Russia-Ukraine War Newsletter – AUGUST 14-20, 2023

Situation as of 8:00 a.m. on August 21, 2023  

  • In the afternoon of August 19, Russian troops launched a ballistic missile strike on the center of the city of Chernihiv. As a result, the building of the local drama theater was damaged, 7 people were killed and 156 people were injured.
  • The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, conducted a foreign working tour to Sweden, the Netherlands, and Denmark. The purpose of the visit was to negotiate agreements on the transfer of Lockheed F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine (a total of 61 aircraft for the equipping of 5 squadrons) and potentially Gripen aircraft from the Swedish manufacturer Saab.


Positional battles continue on the front line. Russian forces are trying to regain positions near the village of Urozhayne in the western part of the Donetsk region, which were lost by them last week. The Armed Forces of Ukraine continue offensive operations in the Melitopol and Berdyansk directions.

The Ukrainian military strikes at the bases of Russian troops in the temporarily occupied territories, in particular in the area of Mariupol. On August 18, a building in Enerhodar, where a meeting of the so-called “law enforcement agencies” of the occupation administration was taking place, was hit.

Drone attacks against targets on Russian territory continue as well. On the night of August 18, a drone fell on the building of the “Expocenter” near the complex “Moscow-City” in the Russian capital. On August 19, information appeared about a UAV attack on a military airfield in the Novgorod region of the Russian Federation. At least 1 Russian strategic bomber Tu-22M, which Moscow uses to attack Ukraine with cruise missiles, was destroyed as a result. Russian sources report that on the night of August 20, two drones fell on the territory of a military base in the Rostov region of Russia.  

Russian troops continue strikes at the territory of Ukraine. On the night of August 14, drones and cruise missiles attacked Odesa. A large-scale missile strike against the central and western regions of Ukraine was inflicted on the night of August 15. The Ukrainian military reported intercepting 16 of the 28 missiles launched. As a result of the attack, industrial enterprises were damaged in Dnipro, where 2 people were injured, and Lutsk (Volyn region), where 3 people were killed and 3 more people were injured; damage to residential buildings in Lviv region (where at least 19 people were injured) and Cherkasy region were reported. On August 18, a missile strike was launched on Zaporizhzhia. On the night of August 19, the territory of Ukraine was attacked using UAVs. According to the Ukrainian military, they managed to destroy 15 out of 17 drones. Residential buildings were damaged on the territory of Khmelnytskyi region; an infrastructure facility in Zhytomyr region was also attacked.

A great number of civilian casualties was caused by a Russian missile strike on Chernihiv on the afternoon of August 19. A ballistic missile hit the building of the local drama theater, which is located in the city center. As a result, 7 people were killed, 156 people were injured.

Russian forces continue to try to block the sea route to Ukrainian ports, using mines and striking Ukrainian territory. On the morning of August 14, a sea mine exploded near a resort on the coast of Romania. On the night of August 16, kamikaze drones attacked the port infrastructure in the Odessa region.

During the past week, civilian losses in the frontline regions of Ukraine as a result of Russian shelling amounted to at least: in Donetsk region – 6 people killed, 25 people injured; in Kherson region – 3 people killed, 34 people injured; in Kharkiv region – 3 people killed, 24 people injured. At least 1 person was killed and 1 person was injured in Dnipropetrovsk region; 1 person was killed and 1 person was injured in Zaporizhzhia region.


Sources from The New York Times claim that the combined losses of the Ukrainian and Russian forces are nearing 500,000. The losses of Russian military personnel, according to sources among U.S. officials, are approaching 300,000. This number includes around 120,000 fatalities and between 170,000 to 180,000 wounded soldiers. Ukrainian losses are estimated at around 70,000 killed and between 100,000 to 120,000 wounded.

According to data from the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine, the monetary compensation for military personnel constituted the largest expenditure item of the general state budget fund, totaling nearly 520 billion Ukrainian hryvnias (approximately $14 billion) for the first seven months of the year – roughly a third of all expenditures during this period.

The first ship to use the Ukrainian Black Sea corridor entered the Turkish Bosporus on August 18. The container ship Joseph Schulte under the flag of Hong Kong, which left the Ukrainian port of Odesa earlier this week, had been in the port since February 23, 2022. Ukraine announced that the corridor would primarily be used for evacuating vessels that remain blocked in Ukrainian ports.

The Economic Security Bureau and the Security Service of Ukraine have arrested the assets of sanctioned businessman Dmytro Firtash totaling 7.4 billion UAH. Three leaders of regional gas companies under his controlled group “Regional Gas Company” have received notifications of suspicion regarding the embezzlement of gas from the Ukrainian gas transportation system.

The Economic Security Bureau of Ukraine has compiled a statement of suspicion against Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman, the former owner of “Alfa Bank-Ukraine,” which was nationalized in July 2023. Fridman is suspected of money laundering assets acquired through criminal means, with the intention of further extracting them from the banking system in Ukraine.


This week, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky carried out a working tour of the countries of Northwestern Europe. In particular, during the visit to the Kingdom of Sweden, the President of Ukraine met with King of Sweden Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen of Sweden Silvia, as well as with the Speaker of the Parliament Andreas Norlén and the leaders of political parties in the Riksdag. During the meeting between the head of the Ukrainian state and the Prime Minister of Sweden, Ulf Kristersson, a statement was signed to enhance cooperation between the countries regarding the Combat Vehicle 90 platform, which includes cooperation in production, operation, operator training, and maintenance of infantry fighting vehicles CV90. Additionally, the leaders discussed steps for Ukraine’s possible acquisition of Swedish Gripen fighter aircraft, confirming the start of test flights of these planes with Ukrainian pilots.

As part of the visit to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky held a meeting with Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte. Following the negotiations, it was announced that Ukraine will receive 42 F-16 fighter jets after the completion of relevant training for Ukrainian pilots. The Netherlands became the first country to make such a decision. Furthermore, during the negotiations between Volodymyr Zelensky and Prime Minister of Denmark Mette Frederiksen, it was agreed to transfer an additional 19 F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jets to Ukraine to bolster the defense of Ukrainian airspace, to take place after pilot training.

The United States of America announced a new military assistance package to Ukraine worth $200 million, including ammunition for Patriot air defense systems, HIMARS munitions, demining equipment, artillery shells, tank ammunition, TOW anti-tank guided missiles, Javelin missiles, and other equipment. The Swedish government approved the provision of the 13th military aid package to Ukraine, amounting to over 3.2 billion Swedish kronor (over $290 million USD), which includes spare parts for combat vehicles, essential goods, ammunition, demining equipment, and transportation vehicles. In turn, Germany provided a new military assistance package to Ukraine, including IRIS-T SLS air defense systems, munitions, ground-based GO12 surveillance radars, and HX81 8×8 trucks. The Ministry of Defense of the United Kingdom, under the International Fund for Ukraine (IFU), entered into three contracts for supplying Ukraine with anti-aircraft defense equipment totaling $115 million.

The list of countries ready to support security guarantees for Ukraine continues to expand. This week, Lithuania, Estonia, Bulgaria, and North Macedonia joined the Joint G7 Declaration in support of Ukraine. Currently, 25 countries have joined this declaration.

On August 18, the sixth meeting between the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Andriy Yermak, and representatives of 63 foreign diplomatic missions accredited in Ukraine took place, discussing the implementation of Volodymyr Zelensky’s Peace Formula, particularly the “Ecological Security” aspect.

The international community continues to strengthen sanctions against the Russian Federation due to the ongoing military aggression against Ukraine. Switzerland introduced a new sanctions package against Russia, effective from August 16, 2023, which includes a ban on exports of dual-use goods and goods that could contribute to Russia’s military and technological strengthening, as well as a ban on the sale of securities. Canada imposed new sanctions against 15 Russian individuals and three legal entities in response to increasing human rights violations and state violence against political opponents and critics of the government.

The information in the newsletter is collected from official sources—reports of state authorities of Ukraine, Ukrainian and international news agencies. The accuracy of the data is carefully checked by the project team and corrected in case of fake news.