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Russia-Ukraine war: List of key events, day 539 | Russia-Ukraine war News

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Here is the situation on Wednesday, August 16, 2023.

Fighting

  • Russian air attacks killed three people and left many injured in Lutsk, in the Volyn region of northwestern Ukraine, Kyiv said. A wave of Russian overnight attacks also damaged civilian facilities and injured people in Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk in western Ukraine, near the border with Poland.
  • Russia’s defence ministry said its forces hit key military-industrial facilities in Ukraine overnight with high-precision missiles, inflicting “significant damage”, according to the Interfax news agency.
  • Russia said its forces had for the first time intercepted a SCALP cruise missile supplied to Ukraine by France.
  • Ukraine said 16 of at least 28 cruise missiles launched by Russia overnight were destroyed. The 28 included 20 Kh-101/Kh-555 missiles, four Kh-22 and four Kalibr missiles, which were launched from the Russian airfields of Soltsy, Shaykovka, Engels and Olenegorsk as well as from a ship stationed near Yalta in Russian-occupied Crimea.
  • A Ukrainian drone was destroyed in Russia’s Belgorod region, Russia’s defence ministry said.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited front-line troops in the southeastern region of Zaporizhia, where he “discussed the most problematic issues of their units together with the brigades and combatants”, his office said in a statement.
  • Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said that Ukraine’s ability to fight was “almost exhausted”.
  • Ukraine’s national resistance centre said that Moscow is preparing a “provocation” at the Kursk Nuclear Power Plant in western Russia. “Preparations for evacuation from the zone of possible radioactive contamination in the event of an accident at the nuclear power plant are under way in the Kursk region,” the resistance centre, which collects intelligence among other functions said, adding that Russia was planning to evacuate between 21,000 and 57,000 people.
  • Russian armed forces prevented an attempt by a group of Ukrainian saboteurs to cross the border into Russian territory, the governor of Russia’s Bryansk region said.
  • Russian attacks along the eastern front line in Ukraine have decreased as Moscow seeks to replenish its forces, Ukraine’s Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar said. “During the past week and on the first day of this week, we have recorded a quantitative decrease of shellings and attacks in the east,” Maliar said according to Ukrainian media reports. “But that does not mean that Russia gave up on its plans.”

Military aid

  • Sweden’s Defence Minister Pal Johnson said that Stockholm would donate a military aid package including ammunition and spare parts worth about 3.4 billion kronor ($313m) to Ukraine.

Economy

  • Russia’s central bank hiked its interest rate to 12 percent from 8.5 percent after the rouble fell to its lowest value since March 2022. The decision was announced after a meeting of the bank’s board of directors and comes amid increased military spending and Western sanctions hurting Russia’s economy.
  • Ukraine’s energy ministry said that a 330 kV power line that supplied a Chornobyl power station was shut due to damage that occurred in Belarus. “In the Lviv region, almost 290,000 subscribers were short-term without power due to the blackout of the 330 kV line,” the ministry said in a statement.

Regional security

  • Belarusian Defence Minister Viktor Khrenin said the possibility of a direct military clash with NATO in the future seemed obvious, according to a report by the Russian state news agency RIA.
  • Three suspected spies for Russia have been arrested and charged in a major national security investigation in the United Kingdom, according to a BBC report. The suspects, all Bulgarian nationals, allegedly worked for the Russian security service and had been held in custody since February.
  • Latvia’s defence minister ordered the army to help guard the country’s border with Russian ally Belarus after a reported 96 attempts by migrants to cross in 24 hours. Border Guard officers were recalled from their holidays to help with patrols of the 214km-long (133 miles) border.
  • Latvia’s state security service said it had found direct and indirect invitations for Latvians to join the Russian mercenary force Wagner, according to a report by Latvian media outlet Delfi. Latvian citizens are prohibited by law from serving in the armed forces or military organisation of a foreign country that poses a risk to Latvia’s national security.

Politics

  • Polish President Andrej Duda commemorated the soldiers of the 1917-1921 Ukrainian People’s Republic, who died fighting against the Bolsheviks. The republic’s leadership allied with the Polish state in 1920 to fight against the Soviet Union’s Red Army, with Ukrainian soldiers taking part in the battle of Warsaw alongside Poland. Duda laid a wreath at a monument to the soldiers of the Ukrainian People’s Republic in a Warsaw cemetery.
  • A court in Moscow fined social media site Reddit 2 million roubles ($20,433), for not deleting “banned content” related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to Russian state news agency reports.

Sanctions

  • Kyiv will boycott the Olympic Games if Russia and Belarus are allowed to participate, said Kira Rudik, a member of the Ukrainian Parliament. Andriy Yermak, head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, said that Russian athletes should be banned from participating in all international competitions “even under a neutral flag”. Yermak’s and Rudik’s comments came after Russian attacks damaged a sport complex building in Dnipro, Ukraine.

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