Russia is said to have bombed the site of a nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine. Moscow denies reports of hundreds of graves in Izyum as “lies like in Bucha”. Kyiv is said to have formed a bridgehead on the east bank of the Oskil River. You can find all the latest news about the war in Ukraine here in the ticker.

Tuesday, September 20, 8:16 a.m.: According to intelligence information from the British Ministry of Defense, the command of the Russian Black Sea Fleet has most likely relocated its submarines. Accordingly, the Kilo-class fighter submarines were brought from their home port in Sevastopol in Crimea to Novorossiysk in Krasnodar Krai in southern Russia.

This decision was probably due to the change in the local threat situation. This has intensified due to the increased Ukrainian long-distance clout. In the past two months, Ukrainian forces have attacked the fleet’s headquarters and its naval air base.

Giving the Black Sea Fleet a base in Crimea was probably one of the reasons Russian President Vladimir Putin annexed the island in 2014. The security of the base has now been undermined by Russia itself through its war of aggression against Ukraine.

4:35 p.m .: In the eastern Ukrainian regions of Kharkiv, Donetsk and Luhansk, the Ukrainian troops have apparently continued to push back the Russian opponent. On Monday, Kiev media reported the recapture of the town of Yarova on the left bank of the Seversky Donets. Official confirmations from the Ukrainian or Russian side were initially not available. Videos of successful advances by Ukrainian troops on the left bank of the Oskil in the Kharkiv region near Kupyansk and Borova have already been circulating.

In addition, Ukrainian units apparently also succeeded in crossing the Siwerskyi Donetsk near Bilohorivka and launching an attack on Kreminna. The head of the Donetsk separatists, Dennis Puschilin, said on Russian television that the attack on the small town, which had been under Russian control since April, had at least been averted.

Bilohorivka, which according to the military governor of the Luhansk region, Serhiy Hayday, is again controlled by Ukrainian troops, and Kreminna are already in the Luhansk region. At the beginning of the summer, the Russian leadership announced that the region had been completely conquered. An urgent application by the local “Citizens’ Chamber” to organize a referendum on accession to Russia as soon as possible is evidence of the unrest that is beginning to take place in the separatist area.

1:23 p.m .: At least 13 people were killed by artillery fire in the Russian-controlled city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine. Two grenades hit a bus stop and a nearby shop, local media reported on Monday. At first there was no information on the number of injuries. Local authorities blamed Ukrainian troops for the shelling. Kyiv regularly rejects such accusations and accuses Moscow of shooting at itself to produce images for its own media. The information could not be independently confirmed.

12:06 p.m .: Moscow has rejected Ukrainian allegations about hundreds of graves near the city of Izyum in eastern Ukraine as “lies”. “These are lies. We will, of course, defend the truth in this story,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday. According to Ukrainian authorities, more than 440 graves and one mass grave were discovered after Ukrainian units recaptured the Izyum area, which had long been occupied by Russian troops.

Since the beginning of the Russian intervention in Ukraine, Russia has repeatedly denied having committed atrocities there. “It’s the same scenario as in Bucha,” Peskov said Monday, referring to another Ukrainian city near Kyiv, where Russian units were also accused of atrocities after they left.

Monday, September 19, 10:10 a.m.: According to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv, a Russian missile hit near the nuclear power plant (NPP) in southern Ukraine. On Monday he accused Russia of endangering the entire world. “We have to stop it before it’s too late,” he wrote on social media.

The southern Ukraine nuclear power plant is located almost three hundred kilometers south of the capital, Kyiv. There are three reactors in operation with a net output of 2850 megawatts.

The state-owned Ukrainian nuclear power plant operator Enerhoatom also reported a rocket attack on the industrial site at the nuclear power plant. Three high-voltage lines and a system at the nearby hydroelectric power station were damaged.

In the nuclear power plant building itself, more than 100 windows were destroyed by the blast. The group published photos of a crater four meters in diameter and two meters deep.

7:16 p.m .: According to their own statements, the Ukrainian military was able to translate troops on the Oskil River and thus formed a bridgehead for further action to the east. “The Ukrainian forces have overcome the Oskil. Since yesterday, Ukraine has also controlled the left bank,” the press service of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said on Sunday via video on its Telegram channel. Earlier there were reports that Kyiv had secured control of the eastern part of the city of Kupyansk. The information cannot be verified independently.

The video shows a tank crossing the river and being greeted on the other bank by Ukrainian soldiers. In their counter-offensive at the beginning of September, the Ukrainian forces in the Kharkov region advanced as far as the Oskil. Behind, retreating Russian troops established a new front line and repelled several attempts by Ukrainians to cross the river. Establishing a beachhead on the east side of the Oskil would be a strategically important achievement for Ukrainian troops. This would allow them to continue their attack towards the Luhansk region.

The military did not provide any information about the exact location of the river crossing. However, the US Institute for the Study of the War (ISW) had previously written that the Ukrainians had conquered the eastern part of the city of Kupyansk. The strategically important city in the Kharkov region is divided in two by the Oskil. The Ukrainians had conquered the western part during their counter-offensive, but Russian troops had entrenched themselves in the industrial area on the east bank of the river until the very end.

3:24 p.m .: According to the experts at the US think tank “Institute for the Study of War” (ISW), the Russian attacks around Donetsk are currently one thing above all: pointless. “Russian forces continue to conduct pointless offensive operations around Donetsk and Bakhmut instead of concentrating on defending against the Ukrainian counterattacks, which is progressing,” they write in their Ukraine briefing today.

The Russians attacked smaller towns around the two cities because they “are of emotional importance to the pro-war in the Donetsk People’s Republic, but otherwise play little role.”

But Russia cannot “hope to gain enough gains around Bakhmut or the city of Donetsk to thwart Ukrainian counter-offensives.”

Sunday, September 18, 10:59 a.m.: According to British intelligence services, Russia has significantly increased its attacks on civilian Ukrainian targets with long-range missiles in the past seven days. This includes, for example, the attack on a dam in the central Ukrainian industrial city of Kryvyi Rih, according to the daily short report by the British Ministry of Defense on Sunday. These goals offer no immediate military gain.

It is likely that given the setbacks on the front line, Moscow will continue to use such attacks to undermine the morale of the Ukrainian people and their government.

The British Ministry of Defense has published daily information on the course of the war since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine at the end of February, citing intelligence information. In doing so, the British government wants to both counter the Russian portrayal and keep allies in line. Moscow accuses London of a targeted disinformation campaign.

11:12 p.m.: “They connected electrodes and used electric shocks. They also put a gas mask on me.” What the 50-year-old Maxym had to experience at the hands of Russian soldiers in Izyum, Ukraine, is hard to comprehend. The “Bild” newspaper spoke to the man who survived imprisonment and is now returning to the torture chamber to tell his story.

Maxym tells the newspaper that anyone deemed pro-Ukrainian by Putin’s troops was held captive. And were tortured. It was also Izjum where the shocking discovery of over 400 graves was made. Investigators are trying to find out how people died, whether they were tortured before death. A Reuters report suggests that at least some of the dead endured the ordeal, found with a noose around their neck and their wrists bound.

The Russians wanted to know who Maxym’s contacts were. “But I couldn’t have told them anything, about what?” he says. He was tortured with a device that the Russians called “Tapic”. “They put you on the chair and sat down in front of you themselves. They handcuffed you and then used the stun gun,” he says.

8:07 p.m .: The Ukrainian army continues to report significant gains in territory – now also in the Donetsk region. According to an army spokesman, the armed forces succeeded in seven villages in the region. Including Shurowe, Dibrowa and Oserne.

Some of the villages are now under Russian artillery fire again, the spokesman continued. Nevertheless, the gain in territory is important for Ukraine: All liberated places are on the eastern bank of the Siwerkyi Donets river. The Ukrainian army has now possibly created a kind of bridgehead for further advances in the direction of Donetsk.

7:25 p.m .: The Zaporizhia nuclear power plant is directly connected to the Ukrainian power grid again after a two-week interruption. As the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced in Vienna on Saturday, a main power line that cools the fuel rods in the facility occupied by Russian forces has been restored. During the interruption, the external power supply ran via emergency lines, which also failed at times due to the fighting.

