621 Day of the Russia-Ukraine War
- Ukraine’s Defense Minister, Rustem Umerov, has initiated an investigation in response to a Russian missile strike that resulted in the death of multiple soldiers. The incident occurred during what media sources have described as an “award ceremony” near the front line in the southern Zaporizhia region on Friday. According to media reports, more than 20 soldiers lost their lives in the attack. While the military confirmed that members of the 128th Mountain Assault Brigade were among the casualties, specific casualty figures were not provided. In his Sunday evening address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed his deep sorrow, stating, “This is a tragedy that could have been prevented.”
- Yurii Malashko, the governor of the Zaporizhia region, reported that nine civilians were injured in Zarichne, the village where the soldiers were killed during the award ceremony. This incident was part of a broader assault on the region, with 26 cities and settlements coming under Russian attack over a 24-hour period from Friday into Saturday.
Ukraine’s armed forces have reported launching a missile strike on a shipyard located in Kerch on the eastern coast of Russian-occupied Crimea. According to Russian news agencies, which cited the Russian Ministry of Defence, Ukraine used 15 cruise missiles in the attack. However, Russian air defense systems successfully intercepted and destroyed 13 of these missiles. As a result of the attack, one ship sustained damage, but fortunately, no casualties were reported.
- During a joint press conference in Kyiv with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, President Zelenskyy refuted a report from the United States news outlet NBC, which suggested that Kyiv was facing pressure to initiate negotiations with Russia. Zelenskyy emphasized, “None of our partners are exerting pressure on us to engage in talks with Russia, concede anything, or offer concessions.” He also pointed out that the conflict in Gaza had diverted attention away from Ukraine, and he asserted that this was Russia’s strategic objective.
- In response, Ursula von der Leyen commended Ukraine’s significant progress toward European Union accession, particularly highlighting Kyiv’s reforms in the judicial system. The European Union is set to release an assessment on Wednesday, evaluating Ukraine’s advancement in meeting various economic, legal, and other criteria necessary for accession talks scheduled for December.
- In a separate interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program, President Zelenskyy urged the United States to provide additional funding to support Ukrainian forces in countering Russia. He cautioned that without such support, U.S. soldiers could become entangled in a broader European conflict with Russia. Zelenskyy also extended an invitation to former U.S. President Donald Trump, who has been critical of U.S. assistance to Ukraine and is seeking re-election in 2024, to visit Ukraine and witness the scale of the ongoing conflict firsthand.