The first batch of US Abrams tanks have arrived in Ukraine in a move that Kyiv hopes will precipitate a counteroffensive “breakthrough”.
It was unclear exactly how many units were delivered, but US defence officials said they were the first of the 31 tanks that Washington had pledged.
They will add to Ukraine’s existing arsenal of armoured vehicles, which have recently been used to punch holes in Russian defensive lines on the war’s southern frontlines.
Last week, Marder and Stryker armoured vehicles swarmed through the Surovikin Line near Verbove, while British Challenger 2 tanks were used to recapture Robotyne in August.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said: “Abrams are already in Ukraine and are preparing to reinforce our brigades. I am grateful to the allies for fulfilling the agreements.”
The head of Ukraine’s military intelligence agency, Kyrylo Budanov, said last week that Abrams would be used for “breakthrough operations”.
03:06 PM BST
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02:50 PM BST
Three dead following Russian strikes on Kherson
The death toll following Russian attacks on Kherson has increased to three after a 55-year-old man succumbed to his injuries, the regional governor has said.
Oleksandr Produkin wrote on Telegram: “Unfortunately, it became known about the death of a 55-year-old man who was hit by enemy aircraft in Beryslav.
“Doctors fought for his life this morning, but the injuries were too severe.
“In total, the Russian airstrike on the city killed three people, another woman is in hospital. My condolences to the relatives of the victims.”
02:28 PM BST
MoD: Russian offensives show 'minimal capability'
Russian commanders have shown “minimal capability” as they launched a series of failed counterattacks on Ukrainian positions in the south and east of the country, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said.
It said in an intelligence update: “During the last nine months, the Russian force in Ukraine has proved itself capable of conducting stalwart defensive operations.
“However, it continues to display only minimal capability on the offensive. Commanders struggle to orchestrate complex joint effects, to concentrate sufficient artillery ammunition, and to maintain high morale and offensive spirit.”
Latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine – 25 September 2023.
Find out more about Defence Intelligence's use of language: https://t.co/aIor2TvWrR
🇺🇦 #StandWithUkraine 🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/9e2qFhIq7d
— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) September 25, 2023
02:09 PM BST
Pictured: What Ukraine's new tanks capable of?
02:07 PM BST
Missile lands in breakaway Moldova region
Missile debris was discovered in Moldova’s breakaway Transdniestria region after Russian missile strikes last night on Ukraine’s neighbouring Odesa region.
Oleg Beliakov, a security official, said police and sappers were on the site in the village of Chitcani, about 21 miles from the Ukrainian order.
He said part of an S-300 missile came down in a garden near a house but did not explode or cause any damage.
It was not immediately clear who had fired the missile. The S-300 long-range surface-to-air missile system are used by both Russia and Ukraine.
01:56 PM BST
Pictured: Where is the Odesa hotel damaged in the Russian attack?
01:41 PM BST
Russia says it destroyed Ukrainian jet in Dnipropetrovsk
Russia’s defence ministry claims to have destroyed a Ukrainian MiG-29 fighter jet at an airfield in Dnipropetrovsk.
The report, which has not been independently verified, was accompanied by pro-Russian bloggers publishing drone footage of an explosion at what was said to be Dolgintsevo air base.
It was reported earlier today that a Russian drone had been shot down over the nearby city of Kryvyi Rih.
01:33 PM BST
Kyiv 'launches 120 drone and missile attacks on Crimea'
Ukraine has launched more than a hundred air strikes on Crimea since last week, a pro-Russian blogger has claimed, as it intensifies its campaign on the annexed peninsula.
According to the Rybar Telegram channel: “The number of strikes on Crimea has increased many times.
“In the period from September 18 to 24, there were at least 120 strikes by drones, Neptune missiles, and Storm Shadows on the peninsula.
“The Black Sea Fleet headquarters in Sevastopol and port infrastructure were damaged. More than a hundred UAVs were shot down in a week alone.”
01:20 PM BST
Ukraine makes 'tactical breakthrough' near Verbove
Ukraine has achieved a “tactical breakthrough” on the war’s southern frontline near the village of Verbove, analysts believe.
George Barros, of the Institute for the Study of War think tank, said: “We’re calling it. Ukrainian forces have achieved a tactical breakthrough west of Verbove.
“The fight is not over yet and Ukrainian forces have a long ways to go, but this is a positive development.”
Russian sources indicate that Kyiv’s troops forced their way into Verbove on Friday, and had taken control of over half of the settlement as of Sunday.
Stryker and Marder armoured vehicles from the 82nd Air Assault brigade last week swarmed through Russia’s main defensive line west of the settlement. Geolocated footage put a Ukrainian infantry fighting vehicle in the westernmost part of Verbove yesterday.
01:00 PM BST
Black Sea Fleet commander 'dead in Crimea strike'
Ukraine claims to have killed the Admiral Viktor Sokolov, commander of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, in a missile strike on its naval headquarters last week.
