Russia-Ukraine War Newsletter – AUGUST 21-27, 2023

Situation as of 8:00 a.m. on August 28, 2023  

  • Ukrainian Armed Forces liberated the village of Robotyne, thus advancing towards the second line of Russian defense in the Melitopol direction.
  • On the night of August 24, the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine conducted a special operation in Crimea – they carried out a landing of special forces and demonstratively raised the Ukrainian flag on the territory of the peninsula.
  • The Russian regime is carrying out purges of those involved in the so-called “Wagner” mutiny. In the evening of August 23, the leadership of this armed formation, including Yevgeny Prigozhin, was killed in an aviation crash.
  • On August 23rd, the third Summit of the International Crimea Platform took place in Kyiv, with the participation of representatives from 63 countries and institutions. The subject of this year’s meeting was the preparation for post-conflict recovery of Crimea and steps towards security stabilization in the Black Sea-Baltic region.


The Armed Forces of Ukraine continue offensive operations. They succeeded in the Melitopol direction, liberating the village of Robotyne. Thus, conditions have been created for the further offensive deep into the Russian position and the assault on the next line of Russian defense on this sector of the front,

The discussion on the success of the Ukrainian counteroffensive and the effectiveness of the tactics used is intensifying in the information space. Western authors criticize the Ukrainian command for dispersing efforts in different directions, and suggest concentrating forces in the south. Instead, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasizes the impossibility of ignoring the eastern sector of the front, where significant number of Russian troops is concentrated.

Ukrainian intelligence held several high-profile actions. On August 23, it was reported that the pilot of the Russian Mi-8 helicopter flew to Ukrainian territory and surrendered as a result of a long special operation. On the night of August 24, the Ukrainian special forces landed on the territory of Crimea, where they had a firefight with the occupants and raised the flag of Ukraine

The Armed Forces of Ukraine are attacking the positions of Russian troops in the temporarily occupied territories. On August 23, military facilities on the Tarkhankut peninsula in Crimea were hit, where a missile system was destroyed and a radar was damaged. Also during the week, explosions were recorded in Berdyansk, as well as an attack on Sevastopol and a strike on the base of the Russian military near Simferopol.

Drone attacks against objects on the territory of the Russian Federation continue. During the week, strikes were recorded on targets in the Moscow, Belgorod, Kaluga and Kursk regions. On August 23, a drone hit a multi-storey building on the territory of the «Moscow-City» complex in the Russian capital.

Russian troops continue to strike Ukrainian territory using missiles and kamikaze drones. On the night of August 22, multi-storey residential buildings in Zaporizhzhia were damaged as a result of the attack. There was also a missile strike on Kryvyi Rih, as a result of which 1 civilian was injured. The next night, drones attacked granaries on the territory of Odesa region, near the port of Izmail. On the night of August 24, a missile strike was launched on the city of Dnipro, as a result of which the city bus station was destroyed, 10 people were injured. On the night of August 25, a missile strike was launched on Odesa region, but air defense shot down all 4 Russian missiles.  

As a result of Russian attacks, the losses of civilians on the territory of the frontline regions of Ukraine during the week amounted to: in Donetsk region 5 people killed and 17 people wounded; on the territory of Kherson region – 5 people killed and 27 people wounded; in Kharkiv region – 2 people killed and 5 people wounded. At least 1 person died in Chernihiv region; in Sumy region 4 people were killed as a result of a kamikaze drone hitting a school building, and 4 more people were injured as a result of other Russian attacks.  

On August 25, two jet traine aircraft of the Ukrainian Air Force collided in the sky over Zhytomyr region. As a result, 3 pilots died. The State Bureau of Investigation continues to investigate the circumstances of the incident.

The Russian regime carried out purges of persons involved in the so-called “PMC Wagner” mutiny. On the evening of August 23, a plane crashed on the territory of the Tver region of the Russian Federation. The entire top command of this illegal armed group, including Yevgeny Prigozhin, was killed in the incident. In addition, there was information that General Sergey Surovikin, who was associated with Prigozhin, was removed from the post of commander of the Russian Aerospace Forces.


The Ukrainian side has agreed to a modified format of the so-called hybrid tribunal for investigating the act of aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine. This decision was made due to the stance of several Western states regarding the creation of a “traditional” international tribunal. According to Andriy Smyrnov, the Deputy Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine is currently considering the possibility of establishing a so-called internationalized tribunal as part of the judicial system of another state with a “trusted” judicial system. The new format may be defined by the end of the current year.

Based on the decision of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, the State Bureau of Investigation, the police and prosecutors initiated hundreds of searches in the military commissions and military medical commissions of Ukraine throughout the country, as a result of which large-scale corruption schemes were discovered. These investigations were carried out within the framework of probing instances of unlawful enrichment by the heads of regional and district recruitment and social support centers, in particular through their adoption of unlawful decisions deeming Ukrainian citizens unfit for military service.

The Security Service of Ukraine has arrested Ukrainian assets of Russian Lieutenant General Valery Kapashin, who is the head of the Federal Directorate for Safe Storage and Destruction of Chemical Weapons at the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation. The list of seized assets, totaling over 1 billion UAH, includes more than 20 commercial properties, over 3,000 square meters of residential real estate, and 17 parcels of land in the Poltava region. Additionally, during the searches of residential premises, Russian military uniforms, Soviet symbols prohibited in Ukraine, and propaganda literature from Russia were discovered.

The National Agency on Corruption Prevention has included international tobacco companies Philip Morris International and Japan Tobacco International in the list of sponsors of the war due to their continued business operations within the territory of the Russian Federation. Japan Tobacco International is a leading player in the tobacco market in Russia, being the largest investor and taxpayer within the industry (holding a market share of about 34.9%). Philip Morris International is one of the largest taxpayers contributing to the Russian budget, with their total investments in Russia exceeding 2 billion US dollars. In the first year of the full-scale war, the company contributed profits to the Russian budget totaling over 136 million US dollars.


On August 23, the third Summit of the International Crimea Platform “Security Today – Prosperity Tomorrow” took place, attended by representatives from 63 countries and international organizations. This year’s summit was dedicated to Ukraine’s vision for the future of temporarily occupied Crimea, the post-war recovery of the Crimean Peninsula. Security issues in the Black Sea-Baltic region were also discussed. Participants expressed unwavering support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, as well as endorsement of the Ukrainian Formula for Peace. During the third summit of the International Crimea Platform, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy held negotiations with Prime Minister of the Republic of Finland Petteri Orpo, President of the Republic of Lithuania Gitanas Nausėda, Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Željko Komšić, and member of the Presidency of this state Denis Bećirović, Prime Minister of Moldova Dorin Recean, and President of Hungary Katalin Novák.

On August 21, in Athens, Greece, the Ukraine-Balkans Summit took place, during which negotiations between the leaders of key EU institutions and the heads of states and governments of several EU candidate countries were held. Following the negotiations, leaders of 11 countries adopted the Athens Declaration in support of Ukraine’s territorial integrity. Furthermore, during the summit, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria Nikolai Denkov, President of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia Andrej Plenković, President of Moldova Maia Sandu, Prime Minister of the Republic of North Macedonia Dimitar Kovachevski, and President of Montenegro Jakov Milatović.

During his working visit to the Hellenic Republic, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had meetings with President of Greece Katerina Sakellaropoulou and Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis. The outcomes of the negotiations resulted in the signing of a Joint Declaration between Ukraine and the Hellenic Republic concerning Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic integration and the confirmation of Greece’s participation in training Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets.

This week, the leader of Ukraine met with President of the Portuguese Republic Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Norway Jonas Gahr Støre, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey Hakan Fidan, and US senators Richard Blumenthal, Lindsey Graham, and Elizabeth Warren, who were visiting Ukraine. Additionally, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had a phone conversation with President of the United States Joseph Biden and Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, discussing further support for Ukraine.

International partners continue to provide military assistance to Ukraine for the defense of its territories against Russian aggressors. Finland approved the 18th military aid package to Ukraine worth 94 million euros, including heavy weaponry and ammunition. Norway will provide Ukraine with IRIS-T air defense systems and has decided to transfer F-16 aircraft from its inventory. Portugal confirmed its readiness to participate in the training of Ukrainian pilots and engineers on F-16 jets. Germany delivered a new military aid package to Ukraine, including Patriot missile systems for the first time, as well as drone detection systems, reconnaissance drones RQ-35 HEIDRUN, Zetro trucks, and ammunition for small arms. Lithuania adopted a decision to provide Ukraine with a new military aid package worth 41 million euros. 

In turn, the United Kingdom will offer credit guarantees amounting to 192 million pounds (225 million euros) to strengthen Ukraine’s energy security and reduce dependence on nuclear fuel from Russia.

Throughout the week, Slovenia, Luxembourg, and the Republic of Kosovo joined the “Group of Seven” countries in their declaration supporting Ukraine and providing security guarantees. Ukraine and Canada have already initiated negotiations on a bilateral agreement for security guarantees.

Additionally, new sanctions have been imposed against the Russian Federation. In particular, the United States expanded its sanctions lists related to individuals responsible for the illegal deportation of Ukrainian children from the temporarily occupied territories to Russia. Moreover, Canada imposed a new sanctions against four individuals and 29 Russian organizations in the defense-industrial complex, financial sector, and nuclear industry.

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.