As the war enters its 561st day, these are the main developments.
Here is the situation on Thursday, September 7, 2023.
- At least 16 people, some of them children, were killed and several wounded after Russia attacked a market in the eastern city of Kostiantynivka. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called the attack “utter inhumanity”.
- The White House and the European Union condemned the attack. “This brutal attack on innocent people peacefully shopping at a market makes it clear: This Russian war of aggression is an attack on international law, on humanity,” Baerbock wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
- Russia continued its attacks on the Izmail port along the Danube in Ukraine’s southwestern Odesa region. One person was killed during the three-hour attack.
- Ukrainian air defence said it shot down a barrage of Russian missiles fired at targets in the capital Kyiv.
- Oleksandr Syrskyi, commander of Ukraine’s ground forces, said the situation along the eastern front lines remained difficult and the main task for its troops was to ensure reliable defence and prevent the loss of established strongholds.
- Yevgeny Balitsky, the top Moscow-installed official in Ukraine’s Zaporizhia region, said Russian forces had withdrawn from Robotyne for “tactical reasons”, a week after Ukraine announced it had liberated the village.
- Romanian Defence Minister Angel Tilvar said parts of what could be a Russian drone fell on its territory and were being analysed. President Klaus Iohannis said previously that no debris had fallen in Romania, which lies just across the river from the Izmail port. NATO allies expressed “strong solidarity” with Romania after they were briefed on the incident.
- Ukraine’s parliament approved Rustem Umerov as Kyiv’s new defence minister following the departure of Oleksii Reznikov. Umerov is a member of the Tatar Muslim community of Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula that was annexed by Russia in 2014.
- Russian pilot Maxim Kuzminov, who defected to Ukraine in an Mi-8 helicopter, will receive a substantial reward of half a million dollars for changing sides and bringing military equipment with him.
- The United Kingdom Ministry of Defence said Russia had begun teaching a new curriculum in schools incorporating military skills – including weapons training – and the Kremlin’s perspective on the history of Ukraine.
- United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Kyiv for a two-day visit to underline US support for Ukraine amid its ongoing counteroffensive. Blinken held talks with Zelenskyy, who warned that while a “difficult winter” lay ahead, he was pleased to have the backing of the US and other allies. “We’re happy that we’re not alone through this winter. We will do it together with our partners,” Zelenskyy told Blinken.
- Zelenskyy welcomed Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen to Kyiv. “I am grateful for Denmark’s military aid, notably the F-16s,” he wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
- A US congressional delegation is to meet the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) top prosecutor Karim Khan in The Hague on Thursday to discuss allegations of war crimes against Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Thirty thousand children have been taken away from their families and indoctrinated in Russia,” noted Michael McCaul, the Republican chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, who will lead the delegation.
- Officials from the US, UK and EU are visiting the United Arab Emirates to discuss sanctions on Russia amid concerns over the shipment of goods, including computer chips, to Russia, according to a report on CNN.
- Britain said it would declare Russia’s Wagner mercenary group a “terrorist” organisation because it represented a threat to global security. In response, the Kremlin said Wagner did not legally exist. The UK designation is due to come into force on September 13.
- The Pentagon announced a new military aid package worth up to $175m for Ukraine, including depleted uranium ammunition for US Abrams tanks, HIMARS missile launch systems, Javelin antitank weapons and other weapons systems.
- British Defence Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed reports by Russian officials that a British Challenger 2 tank was destroyed in Ukraine. He said the tank was one of 14 donated to Ukraine and that the crew survived.
- Germany is in negotiations with the Netherlands and Denmark on the joint procurement of ammunition, a defence source has told the Reuters news agency, as Western countries scramble to replenish stocks depleted by donations to Ukraine.
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