The special forces said in a statement: “Thirty-four officers were killed, including the commander of the Black Sea fleet. Another 105 occupiers were wounded.”
Russia’s defence ministry said on the day of the attack that one serviceman was missing, having initially reported that one person had been killed.
12:41 PM BST
Zelensky confirms arrival of Abrams tanks
Volodymyr Zelensky confirms that Ukraine has received Abrams tanks from the US, adding that they will “reinforce our brigades”.
The Ukrainian president said on Telegram: “Abrams are already in Ukraine and are preparing to reinforce our brigades.
“I am grateful to the allies for fulfilling the agreements! We are looking for new contracts, expanding the geography of supply.”
12:07 PM BST
First Abrams tanks arrive in Ukraine
The first US-made Abrams tanks have been delivered to Ukraine, meaning they can be deployed on its counteroffensive in the south and east of the country.
It is unclear how many have been sent so far, but it marks the first batch of the 31 vehicles that the Biden administration has pledged to Kyiv, two US defence officials told The New York Times.
11:35 AM BST
Second body discovered in Odesa
A second body has been found underneath an Odesa grain warehouse levelled by Russian air strikes, regional governor Oleh Kiper says.
11:33 AM BST
Ukraine to receive $522m to bolster energy system
Ukraine will receive up to half a billion dollars to strengthen its energy system, ahead of expected Russian attacks on its power stations.
It will be handed $422m in assistance under an agreement with the US, with another $100m to follow subject to reforms.
One of the aims is to restore critical infrastructure, following Russian strikes last winter that left millions of people without electricity and water.
11:13 AM BST
Watch: Odesa hit by Russian drones and missiles in overnight attack
10:51 AM BST
Authorities 'demolishing remains of Black Sea Fleet base'
Crimean authorities are demolishing the Black Sea Fleet’s headquarters after the building was damaged in a Ukrainian missile strike.
Controlled explosions will be carried out on the site until 14:00 local time (12:00 BST), according to the Kremlin-backed governor of Sevastopol.
“It will be loud, so I warn you in advance,” Mikhail Razvozhayev wrote on Telegram.
10:43 AM BST
Body found under flattened Odesa grain warehouse
One person was killed after a Russian missile strike on a grain warehouse in Odesa, it has been reported.
Ukraine’s southern military command said the body of a person who worked on the premises had been found under the rubble at 12:15 local time (10:15 BST).
Another employee is apparently still missing while the search continues.
10:29 AM BST
Russia 'targeted 1,000 tons of grain' in Odesa strike
Almost 1,000 tons of grain was stored in facilities attacked by Russia overnight in the southern region of Odesa, regional governor Oleh Kiper has claimed.
10:17 AM BST
Odesa port damaged by Russian missile strikes
Russian drones and missiles fired on Odesa destroyed grain stores at the Black Sea port, according to Ukrainian authorities.
Southern defence forces said Moscow had directed 19 Shahed drones, two Onyx supersonic missiles and 12 Kalibr missiles at the city.
The port infrastructure sustained “significant damage” while an unspecified number of granaries and a “landmark” hotel were destroyed, according to Ukrainian authorities. Warehouses caught fire as a result of “falling debris”, they said.
Oleh Kiper, the region’s governor, said a woman had been sent to hospital after suffering a shrapnel injury. “Crimes of Russian terrorists are recorded by law enforcement agencies,” he added.
Moscow has intensified attacks on Ukraine’s ports, including Odesa and Mykolaiv, since pulling out of a UN-brokered deal to export grain along the Black Sea in July.
10:07 AM BST
Drones brought down over Crimea and mainland Russia
Russian air defences destroyed four Ukraine-launched drones over the Black Sea and Crimean peninsula, the Kremlin has said.
Another four drones were apparently brought down over Russia’s Kursk and Belgorod regions.
It was not immediately known whether there was any damage or injuries as a result of the reported attacks.
09:45 AM BST
Pictures: Firefighters battle flames after Odesa attack
09:36 AM BST
Ukraine 'continuing assaults' despite counterattack on Robotyne
Ukraine says it is still attempting to push south towards Melitopol as Russia launches attacks on its positions in Robotyne.
The Ukrainian armed forces said: “On the Melitopol direction, the defence forces continue the offensive operaiton.
“Our defenders have successfully repelled enemy attacks in the vicinity of the Robotyne settlement of the Zaporizhzhia region and continue to entrench themselves on the occupied borders.”
Kyiv reclaimed Robotyne after intense fighting last month, and is now using the settlement to assault Novoprokopivka to the south.
09:27 AM BST
'Dozens of Russian attacks' on eastern front
Ukraine says has repelled multiple Russian attacks on the eastern front, amid claims that Vladimir Putin wants to end Kyiv’s counteroffensive by October.
