Here is the situation on Tuesday, August 15, 2023.
- Ukraine downed three waves of Russian missiles and drones targeting Odesa, the army said. Fifteen drones and eight Kalibr-type sea-based missiles were involved in the attack. Falling debris from the destroyed weapons damaged a student dormitory and a supermarket in Odesa’s city centre, leaving three workers wounded.
- Russia said its air defence systems shot down unmanned aerial vehicles over its Belgorod region, the TASS news agency reports. It said there were no casualties or damage.
- Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said Russian weapons were proving their effectiveness in the war against Ukraine and that “much-hyped” Western arms had shown themselves to be “far from perfect”.
- Ukraine reported fierce fighting along its entire front line and claimed “some success” in pushing back Moscow’s troops in the southeast of the country. Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar said Ukrainian troops had pushed forward around the village of Staromaiorske, about 97km (60 miles) southwest of Russian-held Donetsk, and were pressing on two fronts in the south.
- A Russian spokesperson in Ukraine’s Kherson region accused Kyiv’s forces of attacking a monastery in the village of Korsunka as well as a school, TASS reported.
- Russia is equipping its new nuclear submarines with hypersonic Zircon missiles as part of the country’s efforts to boost its nuclear forces, the RIA state news agency reported, quoting Alexei Rakhmanov, chief executive officer of the United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC). Yasen-class submarines, also known as Project 885M, are nuclear-powered cruise missile submarines built to replace Soviet-era nuclear attack submarines as part of a programme to modernise Russia’s fleet.
- The Russian rouble slid past 100 against the dollar, its lowest level since March 23, 2022. The rouble has shed about 30 percent of its value against the dollar as imports rise and exports decrease since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year. On Monday morning, data from the Moscow Exchange showed the rouble trading at 101.01 to the dollar, while against the euro, it fell to a near 17-month low of 110.73.
- The United States will send Ukraine new military assistance worth $200m. The package includes air defence munitions, artillery rounds, anti-armour capabilities and mine-clearing equipment, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked the US for its decision to send Kyiv the assistance package.
- Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal thanked Germany’s finance minister and government for their support in financial aid and sanctions against Russia.
- Ukrainian presidential adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, said the provision of long-range missiles, such as the German Taurus missiles Kyiv has asked for, would reduce Russia’s combat capabilities by focusing on “the destruction of rear logistics – warehouses, transportation, fuel”.
- Chinese Defence Minister Li Shangfu will visit Russia and Belarus this week. “State Councillor and Defence Minister Li Shangfu will go to Russia to attend the 11th Moscow Conference on International Security, and visit Belarus,” a Chinese defence ministry spokesperson said.
- Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said employees of Russian institutions in Moldova – the embassy, trade mission and Russian Centre of Science and Culture – as well as their family members have returned to Moscow. Last month, Moldova told Russia to reduce its embassy presence in Chisinau, citing concerns about alleged Russian attempts to destabilise the small state, which borders Romania and Ukraine.
- US Ambassador to Russia Lynne Tracy met with jailed Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich in her third such visit since his March detention in Russia on espionage charges, which he denies, according to the newspaper.
- An ally of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny is on trial in Siberia on charges of creating an “extremist organisation”, a court spokeswoman told France’s AFP news agency. Ksenia Fadeyeva, 31, is a former municipal deputy in the Siberian city of Tomsk and headed Navalny’s political office in the city.
- A major general in Ukraine’s security service has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for high treason, the German press agency, dpa, reported. The intelligence officer was accused of collecting information and passing it on to Russia, the public prosecutor’s office in Kyiv said.
- Poland’s Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski announced that two Russian citizens found “distributing propaganda materials of the Wagner Group” have been detained in Warsaw and Krakow. “Both were charged with … espionage and arrested,” Kaminski said on social media.
Black Sea tension
- Ukraine condemned what it called “provocative” Russian actions a day after a Russian warship fired warning shots at a cargo vessel in the Black Sea.
- Romania aims to double the monthly transit capacity of Ukrainian grain via the Danube River, the country’s Transport Minister Sorin Grindeanu said. Romania could increase Danube River transit capacity by hiring more staff to ease the passage of vessels and finalising connecting infrastructure projects, Grindeanu told reporters. Before Russia pulled out of the Black Sea grain deal, the Danube ports accounted for about a quarter of Ukraine’s grain exports.
- The United Kingdom said its fighter jets intercepted two Russian maritime patrol bomber aircraft in international airspace north of Scotland, a NATO policing area. The UK said its Typhoon jets routinely scrambled during such incidents to secure and safeguard its skies.
- Russia’s Ministry of Defence said it scrambled a MIG-29 jet after a Norwegian air force plane neared Russian airspace off its Arctic coast. Separately, the ministry said Russian strategic bombers carried out routine flights over international waters in the Arctic.
- Russia will deliver S-400 anti-aircraft systems to India within an agreed timeframe, the Russian Interfax news agency quoted a senior Russian defence export official as saying. India is the world’s biggest weapons importer and still primarily uses Russian technology for arms, but officials have expressed concern that Russia’s war in Ukraine could delay deliveries.