LIVE: 220th day of Russian aggression against Ukraine

Destroyed Russian tanks in the village of in Mala Komyshyvakha, in Kharkiv region, Ukraine, Photo: PAP

The war continues. On Friday, Vladimir Putin proclaimed Russia's annexation of a swath of Ukraine in a pomp-filled Kremlin ceremony, promising Moscow would triumph in its "special military operation" even as he faced a potentially serious new military reversal.

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UN nuclear watchdog chief Rafael Grossi is expected to hold talks in Moscow and Kyiv next week on creating a protection zone around the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (ZNPP) in Ukraine, the International Atomic Energy Agency said on Saturday.

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Germany will deliver the first of four advanced IRIS-T air defence systems to Ukraine in the coming days to help ward off drone attacks, its defence minister Christine Lambrecht said during an unannounced visit to Odesa on Saturday.

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Italy's Eni said on Saturday that it would not receive any of the gas it had requested from Russian supplier Gazprom for Oct. 2 and the situation was expected to remain the same until the following day.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Saturday said fighting was continuing in the key town of Lyman, which Russia said earlier in the day its troops had abandoned to avoid being trapped.

"The Ukrainian flag is already in Lyman in the Donetsk region. Fighting is still going on there," Zelenskyy said in a late-night video address.

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Gas is no longer flowing out of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline following a leak this week that spewed tonnes of methane into the Baltic Sea, a spokesperson for the operator said.

“This can mean two things,” spokesperson Ulrich Lissek said. “Either the pipeline is completely empty or the pressure of the gas in the pipeline and of the water outside have reached an equilibrium.”

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EU leaders will discuss the security of their critical infrastructure next week, the head of the European Council said on Saturday, following damage to Nord Stream pipelines under the Baltic Sea that European leaders have described as sabotage.

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Ramzan Kadyrov, head of Russia's region of Chechnya, said on Saturday that Moscow should consider using a low-yield nuclear weapon in Ukraine amid new reversals on the battlefield.

In a message on Telegram criticising Russian commanders for abandoning the east Ukrainian town of Lyman on Saturday, Kadyrov wrote: “In my personal opinion, more drastic measures should be taken, right up to the declaration of martial law in the border areas and the use of low-yield nuclear weapons”.

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Russia on Saturday was not re-elected to the UN aviation agency's governing council, in a boost for Western powers that wanted to hold Moscow accountable for its invasion of Ukraine.

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Ukrainian forces have entered the eastern town of Lyman, a long-time Russian stronghold that Kyiv says it has encircled, and battles are raging, a spokesperson for Ukraine's eastern forces said on Saturday.

The spokesperson, Serhii Cherevatyi, made the comments on television.

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A Russian patrol has detained the director general of Ukraine's Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the state-owned company in charge of the plant said on Saturday, and the UN nuclear watchdog said Russia had confirmed the move.

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Ukrainian forces encircled Russian troops at the eastern town of Lyman, strategically important for Moscow, in an operation that is still under way, a Ukrainian military spokesperson said on Saturday.

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Energoatom, the state agency in charge of the plant, stated on Saturday, that the director general of Ukraine's Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was detained by a Russian patrol.

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