In order to avoid the risky use of emergency power generators in the nuclear power plant or even a nuclear accident, the last of the six reactors that was still in operation was shut down last weekend. However, the nuclear material must continue to be cooled even when it is switched off.

According to IAEA chief Rafael Grossi, the general situation in Zaporizhia remains unstable despite the improved power supply. Although the nuclear power plant had not been fired upon in the past few days, fighting continued in the area around the plant. In his reports on the power plant, Grossi refers, among other things, to information from two IAEA experts who are stationed there as observers.

Saturday, September 17, 9:41 a.m.: According to British estimates, Russian troops are strengthening their positions against Ukrainian attacks in eastern Ukraine. The Russians have set up a defensive line between the Oskil River and the small town of Swatowe in the Luhansk region, the Ministry of Defense said in London on Saturday, citing intelligence findings. The Ukrainians would continue their offensive here. However, Russia absolutely wants to retain control because one of the few supply routes that is still controlled by Russian units runs through this area, it said.

In addition, the line of defense runs along the border of the Luhansk region, whose “liberation” is one of the most important Russian war goals. “A significant loss of territory in Luhansk will significantly undermine the Russian strategy,” the ministry said. “Russia will likely try to defend this area tenaciously, but it is unclear whether Russian troops on the front line have sufficient reserves or morale to withstand another concerted Ukrainian attack.”

The British Ministry of Defense has published daily information on the course of the war since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine at the end of February, citing intelligence information. In doing so, the British government wants to both counter the Russian portrayal and keep allies in line. Moscow accuses London of a targeted disinformation campaign.

The information about the tied hands remains with Reuters, citing a regional governor. The French news agency AFP also writes that at least one victim had his hands tied.

2:11 p.m .: According to reports, bodies with ropes around their necks and hands tied were found in the mass grave in the recaptured city of Izyum. This was announced by a correspondent for the news agency Reuters, Phil Stewart, on Twitter. According to Ukrainian sources, around 450 graves have been discovered near the city of Izyum in the east of the country, which was recaptured by Ukrainian troops. “This is just one of the mass graves found near Izyum,” Ukraine’s presidential aide Mykhailo Podoliak said on Friday.

On Thursday evening, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi spoke of the discovery of a “mass grave” in Izyum, without giving any details. The regional police chief told Sky News TV that it was a burial site containing around 440 bodies. Some of the deceased were killed by gunfire, others died during bombardments.

12:23 p.m .: According to the Ukrainian police, at least “ten torture rooms” have been discovered in areas recaptured from Russia in northeastern Ukraine.

“To this day I can speak of at least ten torture rooms in places in the Kharkiv region,” said national police chief Igor Klymenko on Friday, according to the Interfax news agency. Only two were discovered in the small town of Balaklija.

9.46 a.m .: According to British assessments, the Russian troops lack infantry and junior officers in the war of aggression against Ukraine. The war has had a significant impact on Russian manpower, the Ministry of Defense said in London on Friday, citing intelligence information.

The authority referred to a video that allegedly showed Kremlin-affiliated businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin recruiting convicts in a prison. Prigozhin is considered the financier of the Russian mercenary group “Wagner”. “In the video, Prigozhin emphasizes that he is only looking for ‘fighters for assault troops,'” the ministry said. This campaign has been running since at least July. Prisoners would be offered discounts and money.

In addition, the Russian military academies would cut training courses for the cadets and bring graduation dates forward. “This is almost certainly done so that cadets can be deployed to support the operation in Ukraine,” it said.

9:29 a.m .: After reports of a mass grave being found in the eastern Ukrainian region of Kharkiv, further bodies are being sought in recently recaptured areas. The search is made more difficult by mines, said Ukrainian missing persons officer Oleh Kotenko, according to the Unian agency. Nevertheless, every effort is being made – especially to be able to hand over the bodies of fallen soldiers to their families: “We are continuing our work (…) so that the families can return the soldiers who died for Ukraine as quickly as possible properly honor,” said Kotenko.

You can read more reports on the Ukraine conflict on the following pages.