Here is the situation on Sunday, September 10, 2023.
- Russian air defence shot down three Ukrainian drones over Crimea, one in the northwest and two in the west of the peninsula, according to a Moscow-installed official in the annexed region.
- On the southern front lines in Ukraine, the United Nations atomic watchdog warned of a potential threat to nuclear safety from a spike in fighting near the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia power plant. The International Atomic Energy Agency said its experts at the facility reported hearing numerous explosions over the past week but that there was no damage to the plant.
- Ukraine’s spy chief Kyrylo Budanov, meanwhile, said Kyiv’s counteroffensive against Russian forces will continue through the onset of cold and wet weather later this year, even though it would become harder to fight. “Combat actions will continue in one way or another. In the cold, wet and mud, it is more difficult to fight. Fighting will continue. The counteroffensive will continue,” he said at a conference in Kyiv.
- In neighbouring Romania, the defence ministry said it found new fragments of a drone similar to those used by the Russian military on Romanian territory. President Klaus Iohannis said that this indicated an unacceptable breach of Romania’s air space had occurred.
- The Group of 20 adopted a consensus declaration at a summit in New Delhi that avoided condemning Russia for the war in Ukraine but called on all states not to use force to grab territory. “We … welcome all relevant and constructive initiatives that support a comprehensive, just, and durable peace in Ukraine,” the declaration said. “The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible,” it added.
- Ukraine’s foreign ministry said the declaration was “nothing to be proud of”, but German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said it demonstrated a clear position on Russia’s invasion by stating that the territorial integrity of countries cannot be called into question with violence.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi in Kyiv and agreed to begin discussions on security guarantees and cooperate on reconstructing Ukraine’s economy, according to Tokyo.
Black Sea grain deal
- Russia said it was sticking to its conditions for a return to the Black Sea grain deal which it quit in July. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia needed its state agricultural bank – and not a subsidiary of the bank, as proposed by the UN – to be reconnected to the international SWIFT bank payments system.
- At the G20 summit, meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held talks with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida regarding efforts to revive the deal, according to the Reuters news agency. It did not give further details.
- The European Union also castigated Russia for pulling out of the Black Sea grain deal, with European Council President Charles Michel condemning Russian attacks on Ukrainian port infrastructure and deriding its offer of a million tonnes of grain to African countries as a “parody of generosity”.
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