Here is the situation on Saturday, October 14, 2023.
- A battle is continuing in the eastern Ukrainian city of Avdiivka, with Russia attacking it for a fourth straight day. Vitaliy Barabash, head of the city’s military administration, told Ukrainian national television that the city, which is known for its large coking plant, is “completely ablaze” and that its hospital, administrative buildings and volunteer centre are under attack.
- Moscow said on Saturday that it has shot down two attack drones over the Black Sea in the southern resort city of Sochi, which had so far largely been spared from Ukraine’s months of drone attacks on Russian cities. “Today at about 7:10am in Sochi (04:10 GMT) … two drones were shot down over the sea,” the governor of the southern Krasnodar region Alexei Kopaygorodskiy said on social media, adding there were no casualties or damage to the city.
- In Ukraine’s eastern region of Donetsk, where heavy fighting has continued for months, acting regional Governor Ihor Moroz said on Saturday that Russian shelling of civilian settlements has left 22 civilians wounded over the past 24 hours. “The Russians wounded 22 residents of Donetsk region: 21 in Pokrovsk and one in Avdiivka,” Moroz said on Telegram. The Ukrainian military has said that its troops have fought 100 close-quarter battles against Russian soldiers in Donetsk, in addition to the Melitopol area of the southern region of Zaporizhia.
Politics and diplomacy
- Russian President Vladimir Putin, who recently made his first foreign trip since the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a warrant for his arrest for alleged war crimes, is expected to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, whom he has called a “dear friend”. Beijing is hosting 130 countries on October 17-18 to mark a decade of its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), but the two world leaders are likely to discuss the war as well.
- European Union leaders are expected to meet later this month to demand “decisive progress” on using Russian assets frozen by sanctions to help Ukraine, according to a draft statement. The finance ministers of the G7, who had met on Thursday in Morocco, estimated that $280bn worth of such assets had been frozen.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy held a joint press conference with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who was visiting the Black Sea port city of Odesa on Friday. They said that they would work together to improve Ukraine’s air defences, and Zelenskyy said he would work to strengthen his country’s position in the Black Sea to increase the security of grain exports vital for ensuring Ukraine’s budget revenues.
- Russia’s justice ministry has declared the head of a Russian prisoner advocacy organisation, along with 11 other journalists and activists, as foreign agents. Olga Romanova and her organisation Russia Behind Bars, which itself was listed as a foreign agent in 2018, have covered the recruitment of inmates from prisons and penal colonies for the war in Ukraine since the start of the invasion in February 2022.
- The White House has claimed that North Korea has delivered more than 1,000 containers of military equipment and munitions to Russia to be used in the war. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on Friday that the US believes North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who travelled to Russia to meet with Putin and visit key military sites last month, is seeking sophisticated Russian weapons technologies in return for the munitions to boost North Korea’s military and nuclear programme.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies