As the war enters its 617th day, these are the main developments.
Here is the situation on Thursday, November 2, 2023.
- Ukraine’s Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said 118 settlements in 10 regions of Ukraine’s east had come under Russian fire in the previous 24 hours, marking the heaviest day of Russian shelling this year.
- Ukraine said the Kremenchuk oil refinery in central Ukraine caught fire after a Russian drone attack that knocked out the power supply in three villages while falling debris from downed drones damaged railway power lines in a nearby region. Officials said the fire was quickly extinguished. Ukraine’s air force said air defences shot down 18 of 20 Russian drones and a missile before they reached their targets.
- Writing in The Economist newspaper, Ukraine’s commander-in-chief General Valery Zaluzhny said the army needed new military capabilities and technological innovation – and air power, in particular – to break out of the current attritional fighting along the front line.
- Ukraine’s military said more than 260 civilians had been killed after stepping on landmines or other explosives since Russia began its full-scale invasion in February 2022. Kyiv estimates that about a third of its territory is potentially strewn with mines or dangerous war detritus.
- A court in the Russian-occupied part of Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region sentenced three Ukrainian soldiers to jail after they were taken captive following the fall of Mariupol last year. Moscow’s Investigative Committee said the three were found guilty of killing eight civilians, with one soldier sentenced to life and the other two for 30-year terms.
- Ukraine said Russian warplanes dropped “explosive objects” into the probable paths of civilian vessels in the Black Sea three times in the previous 24 hours, but that its fledgling shipping lane remained in operation. Kyiv set up the corridor after Moscow abandoned the United Nations-backed Black Sea grain deal in July.
- Russian officials declared an air raid alert in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol. Traffic on the Crimean bridge as well as sea transport were suspended. Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
Politics and diplomacy
- Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni spoke of international fatigue with the conflict in Ukraine after being duped into speaking by two Russians pretending to head the African Union Commission. Asked about the war, Meloni, speaking in English, said: “I see that there is a lot of fatigue, I have to say the truth, from all the sides. We [are] near the moment in which everybody understands that we need a way out. The problem is to find a way out which can be acceptable for both without destroying the international law.” The 13-minute call was recorded in September in the run-up to meetings with African leaders at the United Nations General Assembly.
- France’s financial prosecutor charged Russian billionaire Alexei Kuzmichev, who is linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin and under European Union sanctions, with tax fraud. Kuzmichev also faces charges of concealing work with an organised crime group and money laundering.
- Switzerland said it would maintain protection status for Ukrainians fleeing war until at least March 4, 2025. “The situation in Ukraine is not expected to change in the foreseeable future,” a statement from the Federal Council said.
- South Korea’s intelligence services believe Pyongyang has sent about 10 arms shipments to Russia, with more than one million artillery shells transported by sea, South Korean ruling party lawmaker Yoo Sang-bum told reporters following a briefing. The deliveries would probably keep Russian forces in Ukraine supplied for two months, he added. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is due to visit South Korea on November 8 and 9, with North Korea and its deepening relationship with Moscow high on the agenda.
- Prosecutors in the United States charged a Russian American and two Russians over an alleged plan to export electronic components for Russian drones, a day after three others were charged over a similar scheme. Nikolay Grigorev was arrested at his home in New York City, while the two other Russia-based defendants remain at large.
- A Dutch court sentenced a Russian citizen to 18 months in prison and fined his company 200,000 euros ($211,000) for breaching EU sanctions on Russia imposed over the war in Ukraine by trading microchips and other electronic goods with potential military uses. The 56-year-old man, named Dmitri K by prosecutors, is thought to have fled to Russia after being released from custody pending his trial last year.