Ukraine: Medvedev promises more conquests a year on from the annexation of territories
Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has vowed that Russia will capture more territory in Ukraine, a year after the claimed annexation of four Ukrainian regions, presented by Vladimir Putin as the fulfilment of the imperial project of ‘New Russia’.
“The special military operation (in Ukraine) will continue until the complete destruction of the Nazi regime in Kiev and the liberation of originally Russian territories from the hands of the enemy,” Medvedev wrote on Telegram.
“Victory will be ours. And more new regions will join Russia,” the second in command of the Russian Security Council added.
Also on Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin also promised "regeneration and socio-economic development" of the annexed regions in Ukraine, in a speech broadcast by the Kremlin.
"By defending our fellow citizens in Donbass and ‘New Russia’, we are defending Russia itself and fighting for our homeland, our sovereignty, for our spiritual values and our unity,” Putin said.
At the end of September 2022, after the organisation of so-called ‘referendums’ deemed fictitious by Kiev and the West, Vladimir Putin approved the annexation of the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Lugansk in the east, as well as those of Zaporizhia and Kherson in the south.
These annexations have triggered condemnation from Ukraine and its Western supporters, who consider them to be “illegal”.
30 September was declared as a “reunification day” by Vladimir Putin.
However, Russia only partially controls these regions and faces a counter-offensive from Ukraine, which seeks to retake them.
In Ukraine, a move to attract defence industrialists to produce weapons on its territory
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has inaugurated an international forum in Kyiv, dedicated to the defence industry, in the hope of attracting manufacturers capable of producing weapons in Ukraine and "building an arsenal" against Russia .
Since the start of the Russian invasion in 2022, Ukraine has been very dependent on Western arms deliveries for its war effort.
Ukraine has therefore brought together 252 defence sector companies from some 30 countries in Kyiv on Friday for the forum, with the aim of convincing them to establish themselves in the war-torn country.
“We are interested in localising the production of equipment necessary for our defence and advanced defence systems used by our soldiers,” Zelenskyy said in his introductory speech on Saturday.
The objective, according to him, is to "build a modern and powerful arsenal", at a time when Russia is also striving to increase its military production capabilities.
Zelenskyy promised attendees that, if they joined the so-called ‘Alliance of Defence Industries, they would receive the perks of a ‘special economic regime’.
According to the leader, a “special defence fund” will also be created for military production, financed in particular by “the profits from the sale of confiscated Russian assets”.
The subject of relocating defence industries to Ukraine was raised during Zelenskyy's recent visit to the United States.
There, it was reported that Kyv and Washington would begin “negotiations” on the topic “in the near future”.
Ukraine has claimed to have advanced in a successful operation in the direction of Bakhmut.
Kyiv's State Border Guard Service released a video in which one of its fighters said their units, together with the Armed Forces of Ukraine, conducted a successful advance and "captured a strategically important place on Donetsk region's map."
The video was shared on Friday, but no information was provided when the operation took place.
Russia claims airstrike successes
Russia's Defense Ministry on Friday released its weekly briefing claiming the Russian army carried out nine group strikes by long-range precision weapons and unmanned aerial vehicles from 24 to 29 September.
"The strikes hit ammunition depots, military-technical hardware of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, saboteurs' training sites, and accommodation points for Ukrainian servicemen and foreign mercenaries," said Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman, Igor Konashenkov.
"As a result of the strikes, the control centre of the International Legion formation, two large arsenals with weapons and ammunition were destroyed, and the supply of foreign-made weapons and logistical support for Ukrainian troops operating in Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia directions were disrupted," he added.
Wagner commander takes charge of volunteers
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered one of the top commanders of the Wagner military contractor to take charge of volunteer units fighting in Ukraine, a statement that signalled the Kremlin’s effort to keep using the mercenaries after the death of their chief, Yevgeny Prigozhin.
In remarks released by Russian State TV on Friday, Putin told Andrei Troshev, who was one of Wagner’s senior officers, that his task is to “deal with forming volunteer units that could perform various combat tasks, primarily in the zone of the special military operation,” a term the Kremlin uses for its military campaign in Ukraine.
The meeting appeared to reflect the Kremlin’s desire to redeploy some Wagner mercenaries to the front line in Ukraine following their brief mutiny in June and Prigozhin’s suspicious plane crash death on 23 August. The private army that once counted tens of thousands of troops is a precious asset the Kremlin wants to exploit.
Troshev is a retired military officer who has played a leading role in Wagner since its creation in 2014 and has faced European Union sanctions over his role in Syria as the group's executive director.
Wagner mercenaries have played a key role in Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine, spearheading the capture of the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut in May after months of fierce fighting. Kyiv's troops are now seeking to reclaim it as part of their counteroffensive.
Zelenskyy pays respects Babi Yar massacre victims
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy paid his respects to the victims of Babi Yar massacre in Kyiv on Friday as the country marked the 82nd anniversary of one of the most infamous mass slaughters of World War II.
Babi Yar, a ravine in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, is where nearly 34,000 Jews were killed within 48 hours in 1941 when the city was under Nazi occupation.
The killing was carried out by SS troops along with local collaborators.
Zelenskyy placed candles during a service at a memorial in the Ukrainian capital before thanking members of the Jewish community for hosting the event.