Ukraine Latest: Kharkiv-Area Offensive Gaining More Momentum

 Ukraine Latest: Kharkiv-Area Offensive Gaining More Momentum


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the nation’s army has recaptured “more than 30 settlements” in the Kharkiv region, with units of the National Police moving in as Russian forces are expelled. The Institute for the Study of War estimates Ukraine has recaptured some 2,500 square kilometers (965 square miles) of territory around Kharkiv. Kyiv’s forces may have liberated Kupyansk and Izyum on Saturday.

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(Bloomberg) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the nation’s army has recaptured “more than 30 settlements” in the Kharkiv region, with units of the National Police moving in as Russian forces are expelled. The Institute for the Study of War estimates Ukraine has recaptured some 2,500 square kilometers (965 square miles) of territory around Kharkiv. Kyiv’s forces may have liberated Kupyansk and Izyum on Saturday.

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The UN’s nuclear agency ramped up its warning about Ukraine’s Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, saying the facility may soon lose power and shut down its last remaining operating reactor after sustained shelling in the area. “This is an unsustainable situation and is becoming increasingly precarious,” the agency’s chief said.

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Germany’s foreign minister made a previously unannounced visit to Kyiv, saying Berlin would stand by Ukraine for “as long as it takes.” Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Germany is prepared for Russia to choke off gas deliveries.

(See RSAN on the Bloomberg Terminal for the Russian Sanctions Dashboard.)

Key Developments

  • US Treasury Releases Guidance on Russian Oil-Price Cap Plan
  • Scholz Says Germany Is Prepared for Russia Gas Halt
  • US Sees Economic Reasons for Russia to Comply With Oil-Price Cap
  • Ukraine Military Breakthrough in North Threatens Russian Grip
  • Russian-Occupied Reactor at Increased Safety Risk, UN Warns
  • Russia Current-Account Surplus at Record Amid Signs Growth Slows

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On the Ground

Kyiv’s forces are pushing back in the Kherson region to the south and around Kharkiv in the north. Ukrainian forces have liberated the town of Balakliya in the Kharkiv region, regional governor Oleh Synehubov said on Telegram. The Ukrainska Pravda website reports that Kupyansk in the Kharkiv region was also liberated. Kupyansk has been an important logistics hub and ammunition depot for Moscow’s troops. In the past day, Moscow’s forces launched 13 missile attacks and 22 air strikes, Ukraine’s General Staff said in an update.

(All times CET)

Ukraine Says Five More Grain Ships Sailed (10:18 am)

Five ships carrying a total of 90,000 tons of Ukrainian grains and agricultural products left Ukrainian Black Sea ports early Saturday, according to an emailed statement. The ships are heading to destinations in Africa and Europe, the government said.

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Ukraine has exported 2.6 million tons of agricultural products since it reached a deal in July, brokered by Turkey and the UN, to unblock three ports in the Odesa region that had been closed since Russia’s invasion.

Scholz Says Germany Prepared for Russia Gas Halt (10 am)

Europe is prepared to weather the fallout should Russia decide to halt gas deliveries altogether, said Germany Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Germany has prepared “for Russia to largely cut off gas supplies because of the war against Ukraine,” Scholz said, adding his country has set up terminals on the north German coast to import liquid gas.

Germany’s Baerbock Visits Kyiv (8:50 am)

Germany’s foreign minister arrived in Kyiv early Saturday in a previously unannounced visit, she said in a statement.

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Annalena Baerbock’s second visit to Ukraine’s capital since Russia’s invasion in February was intended to show that “that we will continue to stand by Ukraine as long as it takes — with the delivery of weapons, with humanitarian and financial support,” she said.

The trip comes a week after Ukraine’s prime minister visited Berlin. Baerbock said Russian President Vladimir Putin “is counting on us getting tired of sympathizing with the suffering in Ukraine” by choking off energy supplies. “This calculation must not and will not work.”

