Morning Ukraine update: Putin’s troops besiege Mariinka, confusion over three Russian officers killed.
Russia’s army is particularly intensively attacking the town of Mariinka near Donetsk. Meanwhile, Ukraine continues its offensive towards Melitopol. Three Russian officers are believed to have been killed in an explosion there, something the occupiers deny. What happened that night in the Ukraine war.
Ukraine update: What happened that night
Putin’s troops besiege Mariinka, Ukraine kills three high-ranking officers
In eastern Ukraine, according to a report from the Ukrainian General Staff, Russian attacks have recently been particularly intense around the town of Mariinka, just a few kilometers west of the industrial city of Donetsk. Around a third of all battles in the past 24 hours took place on this section of the front, with 20 battles. The Russians attacked the town of Avdiivka, which is located north of Donetsk – and was also heavily contested – only half as often during this period. The information could not be independently verified.
On the southern sector of the front, the Ukrainian army says it has continued its offensive towards the large city of Melitopol. On Sunday afternoon, the Ukrainian military intelligence service HUR reported an explosion in Melitopol in which at least three high-ranking officers of the Russian National Guard (Rosgvardiya) were said to have been killed.
Kremlin-appointed regional crew chief Vladimir Rogov wrote on Telegram in the evening that an “explosion-like noise” in the city was allegedly caused by faulty gas equipment in a vehicle. According to him, no one was injured. The information could not be independently verified.
Zelensky: “Russia is preparing for winter”
“Russia is preparing for winter,” warned Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in his speech on Sunday evening. Ukraine must be prepared for an increase in the number of drone and missile attacks on infrastructure. Critical infrastructure includes thermal power plants and the power supply, the failure of which can have far-reaching consequences, especially during the cold months.
At the same time, Zelensky promised better protection against Russian attacks than last winter. Together with a number of Western countries, we are working on improving the Ukrainian air defense, which has since been strengthened, on a daily basis. However, complete protection of the entire territory cannot yet be guaranteed.
Training of Ukrainians on F-16 fighter jets begins
In Romania, Defense Minister Angel Tilvar and his Dutch counterpart Kajsa Ollongren opened the European F-16 Training Center (EFTC) on Monday at the Fetesti air base, 150 kilometers east of Bucharest. The Netherlands is providing 12 to 18 fighter jets for the training, which both Ukrainian and Romanian pilots are receiving.
The F-16 manufacturer Lockheed is sending trainers and maintenance personnel. It is unclear when Ukraine, which has been defending itself against the Russian war of aggression for almost 21 months, will actually be able to use the fighter jets in the war zone. It is estimated that the training of the pilots will take at least six months.
EU foreign ministers discuss security commitments for Ukraine
At their meeting in Brussels on Monday, the EU foreign ministers will also discuss what long-term security commitments for Ukraine could look like. It recently became apparent that a plan by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell for longer-term financing commitments for military aid is unlikely to receive the necessary support from all 27 EU states. This envisaged mobilizing five billion euros annually from 2024 to 2027. It is now being discussed whether less extensive obligations could be an alternative.
Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is expected in Brussels from Germany. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba will be involved in the discussions about the situation in Ukraine at the beginning.
What will be important on Monday:
Ukrainian and Polish government representatives are meeting in the border area of the two countries to resolve the issue of the blockade of some border crossings. Polish transport companies have blocked several border crossings into Ukraine in protest against cheaper competition. The EU foreign ministers also meet in Brussels.