The situation as of 8:00 a.m. on October 20, 2022
The situation on the frontline has not changed significantly over the last days. Ukrainian Armed Forces increased pressure on Russian positions in Kherson sector from the north. Successful advance in this area poses a direct threat to the Russian bridgehead on the right bank of the Dnipro river. Russian troops continue attacks near Bakhmut and Avdiivka in Donetsk region.
The Russian military leadership is trying to compensate for the failures on the frontline with attacks against Ukraine’s critical infrastructure. Intensive missile strikes and attacks with the use of Iranian kamikaze drones on the objects of the Ukrainian energy system are ongoing.
On October 19, Vladimir Putin introduced “martial law” in the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, Luhansk and Kherson regions of Ukraine. This step allows for the confiscation of property, legalizes forced deportation and mobilization, and effectively prohibits Ukrainians from leaving these temporarily occupied territories for Ukraine.
The front line in Luhansk region remains stable. Head of Luhansk Regional Military Administration Serhii Haidai reports that Russian troops are reinforcing their positions and mining roads near Svatove and Kreminna.
In Donetsk region Russian troops are conducting offensive operations in the area of Bakhmut and Avdiivka. They continue intensive shelling (including attacks on energy facilities), which leads to destruction of civilian infrastructure and civilian casualties. Within 17–19 October at least 11 civilians were killed and 25 people were injured in Donetsk region.
Russian troops continue shelling the territory of Zaporizhzhya region. On October 18, an attack on an infrastructure facility in Zaporizhzhia with the use of kamikaze drones was recorded. On October 19, the Russian military shelled a critical infrastructure facility in Zaporizhzhia district, as well as the towns of Huliaipole and Orikhiv. As a result, 8 people were injured.
On the night of October 19, Russian troops provocatively shelled Enerhodar, damaging the city council building. The city remains partially without electricity and water supply.
Ukrainian Armed Forces are attacking in the north of Kherson region. Success in this direction paves the way for a direct offensive on Kherson. Fearing the success of the Ukrainian military, representatives of the occupation administration of Kherson region—Volodymyr Saldo and Kyrylo Striemousov—announced the evacuation of part of the population from the right bank of the Dnipro to the left bank. The possible withdrawal of the Russian forces from the right bank under the pressure of the strike group of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is also evidenced by the statements of the commander of the Russian troops Sergey Surovikin.
Russian forces are shelling Mykolaiv. As a result of a missile strike on the city on October 18, residential infrastructure was damaged, at least 1 person was killed. Power supply was cut off in Mykolaiv and some districts of the region as a result of the attack.
Shelling of Ukrainian territory
In recent days, Russian troops have continued to attack energy facilities across Ukraine using missiles and Iranian UAVs. Although a significant part of the targets is destroyed by the Ukrainian air defense system, some shells cause significant damage to the energy system and civilian infrastructure.
During October 17, Russian forces carried out massive attacks on Kyiv and southern regions of Ukraine with the help of Iranian kamikaze drones. In particular, in Kyiv, three UAVs hit critical infrastructure facilities, and one hit a residential building. The attack killed at least 5 people, 3 were hospitalized. As a result of the drone attack in Mykolaiv, oil tanks of one of the leading exporters of sunflower oil in Ukraine were damaged. According to the representatives of the Mykolaiv Regional Military Administration, 17% of the world’s exports of this product passed through the damaged facility. In addition, in Vinnytsia and Odesa regions critical infrastructure facilities were struck by missiles.
On the morning of October 18, Russian troops launched a missile attack on the energy infrastructure on the left bank of Kyiv. As a result, two thermal power plants were damaged; at least 3 people were killed and 7 injured. In addition, during October 18, energy infrastructure facilities in Dnipro and Zhytomyr (where 2 people were injured) were heavily damaged by Russian troops. There was also a missile strike on Kharkiv.
On October 19, massive attacks with the use of missile strikes and UAVs resumed. Ukrainian air defense shot down several targets in Chernihiv region and directly over Kyiv, preventing the destruction of urban infrastructure. However, energy infrastructure facilities in Vinnytsia and Ivano-Frankivsk regions were hit. An energy infrastructure facility in Kryvyi Rih area was also attacked.
