A Ukrainian serviceman operates a drone at a front line near the village of Robotyne in the Zaporizhzhia region on Aug. 25. (Viacheslav Ratynskyi/Reuters)

Ukrainian forces have achieved “notable progress” in retaking territory in the southern region of Zaporizhzhia over the past three days, White House spokesperson John Kirby told reporters. The comments follow weeks of a near stalemate that had sparked concern among Kyiv’s supporters.

Russia’s space agency announced that the new Sarmat missile, which is capable of carrying multiple nuclear warheads, is on “combat duty.” The announcement, reported by Russian state news agency Interfax, came months after the weapon was expected to be ready and shortly after Ukraine claimed it had used new domestically made long-range missiles to hit a target some 435 miles away. The Washington Post could not independently verify the claims.

Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.

Kirby told reporters Friday that Kyiv’s forces “have achieved some success along that second line of Russian defenses,” but “it is not beyond the realm of the possible that Russia will react” to Ukraine’s push. He declined to comment on Ukraine’s claims regarding its new long-range missiles and reiterated the administration’s policy of not encouraging or enabling Ukrainian strikes inside Russia.

The Sarmat missile does not pose a significant threat to the United States, the Pentagon said in April last year after the Kremlin successfully test-launched it. NATO has dubbed the weapon “Satan 2.” When Russian President Vladimir Putin announced it in 2018, he claimed it could breach “any missile defense” system.

Moscow on Friday designated Nobel laureate Dmitry Muratov a “foreign agent,” a label used to harass human rights organizations and journalists in Russia. Muratov is the editor in chief of the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta and has been a regular critic of the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine. He shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Philippine journalist Maria Ressa in 2021.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said that more than 3.7 million Ukrainian children started the new school year Friday, most of whom are studying in the country. Every lesson that was taught was proof “that Ukraine will definitely endure” and that “life goes on,” he said in his nightly address.

Russia’s Ministry of Defense claimed early Saturday it had repelled three attempts to attack the Crimean Bridge using drones. It blamed Ukraine, which has not taken responsibility. The British Ministry of Defense said Friday that Russia created an underwater barrier of submerged ships and floating barriers to deter attacks on the Crimean Bridge, which was hit by Ukraine in July.

Russia risks “dividing its forces” as it seeks to confront Ukraine’s counteroffensive, according to the British Defense Ministry. Russian forces were attempting to halt the southern counteroffensive while also continuing their own offensive around Kupiansk, in the northeast of the country, in a probable attempt to “distract Ukraine,” the ministry tweeted early Saturday.

Russia said Friday that any weapons facilities in Ukraine could become a target, a day after Zelensky’s office announced that BAE Systems — Britain’s largest defense contractor, which has been providing Ukraine with weapons such as artillery systems — will open an office in Kyiv.

Russia’s short-term military reinforcement needs may be impeding its intended long-term reconstitution efforts, the Institute for the Study of War said in an assessment Friday. Its recent redeployment of forces “suggests an increasing Russian concern about the stability of Russian defenses in light of Ukrainian advances around Robotyne” in the Zaporizhzhia region, the ISW said.

German prosecutors launched an investigation Friday into an attack on a 10-year old Ukrainian by a man insisting the boy speak Russian. Investigators said an unidentified man speaking Russian accosted a group of Ukrainian children in the town of Einbeck on Aug. 26, complaining that they were speaking Ukrainian and demanding they speak Russian. He then pushed a 10-year old over a canal bridge railing, the public prosecutor’s office said in a statement, adding that the man was being investigated for attempted murder. The boy was injured in the head and foot, the statement said.

Elon Musk’s X, formerly Twitter, has played a major role in allowing Russian propaganda about Ukraine to reach more people than before the war began, according to a study by the European Commission. The reach of Kremlin-aligned social media accounts has grown over the course of 2022, with further growth this year “driven in particular by the dismantling of Twitter’s safety standards,” the study found.

Leaders of Ukrainian anti-corruption bodies met U.S. government officials during a five-day visit to Washington, D.C., this week, the State Department announced. The Departments of State, Justice, and Treasury, and USAID, hosted the visit from Ukraine’s Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine, and High Anti-Corruption Court, the department said in a media note Friday. The leaders also met with national security adviser Jake Sullivan, the White House said in a separate statement. Tackling corruption is a key condition the European Union has set for Ukraine to join the bloc.

Belarus summoned Poland’s envoy after claiming that a Polish helicopter had violated its airspace, the Belarusian Foreign Ministry tweeted Friday. “Such a border crossing could not have happened and it did not happen. Our radar systems are unambiguous,” Polish military operational command spokesman Lt. Col. Jacek Goryszewski responded Friday, according to Reuters. Relations between the two countries have worsened in recent months, after Russian Wagner Group mercenaries entered Belarus after their failed mutiny in Russia and began training Belarusian troops.

Back in class, Russian students get a lesson from Professor Putin: On the first day of the school year, Putin spoke by videoconference to children at a new school in the occupied Ukrainian city of Mariupol in four Russian regions. He reflected nostalgically on the Soviet era and discussed efforts to impose Russian education on “the new territories, new regions” — a reference to occupied Ukraine.

Putin’s claims that Ukraine is part of Russia’s “historical lands” are now part of the official curriculum, Robyn Dixon and Natalia Abbakumova report, and there are new textbooks and new classes to serve the Kremlin’s narrative.

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