Here is the situation on Monday, November 15, 2023. (630 Day)
Russia has escalated its air bombardments and ground assaults in the vicinity of the devastated eastern town of Avdiivka, located just 20 km (12 miles) from the Russian-held Ukrainian city of Donetsk. Ukrainian military spokesman Oleksandr Shtupun reported on national television that Ukrainian forces successfully repelled eight attacks on Avdiivka in the past 24 hours. Avdiivka is notable for its extensive coking plant. Shtupun emphasized that the conflict is ongoing, stating, “Fighting is still going on. Over the last two days, the occupiers have increased the number of air strikes using guided bombs from Su-35 aircraft. The enemy is also bringing in more and more infantry.”
In a separate development, General Oleksandr Syrskyi, the head of Ukraine’s ground forces, reported that Russia persisted in launching simultaneous assault attempts on Ukrainian positions around Bakhmut and Kupyansk. Additionally, Russia has intensified the use of kamikaze drones in these operations.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in his nightly video address, highlighted the situation in Avdiivka. He noted that Russian forces were experiencing higher casualties and losing equipment more rapidly than in months of previous battles near Bakhmut earlier this year. Zelenskyy emphasized that the greater losses inflicted on Russian forces near Avdiivka, the weaker Moscow’s overall position would become.
Furthermore, Zelenskyy’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, currently in the United States, disclosed to the Hudson Institute think tank that Ukrainian forces had successfully “gained a foothold” on the east bank of the Dnipro River in southern Ukraine. This marks the first official acknowledgment of the breakthrough in the Kherson region. Yermak added, “Our counteroffensive is developing.”
The Landmine Monitor reported a significant increase in the number of civilians affected by landmines and explosive remnants of war in Ukraine. In 2022, the figure rose sharply to 608, compared to 58 in the previous year. This surge in casualties coincided with Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Meanwhile, Russia’s defense ministry announced that its air defenses successfully destroyed four Ukrainian drones over the Moscow, Tambov, Orlov, and Bryansk regions. Fortunately, there were no reports of casualties or damage resulting from these incidents.
In the realm of politics and diplomacy, former police officer Sergei Khadzhikurbanov was pardoned in connection with the 2006 killing of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya. Khadzhikurbanov received clemency after enlisting with the Russian military in Ukraine. Anna Politkovskaya, a vocal critic of President Vladimir Putin who investigated abuses in Russia’s Chechen war, was tragically shot dead in the lift of her Moscow apartment block. Khadzhikurbanov had been found guilty in 2014 of organizing the killing and was serving a 20-year sentence.
A man in Russia has been sentenced to six years in prison for “discrediting” the Russian military by defacing posters depicting Russian soldiers as “heroes” for their role in the conflict in Ukraine. The 46-year-old individual, identified as Alexei Arbuzenko, a local teacher from the central city of Tolyatti, was found guilty of this act, as reported by human rights group Memorial.
In a separate development, Ukrainian lawmaker Oleksandr Dubinsky, who recently received notice of being suspected of treason for alleged cooperation with Russia’s military intelligence, revealed that a Kyiv court had ordered his detention for 60 days. However, he did not provide specific details regarding the charges. Dubinsky had been included in the US sanctions list in 2021 and expelled from Ukraine’s ruling party.
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Regarding weapons supply to Ukraine, German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius, speaking at a European Union defense ministers meeting, acknowledged that the bloc would fall short of its target to provide Ukraine with 1 million artillery shells and missiles by next March due to production issues. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell noted that the bloc had already supplied over 300,000 artillery shells and missiles under the initial phase of the scheme, involving EU member states delivering from their own stockpiles.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN