Situation as of 8:00 a.m. on September 25, 2023
- Having weakened the air defense system of Russian troops in Crimea, the Armed Forces of Ukraine intensified strikes on military facilities on the territory of the temporarily occupied peninsula. The greatest success for them became the attack against the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in the center of Sevastopol on September 22.
- Russian troops resumed strikes against objects of Ukraine’s energy system. The largest missile attack in recent times took place on the night of September 21.
- Volodymyr Zelensky made official visits to the United States and Canada, participating in the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly. The President of Ukraine presented a plan for United Nations reform based on the Ukrainian Peace Formula.
- During the Ukrainian President’s visit to the White House, an agreement was reached to initiate joint American-Ukrainian arms production. Additionally, according to numerous sources, Ukraine is close to receiving tactical ballistic missiles ATACMS from the United States.
Heavy positional battles continue at the frontline. The Ukrainian military tries to expand the bridgeheads around Robotyne in the Zaporizhzhia region and south of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region.
During the week, the Armed Forces of Ukraine, taking advantage of the weakening of Russian air defense, inflicted several powerful blows on Russian military facilities on the territory of the temporarily occupied Crimea. Ukrainian sources reported the strike against the command post of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation near Sevastopol on September 20. The most effective attack was implemented on the afternoon of September 22, as a result of which several missiles hit the building of the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet, located in the center of Sevastopol. According to Ukrainian intelligence, as a result of the attack, losses were inflicted on the top command of the Russian military forces in the southern direction of the front. Other reports were made about the strike on the Saky airfield on the night of September 21, and repeated strikes on Sevastopol at the end of the week.
In addition, one of the buildings in which the Russian occupation administration of Donetsk region is located was hit on the afternoon of September 18. The headquarters of the Russian troops in the Melitopol area was hit as well on the morning of September 19.
On 20 September, a sabotage was reported at the Chkalovsky airfield in Moscow region of Russia, as a result of which planes and a helicopter were damaged. On the evening of September 21, the electricity went out in part of the Russian city of Tula due to an explosion of unknown origin. On September 24, a UAV attack was recorded against an oil refinery and an administrative building in Kursk.
Russian troops have intensified attacks against Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure. On the evening of September 18, they launched a missile attack on Kharkiv. On the night of September 19, missile strikes were carried out on front-line cities in the Donetsk region, as well as on Kryvyi Rih in the Dnipropetrovsk region, where a fire broke out in a multi-storey building. At the same time, the western regions of Ukraine were attacked by UAVs. The Ukrainian military reported the destruction of 27 out of 30 drones used. As a result of the attack against an industrial facility in Lviv, 300 tons of humanitarian aid were burned; 1 person was killed and 1 person was injured. On the night of September 20, the attack was repeated. Air defense shot down 17 out of 24 drones, but others hit an oil refinery in Kremenchuk, Poltava region.
On the night of September 21, Russian troops launched a massive missile attack against the territory of Ukraine. Air defense shot down 36 out of 43 missiles used. Fragments of missiles fell on the territory of three districts of Kyiv, where 7 people were injured. As a result of a missile strike, the PepsiCo plant in the Kyiv region was damaged. In Cherkasy, a hotel building was hit, 11 people were injured. Hits were also recorded in the Lviv and Rivne regions; in the latter an energy infrastructure facility was damaged. Thus, after the break, strikes on the Ukrainian energy system were resumed. The Ukrainian military believes that the Russian military is currently conducting reconnaissance of Ukrainian energy facilities in order to deliver powerful strikes on the mentioned infrastructure in the future.
On the evening of September 21, Russian troops struck the territory of Odesa region with missiles. On the afternoon of September 22, a rocket hit a house in Kremenchuk, killing 1 person and injuring 55 persons. On the night of September 23, a missile attack was carried out on the territory of the Odesa region again. At the same time kamikaze drones were used in other directions. As a result, a critical infrastructure facility was damaged in the Dnipropetrovsk region. The latest attack using kamikaze drones and cruise missiles occurred on the night of September 25th. The target was the port infrastructure of Odesa region.
The losses of the civilian population as a result of Russian attacks in the frontline regions of Ukraine amounted to at least: in the Donetsk region – 9 people killed and 35 people wounded; in the Kherson region – 15 people killed and 41 people wounded; in the Kharkiv region – 6 people killed and 5 people wounded. 1 person was killed as result of mine explosion in Kyiv region.
On September 20, an explosion was recorded off the Romanian coast on a cargo ship following a route under the flag of Togo. Probably, the reason of the incident was a sea mine.
