Ukrainian troops conquered more than 6,000 km2 in the east and south of the country until this month, said President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky. Western officials said it was too early to say whether it was a turning point in the war and compared Ukraine’s recent success to a goal scored before half-time.

Separately, Armenia accused Azerbaijan of shelling its territory as US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken called for an end to hostilities that threaten to undermine a Russian-brokered ceasefire. The fighting is the latest escalation of tensions between the two neighboring Caucasian states after thousands of people were killed in a 44-day war that ended in November 2020 over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Key events

On the ground

Fighting continued in the south, Ukrainian forces tried to push back Russian troops along the entire front line and prevent their attempts to improve their tactical position, the Ukrainian military said. Russian troops were looking for alternative ways to deliver weapons and equipment, as Ukraine cut off their supply lines, the southern command of Ukrainian troops reported on Facebook. The General Staff of Ukraine reported that Ukrainian forces repelled Russian attacks in the Bakhmut area and a number of other settlements in the Donetsk region. According to the Institute for the Study of War, Russian troops were unable to strengthen the new front line after the Ukrainian offensive in the Kharkiv region and were actively fleeing from this area or moving to other directions.

Scholz orders Putin to refrain from further annexation steps

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz spoke with Putin on the phone in a 90-minute conversation. “The chancellor emphasized that any further steps by Russia on annexation will not go unanswered and will not be recognized under any circumstances,” said Steffen Hebestreit, the press secretary of the German government.

Scholz urged Putin to agree to a diplomatic solution as soon as possible, based on a ceasefire, the full withdrawal of Russian troops and respect for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, Hebestreit said.

Scholz called on the President of Russia to treat captured fighters in accordance with the provisions of international humanitarian law, in particular the Geneva Convention, and to ensure unhindered access for the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Revenues from energy resources in Russia fell to a 14-month low

Russia’s energy revenues fell to their lowest in more than a year in August as Western sanctions against Ukraine forced the Kremlin to sell oil at a discount and cut gas supplies to Europe.

The refusal of some traditional customers in Europe to buy Russian oil means that Moscow has been forced to sell oil at deep discounts in Asian markets, denying it the full benefit of higher prices. While spot gas prices in Europe were at record highs in August, gas taxes, which take up a smaller share of the budget, have not been able to fully offset the drop in oil revenues. State-owned Gazprom significantly cut gas exports to Europe this summer, blaming sanctions for restricting flows.

Russia’s oil and gas revenues, which account for more than a third of the national budget, fell to 671.9 billion rubles ($11.1 billion) last month, the lowest since June 2021, Finance Ministry data released on Monday showed. This is almost 13% less than in July. This is also a decrease of 3.4% compared to last year, even as Urals oil prices rose by almost 10%.

Putin will meet with Xi, Modi, Erdogan and Raisi this week

On Thursday and Friday in Samarkand, where the next summit of the leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is held, Putin will meet with the leaders of China, India, Turkey and Iran. The President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping, will make his first trip abroad in more than two years.

Dozens of Russian local deputies are calling on Putin to resign

About 50 municipal deputies from different regions of Russia signed an open letter calling on Putin to resign. The petition states that the president “harms the future of Russia and its citizens.”

One of the co-organizers, Dmitry Baltrukov, said that the number of signatories from Moscow, St. Petersburg and other cities is steadily growing.

According to the latest poll by the independent Levada Center, conducted at the end of August, public support for the war in Ukraine, which has been going on for six months, remains high at 76%, compared to 81% in March.

The Kremlin warns nationalist bloggers about criticizing the war

The press secretary of the Kremlin Dmitry Peskov sent a warning to nationalist bloggers who are increasingly criticizing the actions of the army in Ukraine. “As long as they remain within the framework of the law, this is pluralism,” Piaskov said at the selection meeting. “But the line is very, very fine, and you have to be very careful here.”

After the February 24 invasion, the authorities allowed nationalist writers, who gained a large following on Telegram, to comment widely on the war effort. But as Russian troops have faced setbacks in recent weeks, the authors have openly attacked the military’s conduct of the war, often calling for more aggressive tactics.

The Kremlin has shown little tolerance for opponents of the invasion questioning the military effort, imposing stiff fines and even prison terms on those who violate a sweeping new law against “discrediting the military.”

