Russian air defences have shot down one of the country’s most advanced fighter jets in a friendly fire incident, according to reports.
A Russian Telegram channel with close links to the country’s air force appeared to confirm the incident on Friday when it paid tribute to the pilot, who did not survive.
Footage showing a fireball falling out of the sky began circulating on Friday.
Ukrainian channels claimed that a Russian S-300 missile had brought down the aircraft, which is believed to cost more than £35 million.
The Su-35 was designed to “significantly increase engagement effectiveness against air, land and sea targets”, according to the United Aircraft Corporation, a Russian aerospace and defence corporation.
Experts say that the plane was made to fight back against Western aircraft such as the Lockheed Martin-made F-16.
Tokmak, which was captured by Russian forces early in the war, is situated on the road to the occupied city of Melitopol.
Ukraine’s counter-offensive is working to push through Russia’s defences on the road to Tokmak, then on to Melitopol before reaching the Sea of Azov.
According to the Institute of War, Russia’s 70th and 71st Motorized Rifle Regiments are fighting between the current frontline in Zaporizhzhia and Tokmak.
Seizing Tokmak would represent a huge victory for Ukraine’s forces, Gen Oleksandr Tarnavsky, who is leading Ukraine’s counter-offensive along the southern front line, told CNN last week.
“Tokmak is the minimum goal … The overall objective is to get to our state borders,” he said.
Western analysts have said that Russia’s air force has an unusual toll of self-inflicted losses.
They believe that it is the result of a push to complete training quickly, the pressure of combat and a lack of experienced pilots.
Russia has lost four Su-35 jets since Vladimir Putin’s forces invaded Ukraine in February last year, according to the Dutch open-source intelligence outlet Oryx.
Russia has also experienced self-inflicted losses on the ground.
Earlier this month, more than 60 Russian soldiers were thought to have been killed or wounded by friendly fire as they made a hasty retreat from the village of Opytne, in the Donetsk region.
The chaotic withdrawal was mistaken for a rapid Ukrainian advance across an open field by a Russian drone operator, who ordered an artillery strike.
02:58 PM BST
Today's live coverage has ended
Today’s live coverage has ended. Here is a roundup of the day’s main events:
Vladimir Putin has tasked a former commander of the Wagner group with overseeing volunteer fighter units in Ukraine, according to a Kremlin statement.
Russia claimed that it had destroyed 11 Ukrainian drones overnight, though one UAV dropped explosives on a substation, cutting the local power supply, a regional governor said.
Hundreds of Wagner mercenaries are likely to have returned to Ukraine, according to the UK Ministry of Defence.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that “very difficult questions” would need to be answered before the European Union could even start membership talks with Ukraine.
Russian security forces arrested a man accused of passing information to Ukraine on the Kerch Peninsula in eastern Crimea, according to local media.
The British government imposed an asset freeze and travel bans on officials linked to elections in the annexed Ukrainian regions of Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, Luhansk, Donetsk and Crimea.
02:31 PM BST
Zelensky marks anniversary of Nazi massacre
Ukraine on Friday marked the 82nd anniversary of a mass killing, mainly of Jews, during the Nazi occupation of the country.
Nearly 34,000 Jewish men, women and children were shot dead September 29-30, 1941 at Babyn Yar, outside of Kyiv.
Volodymyr Zelensky paid tribute to those killed.
“Today, Ukraine and the world commemorate the 82nd anniversary of the Babyn Yar massacre, one of the most terrible Nazi crimes committed during the Holocaust,” he wrote on Twitter.
“I paid tribute to the victims and thanked the Ukrainian Jewish community leaders for coming to pray and commemorate them.”
Today, Ukraine and the world commemorate the 82nd anniversary of the Babyn Yar massacre, one of the most terrible Nazi crimes committed during the Holocaust.
