Russia-Ukraine war: List of key events, day 523

A view of the damaged skyscraper in the 'Moscow City' business district after a reported drone attack in Moscow, Russia, early Sunday, July 30, 2023.
The damaged skyscraper in Moscow's business district after a reported drone attack, Russia, Sunday, July 30, 2023 [AP]

Here is the situation on Monday, July 31, 2023.


  • The Russian defence ministry said it brought down three Ukrainian drones over the capital, Moscow, damaging a high-rise building reported to house government offices. Nobody was hurt and the attack briefly forced the closure of the city’s four airports.
  • Ukraine did not directly claim responsibility for the drone attacks but President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the war was “gradually returning to Russia’s territory – to its symbolic centres”.
  • Separately, the Russian defence ministry said it had successfully thwarted an overnight attack on the annexed Black Sea peninsula of Crimea by 25 Ukrainian drones. Nobody was hurt and no damage was caused, it said.
  • Ukrainian officials said there was heavy fighting in the northeastern parts of the country, with Ukrainian forces holding their lines and making gains in some areas.
  • Zelenskyy described Sunday as a “good day, a powerful day” at the front, particularly near Bakhmut, where Ukrainian forces say they are retaking ground lost when Russian forces took the city in May.
  • In the northeastern Kharkiv region, a Russian attack set off a fire at a “non-residential” building but caused no casualties, officials said. And in the northern city of Sumy, the death toll from a Russian attack on a school on Saturday rose to two after rescue teams cleared rubble from the area.
  • Ukrainian Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar said Russian forces were “trying to drive us out” of elevated positions in the northeast, occupied by Moscow after its full-scale invasion, but retaken later by Ukrainian troops. The Russians’ key task, she told national television, was to “divert our forces from the Bakhmut area, where we have a successful offensive. They have attacked endlessly this week. But our troops resist the attacks and sometimes push them back with heavy losses.”
  • Maliar said Russian forces were also “tenaciously trying to seize back” areas on the southern front retaken taken by Ukraine. Ukraine, she said, had recaptured 200 square kilometres (77 square miles) in the south but advances were limited by entrenched Russian positions and mines.

  • Zelenskyy, meanwhile, warned of more Russian attacks on Ukraine’s energy system once cold weather returns later this year and pledged to do everything possible to protect the power grid.
  • Russia’s defence ministry, in its daily account of military activity, said its forces had spotted and deployed rockets to destroy an аrmoured brigade of Ukrainian troops near Svatove, a key Russian-held town in Ukraine’s northeast.
  • Russian forces, it added, had also repelled four Ukrainian attacks near the town of Lyman, further south.
  • The United Kingdom’s defence ministry said thousands of troops from Russia’s Wagner Group were now stationed in central Belarus and that most vehicles accompanying the soldiers were not armoured combat vehicles but minibuses and trucks.


  • Andriy Yermak, the chief of staff to Ukraine’s president, said Kyiv is to start consultations with the United States this week on providing security guarantees for the country pending the completion of the process of joining NATO. The talks are a follow-up to pledges issued by the G7 at the NATO summit in Lithuania earlier this month.
  • Yermak, writing on Telegram, also said officials from several countries were preparing to meet in Saudi Arabia to discuss Zelenskyy’s peace plan for Ukraine, based on the departure of all Russian troops.
  • “The Ukrainian Peace Formula contains 10 fundamental points, the implementation of which will not only ensure peace for Ukraine, but also create mechanisms to counter future conflicts in the world,” Yermak said in a statement. “We are deeply convinced that the Ukrainian peace plan should be taken as a basis, because the war is taking place on our land.” The Wall Street Journal first reported on the meeting in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, saying it would be held in Jeddah on August 5-6.

  • Pope Francis called on Russia to reverse its decision to abandon the Black Sea grain deal and urged the faithful to continue praying “for martyred Ukraine, where war is destroying everything, even grain”.


  • Russian President Vladimir Putin reviewed a parade of warships and nuclear submarines in his native St Petersburg and announced that the Russian Navy would receive 30 new ships this year.
  • Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev again raised the spectre of a nuclear conflict over Ukraine, saying Moscow may have to use an atomic weapon if Kyiv’s ongoing counteroffensive was a success. “Imagine if the… offensive, which is backed by NATO, was a success and they tore off a part of our land then we would be forced to use a nuclear weapon,” he said on Telegram.


Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies