strikes over the last day.
Russian forces have launched a missile attack on Kryvyi Rih again today after launching eight cruise missiles targeting a dam near the city yesterday, causing the Inhulets River to rise and flooding to parts of the city.
Oleksandr Vilkul, head of the Kryvyi Rih military administration, said this on Telegram account Thursday morning that there had been another strike as he advised civilians to stay in shelters. Several hours later, he reported another cruise missile had hit an "industrial enterprise."
"The destruction is serious," he said, with details around the strike and its impact being clarified.
— Holly Ellyatt
Putin acknowledges China's concerns over Ukraine in sign of friction
Russian President Vladimir Putin said he understood China's Xi Jinping had concerns about the situation in Ukraine, a surprise acknowledgement of friction with Beijing over the war after a week of stunning Russian losses on the ground.
Since Russia's invasion, China has trod a careful line, criticizing Western sanctions against Russia but stopping short of endorsing or assisting in the military campaign.
"We highly value the balanced position of our Chinese friends when it comes to the Ukraine crisis," Putin told Xi at their first meeting since the war began.
"We understand your questions and concern about this. During today's meeting, we will of course explain our position."
Xi did not mention Ukraine in his public remarks, nor was it mentioned in a Chinese readout of their meeting, which took place in Uzbekistan on the sidelines of a regional summit.
Beijing's support is widely seen as essential for Moscow, which needs markets for its energy exports and sources to import high tech goods as it faces sanctions imposed by the West.
The last time the two men met they signed a "no limits" friendship agreement between their two countries. Three weeks later, Russia invaded Ukraine.
The Russian president's comments suggested a Chinese shift towards a more critical stance, in private at least. Ian Bremmer, political science professor at Columbia University, said they were the "first public sign of Putin recognizing pressure to back down."
Path to reclaiming lost territory is 'getting clearer,' Zelenskyy says
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that the path to retaking Russian-occupied parts of the country is getting clearer.
"The path to the return of all our territories is getting clearer. We see the contours of restoration of our state's territorial integrity. We know this is a hard path, but it is possible to pass it. And we are doing that," Zelenskyy said on Telegram Thursday.
His comments come after Ukraine's successes in the northeast of the country, where it has retaken almost all of the Kharkiv region. Russia has launched several blistering attacks in the south and southeast of Ukraine, however, including missile strikes on Zelenskyy's hometown of Kryvyi Rih continued today after strikes yesterday damaged dam near the city, causing flooding in some neighborhoods.
— Holly Ellyatt
President Putin gets ready to meet Xi Jinping
Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to meet his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Thursday as both leaders attend a security summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
The leaders are set to discuss the war in Ukraine as well as Taiwan when they meet at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization , according to Yury Ushakov, President Putin's foreign affairs advisor, according to comments reported by Russian state news agency Ria Novosti on Tuesday.
The news agency quoted Ushakov as stating that Beijing "has a balanced approach to this issue" and understands the reasons for the "special military operation," as Russia labels its invasion of Ukraine.
"If we are talking about a bilateral agenda, then a conversation on trade and economic cooperation will be very important during this contact. In the current difficult situation, in the face of illegitimate Western sanctions, this cooperation demonstrates stability, continues to develop progressively, gain momentum," he said.
It'll be Xi's first foreign visit since the start of the Covid pandemic. China has tacitly supported Russia's position regarding Ukraine but has also appeared keen to insulate itself from the global geopolitical and economic fallout from the war, having called for a cease-fire in Ukraine earlier this year.
— Holly Ellyatt
112 houses flooded, 11 people rescued but no casualties after Kryvyi Rih flooding
Ukrainian officials have released more details on the flowing in the city of Kryvyi Rih in central Ukraine, which was targeted by Russian missile strikes yesterday.
Kyrylo Timoshenko, deputy head of the office of President Zelenskyy, posted on Telegram that after the strikes by Russian missiles, which targeted a major dam on the Inhulets river, 112 houses were flooded and rescuers had to save 11 people.
No deaths have been reported.
The local authorities organized four collection points for citizens to evacuate to in order to reach a safe zone, he added as he detailed how the river level rose after the dam was damaged.
"As a result of such a breach, the water level in the Ingulets River rose from 100cm to 190cm," he said, saying that in order to lower the water level, it was necessary to blow up part of the hydraulic structures downstream.
After what he described as "the exhausting work of this long night," the water level in the river has already dropped by 40cm, a detail also noted by the head of Dnipropetrovsk Regional Military Administration Valentyn Reznichenko.
"The water level in the Ingulets River has already dropped by 40 centimeters at the moment and continues to fall. Thank you to the rescuers, emergency services and everyone who worked through the night and continues to work now. Each of you did an incredible job," Reznichenko said.
— Holly Ellyatt
European Commission chief visits Kyiv
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is in Kyiv on Thursday to discuss how to progress Ukraine's membership bid to join the European Union.
"In Kyiv, for my 3rd visit since the start of Russia's war. So much has changed," von der Leyen said on Twitter.
"Ukraine is now a candidate" for EU membership, she said, adding that she would hold talks with President Zelenskyy and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal about progressing its membership application.
The Ukraine's membership bid was formally accepted earlier this year but it's expected that it will take years for it to join the union.
— Holly Ellyatt
Russians' flight from Kharkiv region shows 'breakdowns in command and control'
The manner in which Russian forces withdrew, and fled, from the region of Kharkiv on northeastern Ukraine suggests a breakdown in command structures, the U.K. said in its latest intelligence update Thursday.
"Ukrainian forces continue to consolidate their control of newly liberated areas of Kharkiv Oblast. Russian forces have largely withdrawn from the area west of the Oskil River," Britain's Ministry of Defense said on Twitter.
"The way in which Russian forces have withdrawn in the last week has varied. Some units retreated in relatively good order and under control, while others fled in apparent panic," it said.
"Such abandonment highlights the disorganised retreat of some Russian units and likely localised breakdowns in command and control."
High-value equipment abandoned by withdrawing Russian forces included capabilities essential to enable Russia's artillery-centric style of warfare, the ministry noted, including at least one Zoopark counter-battery radar and at least one IV14 artillery command and control vehicle.
— Holly Ellyatt
'Active hostilities' in Kherson amid reports of shelling and looting by Russian forces
De-occupied settlements in the region of Kherson in southern Ukraine are coming under Russian fire, a regional official warned on Thursday as he told residents to evacuate.
"The situation in the de-occupied settlements of the Kherson region is extremely difficult," Yaroslav Yanushevych, head of the Kherson Regional Military Administration, said on Telegram, noting that one town had seen all of its houses damaged or destroyed while another had seen 80% of its properties destroyed.
Ukraine recently launched a counteroffensive in southern Ukraine to reclaim Russian-occupied territories. Unlike its counterattack in northeastern Ukraine, which has seen most of the region of Kharkiv de-occupied, a significant part of Kherson — the region above Russian-annexed Crimea — remains occupied by Russian forces although Ukraine has launched a series of counterattacks there and has made some gains.
Yanushevych said the first thing Ukraine's armed forces did when they liberated settlements from Russian occupation was to advise residents to leave immediately in expectation of Russian reprisals and attacks.
Yesterday Yanushevych said the "situation in the Kherson region remains extremely difficult, active hostilities continue."
The region's infrastructure was being subjected "to devastating destruction every day due to shelling by the occupiers. In the temporarily occupied settlements, the Russians continue to seize administrative premises and loot," he said. CNBC was unable to verify the information in the official's post.
— Holly Ellyatt
Zelenskyy tells Crimeans that Ukraine is coming
Video source: Metin Aktas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited a key city recently liberated by Ukrainian troops and had a message for residents of Crimea: "We will arrive."
Zelenskyy spoke to reporters after visiting scenes of destruction inflicted by Russian troops and helping to hoist Ukraine's flag at Izyum, which only a week ago was held by invading forces. A Ukrainian counteroffensive sent Russian troops into a retreat and reclaimed the city on Sept. 10.
"We will come," Zelenskyy said, addressing residents of Crimea. "I don't know when. And nobody knows when. But we have plans. So we'll come, because...it's our land, and it's our people."
Zelenskyy expressed concern about the cumulative effect of televised Russian propaganda on Crimean children who have never known what it's like to be part of Ukraine. Russia's military seized the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014.
"The information war is very strong, and Russia attacked [Crimeans] by television, media ... and of course, it will be very difficult for children when we come," Zelenskyy said.
— Ted Kemp
Russians target dam near Kryvyi Rih, causing flooding and evacuation of parts of the city
Russians have shelled a dam on the Inhulets River near Kryvyi Rih — President Zelenskyy's home city — leading to flooding in parts of the city and residents being evacuated.
Oleksandr Vilkul, the head of the Kryvyi Rih military administration, said on Telegram last night that Russian missiles had hit a "very large hydrotechnical structure," widely reported as a dam near the city.
"Dear residents of Kryvyi Rih, Russia has committed another terrorist act. They hit a very large hydrotechnical structure in Kryvyi Rih with eight cruise missiles. The attempt is to simply wash away a part of our city with water. We are monitoring the situation, the response efforts are underway, all services are involved, everyone is on the site. But the water level in the Inhulets River has risen," Vilkul said.
He then named streets that citizens were being asked to evacuate as "the water in the Inhulets River has risen."
Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of Zelenskyy's office, said eight Russian cruise missiles had attacked Kryvyi Rih, calling it a "terrorist act."
"After all, rockets are aimed at buildings that are critically important for people's livelihood," he said in a post on Telegram with a video showing high water levels on the river and partially submerged trees on the banks.
