Dhe Ukrainian army appears to be making progress in its counterattack against the Russian invaders in the east of the country. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his video address on Wednesday that there was “good news from the Kharkiv region”. According to reports by Russian war correspondents, the Ukrainian army has been successfully advancing near the town of Balaklija since Tuesday and has recaptured several towns.
On Thursday, defense ministers and senior military officials from more than 50 countries supporting the attacked country will meet again at the US base in Ramstein, Germany, to discuss further military aid. It is the 197th day of Ukraine’s defense against the Russian invasion.
Ukrainian counterattack at Balaklija in the east
Despite the joy at the advance of his army, Zelenskyy kept a low profile: “Now is not the time to name this or that settlement to which the Ukrainian flag is returning.” Officially, the events are not commented on in detail due to an information blackout. Videos and photos from recaptured villages around Balaklija are piling up on social networks. According to Russian correspondent reports, the Ukrainian army is attacking there at a width of 20 to 30 kilometers. According to these sources, the Russian units are under considerable pressure, and some units are threatened with encirclement.
Apparently, there were also gains in the south in the Cherson region. The general staff report from Kyiv on Wednesday named Russian air and artillery attacks on several towns that were previously considered Russian controlled. “Every success of our military in one direction or another changes the situation along the entire front in Ukraine’s favour,” said Zelenskyy.
Presumably under the impression of this offensive, the Russian military administration wants to postpone referendums on the accession of the occupied southern Ukrainian territories to Russia until November 4th. Previously, an appointment in the first half of September was considered the desired date.
UNO: Ukrainian children are deported, put up for adoption
According to the UN Human Rights Office, there are indications that the Russian military is deporting Ukrainian children to Russia and giving them up for adoption there. According to “credible” indications, “unaccompanied minors” would be forcibly resettled in Russian-occupied areas or directly in Russia, said the deputy head of the UN human rights office, Ilze Brands Kehris, before the UN Security Council on Wednesday. The US State Department had previously accused the office of Russian President Vladimir Putin of organizing the forced resettlement of thousands of Ukrainians to Russia.
Brands Kehris said her office was “concerned” that the Russian authorities had introduced a “simplified procedure” for granting Russian citizenship to children without parental care — and that those children would be put “up for adoption by Russian families.”
According to Brands Kehris, Russian forces are also responsible for “filtration” of Ukrainian citizens in occupied territories. Among other things, those affected would have to undergo physical searches and, in some cases, completely undress for this purpose. In addition, their mobile devices would be searched.
Ukrainian citizens accused by Russia of being close to the Kiev government or armed forces have been tortured and sent to Russian penal colonies, she added. Her office is particularly concerned about the risk of sexual abuse that girls and women are exposed to during “filtration”.