The Ukrainian armed forces said: “In the direction of Bakhmut, our defenders successfully repelled enemy attacks in the areas east of Bohdanivka and sotuheast of Bila Hora of the Donetsk region.
“tThe enemy tried to restore the lost position in the Klishchiivka area of the Donetsk region, but was unsuccessful.
“The enemy conducted unsuccessful offensive actions in the Marinka district of Donetsk region, where during the past day he made 14 unsuccessful attempts to dislodge our units.”
09:18 AM BST
Get rid of 'madman's missiles', urges Zelensky adviser
Last night’s attack on Odesa shows that more stringent sanctions are needed against Russia, Volodymyr Zelensky’s chief of staff has argued.
Andriy Yermak wrote on Telegram: “Demilitarisation of Russia is a necessity. Because the world should not tolerate a madman with missiles.
“Of course, there are different methods. One of them is sanctions against the Russian military industry.
“Stifling the Russian military industry would mean destroying their ability to produce lethal weapons and relegating their military capabilities to the distant past.”
09:06 AM BST
Two dead after air strike on Kherson
Two people have been killed in Russian attacks on Kherson as medical facilities and a church were struck, according to the region’s governor.
Oleksandr Produkin said: “The Russian military aimed at the residential quarters of the populated territories of the region; the territory and buildings of medical and educational institutions, a church, an object of critical infrastructure in the Beryslav district.
“Due to the Russian aggression, two people died, 11 more were injured.”
09:02 AM BST
Ukraine 'occupies half of Verbove'
Ukraine forces have broken into Verbove on the southern front and have occupied half the village, it has been reported.
Geolocated footage posted yesterday shows a Ukrainian infantry fighting vehicle operating in the Zaporizhzhia settlement’s westernmost limits, according to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) think tank.
It cited a source affiliates to Russia’s airborne forces saying Kyiv entered Verbove on September 22 and had taken half the village two days later.
08:33 AM BST
Shoigu 'has one month to stop Ukraine's counteroffensive'
Vladimir Putin has given his defence secretary until October to halt Ukraine’s counteroffensives, according to a source.
Citing a Telegram channel with apparent Kremlin links, the Institute for the Study of War think tank said Sergei Shoigu had been given a month for Russia to regain the initiative on the front line.
It said: “The insider‘s claim, if true, may indicate that the Russian military command may be ordering relentless counterattacks in hopes of forcing the Ukrainian counteroffensive to culminate, even at a high cost to Russian military capabilities.
“ISW has previously observed instances in which the Russian MoD, fearing the imminent loss of Putin’s favor, intensified its efforts to purge commanders who offered honest but negative views.”
08:15 AM BST
'Give Ukraine maximum-range missiles that can strike deep into Crimea'
A former commander of US forces in Europe has said the US must send the most advanced version of the ATACMS long-range missile to Ukraine, Dominic Nicholls writes.
Joe Biden is widely reported to have approved the transfer of the US Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) to Ukraine before a visit by Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky last week.
But the administration is considering sending the shorter-range cluster munition variant of the missile, rather than the 190-mile range and single-blast variant known as the unitary warhead, according to the Washington Post.
Read the full story here.
08:13 AM BST
Russia attempting to push back in south
Russia is “suffering significant losses” as it launches assaults on Ukraine’s positions on the southern front, it has been claimed.
Kyiv is said to have repelled assaults around Verbove, Mala Tokmachka, Robotyne and Novodanylivka in the Zaporizhzhia region.
A spokesman for the General Staff sad: “The enemy is suffering significant losses in personnel and equipment, moving troops, using reserves.”
08:06 AM BST
Pictured: Buildings gutted in attack on Odesa
07:56 AM BST
Fire after drone shot down over Zelensky's hometown
A fire broke out in Volodymyr Zelensky’s hometown of Kryvyi Rih last night when a Russian drone was shot down by air defences, Ukrainian media reports.
An industrial facility was damaged, but there are not believed to be any deaths or casualties. The city has been repeatedly targeted in Russian air strikes.
07:50 AM BST
Odesa's 'landmark' hotel goes up in flames
Hitting Odesa’s city landmark as a response to the extermination of the 🇷🇺 Black Sea Fleet HQ
This is how impotence looks like pic.twitter.com/cfveus7IOA
— Kate Levchuk 🇺🇦 (@KateGoesTech) September 24, 2023
07:49 AM BST
Destruction of Odesa hotel 'shows Russian impotence'
Russian drones and missiles fired on Odesa reportedly destroyed a “landmark” hotel last night, as pictures showed the building had been gutted by fire.
Ukraine’s interior ministry wrote on Telegram: “The hotel at the sea terminal is a landmark for everyone who has visited the city at least once. Today, Russia destroyed it.”
One former resident said the decision to target a hotel was a sign of Moscow’s impotence, contrasting it to Ukraine’s recent strike on the Black Sea Fleet’s headquarters.
07:40 AM BST
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