- 15 Aug 2023 - 18:15(18:15 GMT)
Russia-Ukraine war: List of key events, day 538
Click here for a roundup of the war’s key events from day 538.
And for more, please see:
- 15 Aug 2023 - 17:46(17:46 GMT)
Russia tests digital rouble in bid to bypass sanctions
Russia has begun testing its new digital rouble with consumers, in the hope that blockchain technology will help it evade sanctions and tighten control over its citizens.
The testing phase comes as the rouble lingers at its lowest level against the US dollar since March 2022.
Moscow’s aim is clear: to make its financial system more flexible and limit the impact of international restrictions.
“It will enhance Russia’s ability to evade sanctions,” said Mikkel Morch, founder of crypto-focused investment fund ARK36.
He said the move will allow Russia to avoid banks where it faces restrictions, and that the blockchain is “much less easy to sanction and attack”.
The creation of the digital currency, Morch said, is “part of a geopolitical war between pro-dollar countries and anti-dollar countries”, in which the latter are trying to rid themselves of the US currency for trading.
- 15 Aug 2023 - 16:39(16:39 GMT)
Latvia sends army to guard border with Belarus
Latvia’s defence minister has ordered the army to help guard the Baltic country’s border with Russian ally Belarus, after 96 attempts by illegal immigrants to cross in 24 hours.
Border Guard officers have also been recalled from their holidays to help with patrols.
Latvia has “information about a possible increase in hybrid threats”, the Border Guard said in a statement. Belarusian authorities were increasingly involved in organising the flow of irregular immigrants, it said.
EU members Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, which share a border with Belarus, have worried increasingly about border crossings since hundreds of Russian battle-hardened Wagner mercenaries arrived Belarus last month at the invitation of President Alexander Lukashenko.
- 15 Aug 2023 - 15:57(15:57 GMT)
Ukraine to boycott Olympics if Russia, Belarus take part: MP
Kira Rudik, a member of the Ukrainian parliament says Kyiv would boycott the Olympics if Russia and Belarus were allowed to participate.
“The fact that Russia has killed 340 Ukrainian athletes and coaches completely dispels the myth that sport is out [of] politics,” she said on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.
Her comments came after Russian attacks damaged a sports complex in Ukraine’s Dnipro.
Ukraine will be boycotting Olympic Games if russia and Belarus take part in the competition. The fact that russia has killed 340 🇺🇦 athletes and coaches completely dispels the myth that sport is out politics.
— Kira Rudik (@kiraincongress) August 15, 2023
- 15 Aug 2023 - 15:30(15:30 GMT)
Latvia increases Belarus border protection
Latvia has recalled border guards from holidays to strengthen the patrol of its border with Belarus, after 96 attempts to cross illegally in 24 hours, the border guard service said.
The Baltic nation shares a 214-kilometre-long border with Belarus.
- 15 Aug 2023 - 15:06(15:06 GMT)
Russia says its forces destroyed a Ukrainian drone in Belgorod
Russia’s defence ministry says its air defence systems destroyed a Ukrainian drone in the country’s Belgorod region.
“Today, at about 17:00 Moscow time [14:00 GMT], an attempt by the Kyiv regime to carry out a terrorist attack by an unmanned aerial vehicle over the territory of the Belgorod region was thwarted. The UAV was detected and destroyed by air defense means,” the ministry said in a statement and added that there were no casualties or damages.
- 15 Aug 2023 - 14:50(14:50 GMT)
Polish president commemorates Ukrainian soldiers
Polish President Andrej Duda commemorates the soldiers of the 1917-1921 Ukrainian People’s Republic, who died fighting against the Bolsheviks, a group led by Russia’s Vladimir Lenin.
In a post on the social media platform X, his office said that Duda “laid a wreath in front of the Monument to the Soldiers of the Ukrainian People’s Republic”.
— Kancelaria Prezydenta (@prezydentpl) August 14, 2023
- 15 Aug 2023 - 14:30(14:30 GMT)
Ukraine seeks to strengthen northeastern regions bordering Russia
Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal says that the country is bolstering defence lines in its northeastern regions bordering Russia.
“The government allocated more than 1.2 billion Ukrainian hryvnias [$32.5m] from the reserve fund of the state budget to strengthen the defence lines of the northeastern regions of Ukraine,” Shmyhal said in a statement on Telegram.
“At the request of the Kharkiv and Chernihiv Oblasts, we are sending UAH 911.5 million [$24.7m] for Kharkiv Oblast and over UAH 363 million [$9.8m] for Chernihiv Oblast for the construction of military engineering and fortification facilities. The customers and executors of these works are regional military administrations.”
- 15 Aug 2023 - 14:09(14:09 GMT)
Ukraine’s Zelenskyy visits Zaporizhia region
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has visited the southeastern region of Zaporizhia, according to a statement from the president’s office.
“The president listened to reports by the commanders on the course of combat actions in frontline areas … and discussed the most problematic issues of their units together with the brigades and combatants,” the statement said.
- 15 Aug 2023 - 13:47(13:47 GMT)
Russia’s Shoigu says Ukraine’s ability to fight is ‘almost exhausted’
Russia’s defence minister told officials that Ukraine’s ability to fight had been “almost exhausted” and said the war had exposed vulnerabilities in Western weapons systems that Moscow would soon share.
His comments came at a security conference in Moscow attended by China’s defence minister, Li Shangfu.
“In the special military operation, the Russian army has debunked many myths about the superiority of Western military standards,” Shoigu said and added that “the preliminary results of combat operations show that Ukraine’s military resources are almost exhausted.”
- 15 Aug 2023 - 13:21(13:21 GMT)
Ukraine says Russia preparing provocation at Kursk nuclear power station
Ukraine’s national resistance centre has said in a statement that Russia is preparing a provocation at the Kursk Nuclear Power Plant in western Russia.
“Preparations for evacuation from the zone of possible radioactive contamination in the event of an accident at the nuclear power plant are under way in the Kursk region,” the centre said and added that evacuations for 21,000 to 57,000 are planned.
- 15 Aug 2023 - 12:57(12:57 GMT)
Sweden to donate new military package to Ukraine
Sweden’s Defence Minister Pal Johnson told reporters that Stockholm would donate a military aid package including ammunition and spare parts worth about 3.4 billion kronor ($313m).
“During the spring and winter, we sent large materiel packages, that is to say a number of systems. Now we are making sure that the Ukrainians in the long term are also able to use these to reach successes on the battlefield,” he said, according to a report by Agence France-Presse.
- 15 Aug 2023 - 12:35(12:35 GMT)
Russia says it damaged Ukrainian military sites in high-precision strike: Interfax
Russia’s defence ministry has said its forces hit key military-industrial facilities in Ukraine overnight, with high-precision missiles, inflicting “significant damage”, according to a report by the Interfax news agency.
Russia also said it had for the first time intercepted SCALP cruise missiles that France supplied to Ukraine.
- 15 Aug 2023 - 12:18(12:18 GMT)
Wagner recruitment campaigns discovered in Latvia: Local media report
Latvia’s state security service (VDD) has found direct and indirect invitations to join Russian mercenary Wagner, according to a report by Latvian media outlet Delfi.
VDD highlighted that according to the National Security Law, Latvian citizens and non-citizens are prohibited from serving in the armed forces or military organisation of a foreign country that poses a risk to Latvia’s national security.
- 15 Aug 2023 - 12:03(12:03 GMT)
Ukraine says power line supplying Chernobyl power station shut
Ukraine’s energy ministry says the 330 kV power line that supplies the Chernobyl power station is shut due to damage that occurred in Belarus.
