As the war enters its 547th day, these are the main developments.
Here is the situation on Thursday, August 24, 2023.
Prigozhin plane crash
- Russian aviation authorities said Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Russian mercenary force Wagner, was on the passenger list of an Embraer private jet that crashed on its way from Moscow to St Petersburg.
- Top Wagner commander Dmitry Utkin was also on the list of passengers.
- The aircraft plunged into a field near the village of Kuzhenkino in the Tver region, some 300km (185 miles) north of Moscow, killing all 10 people on board. Russian state media said all the bodies had been recovered.
- The crash took place exactly two months after Prigozhin led a short-lived mutiny by his Wagner group. Under a deal to end the rebellion, Wagner was to relocate to Belarus where Prigozhin was supposed to go into exile.
- The Embraer Legacy 600 executive jet had the registration RA-02795 and was the same plane in which Prigozhin flew to Belarus after the mutiny, the Reuters news agency reported.
- Russian state news agency RIA reported Sergey Surovikin, nicknamed “General Armageddon”, had been removed as head of the country’s air and space forces, and replaced with Colonel General Viktor Afzalov. Surovikin has not been seen in public since the Wagner Group mutiny.
- Russia’s defence ministry said it brought down three drones, thwarting another alleged Ukrainian attack on Moscow. One of the drones collided with a building under construction in the central business district as it fell, and flights at Moscow’s airports were suspended temporarily. No casualties were reported.
- Ukrainian Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said at least four people were killed and four injured in a Russian attack on a school in the northeastern city of Romny. The four who died all worked at the school and included its director and deputy director.
- The Ukrainian military and local authorities said Russia attacked Ukraine’s southern Odesa and the Danube river regions, a key area for grain exports, with drones causing fires in the grain facilities.
- Ukraine’s Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said that Russian attacks on its sea and river ports had destroyed 270,000 tonnes of grain in one month. “Russia is systematically hitting grain tanks and warehouses to stop agricultural exports,” Kubrakov said in a post on social media.
- Ukrainian forces raised the national flag in the settlement of Robotyne in the southern Zaporizhia region. “A historic day! Soldiers of the 47th Separate Mechanised Brigade set up the flag of Ukraine in the village of Robotyne, in one of the hottest destinations – Melitopol,” the brigade said in a post on its Telegram channel.
- The Ukrainian intelligence agency said it destroyed a key Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile defence system in occupied Crimea. There was no comment from Moscow.
- The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has been evacuating people from the city of Kupiansk, which has been under repeated shelling from Russian forces.
- Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said BRICS countries were engaged with Ukrainian and Russian efforts to end the war, which he said had “highlighted the limitations of the UN Security Council”. Speaking at the group’s summit in Johannesburg, Lula reiterated his country’s position of “defending sovereignty, territorial integrity”.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin, addressing the BRICS summit by video because of an international arrest warrant for alleged war crimes in Ukraine, said Moscow wanted to end the war, which he claimed had been “unleashed by the West and its satellites”. Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told an international conference attended by more than 60 countries that Kyiv aimed to end Russia’s occupation of the Crimea Peninsula and the other areas of Ukraine it had taken. “Crimea will be de-occupied like all other parts of Ukraine that are unfortunately still under the occupier,” Zelenskyy said. Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.
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