Here is the situation on Wednesday, October 4, 2023.
The governor of Russia’s Bryansk region accused Ukraine of using cluster munitions against a Russian village near the Ukrainian border. Several houses in the village of Klimovo were damaged, although no casualties were reported.The Ukrainian Air Force said it destroyed 29 of 31 drones and one cruise missile launched by Russia, mostly towards the regions of Mykolaiv and Dnipropetrovsk, during overnight attacks that lasted more than three hours.Falling debris from destroyed Russian drones caused fires in Dnipro and in an industrial enterprise in Pavlograd, two cities in Ukraine’s eastern Dnipropetrovsk region. Firefighters managed to extinguish both fires and there were not initial reports regarding victims.At least five settlements suffered power loss in Ukraine’s Zaporizhia region following Russian shelling.
Ukraine’s military said that Russian forces tried unsuccessfully to regain lost positions near Mala Tokmachka and Verbove in the Zaporizhia region over the previous 24 hours.Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy discusses the military situation with commanders in Ukraine’s northeast during a visit to troops on the front lines with Russian forces.Russia’s defence ministry said it shot down a Ukrainian “Neptune” missile off the coast of Crimea.Russian aerial attacks injured three people in the Antonivka area of Ukraine’s Kherson region.Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said that since the start of 2023, 335,000 people have entered military service by contract with the Russian armed forces or volunteer groups. Some 50,000 people signed up in September alone, Shoigu said.
Draft plans from the Russian government show that defence spending will account for almost one-third of the country’s entire budget expenditure in 2024. Spending under the “national defence” section of Russia’s budget will total 10.78 trillion roubles ($109bn) next year, or 29.4 percent of total planned expenditure of 36.66 trillion roubles.Ukraine’s intelligence and security service, SBU, announced the arrest of at least 13 people accused of being Russian informants in the southern city of Mykolaiv near Kherson.
The Kremlin said it had not abandoned a moratorium on nuclear testing and Russia is not preparing one. On Monday, the New York Times published an investigation tracking possible nuclear-launch preparations in Russia.
The United States military is preparing to send Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missiles armed with cluster munitions to Ukraine once approved by President Joe Biden, according to a news report. With a range of about 300km (186 miles), ATACMS give Ukraine’s forces an advantage in attacking Russian targets behind the front line.US aid for Ukraine will run out in “a couple of months” if Republican hardliners fail to pass new funds for Kyiv, the White House said.
Biden called on Republican House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy to rush through new aid, saying US support for Kyiv could not be interrupted “under any circumstances”. McCarthy was removed as the House speaker in a vote later on Tuesday.The White House said that Biden spoke with the European Union, military allies and NATO members about continuing support for Ukraine. Biden spoke to the leaders of Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, Poland, Romania, the United Kingdom and France, as well as the heads of NATO, the European Commission and the European Council.UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told G7 and NATO leaders that the UK was prepared to support Ukraine with military, humanitarian and economic assistance “for as long as it takes”.
Ukraine must win its war against Russia before joining NATO and the EU, Slovakia’s foreign minister said. “This is a necessary precondition”, Miroslaw Wachowski said, adding, “So we must do everything we can to help Ukraine win this war and regain its sovereignty and territorial integrity.”The EU may unlock billions of euros for Hungary in a bid to secure Budapest’s approval for aid to Ukraine, including a start to EU membership talks for Kyiv. A senior EU official said that to sway Hungary’s vote for more Ukraine aid, the bloc expects to look at the status of EU handouts now frozen over concerns that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has restricted the independence of courts, the Reuters news agency reported.
Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it had informed Moldova’s ambassador that entry to Russia had been banned for “a number of individuals directly involved in restricting freedom of speech and the rights of Russian journalists in Moldova as well as inciting anti-Russian sentiments”.Moscow criticised the decision by Armenia’s parliament to approve the country’s move towards joining the International Criminal Court, which has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin.Japan’s government has criticised a visit by a member of the Japanese upper house of parliament to Moscow. Politician Muneo Suzuki, 75, reportedly met Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko during the visit to Moscow.
Putin may soon announce his plan to run in the 2024 presidential polls, which could extend his hold on power until 2030 when he is 77 years old.Russian prosecutors requested a nine-and-a-half-year jail sentence for a fugitive former Russian state TV journalist. The prosecution made the demand during the trial in absentia of Marina Ovsyannikova, who became famous for bursting onto a news broadcast with a placard that read “Stop the war” and “They’re lying to you”. She has been accused of distributing “fake news”, a term used against those in Russia who question Moscow’s official narrative on its invasion of Ukraine.
Sanctions and trade
Carlsberg has terminated its licence agreements in Russia after Moscow’s decision in July to take control of its breweries. The Danish company said Baltika Breweries, which makes Russian beer, will be able to use existing stock and materials from Carlsberg until April 1.Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania have agreed on a plan to help expedite Ukrainian grain exports, officials say.
Kyiv has started talks with the World Bank to borrow $700m for emergency support to the agricultural sector this year and next.Russian energy giant Gazprom said that Europe is short of natural gas and may face challenges in supplying customers.Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies