June 21, 2024

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As the war enters its 636th day, these are the main developments.

Here is the situation on Tuesday, November 21, 2023.

Fighting

  • Ukraine said fighting intensified around the Russian-occupied eastern town of Bakhmut. Volodymyr Fityo, a spokesperson for Ukrainian ground forces, said Russia was focusing its attacks on Klishchiivka, a nearby village that was retaken by Ukrainian forces in September. “Eleven attacks have been repelled in the past 24 hours,” he said. “The enemy is trying to dislodge our men from defensive positions around Klishchiivka.” Russia’s defence ministry said it had beaten back more than 30 Ukrainian attacks in and around Bakhmut in the past week.
  • Ukrainian authorities said three people were killed and one injured in Russian shelling in the southern Kherson and the central Dnipropetrovsk regions. Some power lines and a gas pipeline were also damaged.
  • Ukrainian police said a soldier and a woman died when a grenade exploded in a Kyiv apartment. The cause of the blast, which injured a second man, was not immediately clear.
  • The United States State Department said it was barring Russian Colonel Azatbek Omurbekov and Russian Guard Corporal Daniil Frolkin from entering the US over their alleged involvement in human rights violations in the Ukrainian town of Andriivka.

Politics and diplomacy

  • Ukraine fired its two top cyber-defence officials – Yury Shchyhol, head of the State Special Communications Service of Ukraine, and his deputy Victor Zhora – amid an ongoing investigation into corruption over software purchases.
US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin shaking hands with Ukrainian soldiers in Kyiv
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin made a surprise visit to Kyiv and met Ukrainian servicemen [Commander in Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces via Reuters]
  • Fox Corp Chief Executive Lachlan Murdoch travelled to Kyiv where he met President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Ukraine said the meeting was a “very important signal” of support at a time when the Israel-Gaza war has diverted global attention from the war in Ukraine. Zelenskyy said Fox News journalist Benjamin Hall, who was badly wounded covering the conflict last year, and Jerome Starkey, a journalist with the United Kingdom tabloid The Sun were also at the meeting.
  • In an interview with The Sun that was also published in the UK’s Times newspaper, which is part of the same media group, Zelenskyy accused Russia of trying to stoke tension from the Balkans to the Middle East. “Ukraine today [is] in the centre of these global risks of this Third World War,” Zelenskyy said. Urging Ukraine’s allies to maintain their military support, he acknowledged the lack of progress on some parts of the battlefield, but noted successes in the Black Sea. “We really deployed part of the Russian fleet,” he told the paper. “We did it.”
  • Russia placed Ukrainian singer Jamala, who won the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest, on its wanted list. The independent Russian news site Mediazona said Jamala, whose real name is Susana Jamaladinova, had been charged under a law that bans spreading fake information about the Russian military and the war in Ukraine. Jamala, a Crimean Tatar, has long been a critic of Russia and told Zelenskyy last year that her priority was to “remind that foreigners came to my house to kill and mutilate life, to destroy and rewrite my culture”. She responded to the Russian arrest warrant on Instagram with a facepalm emoji.
  • A Japanese delegation led by senior industry and foreign ministry officials and including business representatives visited Ukraine for talks ahead of next year’s Ukraine Recovery Conference, which will be hosted by Japan.

Weapons

  • US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin made an unannounced visit to Kyiv and unveiled an additional $100m package to provide artillery munitions, interceptors for air defence and anti-tank weaponry. Austin promised Zelenskyy that US support would be for the “long haul”. He also met with Defence Minister Rustem Umerov.

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