Ukraine Seeks $1.5B From US Eximbank to Buy Gas (8:49 am)

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal spoke with US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen late Friday. The pair discussed energy security, including the upcoming heating season, according to an emailed statement.

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Shmyhal said Ukraine is in talks to get $1.5 billion from the US Eximbank to purchase gas. Ukraine may have 15 billion cubic meters of gas in storage by Nov. 1, Ukrainian state-run energy company Naftogaz CEO Yuriy Vitrenko said Friday.

Yellen stressed the need to identify “near-term, high-impact projects critical to rebuilding Ukraine’s economy.”

Ukraine Has Recaptured 2,500 Square Kms, ISW Estimates (7:30 am)

Ukraine is “likely clearing pockets of disorganized Russian forces caught in the rapid Ukrainian advance to Kupyansk, Izyum, and the Oskil River,” according to the Institute for the Study of War, a US-based think tank. “Ukrainian forces will likely sever Russian ground lines of communication to Izyum within the coming days, possibly collapsing Russian positions in this area,” it said.

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Read more: Ukraine Army’s Breakthrough in North Threatens Russian Grip

ISW estimates Ukraine’s forces have captured 2,500 square kilometers (965 square miles) in Kharkiv region counteroffensives as of Friday. That’s double the most recent estimate from Ukrainian officials including Zelenskiy.

Moscow’s troops were “likely taken by surprise” by Ukraine’s offensive operations in the Kharkiv region this week because of their focus on Kherson, the UK defense ministry said.

Zelenskiy Says More Than 30 Settlements In Kharkiv Region Liberated (7 am)

Ukraine’s army has liberated more than 30 settlements in the Kharkiv region so far, with units of the National Police returning to the areas, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said late Friday.

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“We are gradually taking control of new settlements — everywhere we are returning the Ukrainian flag and protection for all our people,” he said.

Zelenskiy urged bloggers not to report specific details of Ukraine’s defense operations before they’re announced by officials: “Do not complicate the task for our army with your haste.”

US Releases Guidance on Russian Oil-Price Cap Plan (12:50 am)

The US Treasury on Friday issued rough compliance guidelines for its proposed cap on the price of Russian oil, shortly after officials said Russia would have an economic incentive to participate.

The guidance tasks private companies with enforcing the cap by seeking certification that Russian oil is sold at or below a price set by the US along with other Group of Seven members. The guidance is aimed at the insurance companies and financial firms that facilitate the international oil trade.

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The cap is meant to be in place by the Dec. 5 for crude oil, and Feb. 5 for petroleum products, in line with the implementation of the European Union’s ban on services associated with seaborne oil and refined products.

Ukraine Files Arbitration Case Against Gazprom (4:56 pm)

Ukraine’s state-run Naftogaz filed an arbitration case against Russia’s Gazprom PJSC for not paying for natural gas transit on time and in full, according to an emailed statement.

Naftogaz demanded Gazprom pay for transiting gas via Ukrainian territory as its contract includes a pump-or-pay clause — meaning the Russian firm must pay the minimum gas-transit fee even if it doesn’t move the contracted volumes. Russia cut its gas transit via Ukraine this year.

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A hearing will be held in Zurich, according to the statement. Gazprom did not immediately respond to a request for a comment sent by Bloomberg News.

Nuclear Plant Situation ‘Increasingly Precarious,’ UN Agency Says (4:30 pm)

Operators at a Russian-occupied nuclear reactor in southeast Ukraine may soon have to draw on their last line of defense in order to prevent a nuclear accident, according to the direst warning yet issued by International Atomic Energy Agency monitors.

Continued attacks around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant have cut power cables and rendered layers of safety-backup systems ineffective. Now, power systems in the nearby city of Enerhodar have been destroyed by shelling, IAEA chief Rafael Mariano Grossi said in a lengthy statement.

The IAEA called the situation “increasingly precarious.”

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