What we know on day 194 of the invasion

Zelenskiy claims progress in Ukraine’s counter-offensive; IAEA inspectors to remain at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant until at least Monday

Ukraine has made progress in its recently launched counter-offensive with its forces taking two settlements in the south, a third in the east, as well as additional territory in the east of the country, president Volodymyr Zelenskiy claimed during a Sunday evening address. “The Ukrainian flags are returning to the places where they should be by right,” he added. Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the president’s office, posted an image of soldiers raising the Ukrainian flag over a village he said was in Ukraine’s south. “Vysokopillya. Kherson region. Ukraine. Today,” Tymoshenko wrote.

Russian authorities said the situation around the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in southern Ukraine was calm on Sunday, after UN inspectors said on Saturday it had again lost external power. The last remaining main external power line was cut off although a reserve line continued supplying electricity to the grid, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a statement. Only one of its six reactors remained in operation, it said.

Speaking to Komsomolskaya Pravda radio, Russian official Vladimir Rogov said there had been no shelling or incursions. IAEA experts are expected to continue working at the plant until at least Monday, Russian official Vladimir Rogov said.

Analysts are expecting gas prices to surge to record highs this week after Russia shut down a key pipeline to Europe. Many commentators warned that European prices will further rise when markets open on Monday after Moscow scrapped a Saturday deadline for flows to resume through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany, saying it had discovered a fault during maintenance.

Zelenskiy warned Europe to expect a difficult winter after Moscow shut down a main pipeline that supplies Russian gas to the continent. “Russia is preparing a decisive energy blow on all Europeans for this winter,” he said.

Thousands gathered in Prague to protest at soaring energy bills and demand an end to sanctions against Russia over the war in Ukraine. About 70,000 far-right and extreme-left elements coalesced at a “Czech Republic First” rally to call for a new agreement with Moscow over gas supplies and a halt to the sending of arms to Ukraine on Sunday.

A Russian journalist is facing a 24-year jail term for treason. Ivan Safronov, a former military correspondent for Kommersant and Vedomosti, is facing a “record” sentence on treason charges that have been prosecuted with secret evidence behind closed doors. A Russian judge is expected to deliver a verdict on Monday in one of the most significant prosecutions against a Russian journalist in decades.

The Russian state should be tried for historical crimes committed by the Soviet Union, the Ukrainian director Sergei Loznitsa said before the premiere of his new documentary, The Kiev Trial, at Venice. Speaking at a press conference, Loznitza said there needed to be contrition for the wrongs of the past. “History repeats itself when we don’t learn from history, when we didn’t study it and don’t want to know what happened with us,” he said.

Sweden has said it is on “high alert” for outside intervention in its upcoming election amid increased tensions with Russia. The Scandinavian country’s recently re-established psychological defence agency said it had seen heightened activity from foreign sources after its application to join Nato and it was prepared for the possibility of “something exceptional” in the lead-up to polling day on 11 September.

Ukraine’s prime minister has thanked Germany for its solidarity in the face of the Russian invasion while calling for more weapons, in a sign of easing tensions between Berlin and Kyiv. Denys Shmyhal, who was welcomed by the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, with military honours in Berlin on Sunday, is the most senior Ukrainian official to visit the German capital in months.

Scholz said on Sunday his government had been planning for a total halt in gas deliveries in December, promising measures to lower prices and tie social benefits to inflation. “Russia is no longer a reliable energy partner,” Scholz told a news conference in Berlin. In response, former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev accused Germany of being an enemy of Russia. “In other words, it has declared a hybrid war on Russia,” he said.

China’s top legislator Li Zhanshu will attend the seventh Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok this week, becoming the most senior Chinese official to visit Russia since the Ukraine war began. Li, chairman of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, will pay official visits to Russia, Mongolia, Nepal and South Korea from Wednesday to 17 September, according to Xinhua news agency. He will attend the four-day forum, set to begin on Monday, during his stay in Russia.

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