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Ukraine's forces gain ground in the south as counteroffensive builds; Russia acknowledges advances

This was CNBC's live blog tracking developments on the war in Ukraine on Oct.3, 2022. See here for the latest updates. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Sunday that the success of Ukraine's soldiers is not limited to the recapture of Lyman, a key logistics hub for the occupying Russian forces, in the northeast of the country. He said in his nightly address that more settlements around Kherson have been liberated.

Russia's Defense Ministry said it had withdrawn its forces from Lyman on Saturday to prevent them from being encircled.

Ukraine is continuing its counteroffensive in the northeast of the country as it tries to reclaim more occupied land from Russia, which last Friday announced it was annexing four regions in Ukraine, a move branded as illegitimate and farcical by the international community.

Ukraine recaptures Lyman, a key logistics hub for Russian forces.
Institute for the Study of War

The Russian defeat in Lyman in northeast Ukraine and other parts of the Kharkiv region, combined with the Kremlin's failure to conduct a partial military mobilization effectively and fairly "are fundamentally changing the Russian information space," according to analysts at the Institute for the Study of War.

"The Russian information space has significantly deviated from the narratives preferred by the Kremlin and the Russian Ministry of Defense that things are generally under control," analysts at the defense and foreign affairs think tank said Sunday.

More than 253 vessels carrying agricultural products have left Ukrainian ports

Barbados-flagged general cargo ship Fulmar S is pictured in the Black Sea, north of the Bosphorus Strait, in Istanbul, Turkey August 5, 2022.
Mehmet Caliskan | Reuters

The organization overseeing the export of agricultural products from Ukraine said that so far 253 vessels have left the besieged country since ports reopened in July.

The Joint Coordination Center, an initiative of Ukraine, Russia, the United Nations and Turkey, said the ships transported a total of 5.7 million metric tons of grain and other food products.

In July, three of Ukraine's ports were reopened to exports under the U.N.-backed Black Sea Grain Initiative.

— Amanda Macias

Elon Musk is publicly rebuked by Zelenskyy over his Twitter poll

SpaceX Chief Engineer Elon Musk takes part in a joint news conference with T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert (not pictured) at the SpaceX Starbase, in Brownsville, Texas, U.S., August 25, 2022.
Adrees Latif | Reuters

American tech billionaire Elon Musk drew public ire from Ukraine's top officials after the Tesla CEO posted a Twitter poll asking the public to agree or disagree with what he claimed is the most likely outcome of Russia's invasion.

"F-- off is my very diplomatic reply to you," Ukraine's ambassador to Germany, Andrij Melnyk, wrote in response to Musk's tweet.

Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy responded with a Twitter poll of his own. "Which Elon Musk do you like more," Zelenskyy asked. "The one who supports Ukraine" or "The one who supports Russia."

What Musk calls a "highly likely" outcome presumes that Russia accomplishes several of its major goals, including permanently annexing Crimea, using referendums to determine the fates of 4 other attempted annexations, and prohibiting Ukraine from joining NATO.

For Ukrainians, these outcomes would never, ever be acceptable.

Christina Wilkie

Photos show destroyed Russian armored vehicles left behind in Izium, Kharkiv

Ukrainian forces transport Russian vehicles and missile launch pads left behind by the Russian forces in Izium, Kharkiv, Ukraine on October 02, 2022.
Metin Aktas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Over the weekend Ukrainian forces seized the strategic city of Lyman and continued a stunning counteroffensive in the northeast of the country.

The following photos show destroyed Russian armored vehicles and tanks left behind as Ukrainian forces battle for Izium, Kharkiv and continue to push east through Russian lines.

Destroyed Russian armored vehicles left behind by the Russian forces in Izium, Kharkiv, Ukraine on October 02, 2022. 
Metin Aktas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Destroyed Russian armored vehicles left behind by the Russian forces in Izium, Kharkiv, Ukraine on October 02, 2022.
Metin Aktas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Destroyed Russian armored vehicles left behind by the Russian forces in Izium, Kharkiv, Ukraine on October 02, 2022.
Metin Aktas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
A destroyed Russian armored vehicle left behind by the Russian forces in Izium, Kharkiv, Ukraine on October 02, 2022. (Photo by Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Metin Aktas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

— Metin Aktas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Tehran denies that Iranian-made drones are being used by Russians in Ukraine

A Ukrainian flag waves in a residential area heavily damaged in the village of Dolyna in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine after the withdrawal of Russian troops on September 24, 2022.
Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Iran denied reports that Iranian-made drones were being used by Russian forces on the battlefield in Ukraine.

