As the war enters its 637th day, these are the main developments.
Here is the situation on Wednesday, November 22, 2023.
- Ukraine’s military spokesperson Oleksandr Shtupun said Russia had reduced ground assaults and air strikes on the eastern town of Avdiivka but had not abandoned “their plans to surround” the town. Ukrainian forces repelled eight attacks on Tuesday, he said. The military said there had also been an increase in Russian attacks on nearby Maryinka. The Russian defence ministry’s latest update mentioned that its troops were attacking villages south of Avdiivka, but gave few details.
- Russia’s defence ministry said its marines were “stopping all attempts by the Armed Forces of Ukraine to carry out amphibious landings on the Dnipro islands and the left [eastern] bank of the Dnipro River” in the southern Kherson region. Pro-Russian bloggers said Russian forces had been harrying Ukrainian forces near the village of Krynky, on the eastern bank upriver from the city of Kherson. Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu claimed Kyiv had suffered “colossal losses”.
- At least two people were killed after Russia fired a new barrage of missiles and drones hitting a hospital in the town of Selydove in the eastern Donetsk region, and a mine nearby. The air force said it destroyed nine out of 10 drones and a cruise missile launched by Russia. Moscow also targeted Ukraine with four guided missiles.
- Ukraine’s Defence Minister Rustem Umerov said no decision had been made about the jobs of two senior military commanders – Joint Forces Commander Serhiy Nayev and Oleksandr Tarnavskyi, chief of the Tavria military command – after local media reported that they might be sacked. The Tavria command spearheaded Ukraine’s counteroffensive in the southeast, but has failed to make a significant breakthrough in the face of heavily-defended Russian lines.
- Odesa Governor Oleh Kiper said Russia targeted port infrastructure in the Black Sea city of Odesa but no one was injured. The southern military command said Russia used Х-31 missiles and also struck the Belhorod-Dniester district in the region, hitting administrative buildings.
- The United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine said more than 10,000 civilians had been killed since Russia began its full-scale invasion of the country last year. With corroboration work continuing, the actual toll was likely to be “significantly higher”, it added.
Politics and diplomacy
- Ukraine marked the 10th anniversary of the pro-Europe Maidan protests, which eventually brought down the Kremlin-backed President Viktor Yanukovych. In a statement, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the protests marked the “first victory” in Ukraine’s battle against Russia. It was “a victory against indifference. A victory of courage. The victory of the Revolution of Dignity,” he said.
- European Council President Charles Michel travelled to Kyiv in a gesture of support for Ukraine, which he said had made “remarkable” progress in recent years. At a press conference, Zelenskyy said he hoped the European Union would agree to open formal accession talks at a summit next month. Michel said the discussion was likely to be “difficult” but he would “do everything in my power to convince my colleagues that we need a decision in December”. The decision needs the agreement of all 27 member states.
- Russia’s foreign ministry Ambassador-at-Large Rodion Miroshnik said Russia could not co-exist with the present government in Kyiv. “The current regime (in Kyiv) is absolutely toxic, we do not see any options for co-existence with it at the moment,” Miroshnik told reporters in Moscow.
- Ukraine’s defence ministry said criminal proceedings had begun into the misuse of more than $1m of government funds by a military unit in the northern Chernihiv region. The ministry found that the cost of generators had been inflated and that they had remained in warehouses instead of being delivered to where they were needed.
- Ukrainian authorities announced investigations into two lawmakers on suspicion of involvement in attempts to bribe top reconstruction officials. The National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) said it had caught one of the lawmakers, a member of parliament’s anti-corruption committee, allegedly offering the country’s first-ever documented bribe in Bitcoin. The other lawmaker is suspected of arranging the handover in a Kyiv supermarket parking lot of $150,000 in cash stuffed inside a Chinese decorative box. NABU did not name the officials.
- German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius announced Germany will support Ukraine with new military aid worth 1.3 billion euros ($1.42bn) that will include four additional IRIS-T air defence units to guard against Russian missile attacks. The package will also include 155mm artillery shells as well as anti-tank mines, Pistorius told reporters on a trip to Kyiv. Berlin is the second-biggest supplier of military assistance to Kyiv after the United States.