Situation as of 8:00 a.m. on September 18, 2023
- The Ukrainian military has intensified attacks against ships of the Russian fleet in the Black Sea and Russian military facilities on the territory of the temporarily occupied Crimea. The most successful attack was the missile strike on Sevastopol on the night of September 13, as a result of which a Russian large landing ship and a submarine were damaged.
- The Armed Forces of Ukraine liberated the strategically important villages of Klishchiivka and Andriivka in the Bakhmut area.
- Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un met for the Russia-North Korea summit as the Kremlin seeks more weaponry for its war in Ukraine. Pyongyang may supply Moscow with munitions in return for technologies for building intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear-propelled submarines, and military reconnaissance satellites.
The Armed Forces of Ukraine continue offensive operations. South of Bakhmut, they liberated the strategically important villages of Andriivka and Klishchiivka. Intensive fighting also continues on the territory of the Zaporizhzhia region. Russian sources also reported the activation of Ukrainian troops on the bridgehead on the left bank of the Dnipro River near Kherson.
The Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine has confirmed an operation to restore control over gas and oil production platforms in the northwestern part of the Black Sea (the so-called “Boyko towers”). These facilities were used by Russia to monitor the region, playing an important role in providing air defense of positions in Crimea.
The loss of control over the facilities probably simplified the operations of the Armed Forces of Ukraine against Russian military facilities on the territory of the temporarily occupied Crimea. On the night of September 13, Ukrainian aircrafts launched a missile attack on Sevastopol. As a result, the large landing ship “Minsk” and the submarine “Rostov na Donu” were hit and disabled. The latter is a carrier of Kalibr missiles, so its damage reduces the ability of Russian troops to strike at the territory of Ukraine. On the night of September 14, an attack was implemented against the positions of Russian air defense in the Yevpatoria area. On the evening of September 17, explosions were recorded in the area of Cape Fiolent near Sevastopol, where the Russian base is located.
Reports were made about the destruction of a Russian patrol boat in the Black Sea, and attacks against several ships of the Russian navy, carried out using drones. Ukrainian sources claim possible damage to the “Samum” small missile ship.
Russian troops continue attacks against the territory of Ukraine. On the night of September 13, drones attacked the port infrastructure in the Odesa region. The Ukrainian military reported shooting down 32 out of 44 UAVs. As a result of the attack, administrative buildings, warehouses for grain cargo, oil storage tanks and vehicles were damaged, and 7 people were injured. The next night, the attack was repeated; air defense forces managed to shoot down 17 of the 22 drones used. On the night of September 15, drones attacked the Khmelnytskyi region, but the air defense shot down all 17 UAVs used. On September 16, a missile attack was launched on Kharkiv. On the night of September 17, a combined attack on the territory of Ukraine was carried out using missiles and drones. Air defense shot down all 6 UAVs and 6 out of 10 missiles fired by Russian aircraft. Granaries in the Odesa region and an enterprise in Kharkiv were hit as a result of this attack.
The casualties among the civilian population in the frontline regions of Ukraine during recent week amounted to at least: in the Donetsk region – 5 people killed and 10 people wounded; in the Kherson region – 3 people killed and 24 people wounded; in the Kharkiv region – 2 people killed and 10 people wounded. At least 3 people were injured in Dnipropetrovsk region. 1 person was killed and 1 person was injured in Luhansk region.
HUMANITARIAN SITUATION, POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTS
According to the Minister for Communities, Territories and Infrastructure Development of Ukraine O. Kubrakov, since July 18, 105 objects of port infrastructure were damaged and partially destroyed due to the attacks by the armed forces of the Russian Federation on Ukrainian ports in the Danube Cluster. As a result of these attacks and the blockade of sea ports, the export of grain cargoes to countries in Asia, Africa, and Europe was reduced by nearly three million tons per month.
The European Commission has decided not to extend restrictions on the import of agricultural products from Ukraine beyond September 15th, as distortions in the market in five neighboring member states have disappeared since the introduction of restrictive measures on May 2nd. In turn, Ukraine has agreed to introduce necessary measures to control the export of four groups of goods to prevent price surges in neighboring countries. However, on September 16th, Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia unilaterally imposed restrictions on the import of Ukrainian grain. Poland decided to indefinitely suspend imports, Slovakia banned it until the end of the current year, and Hungary expanded the list of banned goods to 24 types of Ukrainian agricultural products.
President of the USA Joe Biden has appointed a Special Representative for Ukraine’s Economic Recovery, who is the American entrepreneur and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker. She will be responsible for mobilizing public and private investments in Ukraine (including through the G7 coordination platform), outlining priorities for international partners and donors, working on the opening of export markets and enterprises that have been affected by attacks from Russian armed forces, etc.
According to the spokesperson for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Ukraine, Saviano Abreu, 18 million people in Ukraine are currently in need of humanitarian assistance. Due to the increasing number of attacks from Russia, the UN anticipates a worsening humanitarian situation among the civilian population. Therefore, by the end of this year, there is an expectation of an increase in the volume of humanitarian aid from the UN, which is intended to reach up to 11 million people in Ukraine.
According to the Prime Minister of Ukraine D.Shmyhal, the Ukrainian government plans to attract $42 billion from international partners in 2024. This includes $18 billion from the European Union, as well as an expected monthly support of $1.1-1.2 billion from the United States. Additionally, Ukraine continues to hold negotiations with partner countries regarding funding for the following year, including programs from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Norway and Japan.
FOREIGN POLICY AND INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT
The European Parliament on September 13 adopted a resolution “On Relations with Belarus,” in which it recognized the Lukashenko regime as an accomplice in crimes committed by Russia, resulting in responsibility for the destruction and losses incurred by Ukraine. In addition, it was approved that the special international tribunal for the crime of aggression committed by Russia against Ukraine should also have jurisdiction over the investigation regarding the Belarusian leadership.
International partners continue to strengthen Ukraine’s defense capabilities by providing military assistance. Germany has supplied another package of military aid to Ukraine, including the Marder armored infantry fighting vehicles, mine-clearing tanks WISENT 1, military 8×8 HX81 trucks, other vehicles, the Satcom video surveillance system, reconnaissance drones RQ-35 HEIDRUN, and more. Canada will allocate 33 million Canadian dollars (24.4 million US dollars) for the purchase of equipment to enhance Ukraine’s air defense. Denmark will provide Ukraine with a military aid package worth 5.8 billion Danish crowns (833 million US dollars), including tanks and ammunition, infantry fighting vehicles, and anti-aircraft guns. The United Kingdom has delivered a batch of heavy drones, Malloy, to Ukraine. In turn, Belgium has joined the international aviation coalition by providing aircraft and personnel for training Ukrainian pilots, while Ukrainian military pilots have completed familiarization training on JAS 39 Gripen fighters in Sweden.
Regarding the de facto maritime blockade of Ukrainian ports by Russia after its withdrawal from the “Black Sea Grain Initiative” and the increasing demand for Ukrainian agricultural products in food markets, Ukraine is taking decisive steps to unblock ports and ensure freedom of navigation. Thus, on September 16, Turkish bulk carriers Resilient Africa and Aroyat used the temporary route known as the “grain corridor without Russia” to enter the port of Chornomorsk. These corridors had previously been proposed by Ukraine to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and used to evacuate ships from ports in Odessa, Chornomorsk, and Pivdennyi that were blocked due to Russian aggression. The International Maritime Organization recognized Ukraine’s right to free commercial navigation, guaranteed by international maritime law.
Furthermore, the European Union did not extend temporary restrictions on Ukrainian grain exports to five neighboring countries (Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Slovakia), which expired on September 15. However, Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia announced that they would continue to ban the import of Ukrainian grain, despite the decision of the European Commission.
During a high-level meeting of the Council of Europe member states titled “On the Path to Justice for Ukraine,” a joint political declaration in support of Ukraine and its people was signed. The event was attended by delegations from the legal authorities of 40 Council of Europe countries, including 18 justice ministers, as well as representatives of observer countries and international organizations. Additionally, the declaration contains the “Riga Principles,” aimed at ensuring the effective operation of Ukraine’s “loss register” resulting from Russian aggression.
The Baltic countries, Poland, and Finland have banned the entry of private vehicles with Russian registration plates into their territories. These countries have thus joined in implementing the recommendations of the European Commission regarding restrictive measures against Russia. At the same time, transit to the Kaliningrad Oblast of Russia through Lithuania’s territory remains unrestricted.
On September 15, the eighth meeting with representatives of the diplomatic corps accredited in Ukraine, in which the implementation of the sixth point of the Peace Formula “Withdrawal of Russian troops and cessation of hostilities” was discussed, took place. Ambassadors and diplomatic representatives from over 70 foreign countries had the opportunity to assess the consequences of Russian attacks in Hostomel and consolidate efforts to develop new security mechanisms.
This week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy held meetings with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany, Annalena Baerbock, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim Khan, and the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport of the Republic of Korea, Won Hee-ryong, along with a delegation from the Korean government and business community, who visited Kyiv. President Zelensky also had a telephone conversation with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.
Negotiations took place between the Head of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, and Vladimir Putin during the North Korean leader’s visit to Russia. During the talks, the leaders discussed military-technical cooperation between Russia and North Korea and signed a series of agreements related to temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine. These agreements include the opening of pseudo-diplomatic institutions of North Korea in Ukraine’s temporarily occupied territories.
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.