Nasser Kanaani, an Iranian spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told NBC News that press reports about the use of drones in Ukraine are fake.

"The Islamic Republic considers this news baseless," Kanaani said, adding that Iran has declared a stance of neutrality in the Russia-Ukraine war.

Last week, the Pentagon said it observed Russian forces using Iranian drones in Ukraine.

"We do assess that the Russians are using the Iranian drones in Ukraine," Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said during a Sept. 27 press briefing.

"We've also seen reports of Ukrainians shooting down some of these drones," he added, without providing more detail.

— Amanda Macias

A Russian court will hear WNBA star Brittney Griner's appeal this month

US' Women's National Basketball Association (NBA) basketball player Brittney Griner, who was detained at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport and later charged with illegal possession of cannabis, waits for the verdict inside a defendants' cage before a court hearing in Khimki outside Moscow, on August 4, 2022.
Evgenia Novozhenina | AFP | Getty Images

A Russian court will hear WNBA star Brittney Griner's appeal against her nine-year prison sentence for drug possession on Oct. 25.

Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, was convicted in August on accusations that she was smuggling vape cartridges with cannabis oil into Russia.

The 31-year-old, who plays professional basketball in Russia during the WNBA offseason, admitted that she had the canisters in her luggage but testified that she accidentally packed them because she was in a rush.

The Biden administration has referred to her as "wrongfully detained" and has attempted to broker deals with the Kremlin for her release.

— Amanda Macias

Ukraine's first lady christens newest Ukrainian warship in Turkey

Ukrainian Minister of Defense Oleksii Reznikov shared a video on Twitter of the newest warship to join Ukraine's fleet.

"With a ship like this, our Black and Azov seas will be safe," Reznikov wrote on Twitter. He added that the future base port for the warship will be in Sevastopol. The ship was launched in Turkey and is expected to join Ukraine's fleet by 2024.

The anti-submarine corvette, named "Hetman Ivan Mazepa," was christened by Ukraine's first lady Olena Zelenska.

— Amanda Macias

More than 4.2 million Ukrainians have applied for temporary resident status in other countries

A taxi driver takes a Ukrainian refugee child in his arms from his taxi as they arrive to Madrid. A convoy of taxis traveled from Madrid to the Polish-Ukrainian border carrying humanitarian aid and bringing back Ukrainian families fleeing Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in total 133 refugees, of which 60 are children. The convoy arrived to the foundation 'Mensajeros de la Paz', which will provide them accommodation.
Marcos Del Mazo | Lightrocket | Getty Images

More than 4.2 million Ukrainians have applied for temporary resident status in other countries since Russia's invasion in late February, the U.N. Refugee Agency estimates.

The majority of refugees from Ukraine have relocated to Poland.

According to data collected by the agency, more than 7.5 million people have become refugees and moved to neighbor European countries.

"The escalation of conflict in Ukraine has caused civilian casualties and destruction of civilian infrastructure, forcing people to flee their homes seeking safety, protection and assistance," the U.N. Refugee Agency wrote.

— Amanda Macias

Russian forces release Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant official, IAEA chief says

A Russian serviceman stands guard the territory outside the second reactor of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in Energodar on May 1, 2022.
Andrey Borodulin | AFP | Getty Images

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said that Russian forces released an employee from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi said Ihor Murashov, the director general of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, was released and returned to his family.

Last week, Murashov was allegedly detained by Russian troops upon leaving the power plant facility in the town of Energodar.

— Amanda Macias

Five vessels carrying 116,123 metric tons of corn and wheat leave Ukraine

An aerial view of Barbados flagged "Fulmar S" named empty grain ship as Representatives of Russia, Ukraine, Turkiye and the United Nations (UN) of the Joint Coordination Center (JCC) conduct inspection on vessel in Istanbul, Turkiye on August 05, 2022.
Islam Yakut | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The organization overseeing the export of grain from Ukraine said it approved five vessels to leave the besieged country on Sunday.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative, an initiative of Ukraine, Russia, the United Nations and Turkey, said the vessels are carrying 116,123 metric tons of corn and wheat.

Three ships are destined for Spain and are carrying 32,700 metric tons of corn and 50,500 metric tons of wheat. Another ship will depart from Ukraine's port of Chornomorsk for Tunisia and is carrying 10,000 metric tons of wheat. The fifth vessel is carrying 22,923 metric tons of wheat and will sail to Italy from Ukraine's port of Odesa.

Read more about the Black Sea Grain Initiative here.

— Amanda Macias

A look inside Russia's partial mobilization in Rostov, Russia

Russian citizens drafted during the partial mobilization begin their military trainings in Rostov, Russia after a military call-up for the Ukraine war.

Relatives say goodbye to Russian citizens drafted during the partial mobilization as they join their military units due to a military call-up for the Russia-Ukraine war with Russian President Vladimir Putin's partial mobilisation order in Rostov, Russia on October 02, 2022.
Arkady Budnitsky | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Russian citizens drafted during the partial mobilization begin their military trainings after a military call-up for the Russia-Ukraine war in Rostov, Russia on October 02, 2022.
Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Russian citizens drafted during the partial mobilization begin their military trainings after a military call-up for the Russia-Ukraine war in Rostov, Russia on October 02, 2022.
Arkady Budnitsky | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Russian citizens drafted during the partial mobilization begin their military trainings after a military call-up for the Russia-Ukraine war in Rostov, Russia on October 02, 2022.
Arkady Budnitsky | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Russian citizens drafted during the partial mobilization begin their military trainings after a military call-up for the Russia-Ukraine war in Rostov, Russia on October 02, 2022.
Arkady Budnitsky | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Russian citizens drafted during the partial mobilization begin their military trainings after a military call-up for the Russia-Ukraine war in Rostov, Russia on October 02, 2022.
Arkady Budnitsky | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Russian citizens drafted during the partial mobilization begin their military trainings after a military call-up for the Russia-Ukraine war in Rostov, Russia on October 02, 2022.
Arkady Budnitsky | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Russian citizens drafted during the partial mobilization begin their military trainings after a military call-up for the Russia-Ukraine war in Rostov, Russia on October 02, 2022.
Arkady Budnitsky | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Russian citizens drafted during the partial mobilization begin their military trainings after a military call-up for the Russia-Ukraine war in Rostov, Russia on October 02, 2022.
Arkady Budnitsky | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Relatives say goodbye to Russian citizens drafted during the partial mobilization as they join their military units due to a military call-up for the Russia-Ukraine war with Russian President Vladimir Putin's partial mobilisation order in Rostov, Russia on October 02, 2022.
Arkady Budnitsky | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Arkady Budnitsky | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

UN says more than 6,000 killed in Ukraine since start of war

Graves are seen at a cemetery in the settlement of Vinogradnoye outside Mariupol on September 8, 2022, amid the ongoing Russian military action in Ukraine.
Stringer | AFP | Getty Images

The United Nations has confirmed 6,114 civilian deaths and 9,132 injuries in Ukraine since Russia invaded its ex-Soviet neighbor on Feb. 24.

The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said the death toll in Ukraine is likely higher, because the armed conflict can delay fatality reports.

The international organization said most of the civilian casualties recorded were caused by the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including shelling from heavy artillery and multiple launch rocket systems, as well as missiles and airstrikes.

— Amanda Macias

Russia's Parliament approves annexations, but boundaries remain unclear

People attend an event marking the declared Russia's annexation of the Russian-controlled territories of four Ukraine's Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, after holding what Russian authorities called referendums in the occupied areas of Ukraine that were condemned by Kyiv and governments worldwide, in Luhansk, Russian-controlled Ukraine, September 30, 2022.
Alexander Ermochenko | Reuters

Russia's Duma, or lower house of Parliament, unanimously approved the annexation of the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson although the borders of what Russia now claims is its territory remain unclear.

A statement from the Duma on Telegram said "the entry of the Donetsk, Luhansk people's republics [self-proclaimed separatist regions], Zaporozhzhia and Kherson regions into the Russian Federation is the only way to save millions of people's lives from the criminal Kyiv regime," the Duma said, repeating baseless accusations against the government in Kyiv.

Russia's annexation of four regions of Ukraine has been almost internationally condemned with Ukraine and its allies calling the move, after sham referendums in those occupied regions, illegitimate and illegal.

It's also unclear where the boundaries are of Russia's new so-called "territory" with none of the regions fully occupied by Russian forces.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters today that the DPR and LPR (so-called "people's republics in eastern Ukraine) will accede to the Russian Federation as they are but that Russia will consult with the residents of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia over where the borders of those regions are set.

Asked whether the parts of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions that are now under control of the Ukrainian army are Russian or Ukrainian territory, Peskov said "I have nothing more to add to what I said right now."

Ukraine has vowed to retake all of its lost territory, with around 18% of the country currently occupied by Russian forces.

— Holly Ellyatt

Russia concedes Ukraine is making gains in parts of the Kherson region

Russia's Defense Ministry acknowledged that Ukrainian forces were making ground in a renewed counteroffensive in the southern Kherson region.

"Superior enemy tank units succeeded in wedging into the depth of our defence towards Zolotaya Balka and Aleksandrovka," the ministry said in an update, referring to villages along the Dnipro river around Kherson.

The ministry claimed that Russian forces had repelled attacks in nearby Mykolaiv, in the Kherson region, and Kryvyi Rih, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's hometown.

Russia's admission that Ukraine is making slow but steady advances comes after a humiliating retreat in the northeast with Russian forces withdrawing from one of their logistics hubs, Lyman, at the weekend in order to avoid encirclement.

A woman that lives in a village on the border of Mykolaiv and Kherson Oblast greets a Ukrainian military member on July 25, 2022 in Mykolaiv Oblast, Ukraine.
Global Images Ukraine | Getty Images News | Getty Images

On Monday, there have been various reports citing gains in the southern Kherson region, however, with officials remarking that several Russian-occupied settlements have been retaken.

"In the last days, we have seen the first photo of Osokorivka ... we have seen our troops near the entrance to Mykhailivka, we have seen our troops in Khreschenivka, next to the monument. This means that Zolota Balka also is under the control of our armed forces, and it means that our armed forces are moving powerfully along the banks of the Dnipro nearer to Beryslav," Serhiy Khlan, a Kherson regional council member, told Reuters, naming villages in the Kherson area.

"Officially, there is no such information yet, but the (Russian) social media pages which are panicking ... absolutely confirm these photos," he said, according to the news agency.

— Holly Ellyatt

Recaptured town of Lyman has to be thoroughly demined after Russian retreat

Ukrainian troops pose for a photo in Lyman, Ukraine, in this picture released on social media Oct. 1, 2022.
Oleksiy Biloshytskyi | Oleksiy Biloshytskyi Via Reuters

Ukrainian forces are having to demine the area in and around Lyman, a logistics hub for occupying Russian forces that was recaptured by Ukraine's troops at the weekend.

"The city itself has been cleared from [Russian] invaders. Of course, some of them are still running somewhere on the outskirts, and they are now being actively hunted down. But, stabilization measures continue there. First of all, there is a very dangerous situation with mines," eastern command spokesman Serhii Cherevatyi said Monday, according to comments reported by Ukrinform news agency.

"The occupiers left lots of anti-personnel mines, the so-called trip wires, 'butterfly mines' that are not visible behind the leaves," he added.

He said foreign journalists had asked to enter the de-occupied town but it was still too dangerous with "deminers are doing everything to make it safe," Cherevatyi said.

— Holly Ellyatt

Ukrainian forces gaining a foothold in southern Kherson region

Ukrainian soldiers scavenge an abandoned Russian T-90A tank in Kyrylivka, in the recently retaken area near Kharkiv, on September 30, 2022.
Yasuyoshi Chiba | AFP | Getty Images

Ukraine's forces are gaining a foothold within liberated areas of the southern Kherson region, according to a spokeswoman for the southern military command.

Southern command spokesperson Natalia Humeniuk told reporters Monday that Ukraine's forces in the south are "conducting battles and gaining a foothold within the areas which have already been liberated and those that are still keeping the defense."

"Also, we continue working with local residents along the contact line, along the front line, in those settlements that are under enemy fire. About 45 settlements have been shelled over the past day," Humeniuk told reporters, according to comments reported by news agency Ukrinform, with efforts underway to evacuate civilians.

Humeniuk also said that Russian troops are inspecting households in occupied areas of the region for men aged between 18 and 35 in order to call them up and replenish their military units.

CNBC was unable to verify Humeniuk's comments.

