As the war enters its 615th day, these are the main developments.
Here is the situation on Tuesday, October 31, 2023.
- Kyiv military officials said Russia has bulked up its forces around the devastated city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine and has switched its troops from defence to offence. “In the Bakhmut area, the enemy has significantly strengthened its grouping and switched from defence to active actions,” General Oleksandr Syrskyi, Ukraine’s commander of ground forces, wrote on Telegram.
- Kherson Regional Governor Oleksandr Prokudin said a 91-year-old woman was killed in a “terrifying night” of Russian shelling in the southern region that hit a residential building and triggered a massive fire. The woman was one of three Ukrainian civilians killed in the east and south of the country over the previous 24 hours, with at least 12 people injured, according to Ukraine’s presidential office.
Oleh Kiper, the governor of Ukraine’s southern Odesa region, said two people were wounded and buildings damaged in a Russian missile attack on a shipyard.
- Russia’s defence ministry said air defence systems destroyed eight Storm Shadow cruise missiles over Crimea, which Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014. The Ukrainian armed forces, meanwhile, said they had “successfully hit a strategic object of the air defence system” on Crimea’s western coast.
Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) said it had detained a Russian man in Crimea on suspicion of treason, accusing him of passing military secrets to Ukraine, according to a state news agency.
Colonel General Mikhail Teplinsky has been named as the new commander of Russia’s Dnipro military group in Ukraine replacing Colonel General Oleg Makarevich. Russia’s armed forces are divided into about half a dozen groups, and the Dnipro group is thought to be deployed in southern Ukraine.
Politics and diplomacy
- Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said he was confident the US House of Representatives would back a request for additional funds for Ukraine’s military. Kuleba said he was aware of “considerable political resistance” to the bill’s provisions he expected their support when it came to the vote. US President Joe Biden has put forward a $106bn aid package – most of it will go to Ukraine with some to Israel. Newly-elected House Speaker Mike Johnson has said the two countries’ assistance should be separated.
- Russia said it would ease investment processes for citizens and companies from 25 “friendly” countries including China, India, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Kazakhstan and Belarus.
- Speaking at a security conference in Beijing, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu accused the US of “deliberately undermining the basis of international security and strategic stability,” in order to preserve its international position. He claimed Western countries and their allies were trying to “escalate conflict with Russia”.
- Poland said it had detained a man with “direct links to neo-Nazi groups” in Norway who tried to join the Ukraine military’s legion of foreign volunteers. The man, a Norwegian citizen, was detained in September and is now awaiting extradition back to Norway.
- Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the first US-made F-16 combat aircraft donated to Ukraine will arrive in Romania’s training centre within two weeks. “I expect the Patriot missiles to be delivered shortly, to aid Ukraine in the upcoming winter. And the same speed applies to the F-16s,” Rutte said during a video conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy posted on messaging platform X.