Russia Ukraine War

635 Day of the Russia-Ukraine War: The Ongoing Crisis

Here is the situation on Monday, November 20, 2023 (635 Day )

The Ukrainian military has successfully pushed Russian forces back up to 8km (5 miles) from the Dnipro River’s banks in the southern Kherson region. For over a year, Ukrainian and Russian forces have maintained positions on either side of the Dnipro, with Russia withdrawing its troops from the western bank in November of the previous year. Ukraine recently reported a breakthrough, with preliminary estimates indicating progress ranging from 3 to 8 kilometers (2 to 5 miles). Army spokeswoman Natalia Gumenyuk, speaking on Ukrainian television, attributed the variance to specific geographic and landscape factors on the left bank. Despite this success, she emphasized that there is still much work ahead.

Ukrainian teenager Bohdan Yermokhin (on the right in the photo) has returned home after being forcibly taken by Russia last year. (The image is provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP Photo)

The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense has indicated that significant changes in the front line between Russia and Ukraine are not imminent, as neither side has achieved meaningful progress on the battlefield. According to their statement, intense fighting is currently concentrated near Kupiansk in the Kharkiv region, Avdiivka in the Donetsk region, and on the left bank of the Dnipro River.

In a concerning development, Russia launched multiple waves of drone attacks on Kyiv for the second consecutive night, prompting air raid warnings. The Ukrainian Air Force reported that its air defense systems successfully neutralized 15 out of the 20 Shahed kamikaze drones targeting the Kyiv, Poltava, and Cherkasy regions. Fortunately, there were no initial reports of critical damage or casualties. However, on Saturday, Russian drone attacks led to power outages in over 400 towns and villages in the south, southeast, and north of Ukraine.

Tragically, in the city of Kherson, five individuals, including a three-year-old girl who was outdoors with her grandmother, sustained injuries due to Russian artillery shelling, as reported by Ukrainian Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko. Additionally, one person lost their life as a result of shelling in the northeastern Sumy region. The situation remains tense and requires continued attention.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called for urgent changes in the functioning of Ukraine’s military during a meeting with Defence Minister Rustem Umerov. Emphasizing the need for swift action, Zelenskyy stated that “priorities were set,” highlighting the limited time available to wait for tangible results. Additionally, he announced the replacement of Major-General Tetiana Ostashchenko as the commander of the Armed Forces Medical Forces, asserting the necessity for a “fundamentally new level of medical support” within the armed forces. These measures underscore the President’s commitment to enhancing the efficiency and capabilities of Ukraine’s military operations.

Bohdan Yermokhin, an orphaned Ukrainian teenager who was forcibly taken to Russia from the occupied city of Mariupol during the war and was previously unable to leave, has successfully returned to Ukraine. Now 18, Yermokhin expressed his joy, describing his return as a “very pleasant gift.” Ukraine estimates that around 20,000 children have been unlawfully taken by Russia.

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy welcomed Yermokhin’s return and expressed gratitude to Ukrainian officials, international organizations, particularly UNICEF, and authorities in Qatar for their assistance in the mediation process. In response to the situation, Zelenskyy imposed sanctions on 37 Russian groups and 108 individuals, including two former Ukrainian officials currently in Russia. These measures were taken due to their alleged involvement in “the abduction and deportation of Ukrainian children from the occupied territory” and their support for Russian activities against Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Russian nationalist Igor Girkin, currently in custody and facing trial for inciting extremism, has announced his intention to run for president. Also known as Igor Strelkov, the former Federal Security Service (FSB) officer has been critical of President Vladimir Putin’s military strategy in Ukraine, warning of potential revolution and civil war unless more effective measures are taken. Girkin played a role in Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the organization of pro-Russian militias in eastern Ukraine.

SOURCE: Al Jazeera

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