— Holly Ellyatt

Russian-installed official admits Ukraine has made 'breakthroughs' in Kherson region

Pro-Ukraine volunteers from Chechnya train near Kyiv. The Zelenskyy government has displayed growing confidence in recent weeks, increasingly taking the initiative in a conflict that the Kremlin itself has admitted is stalled.
Genya Savilov | Afp | Getty Images

Ukrainian forces appear to be making progress in a counteroffensive in the southern Kherson region, one of four regions that Moscow "annexed" last week, with one Russian-installed official conceding that Kyiv's forces were making gains around Kherson.

"It's tense, let's put it that way," Vladimir Saldo, the Russian-installed head of Ukraine's Kherson region, said on state television, Reuters reported. He said Ukraine's forces had made some breakthroughs in the region and taken control of some settlements.

Ukraine has continued to make advances in both the northeast of the country, in the Kharkiv region, and around Kherson in the south, seemingly undaunted by President Putin's announcement last week that Moscow was "annexing" four regions in Ukraine: Kherson, Zaporizhzhia and the separatist and pro-Russian Donetsk and Luhansk self-proclaimed "republics" in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine and its allies condemned the move, calling it illegitimate and illegal.

— Holly Ellyatt

Pro-Russian groups are raising funds in crypto to prop up paramilitary operations

Pro-Russian groups are raising funds in cryptocurrency to prop up paramilitary operations and evade U.S. sanctions as the war with Ukraine wages on, a research report published Monday revealed.

As of Sept. 22, these fundraising groups had raised $400,000 in cryptocurrency since the start of the invasion on Feb. 24, according to TRM Labs, a digital asset compliance and risk management company.

The research revealed that groups, using encrypted messaging app Telegram, are offering ways for people to send funds which are used to supply Russian-affiliated militia groups and support combat training at locations close to the border with Ukraine.

Russian paramilitary groups are raising funds in cryptocurrency using messaging app Telegram, according to research published by TRM Labs.
Matt Cardy | Getty Images News | Getty Images

One group TRM Labs identified raising funds is Task Force Rusich which the U.S. Treasury describes as a "neo-Nazi paramilitary group that has participated in combat alongside Russia's military in Ukraine." The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFCA) has sanctioned Task Force Rusich.

On a Telegram channel, TRM Labs discovered this group was looking to raise money for items such as thermal imaging equipment and radios.

Read more on the story here

The only way to end the war is on the battlefield, lawmaker says

Putin is copying Hitler, says Ukrainian MP
VIDEO3:2903:29
Putin is copying Hitler, says Ukrainian MP

Ukraine will not negotiate with Russia unless it agrees to withdraw all its troops from Ukrainian territory — but with that increasingly unlikely, the resolution to the conflict currently lies on the battlefield, one Ukrainian lawmaker told CNBC.

"Ukraine is ready for negotiations at any moment, but negotiations about what? About the retreat of Russian troops from our territory? Sure," Oleksiy Goncharenko, a Ukrainian MP, told CNBC Monday.

"But Putin is not going to do this. He claimed that the territories he invaded are Russian ... so clearly he has chosen the way of escalation and that's why the only answer is on the battlefield and Ukraine is doing this."

Goncharenko noted that Putin's partial military mobilization, in which 300,000 men are expected to be called up to fight in Ukraine, would only prolong the war instead of enabling Moscow to win it.

Likening Russia's army and the state to a dinosaur, he said: "[It has] a massive body, tiny head and very tiny brains inside this head."

"When Russia will realize [it can't win] we're ready to negotiate but it looks like Putin will never do it," he said.

— Holly Ellyatt

Russian mobilization marked by dysfunction and disorganization, UK says

Reservists drafted during the partial mobilization at a departure ceremony in Sevastopol, Crimea, on Sept. 27, 2022.
Stringer | Afp | Getty Images

The "partial military mobilization" announced by President Putin two weeks ago is showing itself to be dysfunctional and disorganized, according to Britain's Ministry of Defense.

President Putin announced the call-up on Sept. 21, leading to thousands of eligible fighting men trying to flee the country. Other reports have suggested the men going to fight in Ukraine are poorly trained and ill-equipped for war. There have been multiple reports of men being mistakenly conscripted.

Britain's Ministry of Defense said that even Putin had acknowledged problems with the draft, telling his National Security Council on Sept. 29 that "a lot of questions are being raised during this mobilization campaign, and we must promptly correct our mistakes and not repeat them."