The shelling of the Nikopol area in Dnipropetrovsk region continues. Russian troops continue to strike at the territory of Sumy region, using artillery and missile weapons. As a result of the attacks on October 17, 5 people were killed and at least 14 people were injured. The next day 2 more civilians were killed and 1 person was injured as a result of artillery shelling.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights updated the data on civilian casualties as a result of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. As of October 17, the confirmed casualties amount to 15,908 people (6,306 killed, 9,602 wounded). According to the Prosecutor General’s Office, as of the morning of October 19, the number of children affected by the armed aggression of the Russian Federation in Ukraine has increased to 1,243 (428 children killed, 815 injured). According to the governmental platform Children of War, as of October 19, 8709 children were deported, 249 went missing.
On October 17, a large-scale exchange of female prisoners took place. As a result, 108 women held by the Russian military returned to Ukraine. Among the released women are evacuated women defenders from Azovstal, privates and sergeants, as well as civilians who were illegally imprisoned in temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine before the large-scale Russian invasion.
Ukrainian authorities responded to the Kremlin’s illegal decisions to “impose martial law” on the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine. Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleksii Danilov condemned Putin’s decision and considers it a preparation for the mass deportation of the Ukrainian population to Russia to change the ethnic composition of the occupied territory. The Head of Zaporizhzhia Regional Military Administration Oleksandr Starukh said that this decision may threaten to close the only evacuation corridor from the temporarily uncontrolled territories. First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Emine Dzhaparova stated that the so-called “martial law” endangers cultural heritage and creates a pretext for the removal of relevant objects from the temporarily occupied territories.
Investigative actions at the site of the largest mass grave in the de-occupied part of Donetsk region continue in Lyman. Law enforcers exhumed the bodies of 5 children who died from shrapnel wounds as a result of shelling. According to preliminary results, the bodies of 35 servicemen and 152 civilians have been exhumed. Also, about 40 graves remain unexplored, access to which is complicated.
The press service of Enerhoatom reported about further crimes of the Russian army on the territory of ZNPP. On 17 October, two employees of the plant were detained and taken away in an unknown direction. The Company appealed to the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, and the international community to facilitate the release of ZNPP employees from captivity and their return to duty. Enerhoatom President Petro Kotin stated that since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation, about 150 ZNPP employees have been illegally detained by the Russian military. Currently, about 50 employees are still in captivity.
Human Rights Watch documented in its statement the regular torture of detainees during the six-month occupation of Izium by the Russian military and others acting under their command. Ukrainian law enforcement also continues to investigate war crimes. Kharkiv Regional Prosecutor’s Office has served suspicion notices to 4 Russian servicemen who are in captivity. They are accused of participating in the torture of anti-terrorist operation participants on the territory of the occupied districts of Kharkiv region.
The UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine confirmed that a number of war crimes, human rights violations and breaches of international humanitarian law were committed in Ukraine in the territories of Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Sumy regions of Ukraine during the Russian occupation in late February and March 2022. The Commission documented cases of the opening of fire on civilians, extrajudicial executions, illegal deprivation of liberty, torture and ill-treatment, rape and other sexual violence committed by the Russian military in the respective territories.
Deputy Minister of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Ukraine Yevhen Fedorenko indicated that since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, Russia has caused damage to the environment of Ukraine in the amount of more than €37 billion. According to the Ministry of Environment, as a result of forest fires, burning of oil products and fire of industrial facilities, emissions into the atmosphere during the full-scale war have already exceeded 67 million tons. About 200 thousand square kilometers of the world’s most fertile black soil need to be demined.
On October 20, the system operator Ukrenergo began to restrict electricity supply throughout Ukraine. The reason for the restrictions is the lack of capacity in the power system after the Russian shelling. With the onset of cold weather, further regular power cuts are expected.
International partners continue to provide economic assistance to cover Ukrainian expenses. In particular, on October 18, Ukraine received €2 billion of macro-financial assistance from the European Union—the first tranche of the €5 billion aid package.