I paid tribute to the victims and thanked the Ukrainian Jewish community leaders for coming to pray and commemorate them. pic.twitter.com/J3BVpXLqfm
— Volodymyr Zelenskyy / Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) September 29, 2023
02:04 PM BST
The frontline in pictures
Here are the latest pictures from the frontline in Ukraine:
01:38 PM BST
Seven countries order ammunition under EU scheme to aid Ukraine
Seven EU countries have ordered ammunition under a landmark European Union procurement scheme to get urgently needed artillery shells to Ukraine and replenish depleted Western stocks, according to the EU agency in charge.
The orders - placed under contracts negotiated by the European Defence Agency (EDA) - are for 155mm artillery rounds, one of the most important munitions in the intense war of attrition between Ukraine’s troops and Russia’s invading forces.
The scheme was set up as part of a plan worth at least 2 billion euros, launched in March with the aim of getting 1 million artillery shells and missiles to Ukraine within a year.
Some officials and diplomats have expressed scepticism that the target will be met but the initiative marked a significant step in the EU’s growing role in defence and military affairs, spurred by the war in Ukraine.
The agency declined to name the countries, saying it was up to each government to announce its orders. In response to a query from Reuters, Lithuania’s Defence Ministry confirmed it was one of the countries.
01:18 PM BST
'Powerful' explosion reported in Zaporizhzhia oblast
The head of Berdiansk’s military administration has reported a “powerful” explosion.
Viktoriia Halitsina said the city, in Zaporizhzhia oblast, suffered from power supply outages after the blast.
The reports, which were released by the Kyiv Independent, have not yet been independently verified.
12:57 PM BST
Russian athletes to compete at Paris Paralympics
Russian athletes will be able to compete as full participants or neutral athletes at next year’s Paris Paralympics after the International Paralympic Committee members voted against a full ban of Russia on Friday.
The decision clears the way for Russians, whose athletes are currently banned from any Paralympic competition, to be in Paris and what the IPC will decide later on Friday is whether they will do so in full national team gear or if they will compete as neutrals, without national emblems, flags or anthem.
“At the IPC General Assembly in Bahrain, IPC members voted 74-65 (13 abstentions) against a motion to fully suspend NPC (National Paralympic Committee) Russia for breaches of its constitutional membership obligations,” the IPC said.
The decision comes two weeks before the International Olympic Committee session in Mumbai where it will also discuss Russia’s and Belarus’ participation at the Paris Olympics next year.
12:32 PM BST
Cleverly: 'We cannot accept this attack on Ukrainian sovereignty'
Donetsk and Luhansk are Ukraine.
Kherson and Zaporizhzhia are Ukraine.
Crimea is Ukraine.
Today, we have sanctioned those responsible for staging sham elections on Ukrainian soil.
We cannot accept this attack on Ukrainian sovereignty.
— James Cleverly🇬🇧 (@JamesCleverly) September 29, 2023
12:02 PM BST
UK sanctions officials linked to elections in annexed regions of Ukraine
The British government on Friday imposed an asset freeze and travel bans on officials linked to elections in the annexed Ukrainian regions of Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, Luhansk, Donetsk and Crimea.
The government said the sanctioned officials had been involved in recent “sham elections” in the regions.
“The UK will never recognise Russia’s claims to Ukrainian territory - Crimea, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, Luhansk and Kherson are Ukraine,” foreign minister James Cleverly said in a statement.
Britain also added Russia’s emergencies minister Alexander Kurenkov and the secretary of the Russian Central Election Commission Natalya Budarina to the sanctions list.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said the elections conducted this month in Russian-held parts of Ukraine marked a step towards their full integration into Russia.
11:46 AM BST
US Abrams tanks welcomed by Ukrainian soldiers
US Abrams tanks have arrived in Ukraine’s east, offering tank crews more firepower and protection in their fight against Russia.
Their arrival was previously confirmed by President Volodymyr Zelensky.
US General Mark Milley said the tanks “will make a difference” in the war.