“Over the past day, the main power lines of the NEC ‘Ukrenergo’ were shut down three times. In the Lviv region, almost 290,000 subscribers were short-term without power due to the blackout of the 330 kV line,” the ministry added in a statement.
- 15 Aug 2023 - 11:38(11:38 GMT)
Photos: Aftermath of Russian attacks in Lviv
- 15 Aug 2023 - 11:26(11:26 GMT)
Russia stopped Ukrainian saboteurs from crossing into Bryansk, says governor
Alexander Bogomaz, the governor of Russia’s Bryansk region, says Russian armed forces prevented an attempt by a group of Ukrainian saboteurs to cross the border into Russian territory.
“The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, as well as the PU of the FSB [Federal Security Service] of Russia in the Bryansk region in the area of the village of Kurkovichi, Starodubsky municipal district, have prevented an attempt by the Ukrainian DRG to enter the territory of the Russian Federation,” he said in a statement on Telegram.
“There were no casualties. As a result of the shelling by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, one animal of the agricultural enterprise was killed, there are partial damages to the production premises and the car,” he added.
- 15 Aug 2023 - 11:13(11:13 GMT)
Russian attacks on western Ukraine ‘solely for the sake of killing’: Zelenskyy adviser
Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, says Russian attacks in western Ukraine were carried out “solely for the purpose of killing and psychological killing”.
In a post on the social media platform X, he said Ukraine needs “missile/air defence systems and ‘closed skies’, not talks about ‘appeasement/negotiations with a Russian serial killer'”.
4:00 am. Russian cruise and ballistic missiles attack residential buildings and industrial enterprises in Lviv, Lutsk, and Dnipro. Deliberate large-scale attacks on civilians. Solely for the sake of killing and psychological pressure. This is an undeniable manifestation of the… pic.twitter.com/B9EH7ZmmNZ
— Михайло Подоляк (@Podolyak_M) August 15, 2023
- 15 Aug 2023 - 10:55(10:55 GMT)
Ukraine says Russian attacks in the eastern front line have decreased
Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar has said that Russian attacks along the eastern front line have decreased as Moscow seeks to restore its forces.
“During the past week and on the first day of this week, we have recorded a quantitative decrease of shellings and attacks in the east,” Maliar said according to Ukrainian media reports.
“But that does not mean that Russia gave up on its plans,” she warned.
- 15 Aug 2023 - 10:35(10:35 GMT)
Ukrainian MP calls Russian attack on Lviv ‘pure terrorism’
Ukrainian MP and Golos party leader Kira Rudik has shared a video of the aftermath of Russia’s attacks on Lviv in western Ukraine.
“At least 15 injured, 40 buildings damaged. It is a pure terrorism,” she said in a post on the social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter).
Aftermath of russia’s barbaric attack on Lviv region: at least 15 injured, 40 buildings damaged. It is a pure terrorism.
Video: Serhiy Kruk pic.twitter.com/HEpEY9DMHS
— Kira Rudik (@kiraincongress) August 15, 2023
- 15 Aug 2023 - 10:12(10:12 GMT)
Zelenskyy aide calls for ban of Russian athletes from global sport events
Andriy Yermak, head of the Office of the President of Ukraine says that Russian athletes should be banned from participating in international competitions “even under a neutral flag”.
Yermak’s comments came after Russian attacks damaged a sports complex building in Dnipro, Ukraine.
Спортивний комплекс в Дніпрі після російських ударів.
Всім російським спортсменам варто заборонити брати участь у міжнародних змаганнях, навіть під нейтральним прапором. pic.twitter.com/lTb1x5gROu
— Andriy Yermak (@AndriyYermak) August 15, 2023
- 15 Aug 2023 - 10:04(10:04 GMT)
Suspected spies for Russia arrested in Britain: BBC
Three suspected spies for Russia have been arrested and charged in a major national security investigation in Britain, according to a BBC report.
The defendants, all Bulgarian nationals who allegedly worked for the Russian security service, have been held in custody since February.
- 15 Aug 2023 - 09:48(09:48 GMT)
Watch: Has Russia pulled the plug on Wagner?
- 15 Aug 2023 - 09:30(09:30 GMT)
Russia fines Reddit over not deleting ‘banned content’
A court in Moscow has fined social media site Reddit 2 million roubles ($20,433.71), for not deleting “banned content”, according to Russian state news agency reports.
The case against Reddit was drawn up in relation to fake information about Moscow’s special operation in Ukraine which was not removed, and against information about the AUE movement – a hidden organisation of Russian criminals – banned in the Russian Federation.
- 15 Aug 2023 - 09:23(09:23 GMT)
Belarus says there is a possibility for a direct military clash with NATO: RIA
Belarusian Defence Minister Viktor Khrenin says the possibility of a direct military clash with NATO in the future seems obvious, according to a report by the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti.
The major general said intensive military preparations are under way in the West and huge amounts of money are being invested in it.
- 15 Aug 2023 - 09:08(09:08 GMT)
Chechen forces are a ‘high-profile’ component of Russian forces: UK
The UK’s defence ministry says Chechen forces comprise a relatively small but high-profile component of Russian forces in Ukraine.
In a post on the social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter), the ministry said that the Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, “likely heavily promotes his units’ roles partially to burnish his credentials as a Putin loyalist”.
Latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine – 15 August 2023
Find out more about Defence Intelligence's use of language: https://t.co/h8U2gN0Mde
— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) August 15, 2023
- 15 Aug 2023 - 08:56(08:56 GMT)
Russia’s central bank hikes interest rate to 12 percent
Russia’s central bank has hiked its interest rate to 12 percent from 8.5 percent after the rouble fell to its lowest value since March 2022.
The decision was announced after a meeting of the bank’s board of directors was called on Monday as the rouble declined.
The fall comes as Moscow increases military spending and Western sanctions weigh on its energy exports.
- 15 Aug 2023 - 08:51(08:51 GMT)
China’s defence minister visits Russia and Belarus
China’s Defence Minister Li Shangfu is visiting Russia and Belarus in a show of support as the West attempts to isolate the two allies over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
Li departed on Monday on the six-day trip, during which he will deliver an address at the Moscow Conference on International Security and meet defence leaders from Russia and other nations, China’s defence ministry said on its social media account, citing spokesperson Colonel Wu Qian.
They will “discuss various aspects of security in the conditions of the establishment of a multipolar world order, ways to restore constructive international cooperation in the context of aggressive claims by Euro-Atlantic elites for world domination”, Russian state news agency TASS said, quoting the Kremlin’s foreign ministry spokesperson.
- 15 Aug 2023 - 08:47(08:47 GMT)
Ukraine says it destroyed 16 Russian cruise missiles
Ukraine’s air force says it has destroyed 16 out of at least 28 air and seabed cruise missiles launched by Russia overnight.
According to a statement from the Ukrainian air force authorities, the 28 missiles included 20 Kh-101/Kh-555 missiles, four Kh-22, and four Kalibr missiles, which were launched from the Russian airfields of Soltsy, Shaykovka, Engels, and Olenegorsk, and from a ship stationed near Yalta in Russian-occupied Crimea.
- 15 Aug 2023 - 08:47(08:47 GMT)
Ukraine says Russian attacks kill three in Lutsk
Ukrainian officials say Russian air attacks have killed three people and many have been hospitalised in Lutsk, in the region of Volyn in northwestern Ukraine.
According to Yurii Pohuliaiko, the governor of Volyn oblast, the wave of Russian attacks overnight also damaged civilian facilities and injured people in Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk in western Ukraine, near the border with NATO and EU member Poland.
“We see that the enemy is interested in kindergartens, hospitals and high-rise buildings,” he said in a statement on Telegram and added that everything destroyed will be restored.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies