Here is the situation on August 29, 2023.
- Ukraine’s Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar said the country’s armed forces had broken through Russian defences in the southeastern village of Robotyne. “Robotyne has been liberated,” she said, adding that troops were trying to push further south in their counteroffensive against Russian forces.
- At least three people were killed in an overnight Russian missile strike on Ukraine and two more in shelling, Ukrainian officials said. Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said three people were killed and five injured after a factory in the Poltava region was hit with a missile. One person remains unaccounted for. The shelling killed two villagers in settlements in the south and east of the country.
- Russia’s Ministry of Defence said Russia scrambled two fighter jets to ward off two United States reconnaissance drones flying over the Black Sea near Crimea. Separately, Russian state-run news agency TASS said air defence systems shot down two drones over Crimea. Moscow invaded and later annexed the peninsula from Ukraine in 2014.
- Russian air defences destroyed a drone approaching Moscow and two others in a region near the Ukrainian border, according to Russian authorities. The drone coming at Moscow prompted a brief suspension of flights at its Domodedovo and Vnukovo airports.
- Russia’s FSB security service charged a former employee at the US consulate in Moscow with collecting information on the war in Ukraine and other issues for Washington. The FSB also said it planned to question the Moscow-based US diplomats who worked with Robert Shonov, who is a Russian citizen.
- The US State Department said the charges were without merit and that the FSB’s plan to question US diplomats breached the Vienna Convention. “We strongly protest the Russian security services’ attempts – furthered by Russia’s state-controlled media – to intimidate and harass our employees,” spokesperson Matthew Miller, said in a statement.
- According to the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, a 60-year-old man has been charged for suspected collusion with Russia. The unnamed man, who was detained last November, was charged with one case of gross illegal intelligence activities against Sweden, one case of gross illegal intelligence activities against a foreign power and one point of unlawful intelligence activities. The man, a dual Swedish-Russian national, is suspected of working for the Russians since 2013.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin will skip the Group of 20 (G20) summit in India next month and send his foreign minister instead, according to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office. The two men earlier spoke on the phone, the Kremlin said, discussing issues including trade, energy and space cooperation.
- A second cargo ship from Ukraine arrived in Istanbul along a “humanitarian corridor” set up by Ukraine after Russia pulled out of the UN-brokered Black Sea grain deal in July. Since withdrawing from the agreement, Russia has attacked Ukrainian port infrastructure and warned that it may consider any ships in the Black Sea as military targets. The new humanitarian corridor hugs the Black Sea coast of Romania and Bulgaria.
- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Turkish counterpart Hakan Fidan will hold talks in Moscow “in the nearest future”, Russia’s TASS news agency reported, citing Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. Turkey is trying to persuade Russia to return to the Black Sea grain deal.
- Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski said Warsaw and the Baltic states will close their borders with Belarus entirely if there is a “critical incident” involving Wagner mercenaries. European Union members Latvia, Lithuania and Poland all share a border with Belarus and have been increasingly concerned about security since hundreds of Russian Wagner mercenaries arrived in Belarus at the invitation of President Alexander Lukashenko.
- European Council President Charles Michel said the EU should get ready to admit new members from Eastern Europe and the Balkans by 2030.
- Russia has probably cancelled this year’s military ZAPAD exercise due to a shortage of troops and equipment, the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence said in its daily intelligence update. The drills, the culmination of the military training year, were scheduled for September.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies