As the war enters its 560th day, these are the main developments.
Here is the situation on Wednesday, September 6, 2023.
- Russia stepped up claims that Ukraine’s months-long counteroffensive had failed with President Vladimir Putin and Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu both claiming the effort had not worked. In a call with Russian military leaders, Shoigu claimed that Ukraine had lost more than 66,000 soldiers and 7,600 weapons since the start of the counteroffensive, the state-run TASS news agency reported. Shoigu said the “most tense situation” currently was on the front in the southeastern Zaporizhia region.
- Using geolocated footage, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a Washington, DC-based think tank, said that Ukrainian light infantry had advanced beyond some of Russia’s anti-tank ditches and dense minefields that make up its multi-layered defences in Zaporizhia. However, ISW said it was unable to clarify whether the defence had been completely breached because no Ukrainian heavy armour had been witnessed in the area.
- Still in the Zaporizhia region, Vladimir Rogov, a Russian-installed official in the area, said Russian forces allegedly destroyed their first Challenger 2, a tank supplied by the United Kingdom. Rogov said the tank was set on fire during fighting near the southeastern village of Robotyne.
- The Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) reported that some 916 people were killed or injured by the weapons in 2022, saying Russia had “extensively” used stocks of old cluster munitions and newly-developed ones. Ukrainian forces had used cluster munitions “to a lesser extent”, the CMC said in its report.
- Vyacheslav Gladkov, the governor of Russia’s Belgorod region, said one person was killed and one wounded due to Ukrainian shelling.
- Romanian President Klaus Iohannis said that Russian attacks on Danube ports in neighbouring Ukraine had happened “very, very close” to its border. “We had attacks … which were verified at 800 metres [2,600 feet] from our border. So very, very close,” Iohannis said. The president said while no drones or debris had fallen in Romania, the country remained on alert.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy shared video footage on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, of his visit to front-line troops in Bakhmut where he handed out awards to soldiers.
- Lawmaker Yaroslav Zheleznyak said Ukraine’s parliament had approved the dismissal of defence minister, Oleksii Reznikov. Crimean Tatar and former lawmaker Rustem Umerov is expected to replace him.
- Cuba said it had uncovered a human trafficking ring that coerced Cuban citizens into fighting for Russia in the war in Ukraine and that the island’s authorities were working to “neutralise and dismantle” the network.
- The United States said arms supply talks between North Korea and Russia were “actively advancing” and that the process was probably “leading to leader-level engagement” between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Russian President Putin, perhaps as soon as this month.
- The Kremlin said there was “nothing to say” about the reports.
- US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan warned that North Korea would “pay a price” if it provided weapons to Russia “for use on the battlefield to attack grain silos and the heating infrastructure of major cities as we head into winter, to try to conquer territory that belongs to another sovereign nation”.
- Speaking after talks with Putin in the city of Sochi, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he was confident it would be possible to revive the Black Sea grain deal that enabled the safe export of Ukrainian grain and was abandoned by Russia in July. “As Turkey, we believe that we will reach a solution that will meet the expectations in a short time,” Erdogan said.
- A senior Ukrainian official rejected a suggestion from Erdogan that Kyiv should soften its stance to revive the grain deal, saying Ukraine would not support a policy of “appeasement”. “Let’s be realistic after all and stop discussing non-existent options, much less encouraging Russia to commit further crimes,” presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak told the Reuters news agency.
- Lazare Eloundou Assomo, the head of the World Heritage programme, said Kyiv’s Saint Sophia Cathedral and the historical centre of the western Ukrainian city Lviv should join UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites in danger due to the Russian invasion. The World Heritage Committee will meet in Riyadh from September 10.
- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will visit Dhaka for two days before the G20 meeting in New Delhi as Moscow looks to strengthen bilateral ties with Bangladesh.
- Harald Buschek, the chief programme officer of arms maker Diehl Defence, said the company expects to build at least eight IRIS-T missile defence systems in 2024, compared with three to four this year. Buschek said it also expected to produce as many as 500 missiles next year. So far, Germany has supplied two IRIS-T units to Ukraine for use against Russian missile attacks.