Firefighters extinguish a fire after a Russian rocket attack hit a restaurant complex in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Sunday. Photo by Sergey Kozlov/EPA-EFE
Sept. 5 (UPI) -- Ukraine is claiming some of its most significant victories in the south since the start of the Russian invasion, claiming Monday it has recaptured two settlements in the south and one in the east as part of its counter-offensive.
Meanwhile, unit No. 6 of the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear plamt in the southeastern town of Enerhodar, the only still operating, has been disconnected from the energy grid because the last reserve line was damaged.
Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of President Volodymyr Zelensky's office, posted an image of soldiers raising the Ukrainian flag over a village he said was in Ukraine's south, which has been mostly controlled by Russia.
Ukraine's military's Operational Command South said its Air Force carried out 21 strikes, while "rocket and artillery units continue to carry out fire missions intensively. Crossings through the Dnipro and Inhulets (rivers) are under close fire control," according to The Guardian.
Kyiv claimed it has destroyed six Russian tanks and other equipment, including nine howitzers.
"After intensive shelling by the Defense Forces of areas where the enemy is concentrated in the Kherson region, Russian invaders imposed a ban on the movement of local residents," Ukraine's General Staff said Monday, according to CNN. "In particular, people are prohibited from crossing the Dnipro River both by bridges and by watercraft."
Despite Ukraine's reported success in the South, the British Defense Ministry said Russia has kept the bulk of its forces in the eastern Donbas region for fear of losing territory there.
"Its principal axes of advance in the Donbas remain at Avdiivka near Donetsk City and, [40 miles] to the north, around Bakhmut," the ministry said on Twitter. "AlthoughRussia has had the most success in this sector, its forces have still only been advancing around one kilometer per week towards Bakhmut."
The ministry said the reason for holding fast in the east for Moscow is meant to serve a political victory by claiming the whole Donetsk Oblast but they have not been able to secure that goal yet.
On Monday, Ukraine's energy company Energoatom said the last reserve line connecting the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant to the Ukrainian energy grid was disconnected after days of "intensive shelling."
Power from unit No. 6, which supplies the plant's own needs, was disconnected from the network after a fire caused by the shelling left transmission lines "damaged and disconnected," Energoatom said in a statement.
The company later said the power supply unit was "operational," but only to cool reactor cores and waste. No power was going out of the plant .
"The world is once again on the brink of a nuclear disaster. The de-occupation of the ZNPP and the creation of a demilitarized zone around it is the only way to ensure nuclear safety," Herman Galushchenko, Ukraine's energy minister, posted on Facebook.
He noted "any repair of the lines are impossible now - there are combat operations around the station."
The International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement "the line itself is not damaged, and it will be re-connected once the fire is extinguished."
In Afghanistan, a suicide bomber blew himself up outside the Russian embassy in Kabul, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Monday. Two embassy staff members were killed in the attack along with some Afghans. Taliban guards killed the attacker as he approached but the bomb went off regardless, Afghan police said. Russian officials called it an act of terrorism against the country.