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ISW: Russia's retreat from Lyman indicates Putin prioritizing occupied territories in Ukraine's south

by The Kyiv Independent news desk October 2, 2022 8:16 AM 1 min read
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The Institute for the Study of War said in its latest update that "the decision not to reinforce vulnerable Kupiansk or Lyman front lines was almost certainly (Russian dictator Vladimir) Putin’s, not that of the military command, and suggests he cares far more about holding the strategic terrain of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia oblasts than he does about Luhansk Oblast."

According to the ISW, Ukrainian and Russian sources consistently noted that Russian forces continued to reinforce their positions in Kherson and Zaporizhzhia oblasts, despite the recent collapse of the Kharkiv-Izium front and even as Russian positions around Lyman in Donetsk Oblast collapsed.

The update also reported that Russia is "likely setting conditions to assume legal responsibility for the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant."

After Russian forces kidnapped Ihor Murashov, the head of the plant when he was on his way home on Sept. 30, Russian military bloggers claimed that Murashov's detention will have little effect on the operation of the plant as power units are already shut down and legal work is underway to transfer control of the plant to Russian state nuclear energy corporation Rosatom, the ISW reported.

The ISW said attempts to transfer control of the plant are "noteworthy indications that Russian authorities will likely seek to exploit their control of the plant to pressure the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to legitimize the illegal Russian annexations of occupied Ukrainian territory by coercing it to acknowledge Russia‘s legal control over the plant."

IAEA chief Rafael Grossi is expected to travel to Kyiv and Moscow next week to discuss the creation of a safe zone around the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine, the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement on Oct. 1.

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