Russia-Ukraine War Newsletter – NOVEMBER 27 – DECEMBER 3, 2023

Situation as of 8:00 a.m. on December 04, 2023 

  • Ukrainian special services sabotaged the Baikal-Amur Mainline in Russia, making it difficult for Russia to use this strategically important transport route.
  • Despite the losses, the Russian military continues to advance in the Avdiivka area, posing a threat of encirclement of the city.
  • Slovak truckers have started blocking the main border crossing point with Ukraine, joining Polish protests demanding that the European Union restore the permit system for Ukrainian carriers.
  • In the NATO headquarters, the first historic meeting of the Ukraine-NATO Council took place, during which the adapted Annual National Program was approved – the fundamental document for Euro-Atlantic integration. 
  • Russia was excluded from the leadership bodies of the International Maritime Organization and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.


Russian troops, despite losses, continue attacks to encircle Avdiivka. They managed to advance in the direction of the village of Stepove north of the city.

Under such conditions, the Ukrainian command is preparing for defensive battles. On 30 November, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy held a meeting with the military leadership on the construction of fortifications in the main areas of hostilities.

The Armed Forces of Ukraine are carrying out pinpoint strikes on the command of the Russian occupation forces in the temporarily occupied territories. In particular, on November 28, as a result of the explosion of a building in the Kherson region, 5 Russian officials were eliminated. In addition, the deputy commander of the 14th Army Corps of the Russian Federation, Major General Vladimir Zavadsky, was killed as a result of a mine explosion. Also during the week, several actions of partisans were recorded in the Melitopol area.

During the week, Ukrainian special services carried out at least two acts of sabotage on the Baikal-Amur Mainline, which is a strategically important transport route connecting Russia with China and the DPRK. The blowing up of fuel trains temporarily complicates the use of this route.

Also, Ukrainian special services carry out operations in the information space. On November 30, they managed to include the video address of the President of Ukraine in the television broadcast on the territory of the temporarily occupied Crimea. 

Russian troops continue carrying out strikes at the territory of Ukraine. During the week, missile strikes were recorded on Kryvyi Rih and near the Dnipro  in the Dnipropetrovsk region, as well as on Zaporizhzhia. The Russian command is actively using UAVs. On the night of November 29 Ukrainian air defense shot down all 21 drones used by the Russian military and 2 out of 3 missiles fired on the territory of Ukraine. On the night of November 30, Russian troops launched 20 drones and 8 missiles into the territory of Ukraine. Ukrainian air defense intercepted 14 UAVs. The next night, 25 drones and 2 missiles were used; of these, 18 UAVs and 1 missile were shot down. As a result of the fall of drone debris, warehouses in the Mykolaiv region were damaged. On the night of December 2, air defense intercepted 1 missile and 10 out of 11 drones launched by the Russian military. As a result of the attack, an infrastructure facility in Odesa region was damaged. On the night of December 3, air defense managed to hit 10 out of 12 UAVs used. On the night of December 4, the Ukrainian air defense shot down 18 out of 23 UAVs in the territory of 9 regions.

The losses of civilians on the territory of the frontline regions of Ukraine as a result of the actions of the Russian military during the week amounted to: in the Donetsk region – 4 people killed and 25 people wounded; in the Kherson region – 6 people killed and 20 people wounded. In Kharkiv region 1 person was injured. At least 1 person was killed and 3 people were injured in Dnipropetrovsk region. As a result of shelling of the border areas of Sumy region 3 people were killed and 3 people were injured.

Ukrainian special services have confirmed the poisoning of employees of the Defence Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, as well as the wife of the head of this structure Kyrylo Budanov. Probably, it was a planned operation of the Russian special services.


According to the representative of the Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War Petro Yatsenko, Russia has suspended the exchange of prisoners with Ukraine. The last such exchange took place in August 2023. Ukraine expresses readiness to exchange all Russian prisoners held on its territory for Ukrainians held in captivity in the Russian Federation.

The Armed Forces of Ukraine are examining a video that likely depicts the execution by individuals in Russian military uniforms of Ukrainian military personnel who surrendered as prisoners near the village of Stepove (Donetsk region). The video may serve as evidence of a violation by the Russian armed forces of the rules and customs of warfare. The evidence will be submitted to international institutions dealing with war crimes. The Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine has announced the initiation of an investigation following the release of this video.

The blockade of the automobile border checkpoints between Poland and Ukraine due to the prolonged strike by Polish truckers may lead to a 1% slowdown in the growth of Ukraine’s economy for the year 2023. The protests by Polish truckers in Ukraine are causing economic losses, with liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) prices rising by 30%, and meat and dairy items becoming 5% more expensive. On December 1st, Slovakian truckers joined the Polish protests, blocking the main border crossing point with Ukraine.

The state enterprise “National Nuclear Energy Generating Company of Ukraine” (SE “NNEGC “Energoatom”) has entered into a contract with the British company Urenco Enrichment Company Ltd (Urenco) for the supply of enriched uranium product for Ukrainian nuclear power plants until 2035, with the option to extend the contract until 2043.

On November 10-12, 2023, representatives of all parliamentary factions and groups in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine signed a memorandum stating that the next elections will only take place after the conclusion of the state of war. Additionally, the deputies will be working on the development of a special law that will regulate the specifics of conducting the first post-war elections.

On December 1, 2023, Petro Poroshenko, a member of the Verkhovna Rada from the “European Solidarity” party, announced that he had been denied permission to travel abroad to participate in international meetings in the United States and Poland. According to the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), the planned meeting abroad between Poroshenko and the Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orban, could have been exploited by Russia in its information and psychological operations against Ukraine. On December 2, 2023, Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, a member of the Verkhovna Rada from the “European Solidarity” party, stated that she and two of her colleagues in the faction were denied permission to go on official missions to the United States.

On December 1, the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, which is occupied by Russian forces, was completely de-energized due to a power line disruption. This marks the eighth instance of a complete power outage at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, highlighting a precarious situation regarding nuclear safety and station security.


On November 29, in Brussels, the first-ever planned meeting of the Ukraine-NATO Council at the level of foreign ministers took place in history. Also, for the first time within the Council meeting, unlike the Commission format, Ukraine has the same rights as NATO members. During the meeting, the adapted Annual National Program for 2024 was approved, aimed at preparing Ukraine for NATO membership.

From November 30 to December 1, the annual meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Ministerial Council took place in Skopje. The condemnation of Russia’s aggressive war against Ukraine was the focus of the speeches by foreign ministers of OSCE countries. However, due to the presence of the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry at the meeting, 13 of the 31 NATO member states refused to participate, supporting the boycott of Ukraine.

On December 1, the tenth meeting with representatives of the diplomatic corps on the implementation of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s Peace Formula took place under the leadership of the Head of the President’s Office, Andriy Yermak. Representatives of 83 foreign states and three international organizations joined the discussion. The event was dedicated to the implementation of the tenth point of the Formula for fixing the end of the war.

Ukraine initiated the first round of consultations with the Italian Republic regarding the conclusion of a bilateral agreement on security guarantees, as envisaged in the G7 Joint Declaration in support of Ukraine.

This week, Russia lost its seat in the Executive Council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons for the first time ever, while Ukraine was elected to the leadership of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Russia was also not re-elected to the International Maritime Organization Council for 2024-2025.

The United States imposed sanctions against companies owning tankers that transported Russian oil (sanctioned vessels NS Champion, Victor Bakaev, and HS Atlantica). In addition, a bill was introduced to the U.S. Congress for the arrest of frozen Russian assets in favor of Ukraine’s recovery.

Germany provided Ukraine with a new package of military aid to counter Russian aggression, including military trucks, shells, sniper rifles, and various equipment. The European Union Council adopted a decision to allocate an additional 194 million euros for the training of Ukrainian military within the framework of the EU training mission. In the Czech Republic, the extension of training for Ukrainian military in 2024 was approved.

This week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with the President of the European Investment Bank, Werner Hoyer, who visited Kyiv. Additionally, Zelenskyy held a telephone conversation with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, the Federal Chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Rishi Sunak, and the Prime Minister of Bulgaria, Nikolay Denkov. The leaders discussed the current situation on the battlefield, the functioning of the “grain corridor,” the urgent defense needs of Ukraine, and the importance of unity in decision-making within the EU in the context of Ukraine’s Eurointegration path.

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.