HUMANITARIAN SITUATION, POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTS
On September 18, hearings on Ukraine’s lawsuit against Russia resumed at the UN International Court of Justice in The Hague. Ukraine filed this lawsuit due to Russia’s alleged misinterpretation of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Russia utilized the accusation of “genocide against Russian-speaking population” as one of the justifications for its attack on Ukraine on February 24, 2022. In response to this, Ukraine, on February 26, 2022, turned to the International Court in The Hague with the aim of proving that Russia’s military intervention has no legal basis and is founded on unfounded allegations of genocide. In support of Ukraine in the court, 32 other states, including EU members, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, have joined the case.
Ukraine submitted requests to the World Trade Organization (WTO) for consultations with Slovakia, Poland, and Hungary due to their refusal to lift the ban on Ukrainian agricultural products, despite the corresponding decision by the European Commission on September 15th. In response to Ukraine’s appeal to the WTO, Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia declined to participate in the work of the European Commission’s Coordination Platform concerning Ukrainian grain. These countries also opposed Ukraine’s proposal submitted to the European Commission regarding a possible mechanism for controlling the export of agricultural products to the EU. The Ukrainian government offered neighboring countries a compromise scenario for grain exports, presenting to the European Commission a mechanism for export control of four groups of agricultural products from Ukraine, with verification and approval by the Ministry of Economy of Ukraine. On September 21st, the agricultural ministers of Slovakia and Ukraine reached an agreement to establish a grain trade licensing system, which will allow for the lifting of the ban on Ukrainian agricultural imports into Slovakia once the system is established. In turn, Ukraine agreed to withdraw its WTO complaint against Slovakia.
Due to Poland’s additional ban on the import of Ukrainian cereals and flour, Ukraine has declared that it will be forced to take retaliatory measures by prohibiting the import of fruits and vegetables from Poland (the measures introduced by the Polish side could affect a significant portion of Ukrainian exports). In response, Poland has expressed readiness to expand the ban on Ukrainian imports if Kyiv “escalates the conflict”. However, according to Taras Kachka, Deputy Minister of Economy and Trade Representative of Ukraine, the Ukrainian government hopes not to impose a trade embargo against Poland and is currently waiting for the Polish side’s reaction to the joint control mechanism proposed by Ukraine for grain products. Meanwhile, Polish President Andrzej Duda has stated that the Polish government has established special transit corridors for the export of Ukrainian grain to countries in need of it.
On September 18th, the first ship, Joseph Schulte, with 30 thousand tons of cargo, arrived in Türkiye from the port of Odesa, utilizing the Ukrainian Black Sea corridor after Russia withdrew from the grain initiative. The second ship, Aroyat, carrying 17.6 thousand tons of Ukrainian wheat bound for Egypt, arrived in Türkiye on September 24th from the Ukrainian port of Chornomorsk, also utilizing the temporary corridor across the Black Sea.
According to the State Statistics Service of Ukraine, the real gross domestic product (GDP) of the country in the second quarter of this year increased by 19.5% compared to the second quarter of the previous year. Additionally, the Cabinet of Ministers expects Ukraine’s GDP to grow by 3-4% this year, noting an improvement in the industrial sector.
FOREIGN POLICY AND INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT
This week, the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, made official visits to the United States and Canada. In New York, the head of Ukraine’ state spoke at the general debates of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly and participated in open debates of the UN Security Council on the topic of “Adherence to the principles and goals of the UN Charter through effective multilateralism: maintaining peace and security in Ukraine.” President of Ukraine proposed reforming the activities of the UN based on the Ukrainian Formula for Peace. During his participation in the General Assembly session, Volodymyr Zelensky held negotiations with the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Federal Chancellor of Germany Olaf Scholz, President of Chile Gabriel Boric, Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu, President of the European Council Charles Michel, President of Kenya William Ruto, President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa, President of Brazil Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and the Special Representative of the President of the United States for Ukraine’s Recovery, Penny Pritzker. During the discussions, the leaders talked about the current situation on the front lines, the prospects for the revival of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, ensuring stability in food markets and exports, strengthening air defense to protect civilian infrastructure, cooperation within the UN, and other international platforms.
Additionally, President of Ukraine had a multilateral meeting with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, the President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis, and the Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria, Maria Gabriel, to discuss the free access of Ukrainian agricultural products to the European Union market. Furthermore, during his meeting with the Prime Minister of Albania, Edi Rama, a Joint Declaration between the countries regarding Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic integration was signed. At the same time, according to the results of the negotiations, Germany will host the next conference on the restoration of Ukraine in June 2024.
As part of his working visit to the United States of America, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky held a meeting with President Joseph Biden, discussing Ukraine’s defense support, bilateral security agreements, expanding opportunities for the export of Ukrainian agricultural products, and implementing the Formula for Peace. According to credible sources, a significant outcome of the negotiations was President Biden’s decision to provide Ukraine with long-range precision ATACMS missiles. Additionally, the head of state discussed with the US Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, the supply of artillery systems, long-range strike capabilities, and strengthening Ukrainian air defense. In the presence of the President of Ukraine in the United States, a memorandum was signed, solidifying cooperation in defense-industrial sector projects, energy, and Ukraine’s reconstruction. Furthermore, Volodymyr Zelensky met with the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, the leader of the Democratic Party in the House of Representatives, Hakeem Jeffries, and held negotiations with influential American entrepreneurs and leaders of major funds.
During a working visit to Canada, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky held a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, during which the parties signed an updated Free Trade Agreement between Ukraine and Canada. They also discussed demining of Ukrainian territories, strengthening Ukraine’s defense capabilities, increasing sanctions pressure on Russia, and the implementation of the Peace Formula. Additionally, Volodymyr Zelensky negotiated with the Governor General of Canada, Mary Simon, delivered a speech at a solemn session of the Canadian Parliament, and met with representatives of the Canadian public.
On his way back to Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky held an unplanned meeting with the Chairman of the Sovereign Council of the Republic of Sudan, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, discussing security challenges, including the activities of illegal armed groups funded by Russia, and global food security issues.
The United States announced another military aid package for Ukraine worth $325 million, which includes AIM-9M missiles for air defense, additional ammunition for HIMARS, Avenger air defense systems, artillery shells, including cluster munitions, ammunition, and other equipment. In turn, Canada decided to provide an additional $650 million Canadian dollars (approximately $482 million USD) in defense assistance to Ukraine over the next three years and will provide instructors to train Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets. Furthermore, Canada announced the imposition of new sanctions against individuals and entities involved in the Kremlin-supported illegal and forcible mass deportation of Ukrainian children, as well as those involved in the spread of Russian disinformation and the nuclear sector of the Russian Federation.
On September 19th, at the US Air Force base “Ramstein” in Germany, the 15th meeting of the Contact Group on Defense Matters for Ukraine took place, with the participation of representatives from 54 countries. For the first time at the event, Rustem Umierov was present as the new head of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. During the meeting, the launch of an IT coalition focused on creating a unified digital ecosystem for combat management and defense resource management for the Armed Forces was announced. Additionally, the initiative to create the Capabilities Coalition, whose main goal will be to prepare the future Ukrainian Armed Forces, was initiated. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin stated that international partners have provided Ukraine with over $76 billion in direct defense assistance to date.
As part of the “Ramstein” meeting, participating countries announced the transfer of new military aid packages to Ukraine to strengthen its defense capabilities. Germany provided Ukraine with another military aid package worth 400 million euros, including SatCom terminals, antenna amplifiers, MRAP armored vehicles, surface drones, projectiles of various calibers, AT2 missiles, demining systems, and Zetros trucks. Sweden delivered a batch of Stridsvagn 122 tanks (upgraded Leopard 2A5) to Ukraine. Lithuania will provide Ukraine with demolition systems, maritime surveillance radars, and ammunition for the Carl Gustaf anti-tank grenade launcher. The United Kingdom will supply Ukraine with tens of thousands of artillery shells by the end of the year. Albania transferred American wheeled armored transporters M1224 MaxxPro MRAP and 82mm mortar shells to Ukraine. Latvia will transfer a new military aid package to Ukraine, including additional mortars, air defense systems, and large-caliber ammunition. Norway will transfer approximately 50 tracked trucks NM199 (or M548) to Ukraine, designed for transporting cargo to areas with no roads. Spain will provide a new package of military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, including armored transporters, launching systems, missiles for air and anti-ship defense, and rapid response vehicles. Denmark will transfer 15 modernized T-72EA tanks and 30 Leopard 1 tanks to Ukraine. Additionally, the Czech Republic, Denmark, and the Netherlands have entered into an agreement to continue supplying Czech weapons to Ukraine with financial support from Denmark and the Netherlands. This includes the supply of additional tanks, howitzers, small arms, infantry fighting vehicles, air defense systems, and more.
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.