Key developments on Oct. 4
- Ukraine advances around 30 kilometers in Kherson Oblast
- Russian troops withdraw from Kharkiv Oblast
- Russian parliament approves annexation of 4 Ukrainian regions
- Russia fires five missile strikes, one airstrike across Ukraine
Editor's note: Shortly after this story was published, President Volodymyr Zelensky confirmed that Ukraine liberated dozens of settlements this week, including Liubymivka, Khreshchenivka, Zolota Balka, Biliaivka, Ukrainka, Velyka Oleksandrivka, Mala Oleksandrivka, and Davydiv Brid.
Ukraine continues to make substantial gains in Kherson Oblast, occupied by Russia since March.
Ukrainian soldiers have published videos from previously occupied settlements – Arkhangelske, Starosillia, Velyka Oleksandrivka, Davydiv Brid, and Dudchany.
The Russian Defense Ministry officially confirmed a significant retreat in the northeastern part of Kherson Oblast over the past 24 hours, which spans around 30 kilometers.
The map also suggests that Russian forces were pushed out of the northeastern Kharkiv Oblast.
As Russian forces were retreating in several regions, Russia's parliament on Oct. 4 unanimously ratified the illegal annex of four Ukrainian regions it doesn't control.
Moscow is yet to formally draw its own borders.
President Volodymyr Zelensky, on Oct. 4, signed a decree to formally rule out negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying that talks with the current Russian leader are "impossible."
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock also said peace talks with Russia are impossible, warning that Putin's proposal was – "we will rob your country, enslave your citizens, and then you can sign peace."
"Putin is lonely and isolated like never before," Baerbock said in an interview with the German newspaper Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung published on Oct. 4.
Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the President's Office, reported on Oct. 4 that Ukraine had liberated 483 settlements in Kharkiv Oblast so far.
In neighboring Luhansk Oblast, authorities may soon ask remaining residents to evacuate as Ukraine is planning to enter the occupied region, Luhansk Oblast Governor Serhiy Haidai said.
The Russians are trying to strengthen their defense near Sievierodonetsk – in Kreminna, Luhansk Oblast – Serhiy Cherevaty, spokesman of the Eastern Operational Command of Ukraine's Armed Forces, told Channel 24.
Ukrainian forces appear to be pushing east of Lyman, Donetsk Oblast, and "may have broken through the Luhansk Oblast (administrative) border in the direction of Kreminna," the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a U.S. defense think-tank, said on Oct. 3.
U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told ABC News that Ukrainian forces are pushing into the Luhansk Oblast while also advancing in the south.
"And like you've heard President (Joe) Biden saying, we're going to continue to make sure we can give them the weapons and capabilities so they can continue that sign of progress," Kirby said.
On Oct. 4, Biden announced a new $625 million security assistance package to Ukraine, following a call with Zelensky. The security assistance package includes four HIMARS, and additional artillery systems, ammunition, and armored vehicles.
Russia's mobilization efforts
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that 200,000 people had been drafted since Putin announced a so-called "partial mobilization" of 300,000 new conscripts on Sept. 21.
Meanwhile, according to Forbes Russia, over 700,000 people have fled Russia since Putin's announcement.
Ukrainian and Western intelligence assessments say Moscow is facing challenges in drafting more soldiers.
Putin has admitted that his mobilization isn't going well, the U.K. Defense Ministry's intelligence said on Oct. 3, as he is struggling to properly train drafted reservists arriving at military camps.
Casualties and attacks
Russian forces launched five missile strikes and one airstrike across Ukraine on Oct. 4, Ukraine's General Staff reported.
Overnight, Russian missiles hit a residential area in Kramatorsk, Donetsk Oblast, damaging houses and a school and wounding two people, Mayor Oleksandr Honcharenko said.
In Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, Governor Valentyn Reznichenko said Russian shelling continued in Nikopol and surrounding areas along the Dnipro River, wounding four people. Two of them were hospitalized, he added.
According to the official, Nikopol's power grids were damaged as a result of the attack, cutting more than 7,000 families from electricity.
In Kharkiv, Governor Oleh Synehubov said an overnight missile strike hit an industrial site in the western part of Kharkiv, killing a 46-year-old woman.