Here is the situation on Wednesday September 20, 2023.
- The New York Times reported that Ukraine was probably responsible for a huge explosion in Kostiantynivka earlier this month that killed at least 16 people in a busy marketplace after a missile went off course. Ukrainian presidential adviser Mikhailo Podolyak condemned the report as feeding “conspiracy theories”, but said the circumstances behind the blast were under investigation. “In the meantime, we must not forget: it was Russia that launched the invasion of Ukraine, and it is Russia that is responsible for bringing war to our country,” he said.
- Russia launched a wave of drone attacks on the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, killing at least one person and igniting a large fire at an industrial warehouse where two people were injured.
- At least three people were killed in a Russian attack on the northeastern town of Kupiansk, Kharkiv’s governor Oleh Synyehubov said.
- Ukraine’s air defence systems destroyed 27 out of 30 drones and one ballistic missile that Russia launched on Ukraine’s southern, central and western regions, the air force said.
- The war in Ukraine was a key topic for many of the world leaders speaking at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.
- At the UN’s headquarters for the first time since Moscow launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged world leaders to show unity in the face of Russia’s continued “aggression” in Ukraine, telling delegates that Moscow was “weaponising” food and energy.
- US President Joe Biden told the UNGA that the world must remain united in defending Ukraine, asking leaders to stand up to Russia’s “naked aggression” to deter other would-be aggressors. “I ask you this: If we abandon the core principles of the United States to appease an aggressor, can any member state in this body feel confident that they are protected?” Biden said in his address. “I’d respectfully suggest the answer is no.”
- Also addressing the assembly, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country would intensify efforts to end the war in Ukraine. “We will step up our efforts to end the war through diplomacy and dialogue on the basis of Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity,” Erdogan said.
- Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, meanwhile, called for negotiations to end the war in Ukraine, saying that no lasting solution would be found if it was not based on dialogue. “I have reiterated that work needs to be done to create space for negotiations,” Lula said. “A lot is invested in weapons and very little in development.”
- Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to travel to Beijing in October for talks with China’s Xi Jinping, in the Russian leader’s first trip abroad since the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a warrant for his arrest on alleged war crimes. The two men last met in Moscow in March. Beijing has not condemned Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine but has urged peace talks.
- The United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi should push Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukraine and stress to Moscow the importance of respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity. Wang is currently in the Russian capital.
- Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu arrived in Iran to “help strengthen Russian-Iranian military ties”, Russia’s TASS news agency reported.
- US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin urged his country’s allies to “dig deep” and provide more air defence systems for Ukraine. “Air defence is saving lives,” Austin said at the opening of a meeting of the Ukraine Defence Contact Group (UDCG) at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
- Austin also said Ukraine will “soon” receive M1 Abrams tanks from the US. Washington promised the 31 tanks to Kyiv at the start of the year.
- The UK’s Defence Minister Grant Shapps said the UK will provide “tens of thousands” more artillery shells to Ukraine this year. Shapps was speaking after the UDCG meeting.