The National Bank informed that the IMF Mission to Ukraine started its work in Vienna on October 17 and will last until and including October 20. The National Bank noted that the mission will consider the current state of the Ukrainian economy, macroeconomic forecasts, parameters of the state budget of Ukraine for 2023 and sources of covering its deficit.
POLITICAL AND DIPLOMATIC EVENTS
Ukraine and the international community strongly condemn the Iranian government’s support for Russia’s armed aggression and the supply of Iranian weapons (including drones), which are actively used by Russia to attack civilians and critical infrastructure in Ukrainian cities. The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine in its statement emphasizes that Iran’s decision to supply weapons to Russia makes the Iranian government responsible for the consequences of the Russian armed aggression against Ukraine. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine called on Tehran to immediately stop supplying any weapons to Russia, and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba submitted a proposal to the President of Ukraine to break diplomatic relations with Iran.
The European Union has collected its own evidence of Iran’s involvement in the supply of drones to the Russian Federation and imposed sanctions against Tehran because of the Iranian authorities’ support for Russian aggression against Ukraine. The United States also plans to impose sanctions against Russia, Iran and third countries and individuals involved in the process of transferring Iranian weapons to the Russian military for use against Ukraine. French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna declared such actions of the Iranian government to be a violation of the UN resolutions related to the Iran nuclear deal, which prohibits the transfer of certain military technologies.
In response to the aggression against Ukraine and the crimes committed by the Russian military on Ukrainian territory, the Estonian Parliament on October 18 unanimously recognized the Russian Federation as a state sponsor of terrorism and the Russian regime as a terrorist one. The Estonian Parliament also called on the international community to adopt similar declarations, tighten sanctions against Russia and strengthen support for Ukraine.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi continues dialogue with international partners to intensify support for Ukraine. On October 19, he met with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, who arrived on a visit to Kyiv. The parties discussed the strengthening of support for Ukraine and sanctions pressure on Russia and determined the prospects of enhancing interstate interaction at the highest level. The President informed the Minister on the consequences of the Russian missile terror and the situation on the frontline. The visit of President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier to Kyiv was scheduled for October 20, but it was postponed for security reasons due to the ongoing missile strikes and UAV attacks on the Ukrainian capital.
Over the past few days, the President of Ukraine has had phone conversations with President of Türkiye Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of the United Arab Emirates Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and new Prime Minister of Sweden Ulf Kristersson. Volodymyr Zelenskyi thanked the partners for supporting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. The parties also discussed the specifics of further cooperation and ensuring global food security.
Given the escalation of hostilities, partner countries keep providing military assistance to Ukraine to fight against the aggressor. Germany handed over another package of defense aid to Ukraine (in particular, armored evacuation vehicles, bridge systems, ammunition and winter uniforms for the military). In addition, German Minister of Defense Christine Lambrecht said that by the end of the year Ukraine will receive additional Panzerhaubitze 2000 howitzers and MLRS, armored evacuation vehicles and bridge tanks, armored Dingo vehicles, anti-drone systems. At the same time, the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Alliance Jens Stoltenberg announced the provision of Ukraine with the means to counter drone attacks and anti-drone systems. Greece started transferring armored vehicles (BMP-1) to Ukraine. Italy allocated a new package of military aid to Ukraine. The Council of the EU decided to establish the European Union Military Assistance Mission to Ukraine (EUMAM Ukraine), which will help to increase the military capability of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to effectively conduct military operations.
At its meeting on October 18, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted a statement on the recognition of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria as temporarily occupied by the Russian Federation and condemned Russia’s genocide of the Chechen people. Ukraine also calls on the UN Member States and international organizations to investigate Russian crimes in Ichkeria and bring the perpetrators to justice, to recognize the country as occupied by Russia.
The Ukrainian people represented by President Volodymyr Zelenskyi and Ukrainian civil society received the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. The decision was announced by European Parliament President Roberta Metzola in Strasbourg on October 19. The prize was awarded for “defending freedom, democracy, the rule of law and European values”, which the Ukrainian people stand for fighting Russian aggression.
The information in the digest 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.