Oct 14 (Reuters) – Ukraine’s armed forces have liberated more than 600 settlements from the Russian occupation in the past month, including 75 in the highly strategic Kherson region, Ukraine’s Ministry for Reintegration of the Temporary Occupied Territories said.
Some 502 settlements have been liberated in the northeast Kharkiv region where Ukrainian forces last month advanced deep into Russian lines, the ministry said late on Thursday.
The ministry said 43 settlements were liberated in the Donetsk region and seven in the Luhansk region.
“The area of liberated Ukrainian territories has increased significantly,” the ministry said in a statement on its website.
Reuters was not able to independently verify the battlefield reports and there was no immediate confirmation from Ukraine’s military or President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s office.
Kherson, Donetsk and Luhansk, along with Zaporizhzhia, were ‘annexed’ by Moscow late last month as a counter-offensive by Ukrainian forces rapidly advanced in the northeast, east and south. The ‘annexations’ were denounced by Kyiv and the West as illegal.
On Thursday, the Russian-installed governor of Ukraine’s Kherson region appealed to residents to evacuate amid fighting between Russian and advancing Ukrainian forces.
In late August, Ukraine launched a counteroffensive against Russian forces occupying the country since the start of their invasion in February. Russia calls it actions in Ukraine “special military operation” to demilitarise and “denazify” its neighbour.
In Other Developments:
* Train operations were suspended early on Friday near Novyi Oskol, a town in Russia’s Belgorod region that borders Ukraine, after remains of a missile fell near the railway, said regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov.Gladkov said on the Telegram messaging app that anti-craft defences shot down missiles near Novyi Oskol, a town of about 18,000 people which lies about 90 kilometres (56 miles) north of the border with Ukraine.”Power lines are damaged. Trains are temporarily suspended,” Gladkov said, adding that there were no casualties.
* Ukraine’s armed forces have re-taken more than 600 settlements in the past month, including 75 in the strategic Kherson region, the government said.
* The governor of a Russian border region accused Ukraine of shelling an apartment block but a Kyiv official said a stray Russian missile was to blame – one of a series of apparent strikes on Russian towns.
* Russian missiles hit the Ukrainian port of Mykolaiv. A five-storey residential building was hit, the two upper floors completely destroyed, the mayor said.
* Three drone attacked the small town of Makariv, west of the capital Kyiv, with officials saying critical infrastructure facilities were hit by Iran-made drones.
* Reuters was not able to verify battlefield reports.
* NATO said it will closely monitor an expected Russian nuclear exercise but will not be cowed into dropping support for Ukraine.
* Zelenskiy accused the International Committee of the Red Cross of inaction in upholding the rights of Ukrainian prisoners of war and urged it to undertake a mission to Olenivka – a notorious camp in eastern Ukraine.
* Kremlin spokesperson Peskov was quoted as saying in Izvestia newspaper that the goals of Russia’s “special military operation” could be achieved through negotiations.
* Russia has submitted concerns to the United Nations about an agreement on Black Sea grain exports, and is prepared to reject renewing a deal next month unless its demands are addressed, Russia’s U.N. ambassador in Geneva told Reuters.
* Russian President Putin courted Turkish President Erdogan with a plan to pump more Russian gas via Turkey that would turn it into a new supply “hub”, bidding to preserve Russia’s energy leverage over Europe.