Tuesday, August 30, 10:24 a.m.: According to information from Kyiv, “heavy fighting” broke out in the Russian-occupied Ukrainian region of Cherson. There were “strong explosions all day and all night,” said the office of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday. “Almost the entire area” of the Cherson region is affected. The Ukrainian army launched a counteroffensive on Monday to recapture the region.

The Ukrainian armed forces had launched “offensives in different directions”, according to a statement from Kyiv. The British Ministry of Defense said in a security statement that the “scope of the Ukrainian advance” could not be confirmed. However, the Ukrainian army has “increased artillery fire on front sections throughout southern Ukraine” in order to interrupt Russian supply lines with “long-range precision strikes”.

The Cherson region with its capital of the same name on the banks of the Dnipro River borders on the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014. As the first major city in Ukraine, Cherson was captured by the Russian army in early March, shortly after the start of the Russian invasion. The region is central to the country’s agriculture and also strategically important due to its proximity to Crimea.

In the Russian-occupied parts of Cherson and the neighboring Zaporizhia region, the Kremlin is pursuing a policy of Russification with a view to possible annexation. Moscow has introduced the ruble as its currency there and is encouraging residents to obtain Russian passports.

9:09 p.m .: The Russian Ministry of Defense has confirmed a Ukrainian offensive in the occupied areas of Kherson and Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine. However, the attacks in three places were repelled, with the Ukrainian army suffering heavy casualties, a statement from Moscow said on Monday. The military information could not be independently verified.

Since June, the Ukrainian leadership has repeatedly announced a major counter-offensive in the south. On Monday, the southern group of the Ukrainian army announced that its own troops had broken through a Russian front line in the Cherson region. Accordingly, units of the Donetsk separatists and Russian marines were forced to withdraw. More precise locations were not given.

The Ukrainian general staff made no mention of any offensive in the region in its report for Monday evening. However, Ukrainian authorities asked the population to leave the Russian-occupied areas if possible. Those who cannot do this should stock up on food and water and go to safe buildings.

Western military observers suspected a Ukrainian advance on Nowa Kakhovka. An important road to supply the Russian troops on the right bank runs across the Dnipro dam there. The Ukrainian army has been shelling the road from afar for the past few days.

According to the authorities, two people died and 24 people were injured in the center of the Ukrainian-controlled city of Mykolaiv.

8:42 p.m.: According to Petro Andryushchenko, adviser to the mayor of Mariupol, Ukrainian soldiers blew up a Russian patrol on Monday. The Russians were responding to a fake call from partisans when they were blown up on their own mines. One Russian soldier was reportedly killed and another wounded in Mariupol.

18:27: A Ukrainian deputy who defected to Russia was murdered in occupied southern Ukraine. According to preliminary findings, the parliamentarian Oleksiy Kovalyov was shot dead in his house, the Russian criminal investigation authorities announced on Monday in the Telegram news channel. His girlfriend was also killed in the attack. According to Ukrainian sources, she died in hospital as a result of a knife wound. Several Ukrainian representatives had previously reported the attack and the death of the deputy.

Kovalev had already survived a bomb attack in June. The agricultural entrepreneur was elected to the Supreme Rada in 2019 via a direct mandate in the Cherson region for the presidential party Servants of the People. In April, after returning to his home region, he was expelled from the party and parliamentary group on suspicion of cooperation with Moscow. The public prosecutor’s office investigated high treason. In the occupation authority of the Cherson region, he served as deputy regional chief and minister of agriculture. In the past few weeks, several Ukrainians who volunteered for the occupation have already been attacked.

5:27 p.m .: According to the UN, at least 5,663 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since the Russian attack began, including 365 children. 8,055 other people were injured, the United Nations Human Rights Office in Geneva announced on Monday. Most were therefore victims of weapons with a broad impact such as grenades, rockets and airstrikes.

As the UN office emphasizes, a significantly higher number of dead and injured can be assumed. Information from contested areas arrived with a delay, and many reports still had to be checked. There are indications of numerous other victims, especially from places in the Donetsk, Kharkiv and Luhansk regions.

5:05 p.m .: Officials deployed by Russia in Zaporizhia, Ukraine, said Monday that radiation levels at the city’s nuclear power plant were normal. As the news agency RIA Novosti announced, the situation is under control.

Earlier, the Russian-installed power plant management said a Ukrainian artillery attack had punched a hole in the roof of a building used to store reactor fuel. Russia and Ukraine have repeatedly accused each other of being responsible for the shelling of the nuclear power plant site. Experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are currently on the road to check the safety of the Russian-occupied nuclear power plant on site. The visit was preceded by a great deal of diplomatic wrangling.

4:15 p.m .: According to the Russian occupying forces, the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant was again shot at and damaged. “The national units of the Ukrainian armed forces are firing artillery close to the reactor blocks of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant,” the Russian military administration of the city of Enerhodar in southern Ukraine said on Monday, according to the Interfax news agency. According to this information, even a building in which nuclear fuel was stored was damaged.

The roof of the uranium storage building is said to have been damaged during the shelling. Vladimir Rogov, who was appointed by Moscow as military governor of the Zaporizhia region, also published corresponding photos on his Telegram channel. The shots were fired from a US-held M777 howitzer, he said. The information cannot be verified independently. An increased emission of radioactivity was not known.

For weeks, Kyiv and Moscow have been blaming each other for the escalation surrounding the nuclear facility. A team from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) left for Enerhodar on Monday to check the safety of the nuclear power plant. However, the mission, led by IAEA chief Rafael Grossi, is not expected on site until later this week.

1:30 p.m .: In the southern Ukrainian region of Cherson, Ukrainian troops are said to have broken through the Russian front lines. “The Armed Forces of Ukraine have started offensive actions in many sections of southern Ukraine,” Hromadske said, citing press secretary of the Southern Group of the Ukrainian Army Nataliya Humenyuk.

Accordingly, units of the Donetsk separatists and supporting Russian marine infantry are said to have been forced to retreat. More precise locations were not given. The information could not be independently verified.

Russia had launched an invasion of Ukraine just over six months ago. Since then it has conquered large parts of southern and eastern Ukraine. Since June, the Ukrainian leadership has nurtured hopes of a major counter-offensive in the south.

Monday, August 29, 6:55 a.m.: Experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are scheduled to inspect the Russian-occupied Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine this week. “I am proud to lead this mission, which will be at the nuclear power plant later this week,” tweeted IAEA chief Rafael Grossi on Monday morning. IAEA experts are to examine damage and security systems of the nuclear power plant, which was repeatedly fired upon in the Russian war of aggression.

10:05 p.m .: According to the authorities, the Rivne region in northern Ukraine was attacked by Russia with rockets on Sunday evening. A military object was hit in the Sarny district, regional chief Vitaly Koval said on Telegram. A residential building was also damaged, said Mayor Ruslan Serpeninow. There was no information about possible victims. The information could not initially be verified independently.

Activists from neighboring Belarus linked the attack to several Russian warplanes taking off from airfields in Belarus. The ruler there, Alexander Lukashenko, made his country available to the Russian troops as a deployment area against Ukraine.

Two rockets fell in the center of the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on Sunday evening, Mayor Ihor Terekhov said. An administration building was destroyed. There, too, there was initially no information about victims.

10:01 p.m .: The Ukrainian army says it has repelled Russian assaults in several places in the east of the country.

This included the village of Wessela Dolyna near the town of Bakhmut in the Donbass, as the Ukrainian General Staff announced in its evening report on Sunday. The Russian attack has been stuck off Bakhmut for weeks with little progress. The information provided by the two warring parties can initially hardly be checked independently.

Northwest of the city of Donetsk, pro-Russian separatists and Russian troops tried to attack the village of Pervomaiske. According to the General Staff, this attack was also repelled. In that region, Ukraine recently lost control of the Donetsk suburb of Pisky.

Dozens of places along the more than 2,000-kilometer-long front line were fired on by Russian tanks, barrel and rocket artillery on Sunday, sources in Kyiv said. The General Staff recorded reconnaissance flights by Russian drones in several places on the front.

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