Kharkiv-area offensive retakes more territory

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 965 square miles of territory around Kharkiv.

The UN’s nuclear agency ramped up its warning about Ukraine’s Zaporizhizhia 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.

The World Bank and the European Commission estimated that reconstruction of Ukraine will cost at least $349 billion, based on damage inflict by early June, and the figure is expected to grow as the war goes on.

Key developments

  • US Treasury Releases Guidance on Russian Oil-Price Cap Plan
  • 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

On the ground

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is halfway through its seventh month. Kyiv’s forces are pushing back in the Kherson region to the south and around Kharkiv in the north. In the past day, Moscow’s forces launched 13 missile attacks and 22 air strikes, Ukraine’s General Staff said in an update. To strengthen the Russian grouping in the occupied territories of the Kherson region, a unit of the so-called “Kadyrovtsy”, formed on a national basis, arrived, numbering up to 1,300 people. The General staff also says private military companies in Russian-occupied areas have suffered significant losses. The claims can’t be independently verified. Russian forces were “likely taken by surprise” by Kyiv’s Kharkiv offensive, the UK defense department said.

(All times CET)

Germany’s Baerbock Visits Kyiv (8:50 a.m.)

Germany’s foreign minister arrived in Kyiv early Saturday in a previously unannounced visit, DPA reported.

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,” Baerbock said. The trip comes a week after Ukraine’s prime minister visited Berlin.

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

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.

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 a.m.) 

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.

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.

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