Here is the situation on Saturday, August 19, 2023.
- A Russian missile attack on the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv killed seven people and wounded 144, according to officials. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the dead included a six-year-old girl and that there were 15 children among the wounded. “Our soldiers will respond to Russia for this terrorist attack – a tangible answer,” he pledged.
- A United Nations official denounced the raid, which came during the Orthodox holiday of the Transfiguration of the Lord, as “heinous”.
- The strike hit a theatre in Chernihiv’s main square during a gathering of drone manufacturers and aerial reconnaissance training schools, organiser Mariia Berlinska confirmed. Berlinska said the event was officially agreed on in advance with the local authorities and venue.
- Ukrainian officials also reported downing more than a dozen Russian drones in an overnight attack. Russian forces “attacked from the north with ‘Shahed-136/131’ attack UAVs. A total of 17 attack drones were launched from the Kursk region,” the Ukrainian Air Force said on Telegram.
- On the battlefield, the Russian army said it “eliminated” 150 Ukrainian troops who tried to cross the Dnipro River into Russian-occupied territory in southern Ukraine.
- In Russia, the defence ministry reported a flurry of Ukrainian drone attacks targeting the regions of Moscow, Novgorod and Belgorod. It said the drone targeting the Novgorod region damaged a warplane and caused a fire at a military airfield.
- The attempted assault on Moscow led to a temporary closure of Moscow’s Domodedovo and Vnukovo airports, the state-run TASS news agency said.
- The Kremlin said Russian President Vladimir Putin travelled to the southern city of Rostov-on-Don, where he listened to reports from Valery Gerasimov, the commander in charge of Moscow’s operations in Ukraine. He also met with other top military brass at the headquarters of Russia’s Southern Military District.
- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, meanwhile, said in an interview published on Saturday that Moscow’s nuclear weapons protect it from security threats and that the Kremlin has to continually remind the West of the risks of a nuclear conflict.
- Ukraine’s Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov said training has begun for Ukrainian troops to operate United States F16 fighter jets and added that the process could take at least six months and possibly longer.
- Zelenskyy met with Sweden’s Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson in Harpsund, west of the Swedish capital, Stockholm, and asked for Gripen air jets to boost Ukraine’s air defences. The Ukrainian president and first lady, Olena Zelenska, later met Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia at a palace in the area.
- Ukraine and Sweden also signed an agreement that will see Kyiv begin production of Sweden’s CV90 combat vehicle.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies