Here is the situation on Monday, September 18, 2023.
- Ukrainian authorities announced that Kyiv had retaken the eastern village of Klishchiivka, which was occupied by Russia in January. “Klishchiivka was cleared of Russians,” Oleksandr Syrsky, the commander of the Ukrainian military’s ground forces, said on social media. Klishchiivka is a tactically important town south of the front-line city of Bakhmut.
- Addressing the success in his nightly video address on Sunday, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy praised the country’s armed forces. “Today, I would like to particularly commend the soldiers who, step by step, are returning to Ukraine what belongs to it, namely in the area of Bakhmut.”
- In its daily assessment of the war, the United States-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said that Ukrainian forces had probably “made a significant tactical breach” along a section of the southern front line. The ISW also said Russian forces continued to fight along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line further north and had reportedly made marginal advances south of the city of Kreminna.
- In its latest intelligence update, the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence said that Russian forces were reinforcing their secondary defensive line around the occupied town of Tokmak, about 16km (10 miles) behind the front line, amid “Russia’s growing concern about Ukrainian tactical penetrations of the first main defensive line to the north”.
- Kherson Governor Oleksandr Prokudin said one farm worker was killed and another injured after their tractor hit a mine while ploughing a field. Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said earlier this year that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had created the world’s largest minefield, covering an area of 250,000 sq km (96,525 sq miles).
- Ukraine’s Air Force said Russia launched six drones and 10 missiles, primarily targeting the Odesa region and damaging an agricultural facility.
- Russia’s defence ministry said its forces brought down six Ukrainian drones over Crimea, which was annexed by Moscow in 2014.
- Moscow’s mayor said Russia shot down two drones near the capital. Thirty flights were delayed and six were cancelled at Moscow’s airports as a result.
- Ihor Kolykhaiev – the Kherson city mayor who was reportedly captured by Russian forces on June 28, 2022 – has been confirmed as a prisoner of war and is being held in Russia, Kolykhaiev’s son told Ukraine’s national broadcaster, Suspline. He said he had been informed of his father’s status after contacting the Red Cross.
- Two cargo ships, using a temporary Black Sea corridor established by Kyiv after Russia withdrew from the previous United Nations-brokered deal to ensure safe passage of Ukrainian grain exports, arrived at the seaport of Chornomorsk in the southern Odesa region. Ukraine’s deputy prime minister said the two ships will be delivering some 20,000 tonnes of wheat to countries in Africa and Asia.
- White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan met China’s top diplomat Wang Yi in Malta for talks that covered a range of issues including the war on Ukraine.
- Wang will visit Moscow from September 18-21 for China-Russia Strategic Security Consultations, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced.
- Russia and Ukraine will meet at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Monday in a case that centres around Moscow’s claims that it invaded Ukraine to prevent genocide. The hearings, set to run until September 27, will not delve into the merits of the case and are instead focused on legal arguments about jurisdiction. Russia wants the case thrown out.
- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was given five “kamikaze” drones, a reconnaissance drone and a bulletproof vest as gifts from a regional governor before he began his journey home to Pyongyang by train. Kim travelled to Russia last week where he held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and was shown some of the country’s most-advanced military equipment and weaponry.
- Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov claimed the US was controlling the war in Ukraine and “pursuing a war against us”, Russia’s state news agency TASS reported. Moscow launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
- Poland began to enforce a European Union ban on the entry of all Russian-registered passenger cars.
- General Mark Milley, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, defended US weapons assistance to Kyiv, saying it was doing the best it could and the speed of deliveries was dependent on logistics. Milley said the US had given some $40bn in weapons and $100bn in overall aid.
- Canadian Defence Minister Bill Blair said the country will contribute 33 million Canadian dollars ($24.5m) to a UK-led partnership buying air defence equipment for Ukraine. The partnership, which includes the US, the Netherlands and Denmark, aims to buy hundreds of short- and medium-range air defence missiles and associated systems.