As Kyiv pushes on with its counteroffensive, Russian troops are retreating from the occupied territory in Ukraine in one of the biggest defeats of the invasion. CNN’s Matthew Chance reports on how Russians are reacting to the battlefield losses. #CNN #News
Zelensky Visits a City Just Miles From the Front
Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine:
President Volodymyr Zelensky stood in a cold drizzle among wreckage left behind by Russia’s chaotic retreat in Izium, Ukraine, on Wednesday. He told soldiers that Ukraine’s flag would fly over every Ukrainian city and village.
The Ukrainian Army has staged a lightning offensive in the northeastern Kharkiv region, capturing thousands of square miles of territory and important centers like Izium, a railway hub for eastern Ukraine. The offensive has been Ukraine’s most successful military operation.
On Wednesday, Ukrainian forces were pressing the advantage near the city of Lyman, but military analysts say the rapid advance could expose reclaimed towns to Russian attacks. Russia has also shown a willingness to strike civilian targets far from the front.
The Russian Army was defeated in Ukraine, and fled in a shameful way, according to officials.
The Kharkiv offensive, and in particular the move into Izium, was a significant setback for Russia’s war effort. The offensive has all but ruled out a secure Russian takeover of the Donbas region, military analysts say.
The Russian commander in chief Zelya is right there, in Izium, fighting with the valiant ‘defenders,” wrote one Russian nationalist, calling for an overhaul of the Russian leadership.
Residents in Izium were surprised by the Russians’ swift departure, as was the Russian occupation of the city for nearly seven months.
Yevhen Yenin, a deputy minister of internal affairs in Ukraine, said 10 bodies had been found in and around the nearby town of Balakliya, indicating the Russian Army had committed human rights abuses. The Russian government has dismissed witness accounts of atrocities by its soldiers.
Residents of newly reclaimed communities have said that the Ukrainian authorities are interrogating some people and searching for collaborators, but the mood is generally of deep gratitude.
Mr. Zelensky watched the flag raised over ruins in Izium’s square, saying that the destruction was “part of our history now” and “part of the modern Russian nation”.
Volodymyr Zelensky was not seriously hurt in a car accident in Kyiv on Wednesday, his spokesman said.
The State Department warned private citizens not to negotiate prisoner swaps with Russia.
A report said that a former governor of New Mexico met with Russian officials this week to discuss the release of two Americans from prison in Russia. A State Department spokesman said that private citizens should not negotiate prisoner exchanges with the Russian government.
Mr. Price initially declined to comment on the CNN report, but upon further questioning seemed to confirm that Mr. Richardson had visited Moscow this week. He also appeared to criticize Mr. Richardson’s efforts, saying that an official channel between Washington and Moscow should be used.
The war may be distant in Moscow, but in one Russian border city, it’s real.
Military trucks and armored personnel carriers spray-painted with the letter Z rumble through intersections, and refugees pour in from territories in Ukraine that were recently lost to the enemy. Residents express fear that Ukrainian troops could take a step into Russian territory.
Residents of Belgorod feel as if the war has come to their doorstep, as Ukrainian forces are now on the offensive. The mood at the market is tense, with sounds of explosions and debris hitting homes and property.
On Monday, officials assured worried local civilians that the evacuation drills were planned in advance. Many residents of the city fear the risks to their safety are growing.
Some residents of Belgorod are frustrated that the rest of Russia is still living as if it isn’t waging a full-scale war, while they are worried about their soldiers.
Refugees arriving from Ukraine are also driving home the reality of the war, as some fear living under the control of the Ukrainian government.
Many people felt shocked and effectively betrayed by a Russian army they saw as liberators, but that was now on the run in the face of a sweeping Ukrainian offensive.
People who fled to Belgorod from territory recently retaken by Ukraine say the retreating Russian army told them to leave because of potential retaliation. They are also scared because Ukraine passed a law punishing collaboration with the occupying authorities with 10 to 15 years in prison.
In Belgorod, a city of 400,000, fears about Ukrainians on the other side of the border would have been unheard-of a decade ago. Many families are split across the border.
Viktoriya, 50, a cafe owner in Belgorod, said that Kharkiv was a “megapolis” in the minds of every Belgorod resident. The two cities were effectively separated by a front line after the separatist war in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region.
His aunt Larisa arrived from Liman, a city in the Donetsk region, over the weekend. She said more than 80 percent of the housing stock was destroyed, and that her home is now the scene of heavy frontline fighting.
Mr. Ksenov, who was born in Kharkiv but made Belgorod his home more than a decade ago, worries about what will happen to the people from border regions of both countries in the long term.
The secretary general of the United Nations spoke with Vladimir Putin about the Black Sea grain deal and the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant.
President Biden will nominate Lynne M. Tracy, a career diplomat, to be ambassador to Russia.
President Biden plans to nominate Lynne M. Tracy as his next ambassador to Russia, a source familiar with the plan said. If confirmed, Ms. Tracy would succeed John J. Sullivan, who left Moscow earlier this month.
Ms. Tracy served as deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow from 2014 to 2017 and has worked at U.S. diplomatic outposts in Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan.
A leading ballet dancer who braved the theater of war dies at 47.
Oleksandr Shapovalov, a dancer and teacher, died in a battle near Donetsk, the latest victim in a war that has upended Ukraine’s close-knit cultural community.
The war in Ukraine has affected many dancers, and many have fled the country to escape the violence. Mr. Ratmansky has supported Ukraine by staging “Giselle” in London.
An eastern city under attack wonders how far Ukraine’s offensive can go.
The Ukrainian soldier looked almost joyous as his armored vehicle navigated a street corner in the embattled eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, while a civilian stood in front of a two-story brick apartment building that had been hit by a Russian shell last week.
Russian forces have advanced on the outskirts of Bakhmut in recent weeks, but civilians remain wary about what comes next in the mineral-rich Donbas region.
Valentyna’s neighbor, Oleksandr, learned of the extent of the Ukrainian offensive from a friend in the nearby city of Kramatorsk. The Russian front line near the strategically important city of Izium had collapsed completely.
Albina, 18, watched as volunteers helped her great-grandmother into a white evacuation van. She had heard fleeting news of Ukraine’s string of victories but had thought little of it.
The city of Bakhmutovka is cut in two by the Bakhmutovka River, which has become a demarcation line for Russian weapons. Homes and businesses have been destroyed and the river has become a dangerous place to live.
To the residents of Bakhmut, the proximity to death is often quantified by distance: a half mile away or a neighbors house or their own backyard can be considered close.
It remains unclear how many residents remain in Bakhmut, which was briefly under the control of Russian-backed separatists in 2014.
A trio of brothers, Sanya, Seryozha and Slavik, had made the decision to leave their city after a missile struck near their apartment in recent days. They planned to take their gaming computer, a TV, a few bags of clothes and their cat, Sima.
Fearing flooding, Ukrainian officials call for evacuations after Russia damaged a dam.
A salvo of cruise missiles slammed into the industrial Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih on Wednesday, damaging a dam and sending water gushing downstream. Residents were worried about flooding as the water level of the Inhulets River rose on Wednesday night.
Mr. Zelensky condemned the attack in his nightly address, saying the Russians were targeting “objects that have no military value at all” and accusing them of waging a war against civilians.
At one school, volunteers sewed fabric camouflage coverings for soldiers to cover their checkpoints or equipment. They said they felt more motivated after a string of Ukrainian military victories over the past week.
Renewed fighting in ex-Soviet states raises questions about Putin’s influence.
Armenia and Azerbaijan continued their border skirmishes on Wednesday, with Azerbaijani forces accusing Armenia of using mortars and artillery pieces and Armenia of retaliating with large-caliber rifle weapons. Separately, fighting broke out between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said it believed a cease-fire had been reached between Armenia and Azerbaijan and called on both sides to adhere to the 2020 agreement. The clashes between the two countries are not uncommon, often fueled by disputes over territory and water.
Russia’s recent failures in military planning and Mr. Putin’s rumored gaps in knowledge of events in Ukraine are gradually undermining Russia’s reputation among regional governments, said Laurence Broers.
France will keep a cap on gas and power price hikes in 2023.
France’s prime minister said Wednesday that the government would limit electricity and gas price increases to 15 percent in 2023, and that France would be able to last the winter without rationing or imposing drastic power cuts.
Ms. Borne said everyone in France had a role in reducing the country’s overall energy consumption, and that the government would help 12 million poorer households cover their energy costs with one-time checks of about 100 to 200 euros.
