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Deadly Russian drone attacks hit port district in Ukraine’s Odesa region

Russian drone attacks early on Wednesday killed one person and damaged agricultural infrastructure in Izmail, a port district in the Odesa region, its governor Oleg Kiper said. Ukrainian air defence systems shot down Russian missiles that targeted Kyiv in another early morning attack. Read our liveblog for the latest updates on the war in Ukraine. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).

9:02am: Moscow-appointed official says Russian army ‘tactically abandoned’ Ukraine’s Robotyne

A Russian-appointed official has acknowledged that Moscow’s forces have abandoned the Ukrainian village of Robotyne, more than a week after Kyiv announced its recapture.

Yevgeny Balitsky, the top Moscow-installed official in the Zaporizhzhia region of Ukraine, said in a television interview that the Russian army had withdrawn for what he called tactical reasons.

“The Russian army abandoned – tactically abandoned – this settlement because staying on a bare surface when there is no way to completely dig in … doesn’t generally make sense.

“Therefore the Russian army moved off into the hills,” news outlet RBC quoted him as saying.

Russia has not previously acknowledged the loss of Robotyne, whose recapture was announced by Ukraine on August 28. In its daily update on Tuesday, the Russian defence ministry said its forces had repelled two Ukrainian attacks near Robotyne.

More than 18 months after Russia’s invasion, Ukraine says it is gaining ground and has broken through Russia’s first line of fortifications in several places on the front line, despite repeated statements from Moscow that Kyiv’s three-month-old counteroffensive has been a failure.

8:49am: UK says it will declare Russia’s Wagner Group a terrorist organisation

The Russian mercenary Wagner Group is set to be proscribed as a terrorist organisation by the UK government, the interior ministry said on Wednesday.

A draft order due to laid before parliament will allow Wagner’s assets to be categorised as terrorist property and seized, the ministry said in a statement.

It will be illegal to be a member or support the organisation, punishable by up to 14 years in jail.

Britain’s Interior Minister Suella Braverman described the Wagner Group as “violent and destructive”, adding it “acted as a military tool of Vladimir Putin’s Russia overseas”.

Across Ukraine, the Middle East and Africa, Wagner has been involved in looting, torture and “barbarous murders”, the statement said, calling it a threat to global security.

“They are terrorists, plain and simple – and this proscription order makes that clear in UK law,” she said.

The order is expected to come into force on September 13, after which it would be a criminal offence to belong to or promote the group, arrange or address its meetings and carry its logo in public.

7:31am: Russian forces not ‘abandoning’ plans in Donetsk, Luhansk regions, Ukrainian commander says

The situation along the eastern front line remains difficult and the main task for Ukraine’s troops is to ensure reliable defence and prevent the loss of strongholds, Oleksandr Syrskyi, commander of Ukraine’s ground forces, said on Wednesday.

“The enemy does not abandon his plans to reach the borders of Donetsk and Luhansk regions,” the ground forces cited Syrskyi as saying on the Telegram messaging app.

“Our main task is to ensure reliable defence, to prevent the loss of our strongholds and positions in the Kupiansk and Lymansk directions, as well as to successfully move forward and reach the designated lines in the Bakhmut direction.”

6:45am: Russian drone attacks on Odesa region port district in Odesa kill one and damage infrastructure, governor says

One person was killed in Russian drone attacks on a port district in Ukraine’s southwestern Odesa region early Wednesday, regional Governor Oleg Kiper said.

The night-time attacks lasted three hours and targeted the Izmail district, Kiper said on Telegram.

The Danube river port of Izmail, which borders NATO member Romania, has become a main export route for Ukrainian products following Russia’s withdrawal from a UN-brokered grain deal in July.

“Unfortunately, one person died,” said Kiper, adding that it was an agricultural worker who was seriously injured and died in hospital.

“Destruction and fires were recorded in several settlements,” he added, saying that port and agricultural infrastructure had been damaged, including administrative buildings.

Following the collapse of the deal allowing grain shipments from Black Sea ports, Russia has ramped up attacks on Ukraine’s southern Odesa and Mykolaiv regions, home to ports and infrastructure vital for agriculture exports.

6:03am: Ukrainian air defences thwart Russian missile attack on Kyiv, official says

Russia launched a missile attack on Kyiv early on Wednesday, with the country’s air defence systems shooting down all missiles before they reached their targets, the capital’s military administration said on the Telegram messaging app.

Witnesses heard several blasts which sounded like air defence systems being deployed at around 5:50am (0250 GMT) when air raid alerts were issued for all of Ukraine before being called off about an hour later.

“Another missile attack by the enemy on a peaceful city with the aim of killing the civilian population and destroying the infrastructure,” Serhiy Popko, head of Kyiv’s military administration, said on the Telegram messaging app.

He added that according to preliminary information, there was no destruction in Kyiv and no casualties.

The scale of the attack, which Popko said involved missiles of different types, was not immediately known.

8:40pm, September 5: New attacks in Ukraine ‘very, very close’ to Romania border

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis said Tuesday that new attacks in neighbouring Ukraine happened “very, very close” to Romania’s border, with Russia repeatedly launching drone strikes on Danube infrastructure in southern Ukraine.

“We had attacks just today, the minister of defence told me, which were verified at 800 metres (2,600 feet) from our border. So very, very close,” Iohannis told a joint press conference with Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel.

Key developments from Tuesday, September 5:

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke to troops leading a counteroffensive towards the eastern war-battered town of Bakhmut, Kyiv said Tuesday.

The Kremlin declined to confirm a potential upcoming summit between President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, which US officials have said they expected.

The number of people killed or wounded by cluster munitions increased eightfold last year to more than 1,000, mostly due to their use in the Ukraine war, particularly by Russia, a report by the Cluster Munitions Coalition campaign group showed. Of the 1,172 victims last year, more than 300 died in Ukraine, the report said.

Read yesterday’s live blog to see how the day’s events unfolded.

© France Médias Monde graphic studio

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)

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