Here is the situation on Wednesday, November 1, 2023.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned against expecting too much too quickly in Ukraine’s campaign to reclaim land occupied by the Russians. Speaking in his nightly video address, Zelenskyy said Moscow’s forces were gearing up for new attacks in different sections of the 1,000km (600-mile) front line.
- The United Nations human rights office said it had found “reasonable grounds” to conclude a missile strike that killed 59 people in a cafe in the Ukrainian village of Hroza was launched by Russia and probably involved an Iskander missile.
- Russian investigators in a part of eastern Ukraine occupied by Moscow said they had detained two soldiers on suspicion of killing a family of nine people, including two children, in Volnovakha. The statement said the soldiers were from a region in Russia’s far east and claimed the murders appeared to be the result of some kind of personal conflict.
- A Russian-installed court in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region sentenced three Ukrainian soldiers captured after last year’s siege of the port city of Mariupol to life imprisonment on a range of crimes including murder and the “cruel treatment” of civilians.
- The FSB, Russia’s federal security agency, arrested a 46-year-old Russian man as an alleged accomplice in the shooting of Moscow-backed separatist leader and former Ukrainian MP Oleg Tsaryov in Crimea, the territory annexed by Russia in 2014. Moscow has accused Ukraine of attempting to kill Tsaryov. Media reports say the former MP had been identified as a potential leader of any Russian puppet government in Kyiv.
Politics and diplomacy
- Ramesh Rajasingham, director of coordination for the UN’s humanitarian office, told the Security Council that some 18 million people – 40 percent of Ukraine’s population – were in need of some form of humanitarian assistance and that the winter, when temperatures fall below freezing, would make the situation worse. He added that the UN was particularly concerned for the 4 million people living in eastern areas controlled by Russia who had been largely cut off from aid. The UN had requested $3.9bn to support humanitarian needs in Ukraine this year but is facing a funding shortfall of about $1.9bn.
- Speaking at the Senate Appropriations Committee on the United States President Joe Biden’s request for $106bn in funding that includes support for Ukraine, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Russia would be successful in its invasion unless the US maintained its support for Kyiv. “If we pull the rug out from under them now, Putin will only get stronger and he will be successful in doing what he wants to do,” Austin told the hearing.
- A Russian court denied an appeal by US-Russian journalist Alsu Kurmasheva against her continued detention on charges of allegedly failing to register as a “foreign agent”. Kurmasheva, who works for the US-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), was detained in the central city of Kazan earlier this month after she visited family. A court ruled last week she should remain in pre-trial detention until at least December 5.
- French prosecutors said they had detained Russian tycoon Alexey Kuzmichev for questioning in France in connection with alleged tax evasion, money laundering and for violating international sanctions. French customs agents last year seized Kuzmichev’s 27-metre (88 ft) yacht as part of sanctions by the European Union for his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
- A delegation of religious leaders from several faiths in Ukraine arrived in the US to plead for continued support against Russia and to ease concerns about religious freedom as parliament considers legislation to ban the Ukrainian Orthodox Church because of its ties to the Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow, who has strongly supported the Russian invasion.
- The US Department of Homeland Security arrested three Russians in New York for allegedly shipping electronic components for weapons to Moscow for use in Ukraine. The three are accused of evading sanctions to dispatch, over the course of a year, “over 300 shipments of restricted items, valued at approximately $10 million, to the Russian battlefield,” Special Agent Ivan Arvelo said in a statement.