Here is the situation on Monday, September 4, 2023.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced the dismissal of Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov. Speaking in his nightly video address, Zelenskyy said the ministry needed “new approaches” and that he would seek parliamentary approval this week for Rustem Umerov, head of Ukraine’s main privatisation fund, to take over the role. Reznikov has helped secure billions of dollars of Western military aid for Ukraine but has been dogged by allegations of corruption, which he has described as smears.
- Ukraine said it destroyed 22 Russian drones in the southern Odesa region, as Moscow said it attacked “fuel storage facilities” in the Danube port of Reni, on the border with Romania. Ukraine’s Air Force said Russia launched “several waves of attacks” and that at least two people were injured in the Danube area.
- Romania’s Ministry of National Defence condemned Russia’s repeated attacks on Ukraine’s Danube port infrastructure along its border. The ministry “reiterates in the strongest terms that these attacks against civilian targets and infrastructure in Ukraine are unjustified and in deep contradiction with the rules of international humanitarian law”, it said in a statement.
- Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s former president who is now the deputy chair of the country’s Security Council, said some 280,000 people had signed up since January 1 for professional service with the Russian military.
- The United Kingdom’s military intelligence said Moscow was recruiting from at least 6 million migrants from Central Asia and neighbouring countries, who are living in Russia, to fight in Ukraine. “Exploiting foreign nationals allows the Kremlin to acquire additional personnel for its war effort in the face of increasing losses,” the UK’s defence ministry said in its latest update.
- Monday’s meeting in the southern Russian city of Sochi between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russia’s Vladimir Putin is expected to focus on the Black Sea grain deal that Moscow abandoned in July. Erdogan’s chief foreign policy and security adviser Akif Cagatay Kilic told a Turkish TV channel that Turkey wanted to bring Russia back into the deal, which allowed for the safe export of Ukrainian grain from Black Sea ports. Turkey and the United Nations helped broker the original agreement.
- Zelenskyy said he discussed with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron the “functioning” of a sea corridor set up by Kyiv for safe navigation of ships after Moscow pulled out of the Black Sea deal. Ukraine this week said four more ships had gone through its temporary maritime corridor in the Black Sea.
- Russian and Belarusian athletes will not compete at the Asian Games in China starting on September 23 after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) concluded that the plan was “not feasible” on technical grounds.
- South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said an inquiry into an allegation from the United States that a Russian ship picked up weapons in South Africa late last year found no evidence the vessel had transported weapons to Russia. “None of the allegations made about the supply of weapons to Russia have been proven to be true,” Ramaphosa said in an address to the nation. “No permit was issued for the export of arms and no arms were exported.”
- Ukraine’s Reznikov said drone production will soon increase as the country steps up drone attacks on Russian territory. “I think this autumn, there will be a boom in the production of various Ukrainian drones: flying, floating, crawling, etc., and this will continue to grow in volume,” Reznikov told the state-run Ukrinform news agency.