Situation as of 8:00 a.m. on October 16, 2023
- Russian forces are conducting offensive operations to capture Avdiivka near Donetsk. They also resumed attacks in the Kupyansk direction.
- The 16th meeting of the Contact Group on Ukrainian Defense (Ramstein) took place in Brussels. As a result, the participating countries announced new packages of military aid to Ukraine. Specifically, Germany will provide Ukraine with military aid worth 1 billion euros, aimed at strengthening Ukraine’s air defense. Belgium agreed to supply F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine in 2025.
- According to the updated global macroeconomic forecast, the IMF expects Ukraine’s GDP to grow by 2% in 2023 and accelerate to 3.2% in 2024.
Russian troops intensified attacks in the eastern direction of the frontline, trying to break through the defenses of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. They launched active offensive operations in the Avdiivka area. They also resumed the offensive in the Kupyansk direction.
The Ukrainian military is striking Russian military targets. Ukrainian sources claim renewed attacks against ships of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation. In particular, the press reported that during October 11-13, two Russian ships were damaged near Sevastopol. Russian sources report UAV attacks near Sochi, as well as in the Bryansk and Belgorod regions of the Russian Federation.
Russian troops are trying to disrupt the functioning of the transport corridor through which Ukrainian food is exported. They concentrated efforts on attacks against the southern regions of Ukraine in order to destroy the relevant infrastructure. During the week, at least two large-scale attacks using drones were recorded. On the night of October 10, Ukrainian air defense shot down 27 of the 36 UAVs used in the attack. On the night of October 12, 28 out of 33 kamikaze drones were destroyed according to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. In both cases, logistics infrastructure facilities, warehouses and residential buildings in the Odesa region were hit.
During the week, civilian losses as a result of Russian attacks in the frontline regions of Ukraine amounted to at least: in the Donetsk region – 9 people killed and 41 people wounded; in the Kherson region – 5 people killed and 22 people wounded. On the territory of Kharkiv region, 3 people were killed and 2 people were injured as a result of a mine explosions; 2 people were killed and 10 people were injured due to russian shelling. At least 1 person was killed as a result of shelling in Sumy region. In the Dnipropetrovsk region, 4 people were killed and 3 were injured as a result of the shelling of Nikopol. 1 person was killed in the suburbs of Zaporizhzhia. 1 person was killed and 1 more person was injured due to a mine explosion near Chernihiv. In the Mykolaiv region, 1 child was killed and 1 more child was injured due to mines as well.
HUMANITARIAN SITUATION, POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTS
After negotiations with the President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis, Volodymyr Zelensky announced the creation of a new grain corridor through Moldova and Romania. It was agreed to double the transit capacity through Romanian ports to four million tons of agricultural products. Currently, nearly 60% of Ukraine’s total grain exports pass through Romania. Since February 2022, over 27 million tons of grain from Ukraine have transited through Romania. According to the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food’s estimation, the harvest for the 2023 season will amount to 79 million tons.
Prime Minister Denis Shmyhal noted that Ukraine will need approximately $42 billion in financial support in 2024 to cover the budget deficit, which is expected to be around 21% of the GDP. International financial aid will primarily be used for social needs, including payment of salaries to civil servants and pensions.
At the same time, according to the latest assessments from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Ukraine’s need for external financing in 2024 amounts to $31.9 billion, which is $3 billion more than previously projected by the Fund. According to the Managing Director of the IMF, Kristalina Georgieva, Ukraine’s resilience is evident, with the sharp economic downturn of the previous year being replaced by a gradual recovery.
According to the updated global macroeconomic forecast, the IMF expects Ukraine’s GDP to grow by 2% in 2023 and accelerate to 3.2% in 2024. In 2028, according to the Fund’s estimates, the Ukrainian economy is projected to grow by 4% annually.
FOREIGN POLICY AND INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT
On October 11th, in Brussels, the 16th meeting of the Contact Group on Ukrainian Defense Issues (“Ramstein”) took place, attended by defense ministers and military officials from nearly 50 countries, initiating the work on creating the “Coalition of Opportunities.” During the meeting, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy personally addressed the participants, urging partners to enhance their military support for the Ukrainian armed forces.
As a result of the meeting, participating countries announced new packages of military assistance for Ukraine. The Federal Republic of Germany will provide Ukraine with military assistance worth 1 billion euros, directed towards strengthening Ukrainian air defense. This package includes Patriot systems, IRIS-T SLM and SLS, as well as anti-aircraft tanks Gepard, combat tanks Leopard 1 A5, and other equipment. The United States of America declared a new military assistance package for Ukraine worth 200 million US dollars, including AIM-9M air defense missiles, counter-drone equipment (c-UAS), HIMARS ammunition, precision aviation ammunition, TOW anti-tank guided missiles, and other equipment. Lithuania will transfer two NASAMS launcher units to Ukraine and purchase 155mm caliber ammunition. Spain will provide Ukraine with six launcher units for Hawk anti-aircraft missile systems and artillery ammunition of 155mm and 105mm calibers. The Netherlands announced the delivery of a new batch of military assistance to Ukraine, including drones, demining equipment, and ammunition. Canada will provide winter clothing and equipment worth approximately 19 million US dollars. Norway, Sweden, and Denmark will jointly purchase artillery ammunition for Ukraine, contributing approximately 40.5 million euros. Denmark will allocate about 108 million euros for financing the maintenance of military equipment and demining equipment through the International Fund for Ukraine (IFU) and will also provide Ukraine with the first F-16 fighter jets in early 2024. Finland approved a new military assistance package for Ukraine worth 95 million euros and will also allocate an additional 92 million euros to support Ukraine and countries affected by Russian aggression through the World Bank.
The international efforts to demine Ukrainian territory are crucial, as approximately 30% of Ukrainian lands are currently contaminated with mines and unexploded ordnance. This week, a conference on humanitarian demining was held in Zagreb, involving more than 40 countries and mobilizing around 500 million euros. Switzerland will allocate over 100 million euros over the next four years, Norway will provide about 13.5 million euros, Croatia 5 million euros, and Spain 1.5 million euros. Additionally, Ukraine and Croatia signed a bilateral agreement on cooperation in humanitarian demining. Furthermore, Turkey, Romania, and Bulgaria have formed a “trilateral initiative” to jointly work on clearing the Black Sea of mines that have entered the water due to Russia’s large-scale war against Ukraine.
On October 10th, during the annual session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Copenhagen, a resolution titled “Implementation of Decisions of the Vilnius Summit: Accelerating NATO Adaptation and Supporting Ukraine” was adopted. The NATO Parliamentary Assembly called on the governments of member countries to increase their military, intelligence, financial, educational, and humanitarian support for Ukraine, accelerate the delivery of advanced weaponry, including long-range missiles and multi-role fighters. In addition, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Denmark via an online message.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted a resolution recognizing Russian President Vladimir Putin as a dictator and Russia as a dictatorship. Another resolution supported Ukraine in its fight against the aggressor and recognized the Holodomor of 1932-1933 as a genocide against the Ukrainian people.
The finance ministers of G7 countries, during a meeting in Morocco, issued a joint statement condemning Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and pledged to continue seeking legal avenues to compel the aggressor country to pay for its criminal actions. G7 countries froze Russian assets totaling nearly 280 billion US dollars and committed to holding them until the aggressor state compensates Ukraine for the damage it has caused.
This week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy conducted official visits to several European countries. In Bucharest, he met with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis and discussed the needs of Ukraine’s air defense, the creation of a “grain corridor” from Ukraine through Moldova to Romania, and the implementation of the Formula of Peace. The two leaders signed a joint statement, emphasizing their readiness to deepen strategic cooperation. Additionally, Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with Romanian Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu, Senate President Nicolae Ciucă, and Acting Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of the Romanian Parliament Alfred Simonis.
During his visit to Brussels, the Ukrainian President held a meeting with the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Belgium, Alexander De Croo, and they reached an agreement for Belgium to provide Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets in 2025. Belgium also announced the creation of a special Ukrainian fund worth 1.7 billion euros, which will receive proceeds from taxes on frozen Russian assets.
Furthermore, in Brussels, Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, and the new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States, Charles Brown. During a working trip to the Odessa region, the President of Ukraine held a meeting with the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, who was on a visit to Ukraine. As a result of the negotiations, the Netherlands agreed to provide Ukraine with Patriot SAM system missiles to aid in defense against Russian airstrikes.
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.