Here is the situation on Tuesday September 19, 2023.
- Ukraine dismissed all six of the country’s deputy defence ministers – Hanna Maliar, Volodymyr Havrylov, Rostyslav Zamlynskyi, Denys Sharapov, Andriy Shevchenko and Vitalii Deineha – according to local media reports. The announcement follows the September 6 appointment of Rustem Umerov as the new defence minister.
- Ukraine said its air defence systems brought down a swarm of Russian attack drones and cruise missiles. “A total of 24 strike UAVs were recorded around the Mykolaiv and Odesa regions. Eighteen attack drones were shot down by air defence units along the tracking route,” the Ukrainian Air Force said on social media, adding, “All 17 missiles were shot down.”
- Ukrainian officials said at least four people were killed in Russian air attacks, two of them in the southern region of Kherson.
- Oleh Kiper, Odesa’s regional governor, said 11 drones were destroyed in another Russian attack on the Izmail port district on the Danube River that Ukraine uses to export grain. A small fire was extinguished and there were no reports of casualties.
- In its latest intelligence update on the fighting, the United Kingdom’s defence ministry said Russia appeared to be using airborne units to reinforce under-pressure ground forces on the Zaporizhia front around Orikhiv and Robotyne.
- Kremlin spokesperson Dimitry Peskov said Russia had no information on the health of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov after several social media reports claimed the 46-year-old was unwell. “We have nothing to tell you here,” Peskov said. Kadyrov has been an ardent backer of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and his soldiers have fought alongside regular Russian forces.
- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Moscow, with Wang hailing the two countries’ “strategic cooperation” and shared commitment to a “multipolar world” and a “more just world order”. Lavrov said that Russia China cooperation was about “ensuring justice in world affairs” and “for ensuring a balance of interests”. Beijing has not condemned Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine but has called for peace. Wang’s visit continues until Thursday.
- World leaders, including Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, began arriving in New York for the United Nations General Assembly.
- Zelenskyy met injured Ukrainian soldiers receiving medical treatment in New York’s Staten Island University Hospital and is due to hold talks with United States President Joe Biden. He will address the UN General Assembly on Tuesday in his first speech there since Russia’s full-scale invasion. “It’s very important that all our words, all our messages will be heard by our partners,” Zelenskyy told reporters. “And if in the United Nations still … there is a place for Russian terrorists, the question not to me I think, it’s a question to all the members of the United Nations.”
- A UN expert said the human rights situation in Russia had significantly deteriorated since it began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February last year. “Russian authorities have severely curtailed the freedoms of association, peaceful assembly and expression, both online and offline, and have fundamentally undermined the independence of the judiciary and the guarantees of fair trial,” the Reuters news agency reported, citing a copy of the report.
- Ukraine’s Ministry of Economy filed complaints with the World Trade Organization (WTO) against Poland, Slovakia and Hungary over their bans on food imports from Ukraine. It said Ukraine saw such restrictions as a violation of the European Union countries’ international obligations.
- Poland proposed that new EU sanctions against Russia should include a ban on Russian diamonds and liquid petroleum gas (LPG) and called for sanctions against Belarus to be aligned with those against Moscow, the Reuters news agency reported, citing a proposal it had obtained. The EU is working on its 12th package of sanctions since Moscow’s invasion began.
- Moscow’s foreign ministry condemned EU rules imposed on Russian citizens entering the bloc, saying the rules went “beyond the point of absurdity” and were aimed at “causing harm specifically to ordinary Russians and at making it impossible for Russian citizens to enter the European Union”.
- Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said Germany would provide Ukraine with additional ammunition, protective vehicles and mine clearance systems as part of a 400 million euro ($427m) aid package. It has yet to make a decision on sending Taurus cruise missiles.