Speed Reads

pulling back

Russia withdraws troops from Kharkiv region as Ukraine powers down final reactor at Zaporizhzhia

Russia's Defense Ministry said Saturday that Russian forces would withdraw from two areas in Ukraine's northeastern Kharkiv Oblast as a Ukrainian counteroffensive continues to gain ground, The Associated Press reports.

This withdrawal would constitute the most significant Russian retreat since invading forces pulled back from the capital city of Kyiv at the end of March. A Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said the withdrawn troops would be redeployed to the Donetsk region.

Also on Saturday, Ukrainian forces entered the strategic city of Izium, which Russia has held since April, according to CNN.

Serhiy Haidai, the Ukrainian regional governor of Russian-held Luhansk Oblast, suggested that the city of Lysychansk, which fell to Russian forces in July, could be Ukraine's next target.

On Sunday, the Ukrainian engineers that operate the country's Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant began powering down the facility's last operating reactor, according to NPR and The New York Times.

Energoatom, Ukraine's state-owned nuclear company, said in a statement that the sixth and final reactor would be "transfer[red] ... to the safest state — cold shutdown" for safety reasons as Russian and Ukrainian forces continue to clash in the vicinity of the nuclear plant.

This decision decreases the possibility of a meltdown but also means that the plant will have to rely on diesel generators to operate its safety equipment if further shelling severs the plant from external power again. The plant reportedly has enough fuel to operate these generators for just 10 days.