"Today, the Russian troops directed the maximum number of their weapons to hydrotechnical structures. The goal is obvious — an attempt to create an emergency situation. It is not important to them whether people will remain without water or whether the city will be flooded. They need us to panic so it would be difficult for us to make decisions. So let's not panic," he said.
— Holly Ellyatt
President Zelenskyy involved in car accident, is unhurt
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was involved in a car accident in Kyiv last night, the president's office said late last night.
Zelenskyy was not injured in the incident, the circumstances around which are now being investigated.
Presidential Press Secretary Serhii Nykyforov said on Facebook last night that "a car collided with the car of the President of Ukraine and escort vehicles."
"Medics accompanying the head of the state provided the driver of the car with medical aid and transferred him to an ambulance. The president was examined by a doctor, no serious injuries were found. The law enforcement officers will find out all the circumstances of the accident."
— Holly Ellyatt
'It's not surprising to us,' Pentagon says of Ukraine counteroffensive
The Pentagon hailed a series of lightning advances Ukraine made against Russian forces in the southern and eastern parts of the war-weary country.
"Certainly, since the beginning of Russia's invasion into Ukraine, we've seen the Ukrainians demonstrate a remarkable adaptability and their ability to use their warfighting capabilities to great effect," Pentagon press secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters at the Pentagon.
"So, it's not surprising to us that they have pushed as quickly as they have," he added.
Ryder declined to confirm Ukrainian government reports that cited specific gains the country had made, adding that he would not speak on behalf of a foreign military.
He added that the U.S. would continue to provide security assistance to Kyiv and hailed Ukrainian forces' "remarkable adaptability on the battlefield."
— Amanda Macias
Estonia, one of NATO's smallest countries, prepares additional aid package for Ukraine
Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that his government is preparing another aid package for the war-torn country.
"The Ukrainian armed forces and people have shown immense courage. It is a proud feeling to see reports of success along Ukraine's eastern front – it is a sure sign that our collective aid has had a positive impact and that it must continue," Pevkur said, according to an Estonian readout of the meeting.
Estonia, one of NATO's smallest member countries and a nation that borders Russia, has donated two field hospitals to Ukraine since Russia's war broke out in late February.
Pevkur also met with Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov.
"I was interested in hearing from the Minister of Defence about the specifics of aid that is needed now – that will be the basis for putting together our next aid package to Ukraine. In addition, we are currently contributing towards training efforts," he added.
— Amanda Macias
30-40% chance of a collapse in the Russian army, says retired Air Marshal
A former senior member of the British armed forces has told Sky News said there is a 30-40% chance that Russia's armed forces could collapse and the war could be over by Christmas.
Retired RAF Air Marshal Edward Stringer, the ex-director-general of the Defence Academy and director-general of Joint Force Development, Strategic Command, told Sky's Kay Burley he previously thought the war would go into next year, but things have changed on the ground.
He said: "I do not see that the Russians will be able to rebuild their armed forces to be able to re-seize the initiative and retake the offensive again.
"And so now we are into seeing how this develops on the ground and one hopes that Zelenskyy will be in a position where he can start to negotiate favourable terms and perhaps even defeat the entire Russian invasion of his country
"Eventually all conflicts end in negotiation. One has to calibrate to what extent you have to keep channels open and to what extent you allow him (Putin) to think that he's still part of the family of nations.
"I always thought it would go into next year. I think it is possible now, and one hates to be the person that says it will all be over by Christmas, but it is possible now that there could be a collapse in the Russian armed forces... it's a good 30-40%, and that calls into question the future of Putin, Putinism, and the West should think very strongly now about what the world looks like post-Putin."
— Sky News
As war began, Putin reportedly rejected a Ukraine peace deal recommended by aide
Vladimir Putin's chief envoy on Ukraine told the Russian leader as the war began that he had struck a provisional deal with Kyiv that would satisfy Russia's demand that Ukraine stay out of NATO, but Putin rejected it and pressed ahead with his military campaign, according to three people close to the Russian leadership who spoke to Reuters.
The Ukrainian-born envoy, Dmitry Kozak, told Putin that he believed the deal he had hammered out removed the need for Russia to pursue a large-scale occupation of Ukraine, according to these sources. Kozak's recommendation to Putin to adopt the deal is being reported by Reuters for the first time.
Putin had repeatedly asserted prior to the war that NATO and its military infrastructure were creeping closer to Russia's borders by accepting new members from eastern Europe, and that the alliance was now preparing to bring Ukraine into its orbit too. Putin publicly said that represented an existential threat to Russia, forcing him to react.
But, despite earlier backing the negotiations, Putin made it clear when presented with Kozak's deal that the concessions negotiated by his aide did not go far enough and that he had expanded his objectives to include annexing swathes of Ukrainian territory, the sources said. The upshot: the deal was dropped.