Here is the situation on Monday, October 2, 2023.
- Ukraine said its air defence systems shot down 16 of about 30 drones launched by Russia on Sunday. Authorities said civilian infrastructure and grain storage warehouses were damaged in the Cherkasy region as well as the southern Mykolaiv and eastern Dnipropetrovsk regions.
- Russia’s defence ministry said its forces’ air defences in eastern Ukraine had intercepted five United States-made HIMARS shells, an air-launched JDAM bomb and 37 Ukrainian drones. Kyiv began a counteroffensive in June to retake Ukrainian land occupied by Russia since it launched its full-scale invasion of the country in February 2022.
- Russia’s defence ministry said it shot down six Ukrainian drones over Russian regions and two Ukrainian missiles over Crimea, which Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014.
- Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said five more ships were on their way to Ukrainian seaports using a new corridor for agricultural exports after Moscow withdrew from the United Nations and Turkey-brokered Black Sea grain deal that allowed safe passage for Ukraine’s grain.
- UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak backpedalled on a comment by his defence minister that the United Kingdom could send military instructors to Ukraine. Grant Shapps told the Sunday Telegraph that as well as training Ukrainian troops in the UK, he wanted to deploy British instructors to Ukraine. Hours later, Sunak said there were no such plans. “That’s something for the long term, not the here and now. There are no British soldiers that will be sent to fight in the current conflict,” he said.
- After Shapps’s comments were published, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev who is now deputy chairman of the country’s Security Council, said any UK soldiers training Ukrainian troops in Ukraine would be seen as legitimate targets for Russian forces.
- The UK’s Ministry of Defence said leaked Russian defence spending documents suggested Moscow was “preparing for multiple further years of fighting in Ukraine. The documents said defence spending for 2024 was likely to account for 30 percent of total public expenditure.
Diplomacy and politics
- US President Joe Biden promised aid to Ukraine would keep flowing as he sought to reassure allies of continued support for Kyiv after Congress passed a temporary government funding measure that stripped out assistance for Ukraine. “We cannot under any circumstances allow American support for Ukraine to be interrupted,” Biden said. “We have time, not much time and there is an overwhelming sense of urgency.”
- Ukraine’s Defence Minister Rustem Umerov said he had received reassurances about further military assistance in a telephone call with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. Writing on X, formerly known as Twitter, Umerov said Austin had assured him US support to Ukraine would “continue” and that Ukrainian “warriors [would] continue to have a strong back-up on the battlefield”.
- European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell held his first in-person meeting with Umerov during a visit to Kyiv and urged US lawmakers to reconsider their decision to drop Ukraine funding. Borrell told a news conference the EU would continue to support Kyiv and was preparing “long-term security commitments for Ukraine,” adding that he hoped member states would reach a decision on increasing aid “before the end of the year”.
- The EU’s commitment to Ukraine could come under pressure after the pro-Russia SMER-SSD party of former Prime Minister Robert Fico emerged as the winner of elections in Slovakia at the weekend. Fico will start coalition talks to form a government that is likely to join Hungary in opposing the bloc’s military aid for Ukraine.
- Dozens of people in cities around Russia held memorials to mark 40 days since the death of Wagner mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, hailing him as a patriotic hero of Russia who had spoken truth to power. Prigozhin was killed in a plane crash in August, two months after leading a short-lived Wagner mutiny. In Eastern Orthodoxy, it is believed that the soul makes its final journey to either heaven or hell on the 40th day after death.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies