Russia launches drone attack over Kyiv region, say Ukrainian authorities

6:49pm: Moscow says Putin’s party leading votes in annexed Ukraine regions

Russia’s Central Elections Commission claimed Sunday that the United Russia party, which staunchly backs President Vladimir Putin, was leading local ballots in four Ukrainian regions annexed by Moscow last year.

Data posted on the Commission’s website purported to show that the electorate in the war-battered eastern and southern regions had backed United Russia with votes still being counted in the ballot dismissed by Kyiv and its allies as a sham.

5:17pm: Ukraine defence ministry blames Russian forces for NGO deaths

Kyiv on Sunday blamed Russian forces for the killing of two aid workers, one Canadian and one Spanish, in east Ukraine, calling their deaths near the war-battered city of Bakhmut “a painful, irreparable loss”.

The defence ministry said Moscow’s troops had killed Emma Igual, a Spanish citizen who studied at the University of California at Berkeley, and Anthony Ihnat, a Canadian citizen both working for the NGO Road to Relief.

3:17pm: Russia to return to grain deal once all Moscow’s conditions met, Lavrov says

Russia will return to the Black Sea grain deal ‘the same day’ as Moscow’s conditions for export of its own grain and fertilisers to the global markets are met, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters on Sunday.

Russia quit the deal in July, a year after it was brokered by the United Nations and Turkey, complaining that its own food and fertiliser exports faced obstacles and that insufficient Ukrainian grain was going to countries in need.

“When all the necessary actions for removing obstacles for our grain and fertiliser exports are implemented, the same day we will return to the collective implementation of the Ukrainian part of the ‘Black Sea initiative'”, Lavrov told a briefing after attending a two-day G20 summit in New Delhi.

1:37pm: Russian strikes kill foreign aid workers in eastern Ukraine

Two foreign aid workers were reportedly killed in eastern Ukraine on Sunday as Russian shelling hit a van carrying a team of four working with a Ukrainian NGO.

The four volunteers from the Road to Relief NGO, which helps evacuate wounded people from front-line areas, were trapped inside the van as it flipped over and caught fire after being struck by shells near the town of Chasiv Yar, the organisation said on its Instagram page.

Road to Relief said Canadian Anthony Ihnat died in the attack, while German medical volunteer Ruben Mawick and Swedish volunteer Johan Mathias Thyr were seriously injured.

Road to Relief added that it could not trace the whereabouts of the van’s fourth passenger, Emma Igual, a Spanish national who was the organisation’s director. Hours later, Spain’s Acting Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares told Spanish media that authorities in Madrid had received “verbal confirmation” of the 32-year-old Igual’s death.

1:06pm: Erdogan calls for Russia to not be ‘marginalised’ in grain deal

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on Sunday for Russia not to be “marginalised” in talks aimed at reviving a key deal to export Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea.

“No process that marginalises Russia on the Black Sea grain initiative will be viable,” Erdogan said and announced a forthcoming meeting on the issue between representatives from Russia, Ukraine and the UN, without specifying a precise date or location.

11:18am: Ukraine says has advanced more than a kilometre in south

Ukraine said Sunday its forces leading a difficult counteroffensive had made modest headway in an area of the southern front line.

“We are moving forward! Defence Forces in the Tavria area have advanced more than one kilometre,” Ukrainian army commander Oleksandr Tarnavskyi said in his daily update.

9:20am: Moscow says destroyed three Ukrainian speedboats in Black Sea

Russia said Sunday that it destroyed three military speedboats carrying Ukrainian soldiers in the Black Sea which Moscow claims were headed toward annexed Crimea.

“In the western part of the Black Sea… naval aviation of the Black Sea Fleet destroyed three military Willard Sea Force speedboats”, which are US-made, that were carrying Ukrainian armed forces, the Russian defence ministry said on Telegram.

8:56am: Romania summons Russian charge d’affaires over drone fragments

The Romanian foreign ministry has summoned the Russian charge d’affaires following the discovery of new fragments of a drone similar to those used by the Russian military on Romanian soil, the Agerpres website reported on Sunday.

“State Secretary for Strategic Affairs Iulian Fota conveyed the protest of the Romanian side over the violation of Romania’s air space following the identification on (our) territory, near the border with Ukraine, of some drone fragments similar to those used by Russian forces in the aggression against Ukraine,” the foreign ministry said in a statement sent to the media.

8:31am: Russia says it destroys Ukraine-launched drone over Bryansk region

Russian air defence forces destroyed a Ukraine-launched drone over the Bryansk region on Sunday morning, the defence ministry said.

The ministry’s statement on the Telegram messaging app did not immediately report any damage or casualties.

The Bryansk region in southwestern Russia borders Ukraine. 

7:45am: No arrest risk for Putin if he attends G20 in Brazil, Lula says

Russian leader Vladimir Putin will not be arrested if he attends the G20 summit in Rio de Janeiro next year, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said.

The Russian president is skipping this year’s gathering in New Delhi, avoiding possible political opprobrium and any risk of criminal detention under an International Criminal Court (ICC) warrant.

India is not a member of the ICC, which issued the warrant in March over accusations of unlawfully deporting Ukrainian children, a war crime, but Brazil is.

Lula, however, speaking to Indian news network Firstpost on Saturday, said Putin would be invited to next year’s event, to be hosted by Brazil.

“If I’m the president of Brazil and if he comes to Brazil, there’s no way that he will be arrested,” he said, adding he planned to attend a BRICS bloc of developing nations summit in Russia next year.

7:19am: Kyiv says Russia launched 32 drones in attack on Kyiv

Thirty-two Russian drones attacked Ukraine, Kyiv military authorities said Sunday, adding that 25 of them were downed.

“The occupiers attacked Ukraine with 32 kamikaze drones… of which 25 were destroyed by Ukrainian air defence forces. The Russian occupiers directed most of the attack UAVs to the Kyiv region,” Ukraine’s armed forces said in a statement.

05:14am: Russia downs eight Ukraine-launched drones over Crimea, says Russian defence ministry

Russia’s air defence systems destroyed eight Ukraine-launched drones over the Black Sea near the Crimean Peninsula in the early hours of Sunday, the Russian defence ministry said.

The ministry, in a statement on the Telegram messaging app, did not immediately say if there were any damages or injuries.

05:00am: Ukraine downs more than two dozen drones targeting Kyiv, say authorities

Ukrainian air defence forces downed more than two dozen drones targeting Kyiv overnight, city authorities said Sunday morning.

“Drones entered the capital in groups and from different directions,” Sergiy Popko, head of the Kyiv City Military Administration, wrote on Telegram.

“Air defence forces managed to destroy more than two dozen enemy UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles),” he said, adding that the exact number would be announced by Ukraine’s air force.

Authorities had urged people to remain in shelters as the air defence system rained debris on the capital.

Key developments of Saturday, September 9:

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday that Kyiv is “ready” to organise elections despite the ongoing war. Earlier, Zelensky said Russian air superiority is ‘stopping’ his country’s counteroffensive against occupying forces. The remarks came as Russian air strikes killed several people and injured dozens more in eastern Ukraine. 

Read yesterday’s live blog to see how the day’s events unfolded.


© France Médias Monde graphic studio

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)

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