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19 mins ago

Ukrainian troops consolidate on southern front after some advances, officials say

By Tim Lister, Olga Voitovych

This is how civilians live near the Zaporizhian front 1:59

The Ukrainian military says its units on the southern front of Zaporizhia are consolidating their positions after making some progress.

The General Staff said Friday that forces were pushing toward the village of Novoprokopivka. "They have been successful, they are consolidating their positions, inflicting artillery fire on identified enemy targets and conducting counter-battery operations."

However, Russian military blogger WarGonzo reported that Russian forces had counterattacked near the village of Verbove, in the same sector.

Ukrainian soldiers have said they expect battles for control of the high ground south and east of the village as they approach the next layer of Russian defenses. The goal of Ukrainian forces in this area is to open a hole through the multi-layered Russian defensive fortifications and approach the strategic center of Tokmak.

The Russian Defense Ministry said Thursday that Russian forces repelled five Ukrainian assaults near Verbove.

CNN cannot independently verify both sides' claims about the battlefield.

The Ukrainians also claim to have achieved "parity" with the Russians in terms of artillery range. Brigadier General Serhiy Baranov told Ukrainian media on Thursday that Ukrainians are benefiting from the increased range of field artillery provided by NATO states.

He said that while Russian artillery had an average range of 24 kilometers, weapons provided to Ukraine could fire between 30 and 40 kilometers.

"This made it possible to destroy or damage the enemy's guns, as well as move enemy artillery from the front line to the depths and prevent counter-battery warfare against our artillery and influence our infantry," Baranov said.

20 mins ago

Ultra-nationalist blogger arrested in Moscow

By Tim Lister, Anna Chernova

A Russian military blogger who has frequently criticized the way the campaign has been conducted in Ukraine has been detained in Moscow, according to state news agency RIA Novosti.

"A criminal case has been opened against the administrator of the Telegram channel Moscow Calling, Andrey Kurshin, for fake news about the Russian military," RIA Novosti reports.

"While he is being held as a suspect, the case is being investigated by Moscow investigators," the agency said, citing law enforcement.

The Telegram channel has about 87,000 subscribers.

The Institute for the Study of War notes that Kurshin is not a mainstream blogger, but an ultranationalist who "routinely attacks many aspects of Russia's military conduct of the war in Ukraine, while supporting the ultranationalist goals that underpin the war itself."

The institute added that "the broader Russian ultranationalist information space welcomed Kurshin's detention and noted that he routinely discredited the Russian military."

20 mins ago

Flights in Moscow Disrupted Following News of Foiled Drone Attack

By Olga Voitovych

Flights to Moscow airports were again disrupted on Friday after the mayor of the Russian capital reported another Ukrainian drone strike.

"This morning flights from Vnukovo, Domodedovo and Zhukovsky airports have been temporarily restricted to ensure the safety of civilian aircraft. Due to the restriction of the use of airspace, 14 aircraft departed for alternative airports," a statement from Rosaviatsiya, Russia's federal aviation agency, said Friday.
The agency did not specify the reason for the temporary restrictions.

Earlier, Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin stated that air defenses had shot down a Ukrainian drone heading for the capital.

This comes after all four Moscow airports temporarily suspended their air operations on Wednesday, as Russia witnessed the biggest drone assault on its territory since it launched its invasion of Ukraine last year.

In recent weeks, Ukraine has increasingly dared to attack from the air strategic targets inside Russia, even as it suffers assaults on its own cities, setting up a new phase of the conflict defined by Kyiv's apparent efforts to erode Russian domestic support for the war.

22 mins ago

Russia reports new drone strikes in Moscow and Kursk regions

By Olga Voitovych

A sign with the name of Vnukovo International Airport is seen on the roof of its terminal in Moscow, Russia, on August 21. (Photo: Maxim Shemetov/Reuters/File)

Ukrainian drones have again struck Russia's capital and a southwestern region bordering Ukraine, Russian officials said Friday.

Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin said air defenses shot down a drone approaching the capital overnight. No casualties or damage have been reported.

Meanwhile, in the Kursk region, two Ukrainian drones targeted the city of Kurchatov in the early hours of Friday, its governor said.

Gov. Roman Starovoit said an administrative building and a house were damaged in the attack.

A bit of context: Ukrainian drone strikes against Russia have intensified this week. Earlier on Wednesday, Russia witnessed the biggest drone attack on its territory since launching its invasion last year, with six regions, including Moscow and Bryansk, being targeted.

24 mins ago

Russia is "losing ground in the international community", says head of European diplomacy

By Mariya Knight

Russia is "losing ground in the international community" as attacks on Ukrainian grain supplies reverberate in countries far from the conflict, the European Union's top diplomat said on Thursday.

At a press conference in Brussels after a meeting of European foreign ministers, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell called the Second Russia-Africa Summit held in July a "diplomatic failure" for Moscow.

"The meeting between Russia and African leaders was a complete diplomatic failure, and I think Russia is losing ground in the international community," Borrell said.

Global food prices rose after Russia withdrew in July from the Black Sea grain deal that allowed safe passage for ships carrying grain from Ukrainian ports. In the weeks since, Russian forces have repeatedly attacked ports in what authorities in Kyiv see as a deliberate attempt to disrupt their vital grain exports, on which many developing countries, including African ones, depend.

Borrell stated that EU ministers "agree on the perception that [President Vladimir] Putin, with his aggression, is not only harming Ukraine, but [also] countries that are thousands of miles away."

It is the first time that the EU has seen how "these countries blame Russia for the consequences of its attitude of using food as weapons," he added.

Russian War in Ukraine