Here is the situation on Thursday, October 26, 2023.
- Oleksandr Shtupun, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s southern groups of forces, said Russian forces were pressing ahead with their push to capture the eastern Ukrainian city of Avdiivka, despite mounting losses. Shtupun told national television that Russian forces were relying on infantry, using small assault groups of between 30 and 40 men. Russia’s losses in the last six days were 2,500 dead and wounded, he added.
- Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu visited a command post near the front lines in eastern Ukraine as fighting in the region intensifies. The ministry posted a video of Shoigu’s visit and said he was briefed on preparations for combat in the winter, when temperatures drop well below zero, and the training of drone operators.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said a Russian drone raid on the western Khmelnytskyi region probably targeted the area’s nuclear power station. The attack shattered windows at the plant and injured 20 people. The International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, said blasts from the drone attack did not affect the plant’s operations or its connection to the grid.
- Earlier, Zelenskyy warned Ukraine would strike back if Moscow embarked on an air campaign aimed at crippling the national power grid during winter. Millions of Ukrainians faced sweeping power cuts in sub-zero temperatures last year after Russia attacked power facilities. “We’re preparing for the terrorists to strike energy infrastructure. This year we will not only defend ourselves, but we will also respond,” Zelenskyy wrote on the Telegram messaging app.
- Oleksandr Prokudin, the governor of Ukraine’s southern Kherson region, said a man was killed after a Russian bomb fell on a residential area of the city of Beryslav early on Wednesday morning. Prokudin said that Russian forces had carried out 35 aerial attacks on the Kherson region in the previous 24 hours.
- Russia’s military said its air defence forces shot down two long-range US-made ATACM missiles fired by Ukraine at Russian targets. It did not provide further details.
- Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chair of Russia’s Security Council and a former president, said the armed forces had recruited 385,000 people so far this year. The military has offered huge salaries and welfare programmes to convince people to sign up. “More than 1,600 people are signing a contract with the armed forces every day,” Medvedev said in a video on social media.
Politics and diplomacy
- Lawmakers in Russia’s upper house of parliament unanimously approved a bill to revoke the ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). The legislation now only needs the signature of President Vladimir Putin to come into effect.
- Speaking ahead of a meeting of European Union leaders, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said that Europe “must not make the mistake” of weakening its common support for Ukraine. Thursday’s summit in Brussels will be the first in-person meeting of the EU’s 27 national leaders since the start of the Israel-Hamas war on October 7.
- The Kremlin said Russia had successfully tested its ability to deliver a massive retaliatory nuclear strike by land, sea and air. The exercise involved the test launch of missiles from a land-based silo, a nuclear submarine and from long-range bomber aircraft. “Practical launches of ballistic and cruise missiles took place during the training,” the Kremlin said in a statement on the nuclear drills.
- Oleksandr Kamyshin, the minister who oversees Ukraine’s defence industry, told a NATO forum in Stockholm, that the country aims to produce tens of thousands of drones every month by year-end. He did not disclose current drone production figures but put the number in the thousands per month.
- Arms makers are reporting profits above market expectations as the United States and other Western countries replenish stocks of military equipment sent to Ukraine. Virginia-based General Dynamics said its third-quarter profit rose to $836m on higher demand for artillery and armoured vehicles. California-based Teledyne, which owns drone maker FLIR systems, reported third-quarter earnings of $198.6m and raised its forecast for full-year growth. In Germany, Rheinmetall said ammunition and weapons sales were expected to push third-quarter profit to 191 million euros ($201.89m). It will announce the figures officially on November 9.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies