President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that Ukrainian forces have recaptured additional settlements in Kherson, one of the largely Russian-occupied and allegedly annexed southern areas.
With Russian forces retiring from southern and eastern front lines, Zelensky said in a late-night video presentation on Wednesday that Novovoskresenske, Novohryhorivka, and Petropavlivka were "liberated"
Russia is asking for a secret ballot instead of a public vote when the 193-member UN General Assembly decides next week whether to condemn Moscow's annexation of Donetsk and Luhansk in the east, and Kherson and Zaporizhia in the south, following referendums in the provinces.
Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a measure incorporating four regions into Russia. Ukraine asserts that it will never consent to a forcible annexation of its territory. Kyiv and the West claimed the referendums were coerced, rigged elections.
In Europe's largest annexation since World War II, the new bill would take around 18 percent of Ukraine's territory, which is similar to the size of Portugal. Putin asserts that he wants to safeguard Russian speakers in Ukraine and ensure Russia's security. Kyiv accuses Moscow of a territorial grab.
In his statement, Zelensky stated that he and his top military officers met on Wednesday to consider reclaiming all Russian-occupied territory.
Zelensky addressed pro-Moscow forces in Russia, informing them that they had already lost.
"Ukrainians understand why they are fighting. And more and more Russian civilians are recognizing that they must die because one man refuses to halt the conflict," he continued, referring to Putin.
Moscow's map of Ukraine appears to depict a reduction in the territory it controls. The whole terrain of the Ukrainian provinces was shown on a map of "new regions" issued by the state-run news agency RIA, but certain portions were shaded and labeled as being under Ukrainian military control.
"They will be with Russia forever," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said of the new areas, adding that Ukrainian-recaptured settlements "will be returned"
Since the beginning of September, Ukrainian forces have reclaimed thousands of square miles of terrain, including dozens of villages in recent days.
After the front line collapsed, thousands of Russian forces retreated, first in the northeast and then, at the beginning of this week, also in the south.
Putin celebrated the annexations with a ceremony in the Kremlin and a concert in Red Square last Thursday, mere hours before Ukrainian forces stormed Lyman, Russia's most important holdout in northern Donetsk.
On Wednesday, the bloated bodies of two Russian soldiers were still lying in trees on opposite sides of a road near Lyman, next to the mangled remains of two cars and a van.
Occasional rumbles emanated from distant fighting between fleeing Russians and Ukrainian troops moving toward a north-south highway that serves as one of the final supply routes for Russian forces in the province of Luhansk.
In Lyman, Nina, aged 73, stood alongside vans outside the municipal building in anticipation of receiving humanitarian aid. She stated that fifteen Russian soldiers were dead in her street.
She stated, "Nobody touches them," Nobody eliminates them. It is the fifth day that they have been lying there. And we have the odor'
Putin ordered the Russian government to seize control of Europe's largest nuclear power plant, which was being operated by Ukrainian engineers despite being captured by Russian troops early in the war. This was one of Putin's earliest actions to demonstrate his authority over the four annexed provinces.
The IAEA, the UN's nuclear watchdog, has learned of preparations to restart one reactor at the site, where all six reactors have been offline for weeks.
The Zaporizhzhia power station is located directly on the front line, on a Russian-controlled bank of a massive reservoir, with Ukrainian forces on the opposite bank. Both sides have warned of the risk of a nuclear disaster resulting from combat near the power station.
Russia detained the Ukrainian manager in charge of the plant in recent days. Since his discharge, he has not returned to work. The head of Ukraine's state nuclear energy corporation Energoatom, Petro Kotin, announced that he was now in charge of the facility and encouraged the workers not to sign any contracts with the Russian occupants.
Kyiv has long accused Moscow of intending to switch the plant from Ukraine's power grid to Russia's, a move that, according to Kyiv, would increase the chance of an accident.
IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi, who is scheduled to visit Kyiv and Moscow this week, tweeted a photo of himself boarding a train to Kyiv and stated that negotiations for a safe zone surrounding the facility were more crucial than ever.
Putin stated in televised remarks that he had issued an order "corrections" the partial mobilization he announced on 21 September. The directive would postpone conscription for more student categories. Hundreds of thousands of men have fled Russia since the invasion began on February 24, with some fearing conscription and others opposing the conflict.