The head of the Russian Communists called the “special operation” a war

Gennady Zyuganov, head of Russia’s second-largest political party, has said his country is in a state of “war” in Ukraine, becoming the most senior politician to use the term for what the Kremlin calls a “special military operation.”

“Over the past two months, the special operation in Ukraine and Donbas has turned into a war,” Zyuganov said in a comment to journalists in the State Duma posted on the CPRF website. “Any war requires a response. First of all, the maximum mobilization of forces and means is needed.”

Putin has so far refused to declare war, which would have allowed for a general mobilization, but could have led to increased popular opposition and would have been a public admission of the military failures Russia has faced.

Macron and Baltic leaders are discussing more military support

French President Emmanuel Macron spoke with Estonian Kaia Kalas and Lithuanian Gitanas Nauseda about Ukraine’s military achievements. Estonian Prime Minister Kallas said in a phone call on Tuesday that the successes show that the Baltic states and France are on the right track in supporting Ukraine. She called for more arms aid and said the European Union’s visa restrictions on Russian citizens were an effective means of putting pressure on Moscow.

The three leaders talked about further military aid to Ukraine, the situation at the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant and possible EU steps to solve the issue of high energy prices, according to a report from Nauseda’s office.

According to the general director, the war gives impetus to OJSC “Naftogaz of Ukraine”.

The energy giant Naftogaz of Ukraine can extract a million or more cubic meters of natural gas per day in the territories recaptured from Russia during the recent counter-offensive, the general director of the company, Yuriy Vitrenko, said at an online briefing. That could allow the company to return to pre-war production levels after falling 2% this year following Russia’s invasion in February.

Latvia says Russia shows no signs of backing out

Russia shows no signs of wanting to end its invasion of Ukraine and lacks the troops and resources to win, meaning fighting should continue at its current level of intensity until spring, a Latvian intelligence report said.

The West needs “strategic patience” to continue supplying weapons, training and money to support Ukraine, the intelligence service said. The probability of Putin’s change and Belarus using its armed forces to invade Ukraine was considered low by the service. Russia is expected to use covert support for pro-Russian political groups in Western countries, cyber attacks and economic leverage to weaken solidarity with Ukraine.

Finland Marin wants tougher EU sanctions against Russia

European Union countries should impose tougher sanctions against Russia, Prime Minister of Finland Sanna Marin told a member of the European Parliament on Tuesday. The sanctions should affect the daily lives of ordinary Russians because “it’s not right” for Russian tourists to travel freely in Europe while the country’s military is killing Ukrainian civilians, Marin said.

Marin called on EU countries to introduce even tougher visa restrictions for Russians, saying the suspension of the visa facilitation agreement was “not a sufficient solution”. The EU Council has suspended a 2007 agreement that simplified visas for Russian tourists, meaning higher fees, more paperwork, longer processing times and more restrictive rules on multiple-entry visas.

10 regions are infected with mines and explosives, reports the General Staff of Ukraine

More than 70,000 km2 territories in 10 regions of Ukraine are contaminated with mines and explosives, reports the General Staff of the Ukrainian Army on Facebook. The Kharkiv region, most of which was recaptured by Ukrainian forces this month, was “very badly” affected than Kyiv and Sumy, Interfax reports citing Interior Minister Denis Monastyrskyi.

Kyiv has signed a memorandum of cooperation with the organization Halo Trust, which helps countries demine after conflicts, the Ministry of Reintegration announced on its website on Monday.

The Ukrainian army liberated 6 thousand square kilometers – Zelensky

Ukrainian troops continue to advance, liberating more than 6,000 km2 in eastern and southern Ukraine this month, Zelensky said in a statement Monday evening.

On Sunday and Monday, the Russian army “struck the Ukrainian energy infrastructure,” and “hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians were left in the dark — without electricity,” Zelensky said. This is “a sign of the desperation of those who invented this war” and a reaction to Russia’s defeat in the Kharkiv region, he said, adding that Russia seeks to block Ukraine’s potential to export electricity to Europe. Zelensky called for stronger sanctions and increased pressure on Russia.

Zelensky talks with Georgieva from the IMF – Reuters

Zelensky spoke with International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva on Tuesday, Reuters reported, citing two unidentified people familiar with the matter. The IMF’s Executive Board discussed on Monday a plan to potentially provide Ukraine with $1.4 billion in emergency aid through the fund’s Rapid Financing Instrument. DM

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