Ukraine war latest: F-16 jets won't be in use this year, Ukraine admits - as Kyiv faces 'big test' in coming days (2023)

Key points
  • Ukrainian troops advance as counteroffensive grinds on
  • No F-16s this year, says Ukraine's air force
  • Ukraine faces 'big test' in coming days | Michael Clarke
  • Watch: Moment Ukraine used sea drone to attack Crimea bridge
  • Your questions answered: Why aren't we advising the US not to send cluster weapons to Ukraine?
  • Live reporting by Katie Williams


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Ukraine's energy reserves will see it through winter despite likely attacks - MoD

Ukrainian efforts to build up fuel stockpiles will likely see it through the winter despite the "consistent pressures of war", the UK's defence ministry has said.

The MoD's latest intelligence update says Kyiv has effectively mobilised its mining sector to maintain output and ensure a "continuous supply of coal" can keep power and heating plants fired up.

There are also "substantial gas stocks" in reserve, it added.

Ukraine's power grid survived a relentless bombardment of attacks last winter, which left millions temporarily without electricity.

Attacks are likely to continue this winter, the MoD said, but added that Kyiv "has the skilled workforce and expertise needed" to maintain its power network.


Thousands left without power after Russian rocket attack

Around 10,000 people were left without electricity after Russian rockets hit Ukraine's Dnipro region, an official said.

Serhii Lysak, governor of the region, said Russia attacked the Novomoskovsk area early this morning.

Local residents weren't affected, he said on Telegram, but added that 10,000 people in two settlements were left without electricity.

Specialists later restored the supply, he said.


US speaks with American detained in Russian prison - report

US secretary of state Antony Blinken has made contact with an American citizen who is being held in a remote Russian prison camp, according to a report.

Mr Blinken spoke to Paul Whelan - who was sentenced in 2020 to 16 years in prison for espionage charges which he denies - via phone yesterday, a source told CNN.

He reportedly told Mr Whelan to "keep the faith", and that the US is doing everything it can to bring him home.

It's the second time Mr Blinken and the ex-marine have spoken following their first contact in December, CNN reported.

Mr Whelan is deemed wrongly detained by the US.


No F-16s this year, says Ukraine's air force

Modern F-16 fighter jets won't form part of Ukraine's counteroffensive before the end of the year, according to an official.

Yuriy Ihnat, a spokesperson for the country's air force, told Ukrainian television that "it's already obvious we won't be able to defend Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets during this autumn and winter".

Kyiv and President Zelenskyy have long called on Western allies to supply the country with the US-made jets to bolster its military operations.

But a decision on the supply of the planes has yet to be made.

"We had big hopes for this plane, that it will become partof air defence, able to protect us from Russia's missiles anddrones terrorism," Mr Ihnat said.


Ukrainian troops advance as counteroffensive grinds on

Ukraine's military advanced in southern Ukraine yesterday - and Russian sources have made "premature" claims about the scale of its operations, military analysts said.

In its latest analysis of the conflict, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said troops continued counteroffensive operations on at least three sectors of the frontline, advancing to the west of the southernZaporizhzhiaregion and on the Donetsk-Zaporizhzhia border.

It came as Kyiv also captured the village ofUrozhaine in Donetsk in what marked its first major victory in more than two weeks.

The ISW said geolocated footage indicates Ukrainian troops advanced northeast of Robotyne village in western Zaporizhzhia and "have likely made wider gains in the surrounding areas" after weeks of "consistent activity".

The thinktank added that Russian sources claim Ukraine has committed its "main reserves" to operations in Zaporizhzhia's west - but suggestions of "small Ukrainian infantry assaults" don't align with "the alleged commitment of major elements of Ukraine's mechanised reserves".

It called the claims "premature".


Good morning

Welcome back to our live updates of the war in Ukraine.

Kyiv reported progress in its counteroffensive yesterday -but warned the situationon the northeastern front was deteriorating amid Russiancounterattacks.

Here's a round-up of what's happened in the past 24 hours:

  • Ukraine reclaimed the small frontline village of Urozhaine on the western boundaries of the Donetsk region. It's the first settlement Ukraine has taken since 27 July;
  • Russia's secret service claimed it killed several "Ukrainian saboteurs" trying to break into the Russian Bryansk region. It's the second day in a row saboteurs have been stopped;
  • Kyiv confirmed that it attacked the Kerch Bridge last month using a so-called Sea Baby drone, releasing footage of the boat-like vehicle that was used;
  • President Zelenskyy announced he will "significantly increase" Ukraine's drone production, suggesting it's because his soldiers are asking about drones and air defence;
  • Lithuania shut a third of its border crossing points with Belarus, echoing similar moves by Latvia and Poland in recent days;
  • And President Putin's political party controversially nominated a man with the surname Zelenskyy for local elections.


Russia calls bombed Swedish factory 'legitimate target' - reports

Russia has claimed a Swedish factory in Ukraine that it bombed yesterday was a legitimate military target, according to reports.

Missiles killed three employees at civilian vehicle bearings maker SKF on Monday night, the company said.

Now an official from the Russian Embassy in Sweden has told European Pravda the plant was "part of the Ukrainian military industry" before appearing to make threats of further attacks.

"Not only the Swedish equipment supplied to the [Ukrainians] but also the enterprises of the military-industrial complex that work for them will be in trouble," the news site reported the official as saying.

SKF has around 1,100 employees in Ukraine, the vast majority of which work in the Ltusk factory, according to the company's website.


'Draft dodger' caught using child's birth certificate

A 26-year-old man tried to pose as a 15-year-old boy in an attempt to escape Ukraine, according to local media.

The resident of the Western-most Zakarpattia region presented a boy's birth certificate at a checkpoint - while carrying a passport of a bearded man, New Voice of Ukraine reported.

Since 24 February 2022, men aged 18 to 60 have been barred from leaving the country under martial law.

Border guards said the boy's documentation did not belong to the man and he was denied exit from the country.


Belarus registers Wagner mercenaries as educational organisation - reports

The Wagner Group has been registered as a Limited Liability Company engaged in "educational activities" in Belarus, according to reports.

The main activity of the group has been categorised as "other types of education" in the state register of legal entities, Ukrainska Pravda reported.

The address given is a field camp in Tsel where mercenaries arrived from Russia and where a company belonging to Yevgeny Prigozhin is registered.

Mr Prigozhin's company is named Concord Management and Consulting, the news site said.

Wagner mercenaries relocated to Belarus following an abortive coup to topple Russia's military elite in June.

The level of presence they maintain in the country - and whether it will continue - has been the subject of conflicting reports.

It remains unclear whether the paramilitary group intends to stay in Belarus, return to Russia, or has been fragmented between the two countries and the African continent.


Watch: Ukraine takes back first settlement in 20 days

Urozhaine may not sound like a particularly important village. It was once home to about a thousand people, in a very rural area along a relatively minor river, the Mokri Yaly.

But it holds big strategic and symbolic importance. That's why Russia and Ukraine have been engaged in a tense back-and-forth for control in recent days.

Ukraine finally claimed control of it this morning. Remarkably, it's the first settlement Ukraine has recaptured since 27 July.

The Ukrainian armed forces have released this video showing that intense battle to retake the village, and the tough measures they've had to take.

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