Ukraine’s southern offensive has prompted Kherson separatists to “pause” a planned referendum on whether to become part of Russia. Russian state news agency Tass reported that the head of Kherson’s Russian-appointed authorities, Kirill Stremousov, said plans for a referendum on joining Russia had been “paused” because of the security situation.
Ukraine has repelled Russian offensives in the east as well as hindering Russian positions near Kramatorsk, a key town in eastern Donetsk region, its armed forces claimed. In a situational update, it also claimed that Ukrainian troops had successes in disrupting Russian crossings near Kherson and in using long-range artillery in Kharkiv. In a rare acknowledgment of the Ukrainian counter-offensive, Russia said it pushed back assaults in Kherson.
The backup power line at the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia power plant in Ukraine has been disconnected to extinguish a fire, officials said on Monday. “Due to a fire caused by shelling, the [backup] line was disconnected, that is the last line linking the ZNPP/ZTPP hub to the power system of Ukraine.” As a result, the plant’s sixth and last functioning reactor was disconnected from the grid, Ukrainian operator Energoatom said. However the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said the line itself was not damaged. “The ZNPP continues to receive the electricity it needs for safety from its sole operating reactor,” it said. The back-up line “will be re-connected once the fire has been extinguished”, the UN nuclear watchdog added.
Four of the six UN mission members at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant have left the site, Energoatom, Ukraine’s state enterprise operating all four nuclear power stations in the country, has said. The remaining two IAEA experts will stay on a permanent basis, it said. The agency is drawing up a report to be released this week.
Liz Truss’s imminent arrival as British prime minister has been greeted with scorn from the Kremlin and praise in Ukraine. “I wouldn’t like to say that things can change for the worse, because it’s hard to imagine anything worse,” Vladimir Putin’s chief spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, said when asked if Moscow expected any shift in relations with Britain. “But unfortunately, this cannot be ruled out.” Ukrainian politicians offered an exuberant welcome. “In Liz, we Truss” tweeted Ukrainian deputy Rustem Umerov. “Mrs Truss is a solid supporter of Ukraine. Hope for a fruitful ongoing partnership between the UK and Ukraine.” President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he was “looking forward to the start of cooperation” with Truss.
Ukraine has sought political backing in Brussels for the creation of a special tribunal to prosecute Russian military and political leaders for their role in the war. Several Ukrainian leaders attending a conference on war crimes accountability in the European capital on Monday argued for a court dedicated to prosecuting high-level Russian perpetrators, in addition to the International Criminal Court.
Russia will not resume in full its gas supplies to Europe until the west lifts its sanctions against Moscow, the Kremlin said, as gas prices surged on Monday and the pound and euro slumped. Speaking to journalists on Monday, Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin’s spokesperson, blamed sanctions for Russia’s failure to deliver gas through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. “It is these sanctions imposed by the western states that have brought the situation to what we see now.”
A Russian court has sentenced journalist Ivan Safronov to 22 years in prison on trumped-up treason charges, a record sentence that has shocked those who gathered to protest against his imprisonment. Safronov, a former defence reporter for the Kommersant and Vedomosti dailies, was tried on secret evidence.
A court in Moscow also stripped the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta of its print media licence, effectively banning the newspaper from operating inside Russia. Editor-in-chief, Dmitry Muratov, said the ruling was “a political hit job, without the slightest legal basis”. He said the paper would appeal.
The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, approved a new foreign policy doctrine based around the concept of a “Russian World”, a notion that conservative ideologues have used to justify intervention abroad in support of Russian-speakers. The 31-page “humanitarian policy”, published on Monday, says Russia should “protect, safeguard and advance the traditions and ideals of the Russian World”.