Crews serving in the eastern region of Donetsk added that the tanks would mark a big improvement of the Soviet-era tanks currently on the battlegrounds.
“The Abrams tank....has protection against ammunition detonation. (This tank) does not have it. If ammunition detonates, there is no chance to survive,” said tank driver Vitalii.
11:22 AM BST
Watch: Putin tasks former Wagner commander with overseeing volunteer fighters
Vladimir Putin has tasked a former commander of the Wagner group with overseeing volunteer fighter units in Ukraine, according to a Kremlin statement on Friday.
“At the last meeting we talked about you overseeing the formation of volunteer units that can carry out various tasks, first and foremost of course in the zone of the special military operation,” Putin was quoted as saying to Andrei Troshev, using Moscow’s name for its offensive in Ukraine.
“You yourself have been fighting in such a unit for more than a year,” Putin said. “You know what it is, how it is done, you know about the issues that need to be resolved in advance so that the combat work goes in the best and most successful way.”
11:01 AM BST
Pictures: Ukrainian serviceman on the frontline
Here, a Ukrainian serviceman uploads shells in a tank, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in the Donetsk region.
10:44 AM BST
Ukrainian 'spy' detained
Russian security forces have arrested a man accused of passing information to Ukraine on the Kerch Peninsula in eastern Crimea, according to local media.
The 45-year-old local allegedly established contact with the main intelligence directorate of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine.
He carried out photo and video recordings of the movement of military equipment in the direction of the special military operation zone, transmitting the specified information through closed communication channels.
10:19 AM BST
Zelensky in running for Nobel Peace Prize
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian dissident Alexei Navalny are in the running for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.
Although bookmakers have Mr Zelensky as a top candidate to join the list of laureates from Nelson Mandela to Martin Luther King, Nobel specialists believe that as a wartime leader, the Ukrainian president is unlikely to be named.
The imprisoned Mr Navalny’s chances are lessened because Russian dissidents won last year and the year before.
Last year’s prize, seen by many as a rebuke to Russian President Vladimir Putin, went to jailed Belarusian activist Ales Bialiatski, Russian rights group Memorial and Ukraine’s Center for Civil Liberties.
09:55 AM BST
Zelensky blessed by Ukraine’s chief rabbi
President Volodymyr Zelensky joined Ukraine’s chief rabbi Moshe Reuven Azman to Babyn Yar on Friday.
He made the trip to pay his respects on the anniversary of the massacre there in the Second World War.
The Rabbi said he had blessed Mr Zelensky:
“At Babyn Yar, starting on 29 September 1941, more than 35,000 Jews were killed in the first three days.
“The tragedy of the Holocaust leaves a deep mark in the hearts of many, the losses are irreversible and painful, and it is important to remember those who lost their lives in those dark days.
“I blessed the President of Ukraine at this holy place and wished him, on the eve of the Sukkot holiday, strength of spirit, inspiration and God’s protection for the entire Ukrainian people.
“May the blessings of the Almighty accompany Ukraine on the way to peace and prosperity.”
Today, September 29, on the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Babyn Yar, the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy, together with the Righteous Among the Nations and the rabbis of the cities of Ukraine, honored the memory of the victims of the Holocaust in Babyn Yar.
— Chief Rabbi Of Ukraine Moshe Azman (@RabbiUkraine) September 29, 2023
09:35 AM BST
Russian bloggers admit to self-censorship
Numerous Russian bloggers have admitted to self-censoring their reporting, according to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).
The news speaks to a wider trend in how Russia discusses certain battle areas.
Self-censorship can make it harder for groups like the ISW to accurately talk about Russia’s actions in Ukraine, the ISW said.
One blogger was found to have changed a post to make it seem like Ukraine had not made much progress, hinting at the possibility that Russia could be controlling the information shared.
09:03 AM BST
'Tough issues' to clear before EU membership talks with Ukraine
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday that “very difficult questions” would need to be answered before the European Union could even start membership talks with Ukraine.
