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Ukraine war: Kyiv advances in south and east, Putin North Korea arms talks, Black Sea oil platform

A Ukrainian Army helicopter flies over a column of Ukrainian Army combat vehicles on the way to the town of Kramatorsk.
A Ukrainian Army helicopter flies over a column of Ukrainian Army combat vehicles on the way to the town of Kramatorsk. Copyright Evgeniy Maloletka/AP
Copyright Evgeniy Maloletka/AP
By Euronews with AFP
Published on Updated
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All the latest developments from the war in Ukraine.

North Korea leader to hold talks with Putin

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Kim Jong Un will come to Russia for an official visit "in the coming days", the Kremlin said on Monday, though it did not give a precise date. 

Rumours have been rife for a week about the North Korean leader's visit, with Washington suspecting that Moscow wants to strike arms deals with its ally. 

The Kremlin said Kim was invited by Russian President Vladimir Putin "at the invitation of the Russian president."

South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported on Monday that Kim Jong Un's train "appeared" to have set off from Russia, with the two sharing a short border in the Far East. 

The White House said last week Pyongyang wanted to meet Russia to discuss arms sales for Moscow's offensive in Ukraine. 

Washington warned North Korea would pay "the price within the international community."

Ukraine recaptures Black Sea oil platform claim

Ukraine said on Monday it had taken back an oil and gas platform in the Black Sea seized by Moscow in 2015. 

The move comes amid Kyiv's counteroffensive and renewed tensions in the waters off Ukrainian ports.

During what it called a "unique operation", Ukraine's military intelligence said fighting took place between Ukrainian special forces on board boats and a Russian Su-30 aircraft, claiming the "the Russian plane was damaged and had to retreat."

Kyiv's forces "managed to seize valuable trophies," it added, including helicopter ammunition and Neva radar for tracking ship movements in the Black Sea. 

Since the start of the full-scale invasion, Russia used the platform for military purposes, particularly as a helicopter landing pad and for deploying radar. 

In June 2022, Moscow accused Kyiv of firing on offshore platforms off the coast of Crimea, a Ukrainian peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014.

Local Russian-backed authorities reported three injured and seven missing at the time.

Attacks between Ukrainian and Russian forces have increased in the Black Sea since mid-July, when Russia slammed the door on a grain agreement allowing the export of Ukrainian grain for a year despite the war.

Ukraine claims advances in south and east

The Ukrainian Defence Ministry on Monday claimed "successes" on the southern front, where its army has made slight progress in recent weeks, and in the east near Bakhmut. 

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Kyiv's forces "continue their offensive operations in the south" and "have recorded successes south of Robotyne (a village recaptuerd from Russia in August) and west of Verbove in the Zaporizhia region, said Deputy Defence Minister Ganna Maliar.

Here Ukraine says it has "pierced the first Russian line of defence", opening up the path towards Tokmak and Melitopol, important logistical hubs for the Russian army.

"In total, 49 km2 have been liberated" on the outskirts of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine  flanks since the start of the Ukrainian counter offensive in June, according to Maliar.

Ukraine's counter offensive has come up against  came up against powerful defence lines built by the Russians, including minefields and anti-tank traps, but Kiev hopes for a breakthrough in the south in the Robotyne sector.

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Russia intercepts Ukrainian drones in border region

Moscow said on Monday it shot down two Ukrainian drones over the Belgorod region, which borders Ukraine.

No casualties were reported by the Russian Defence Ministry.

Ukrainian drone strikes on Russian territory, whether close to Ukraine, on the annexed Crimean peninsula or in the capital Moscow, have increased in recent months amid the start of Kyiv’s counteroffensive in June.

Western aid workers killed in Ukraine

Two humanitarians from Canada and Spain were killed near Bakhmut on Sunday in an attack attributed to Russian troops by Kyiv.

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"This Russian bombardment once again shows how close war is for all citizens of the world," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Sunday evening, denouncing the “attack on a volunteer vehicle by Russian terrorists."

The victims are the Spaniard Emma Igual and Canadian Anthony Ihnat, who worked for the NGO Road to Relief. Igual, 32, was its director and co-founder.

Their vehicle suffered a direct hit, overturned and caught fire on Saturday morning in Chassive Yar, eastern Ukraine, according to the NGO.

Two other volunteers, German Ruben Mawick, and Swed Johan Mathias Thyr were “hospitalised” in a stable condition, after being “injured by shrapnel and burns,” it added.

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The aid workers were heading to Bakhmut to assess the needs of civilians "caught in the crossfire" in the town of Ivanivske.

“All my love and support in these difficult times to the family and loved ones of… Emma Igual,” wrote the Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on X, formerly Twitter.

“Spain stands alongside its humanitarian workers who, through their dedication, put their lives in danger for others."

Victory for Putin's party in annexed Ukraine territory elections

Moscow claimed on Sunday evening that the political party of the Russian president won elections organised in annexed territories of Ukraine, securing more than 70% of the vote.

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The elections were deemed "illegal" by Kyiv and its Western allies, amid widespread allegations of rigging. 

Russia's Central Election Commission said Sunday evening that Vladimir Putin's United Russia party came first in regional elections in four territories seized from Ukraine. 

With these votes, heled between Friday and Sunday, Moscow is trying tolegitimise its annexation of Ukrainian territoryin the east and south, strongly condemned by the West. 

In September 2022, Russia announced it had annexed Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, Donetsk and Lugansk, following "referendums" not recognized by the International community.

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Some of these territories it only partially controls, amid fierce fighting as Ukraine launches its counter offensive.

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