As the war enters its 619th day, these are the main developments.
Here is the situation on Saturday, November 4, 2023.
- A Ukrainian attack on the Russian-occupied town of Chaplynka in the southern region of Kherson killed nine people and injured another nine, according to the region’s Russia-appointed governor Vladimir Saldo. There was no report of the incident from Ukrainian officials or media.
- Russia launched its biggest drone attack on Ukraine in weeks, hitting critical infrastructure in 10 of the country’s 24 regions, and destroying residential buildings and a school in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-biggest city. The air force said it shot down 24 of the 38 drones launched by Russia, as well as a cruise missile. Two people were reported injured.
- Intense fighting continued around the eastern town of Avdiivka with Ukraine’s General Staff saying its forces had repelled 17 attacks on and around the town. Mayor Vitaliy Barabash told national television, the Russians were preparing for a new wave of attacks and were intent on seizing the town’s vast coking plant.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appointed Colonel Serhiy Lupanchuk as commander of Ukraine’s special forces, a unit known for conducting military operations in Moscow-held territories. Lupanchuk replaces Major-General Viktor Horenko, who said he had not been told why he was being replaced.
Politics and diplomacy
- Russia dismissed sweeping new US sanctions targeting a drone supply chain and future energy capabilities. “This is a continuation of the policy of inflicting, as they call it, a strategic defeat on us,” Maria Zakharova, a spokesperson for the Russian foreign ministry, told Russian state television. “They will have to wait in vain forever before that happens.”
- The United States sanctioned Russian national Ekaterina Zhdanova for allegedly helping Russian elites to launder and transfer hundreds of millions of dollars using virtual currency in breach of sanctions imposed after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
- Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Zelenskyy was weighing the “pros and cons” of holding presidential elections as scheduled early next year, noting that the process would entail “unprecedented” challenges as a result of the war. The country has been under martial law since Moscow launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022.
- Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said that her chief diplomatic adviser resigned to take responsibility for a prank phone call in which she said there was “international fatigue” over the war in Ukraine.
- The US said it would provide Ukraine with additional arms and equipment worth $425m in a package that would include laser-guided munitions, munitions for National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) air defences and High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), artillery, and antitank weapons.