Kyiv is said to have formed a bridgehead on the east bank of the Oskil River. US experts say that the Russian attacks around Donetsk are primarily emotionally important – but otherwise pointless. You can find all the latest news about the war in Ukraine here in the ticker.

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 office 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 repulsed 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.

5:42 a.m .: After the withdrawal of Russian troops, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, a “mass grave” was found in the eastern Ukrainian city of Izyum in the Kharkiv region. “The necessary procedural actions have already begun there,” said the head of state in a video message distributed in Kyiv on Thursday. More information should be available this Friday. According to the Internet newspaper Ukrajinska Pravda, the head of the police investigation agency in the Kharkiv region, Serhiy Bolvynov, also spoke of a “mass grave” in a forest in Izyum, in which more than 440 bodies were found.

According to information from Kyiv, the Russians fled the area on Saturday after a counter-offensive by Ukrainian forces. The Defense Ministry in Moscow had spoken of a “regrouping” of its troops, while even sources close to the Kremlin spoke of a devastating defeat.

Zelenskyj visited Izyum on Wednesday. Journalists are to be brought to the city this Friday. “We want the world to know what really happened and what the Russian occupation led to,” Zelensky said. “Bucha, Mariupol and now, unfortunately, also Izyum: Russia leaves death everywhere and has to answer for it. The world must hold Russia to real responsibility for this war.”

After the withdrawal of Russian troops from the Kiev suburb of Bucha in the spring, the Ukrainian side complained about the most serious war crimes there and in numerous other places, including the port city of Mariupol, which was occupied by Moscow. According to Ukrainian authorities, hundreds of civilians were killed in Bucha and thousands in Mariupol.

10:53 p.m.: A mass grave was found in the recaptured city of Izium in Kharkiv Oblast. The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj and journalist Ilia Ponomarenko of the “Kyiv Independent” report this in unison. “Those who were killed under Russian occupation,” Ponomarenko writes about images of the graves.

“We want the world to know what the Russian occupation caused,” Zelenskyy said on Thursday, without giving details on the number of bodies or the cause of death. The investigations had begun, and the first findings should be available on Friday, said Selenskyj in his daily video message.

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