New foreign secretary David Cameron meets Zelensky
Russia is suffering “particularly heavy losses” on the Donetsk frontline as it seeks to capture the tactically key city of Avdiivka, with fighting continuing to rage in Kupiansk and at the Dnipro River, the UK’s Ministry of Defence has said.
And Vladimir Putin has lost around a brigade’s worth of forces at the Dnipro River since Ukraine first began attacking its eastern bank, where it now claims to have secured a foothold, according to the US-based Institute for the Study of War think-tank.
But despite these heavy losses, neither side has achieved substantial progress in any fighting hotspot, and “there are few immediate prospects of major changes in the frontline” as colder winter weather sets in earnest in eastern Ukraine, the ministry said.
Meanwhile, Ukraine said its air defences had shot down 29 of an overnight barrage of 39 Iranian drones on Saturday, as it claimed to have destroyed a total of 15 Russian naval vessels in the Black Sea since the start of Moscow’s invasion, damaging 12 others.
Putin suffering ‘particularly heavy losses’ in push to capture Avdiivka
Russia is suffering “particularly heavy losses” in its push to recapture Avdiivka, as fighting rages on multiple fronts in Ukraine, the UK’s Ministry of Defence has said – with cluster munitions playing “a major role” in disrupting attacks on both sides.
“Over the last week, the most intense ground combat has been taking place in three areas: on the Kupiansk axis, in Luhansk Oblast; around Avdiivka in Donetsk Oblast; and on the left bank of the Dnipro river in Kherson Oblast, where Ukrainian forces have established a bridgehead,” the ministry said.
“Neither side has achieved substantial progress in any of these areas. Russia continues to suffer particularly heavy casualties around Avdiivka.
“Eyewitness reports suggest small uncrewed aerial vehicles and artillery (especially cluster rounds) continue to play a major role in disrupting the attacks of both sides.”
“As colder winter weather sets in earnest in eastern Ukraine, there are few immediate prospects of major changes in the frontline.”
Andy Gregory18 November 2023 08:09
ICYMI: In Russia, more Kremlin critics are being imprisoned as intolerance of dissent grows
Russia under President Vladimir Putin has been closing in on those who challenge the Kremlin. Protesters and activists have been arrested or imprisoned, independent news outlets have been silenced, and various groups have been added to registers of “foreign agents” and “undesirable organizations.”
The crackdown has been going on for years.
Matt Mathers18 November 2023 07:00
Thousands of Ukrainian children forcefully taken to Belarus via Russia, study finds
The Humanitarian Research Lab at Yale School of Public Health found that the transfer of 2,442 children was “directly overseen” by Belarusian president Aleksandr Lukashenko – a key ally of Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Matt Mathers18 November 2023 06:00
ICYMI: Wife of twice-poisoned Briton held in Kremlin prison fears ‘time is running out’
The wife of a British-Russian national held in a Krelimn prison says she fears time is running out, and has called for the UK to take more urgent action to free him.
Vladimir Kara-Murza survived two near-fatal poisonings, in 2015 and 2017, which resulted in organ failure and polyneuropathy, a condition that causes nerve damage.
Matt Mathers18 November 2023 05:00
ICYMI: Bombs, betrayal and burying loved ones – plight of one Ukraine village illustrates toll of Russia’s invasion
Kim Sengupta returns to Kamianka in eastern Ukraine – the scene of one of the most extraordinary exchanges he has witnessed during the 21-month war – to hear about the struggle to rebuild amid accusations of Russian collusion and vast destruction
Matt Mathers18 November 2023 04:00
Senior EU official channels increasing gloom over Russia’s war in Ukraine
A European Union decision next month to launch membership talks with Ukraine is “at risk” and there is no agreement in the bloc to grant Kyiv a further 50 billion euros ($54 bln) in aid, a senior official said on Friday.
The downbeat comments chime with increasing fatigue in Ukraine, which has been struggling to push back against a Russian invasion since February 2022, and a more gloomy mood setting in among Kyiv’s Western backers as the war drags on.
From regular reassurances that the EU would stand by Ukraine “as long as it takes”, the official said the latest discussions in the bloc over further support to Kyiv were a “reality check”.
“Leaders… were realizing it’s quite expensive,” said the official, who is involved in preparing a Dec.14-15 summit in Brussels of the EU 27 member states’ national leaders. “How do we pay for this?”
Matt Mathers18 November 2023 03:00
Ukraine says it has destroyed 15 Russian naval vessels in Black Sea during war
Ukraine’s military said on Friday its operations had resulted in the destruction of a total of 15 Russian naval vessels in the Black Sea since the start of Russia’s invasion and that 12 other vessels had been damaged.
Ukraine has stepped up its attacks in the Black Sea and on Crimea, which Russia seized and annexed in 2014. Kyiv has reported a series of strikes on warships on and near Crimea this autumn, including a large landing vessel and a submarine.
“You can count the ones that have already been disabled. These are 15 destroyed and 12 damaged ships. Not all of this is the result of drone work, but they also have quite a lot of damaged ships to their credit,” navy spokesperson Dmytro Pletenchuk said in televised comments.
He described Ukraine as “the driver of a new type of naval warfare” that had made Russia move its naval forces to positions more difficult to reach for what Kyiv has in its capacity.
Russia is also suffering logistical problems, he said, due to having to relocate vessels to Novorossiysk and periodically to Tuapse, both ports on the eastern flank of the Black Sea to the southeast of Crimea and further from Ukraine.
Reuters could not independently verify the reports. Russia usually does not acknowledge damage to its military assets and says it repels most Ukrainian attacks.
Matt Mathers18 November 2023 02:00
Ukrainian marines claim multiple bridgeheads across a key Russian strategic barrier
Ukraine’s military said Friday its troops had secured multiple bridgeheads on the eastern bank of the Dnieper River in the Kherson region — a small but potentially significant strategic advance in the midst of a war largely at a standstill.
The Marine Infantry Command’s claims were the first to come directly from the Ukrainian military about advances across one of Russia’s most significant barriers. Earlier this week, Andriy Yermak, the head of the president’s office, confirmed for the first time that Ukraine had established a foothold on the eastern side of the river.
The wide river is a natural dividing line along the southern battlefront, and Moscow’s forces have used it since leaving the area around the city of Kherson in November 2022 to prevent Ukrainian troops from advancing farther toward Russian-annexed Crimea.
Troops are trying to push Russian forces away from the Dnieper to stop shelling that has routinely struck civilian areas on the Ukrainian-held west bank, the general staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said in a report Friday.
Western officials with intelligence knowledge, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive information, said Thursday that Ukraine has portions of three brigades across the river and was expected to make small gains as the Russians have so far been unable to repel them.
“The Ukrainians have seen an opportunity there and taken it,” one official said. “What we’ve not seen is the Russians being able to push them back from that position.”
Matt Mathers18 November 2023 01:00
Grain ship lightly damaged off Ukraine, likely hit sea mine – sources
A merchant ship transporting grains was lightly damaged off the coast of Ukraine and was likely to have been hit by a floating sea mine, according to maritime specialists and a Ukrainian government source.
This is the latest incident affecting commercial ships sailing in the Black Sea.
War risk insurance premiums have risen to as much as 3% of the value of a vessel after a missile damaged a merchant ship in the Ukrainian port of Pivdennyi last week, industry sources said.
Four maritime and trade sources said the Liberia-flagged Georgia S bulk carrier laden with a wheat cargo was sailing from Pivdennyi when it was hit in the open sea on Thursday.
A Ukrainian government source told Reuters on Friday that it was likely that a floating sea mine hit the vessel.
Matt Mathers18 November 2023 00:01
Finland blocks border crossings to stop migrants it says were sent by Russia
Finland will erect barriers at four crossings on its border with Russia from midnight, officials said on Friday, in a bid to stem an increase in migrants that Helsinki says has been orchestrated by Moscow.
Finland has accused Russian authorities of funnelling migrants to the crossings in retaliation for its decision to increase defence cooperation with the United States, an assertion dismissed by the Kremlin.
Barriers will go up at four of the nine crossings with Russia, at Vaalimaa, Nuijamaa, Imatra and Niirala in its southeast, and the stations will remain closed for all traffic until Feb. 18, the Finnish Border Guard said.
Matt Mathers17 November 2023 23:00