Russia-Ukraine war: List of key events, day 639

As the war enters its 639th day, these are the main developments.

A burning bus on the side of the road as two Ukrainian soldiers walk past.
Ukraine continues to try and push Russia from the east [Shandyba Mykyta/Ukrainian 10th Mountain Assault Brigade via AP Photo]

Here is the situation on Friday, November 24, 2023.


  • Vitaliy Barabash, head of the military administration in Avdiivka, said Russian forces had unleashed “the fiercest” attacks on the devastated town. “Everything is very tough,” Barabash told Channel 24 television. “As regards the city, there is an average number of eight to 16 to 18 air attacks per day. Sometimes 30. We don’t have time to count them.” He added that the defence line was holding. Fewer than 1,400 of the 32,000 people who lived in the town before the war remain. Barabash said 102 residents had been evacuated over the past week.
  • At least six people were killed and five injured in Russian attacks on various parts of Ukraine, including three people in a cluster bomb attack on a suburb of the southern city of Kherson, Ukrainian Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said. Cluster bombs are used by both Russia and Ukraine. Critics say the weapons litter the ground and harm and kill many more civilians than soldiers.
  • Russian actress Polina Menshikh was killed in a Ukrainian attack while performing to Russian troops in a Russian-controlled area of the Donbas in eastern Ukraine, her theatre said. Military officials on both sides confirmed there had been a Ukrainian attack in the area on November 19. Russia said a school and cultural centre had been hit in the village of Kumachovo, known as Kumachove by Ukrainians, killing one civilian. Ukraine said it struck a Russian military award ceremony, targeting Russia’s 810th Separate Naval Infantry Brigade. Robert Brovdi, a Ukrainian military commander, said 25 people had been killed and 100 injured. Russia made no mention of military casualties in the attack. Kumachove is about 60km (37 miles) from the front line.
  • Russian state television said Rossiya 24 correspondent Boris Maksudov had died from injuries sustained earlier this week in a Ukrainian drone strike on a Russian-occupied part of Zaporizhia. Russia’s Defence Ministry announced he had been injured on Wednesday, but said his injuries were not life-threatening.

Politics and diplomacy

  • Ukraine’s national seed bank, the 10th largest seed collection in the world, has been moved from the northeastern city of Kharkiv to a safer location, said Crop Trust, a nonprofit organisation, without revealing the collection’s new location. The genebank includes many endemic seed species, some of which, including wheat and rapeseed, are important for food security.
  • A Russian military court in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don sentenced Ukrainian Dmitri Golubev to 18 years in prison for trying to blow up buildings in the Moscow-occupied Ukrainian city of Melitopol in August last year. Golubev was found guilty on charges of “international terrorism” for one explosion and two attempted blasts in a plot prosecutors said was orchestrated by Kyiv, Russian state media reported.
  • Sergey Mironov, a Russian lawmaker and supporter of President Vladimir Putin, denied a BBC report that he adopted a child forcibly taken from a Ukrainian orphanage in Kherson last year. Citing Russian and Ukrainian documents, the BBC reported that Mironov had adopted a child, now two years old, who was taken from an orphanage in the Ukrainian city of Kherson last year by a woman who is now his wife. Without commenting on specific details of the report, Mironov dismissed the investigation as a “hysteric fake”, saying it was an “information attack” designed to “discredit” him.
  • A Russian court fined online search giant Google four million roubles ($44,582) for failing to delete what the court called “fake information” about the course of the war in Ukraine, the RIA news agency reported.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies