Ukraine’s Zelensky warns of harsh winter, reports war progress

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  • Zelensky: Russia is planning a decisive energy strike on all Europeans
  • Russia delays pipeline reopening in blow to Europe
  • The International Atomic Energy Agency says the line is in the Zaporizhzhya plant but the backup is working
  • The US ambassador to Russia is leaving his post

Kyiv (Reuters) – European leaders sought on Sunday to mitigate the impact of rising energy prices across the continent after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned of a difficult winter, even as he announced progress in a counterattack against Russian forces.

In his Sunday night speech, Zelensky thanked his forces for seizing two settlements in the south and a third in the east, as well as additional areas in the east, saying he had received “good reports” from his military commanders and intelligence chief. Read more

Kirillo Tymoshenko, deputy chief of the president’s office, earlier on Sunday posted a photo of soldiers raising the Ukrainian flag over a village he described as located in the southern region that is the main focus of the counterattack.

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“Viskobyla. Kherson region. Ukraine. Today,” Tymoshenko wrote in a Facebook post above a photo of three soldiers on the rooftops of one of them hanging a Ukrainian flag on the post.

Ukraine launched a counterattack last week targeting the south, particularly the Kherson region, which Russia seized early on in the conflict.

Zelensky’s comments came a day after he warned Europeans that Russia was preparing for a “decisive energy strike” during the coming cold months.

Moscow cited Western sanctions and technical issues regarding the energy disruptions. European countries that supported Kyiv with diplomatic and military support accused Russia of arming energy supplies.

Some analysts say shortages and a rise in living costs as winter approaches risk undermining Western support for Kiev as governments try to deal with a disgruntled population.

Separately, the US Embassy in Moscow said John Sullivan, the ambassador since his appointment by former President Donald Trump in 2019, has left his post and is retiring from the diplomatic corps. A State Department official said Sullivan had an exemplary tour. Read more

Moscow said last week it would keep the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, the main gas channel to Germany, closed, and G7 nations announced a planned price cap for Russian oil exports.

The Kremlin said it would stop selling oil to any country that applied the cap.

German Chancellor Olaf Schulz said on Sunday his government was planning a complete halt to gas deliveries in December, promising measures to lower prices and linking social benefits to inflation.

“Russia is no longer a reliable partner in the energy field,” Schultz told a news conference in Berlin.

In response, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev accused Germany of being an enemy of Russia. “In other words, I declared a mixed war on Russia,” he said.

On Sunday, Finland and Sweden announced plans to provide billions of dollars to electricity companies to avoid the risk of bankruptcy amid the crisis. Read more

Eyes on the nuclear plant ZAPORIZHZHIA

Russian authorities said the situation around the Russian-occupied Zaporizhia nuclear reactor in southern Ukraine was calm on Sunday after United Nations inspectors said on Saturday it had once again lost external power.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement that the last remaining major external power line was cut, although a backup line continued to supply the grid. Read more

It added that only one of its six reactors was still operating.

Russian forces captured the factory shortly after President Vladimir Putin sent his army across the border on February 24. It became a focal point in the conflict. Each side blamed the other for the bombing, which raised fears of a nuclear disaster.

Speaking to Radio Komsomolskaya Pravda, Russian official Vladimir Rogov said there were no shelling or incursions. Rogoff was quoted as saying that agency experts are expected to continue working at the station until at least Monday.

A mission from the International Atomic Energy Agency toured the plant, which is still operated by Ukrainian staff, last week and some experts stayed there awaiting a report from the International Atomic Energy Agency. Read more

Russia has resisted international calls for disarmament in the region.

On other battlefronts, Ukrainian Telegram channels reported explosions at the Antonevsky Bridge near the southern city of Kherson, occupied by Russian forces.

The bridge has been badly damaged by Ukrainian missiles over the past weeks, but Russian forces have been trying to repair it or set up a pontoon crossing or boats to maintain supplies for Russian units on the right bank of the Dnipro River.

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Additional reporting by Tom Palmforth in Kyiv. Additional reporting by Michael Shields, Ron Popesky, Ellen Monaghan, and Reuters offices. Written by Simon Cameron Moore, Angus McSwan, and Patricia Gingerley; Editing by William Mallard, Philippa Fletcher and Lisa Schumaker

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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