Here is the situation on Wednesday, September 13, 2023.
- Russian attacks in the eastern Ukrainian Donetsk region killed two people and injured three others, Ukraine reported.
- Ukraine carried out an attack using six drones on Enerhodar city near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, Russian officials said. Ukraine’s military intelligence (GUR) later released footage of the attacks, saying they targeted a building where Russian passports were being issued, two places where up to 12 Russian officers were located and a radio communication point. Enerhodar and the nuclear plant were occupied by Russia soon after its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the United Kingdom’s secret services of training Ukrainian saboteurs to launch attacks on Russian infrastructure.
- Putin said that between 1,000 and 1,500 Russians were signing voluntary contracts to join the military every day.
- The UK’s defence ministry said that Russia had in recent days recalibrated the posture of its short and medium-range air defences around Moscow to improve its ability to protect the capital from drone attacks.
- An armoured train carrying North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in Russia after leaving Pyongyang on Sunday night. Kim is due to meet Putin “in the coming days”, according to the Kremlin, with talks expected to focus on arms sales. Some media reports suggested the summit could take place at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia’s Amur region.
- South Korea said it was “closely monitoring” Kim’s activities in Russia, reiterating that any arms deals would breach sanctions imposed on North Korea over its nuclear weapons programme.
- The Vatican said Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, Pope Francis’s Ukraine peace envoy, would be in China from Wednesday until Friday. The visit is a “further step in the mission desired by the pope to support humanitarian initiatives and the search for paths that can bring about a just peace”, the Vatican said.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the world was not sufficiently united in opposing war crimes committed by Russia in his country. Zelenskyy told students in a video address in The Hague: “They [Russia] want genocide to become something that plays in the background. They want to freeze the war and turn shocking scenes into something common.”
- Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called on the European Union to extend an embargo on the import of Ukrainian corn, wheat, sunflower and rapeseed. Poland says the ban is necessary to protect its farmers.
- The United States is close to approving the shipment of longer-range missiles packed with cluster bombs to Ukraine, giving Kyiv the ability to cause significant damage deeper within Russian-occupied territory, the Reuters news agency reported citing four United States officials.
- Lieutenant General Michael Loh, the director of the US Air National Guard, said the US could have the first Ukrainian pilots trained on F-16 fighter jets before the end of the year, although it would be longer than that before they are flying combat missions.
- Putin said that the supply of F-16 jets to Ukraine would not change the war and only “drag out the conflict”.
- The Swedish government said it would ask its armed forces to investigate whether it would be possible to send its Gripen fighter jets to Ukraine, according to a report by Swedish public radio.
- Denmark’s defence ministry said it would give Ukraine a further 5.8 billion kroner ($833m), largely to finance air defences, ammunition and tanks.
- German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Berlin would encourage its partners to deliver available air defence systems to Ukraine as the weather turns colder. “We need to stretch a winter air defence shield over Ukraine’s critical infrastructure,” Baerbock told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper.
- Russia’s defence ministry said an Su-24 bomber crashed during a training mission in the southern Volgograd region. It did not elaborate on what happened to the plane’s two-man crew.