On the 619 day of the Russia-Ukraine War, the following are the most significant developments.
- Vladimir Saldo, the governor of the region designated by Russia, has claimed that a Ukrainian assault on the Russian-held village of Chaplynka in the southern Kherson province led to nine fatalities and nine injuries. However, there has been no official confirmation or reporting on this incident from Ukrainian authorities or the media.
- Russia launched its largest drone attack against Ukraine in weeks, demolishing residential structures and a school in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city. The air force claimed to have shot down a cruise rocket and 24 of the 38 drones that Russia had fired. There were reports of two injuries.
- Intense fighting continued around the eastern town of Avdiivka with Ukraine’s General Staff saying its forces had repelled 17 attacks on and around the town. The Russians were getting ready for another round of raids, according to Mayor Vitaliy Barabash, and they wanted to take control of the town’s enormous coking plant.
- Colonel Serhiy Lupanchuk was named commander of Ukraine’s special forces by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. This outfit is renowned for carrying out military operations in areas controlled by Moscow. Major-General Viktor Horenko, who claimed not to have known why he was being changed, is replaced by Lupanchuk.
- The US has imposed new penalties on Russia, targeting their drone supply chain and future energy capabilities. Russia has rejected these penalties. Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry, expressed, “This is a continuation of their strategy to cause us a strategic defeat, as they put it. They’ll have to wait indefinitely for that to happen.”
- In violation of sanctions imposed after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, the US has sanctioned Ekaterina Zhdanova, a Russian citizen. She is accused of aiding Russian elites in laundering and transferring hundreds of millions of dollars through virtual currency.
- Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, mentioned that President Zelenskyy is contemplating the “pros and cons” of proceeding with presidential elections as planned for the early next year. He highlighted the “unprecedented” challenges posed by the ongoing conflict. Martial law has been in effect in Ukraine since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022.
- Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni announced that her chief diplomatic adviser has resigned, taking responsibility for a prank phone call during which she mentioned “international fatigue” concerning the war in Ukraine.
- The US has pledged to supply Ukraine with additional arms and equipment valued at $425 million. This package will encompass laser-guided munitions, supplies for National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) air defenses, High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), artillery, and anti-tank weaponry.