E.U. calls for taxes and handouts to battle rising energy prices.
The European Commission proposed a series of emergency measures to deal with the energy crisis caused by the war in Ukraine, including imposing taxes on energy companies to finance support for struggling households and businesses.
Consumers across the European Union are facing punishing electricity bills, which have increased as much as fivefold over the past year. The European Commission has recommended that governments should look for more energy savings and that Europeans should reduce their energy consumption.
At the heart of the energy crisis in the European Union are two issues: Russia’s abrupt all but stop-supplying the bloc with natural gas, and the fact that electricity prices are determined using the price of the most expensive fuel as a benchmark.
The Commission proposed decoupling electricity prices from gas prices and taxing fossil fuel companies, saying it would bring in additional 25 billion euros annually.
Frans Timmermans, the European Union’s top climate official, said the bloc needed to present a united front against Russia.
The U.S. and China move further apart, as Beijing finds common ground with Moscow.
Military, economic and ideological tensions reverberate unchecked between China and the United States, and Beijing is seeking to create an alliance of autocracies with Russia.
Beijing and Washington are moving further apart, with Beijing canceling three rounds of military talks and postponing five others on climate and international crime. Mr. Biden and Mr. Xi have spoken only five times by phone since early 2021.
Russia’s retreat from the northeast leaves other territory it controls vulnerable.
Russia’s retreat from northeastern Ukraine opens the door to a greater Ukrainian offensive in the Donbas region, where the government in Kyiv is challenging the grip of Russian forces.
The situation on the front line remains murky, with Russian forces appearing to have returned to Kreminna.
Ukrainian control of Lyman and Kreminna would make the city of Sievierodonetsk more vulnerable to artillery, and indicate that fighting has extended beyond a new defensive line established by the Russian Defense Ministry following its pullback in the northeast.
Zelensky’s visit to Izium highlights the failure of Russia’s campaign in the northeast.
On Wednesday, President Volodymyr Zelensky raised the national flag in the reclaimed city of Izium, saying that the flag would soon fly in every Ukrainian city and village.
Mr. Zelensky’s visit to Izium, a city that was under Russian control less than a week ago, showed his confidence in the nation’s military to ensure his safety as Russian forces retreat from the northeast.
Residents of Izium have described the cruelty and confusion of the Russian occupation, including the setting up of a “torture chamber” in the basement of the police precinct.
The mayor of Izium said the pipelines got frozen and tore apart in February and that he doubted they would be repaired in time for winter.
The E.U.’s top official lays out plans for lasting support of Ukraine.
Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, framed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a war against Europe.
Ms. von der Leyen used the annual “State of the Union” to deliver a message of resolve, saying that the sanctions against Russia would remain in place despite the economic pain they have caused.
Ms. von der Leyen spent much of her speech addressing the energy crisis, and said that the bloc would reform its energy pricing system.
The PM said the months ahead will not be easy, but with courage and solidarity, Europe will prevail.
President Volodymyr Zelensky made an unannounced visit to Izium, raising the national flag in the city’s main square.
Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine.
On Wednesday, President Volodymyr Zelensky visited a city that had been reclaimed from the Russian Army. He raised the Ukrainian flag and told soldiers that the flag would fly in every Ukrainian city and village.
Ukraine has made gains in the northeast, but the conflict in the south and east remains a grinding slog. Russian forces are edging closer to the city of Bakhmut, but President Putin has faced increased internal criticism over the progress of the invasion.
A prominent ballet dancer was killed in mortar shelling on Monday, the latest victim in a war that has upended Ukraine’s close-knit cultural community. The European Union has emphasized its support for Ukraine and has imposed sanctions on Russia.
Ukraine claimed it had shot down a Russian bomber jet and attack helicopter over Davydiv Brid, a strategically important town north of Kherson city.
Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, wants to decouple energy prices in Europe.
Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, is wearing blue and yellow, the colors of the Ukrainian flag.
Armenia and Azerbaijan clash, raising fears of broader conflict on Russia’s border.
Fighting erupted between Armenia and Azerbaijan on Tuesday, the worst escalation of hostilities between the two countries since a cease-fire brokered by Russia that ended large-scale fighting. The fighting raised concerns that Russia might try to “stir the pot” to create a distraction from the war in Ukraine.