Reservists drafted during the partial mobilization attend a departure ceremony in Sevastopol, Crimea, on Sept. 27, 2022.
Stringer | Afp | Getty Images

"Putin's unusually rapid acknowledgement of problems highlights the dysfunction of the mobilisation over its first week. Local officials are likely unclear on the exact scope and legal rationale of the campaign," the ministry said on Twitter.

"They have almost certainly drafted some personnel who are outside the definitions claimed by Putin and the Ministry of Defence. As drafted reservists continue to assemble at tented transit camps, Russian officials are likely struggling to provide training and in finding officers to lead new units," the ministry added.

— Holly Ellyatt

Criticism of Ukraine invasion grows in Russia, even from pro-Kremlin figures

Ukrainian troops pose for a photo in Lyman, Ukraine, in this picture released on social media Oct. 1, 2022.
Oleksiy Biloshytskyi | Oleksiy Biloshytskyi Via Reuters

The Russian defeat in Lyman in northeast Ukraine and other parts of the Kharkiv region, combined with the Kremlin's failure to conduct a partial military mobilization effectively and fairly, "are fundamentally changing the Russian information space," according to analysts at the Institute for the Study of War.

"The Russian information space has significantly deviated from the narratives preferred by the Kremlin and the Russian Ministry of Defense that things are generally under control," analysts at the defense and foreign affairs think tank said Sunday, noting that Ukraine's recapturing of Lyman in northeast Kharkiv this weekend is leading to mounting criticism of President Putin's regime, top officials and the so-called "special military operation" (as Russia calls it) in Ukraine.

"Kremlin-sponsored media and Russian milbloggers – a prominent Telegram community composed of Russian war correspondents, former proxy officials, and nationalists – are grieving the loss of Lyman while simultaneously criticizing the bureaucratic failures of the partial mobilization," the analysts noted in their latest assessment of the war.

Ukraine recaptures Lyman, a key logistics hub for Russian forces.
Institute for the Study of War

"Kremlin sources and milbloggers are attributing the defeat around Lyman and Kharkiv Oblast to Russian military failures to properly supply and reinforce Russian forces in northern Donbas and complaining about the lack of transparency regarding the progress of war," they added.

The ISW noted that it's becoming more common for even the most pro-Kremlin TV shows in Russia to host guests that are critical of how the conflict is progressing and some have even criticized Putin's decision to annex four Ukrainian regions last Friday "before securing their administrative borders or even the frontline, expressing doubts about Russia's ability ever to occupy the entirety of these territories."

"Kremlin propagandists no longer conceal their disappointment in the conduct of the partial mobilization, frequently discussing the illegal mobilization of some men and noting issues such as alcoholism among newly mobilized forces," the ISW said. 

"Some speaking on live television have expressed the concern that mobilization will not generate the force necessary to regain the initiative on the battlefield, given the poor quality of Russian reserves."

— Holly Ellyatt

Successes of Ukrainian soldiers not limited to Lyman, Zelenskyy says

"This week, the largest part of the reports is the list of settlements liberated from the enemy within the scope of our ongoing defensive operation. The story of the liberation of Lyman in the Donetsk region has now become the most popular in the media. But the successes of our soldiers are not limited to Lyman," said Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Valentyn Ogirenko | Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Sunday that the success of Ukraine's soldiers is not limited to the recapture of Lyman in the northeast of the country, with more towns around Kherson being liberated.

"This week, the largest part of the reports is the list of settlements liberated from the enemy within the scope of our ongoing defensive operation. The story of the liberation of Lyman in the Donetsk region has now become the most popular in the media. But the successes of our soldiers are not limited to Lyman," he said in his nightly address. Ukrainian forces are also liberating the small Arkhanhelske and Myrolyubivka settlements in the Kherson region, he said.

Ukraine is continuing its counteroffensive in the northeast of the country as it tries to reclaim more occupied land from Russia, which last Friday announced it was annexing four regions in Ukraine, a move branded as illegitimate and farcical by the international community.

Over the weekend, Ukraine announced that its forces had fully taken back control of the town of Lyman, which had been used as a key logistics hub by Russian forces, marking another significant win for Kyiv. Russia's Defense Ministry said that it had withdrawn its forces from the town to prevent them from being encircled.

— Holly Ellyatt