EU countries are due to decide in December whether to allow Ukraine to begin accession negotiations, which would require the unanimous backing of all 27 members. Diplomats have said Hungary may be an obstacle.
“We cannot avoid the question - when during the autumn we will have negotiations in Brussels about the future of Ukraine - whether we can actually seriously consider membership for a country, to start accession talks with a country that is at war,” Orban told state radio.
“We don’t know how big the territory of this country is, as the war is still ongoing, we don’t know how big its population is as they are fleeing ... to admit a country to the EU without knowing its parameters, this would be unprecedented.
“So I think we need to answer very long and difficult questions until we get to actually deciding about the start of accession talks,” he said.
08:34 AM BST
Wagner fighters returning to Ukraine, says UK MoD
Hundreds of Wagner mercenaries are likely to have returned to Ukraine, according to the UK Ministry of Defence.
The MoD said that it is thought the fighters have joined official Russian military forces and other private military companies.
Wagner veterans are gathering around Bakhmut, which was seized by Wagner after months of brutal fighting, according to reports.
Latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine – 29 September 2023.
Find out more about Defence Intelligence's use of language: https://t.co/SD77dxyh9d
🇺🇦 #StandWithUkraine 🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/FOtd1rKetU
— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) September 29, 2023
The MoD said that “their experience is likely to be particularly in demand” in the area.
Wagner withdrew from combat operations in Ukraine by early June 2023, prior to the abortive mutiny of 24 June 2023, the MoD added.
It also follows the death of Wagner owner Yevgeny Prigozhin and other senior leaders in a plane crash on 23 August 2023.
08:12 AM BST
Autumn conscripts will not fight in Ukraine
A Russian official in the country’s armed forces has said that those conscripted during the autumn campaign will not be sent to fight in Ukraine.
Vladimir Tsimlyansky, deputy chief of the main organisational and mobilisation directorate of the general staff of the Russian Federation armed forces, said the conscriptions began on Oct 1.
“Servicemen undergoing conscription military service will not be sent to the points of deployment of units of the armed forces of the Russian Federation in new regions of the Russian Federation: Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, or to participate there in carrying out the tasks of a special military operation.”
07:49 AM BST
Russian shelling kills five in southern, eastern Ukraine
Russian shelling on Thursday killed three women in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson and two people in eastern Donetsk region, local officials said.
Prosecutors said the three women were killed on a street in Kherson, a town abandoned by Russian troops late last year along with other settlements on the west bank of the Dnipro River. Russian forces routinely shell Kherson and nearby areas from positions on the river’s east bank.
Prosecutors in Donetsk region in the east said two people died when Russian forces shelled Krasnohorivka, west of the Russian-held city of Donetsk and near the long-contested town of Maryinka.
In Kostyantynivka, west of the town of Bakhmut, in Russian hands since May, three people were injured when Russian forces launched two air strikes within an hour, prosecutors said.
Reuters could not independently verify any of the accounts of military activity.
07:33 AM BST
Russia says 11 Ukrainian drones destroyed overnight
Russia claimed on Friday that it had destroyed 11 Ukrainian drones overnight, though one UAV dropped explosives on a substation, cutting the local power supply, a regional governor said.
“Eleven Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles were destroyed by air defence systems on duty, one of them over the territory of Kaluga region and 10 over Kursk region,” Russia’s defence ministry said on the messaging platform Telegram.
Kursk governor Roman Starovoyt said that the region bordering eastern Ukraine was “massively attacked” by Ukrainian UAVs.
In Belaya village, less than 25 kilometres (16 miles) from the border, “a Ukrainian drone dropped two explosive devices on a substation”, he said on Telegram.
“One of the transformers caught fire. Five settlements and a hospital were cut off from power supply. Fire crews rushed to the scene,” he added.
“Power will be restored as soon as it is safe to do so.”