As the war enters its 563rd day, these are the main developments.
Here is the situation on Saturday, September 9, 2023.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Russian air superiority was “stopping” Kyiv’s counteroffensive, and he complained of the slow rate of both Western arms deliveries and sanctions on Russia. “If we are not in the sky and Russia is, they stop us from the sky. They stop our counteroffensive,” he said.
- Elon Musk said he refused a Ukrainian request to activate his Starlink satellite network in Crimea’s port city of Sevastopol last year to aid an attack on Russia’s fleet there. Musk said he feared complicity in a “major” act of war.
- The governor of Ukraine’s Kherson region said at least three people were killed in a Russian air raid.
- Russia said it repelled numerous attacks along the front line and inflicted hundreds of losses on Ukrainian forces.
- Russia’s FSB security services have arrested a Russian citizen for allegedly plotting to blow up a railway in Crimea.
- Two Ukrainian drones were shot down by Russian air defences while allegedly attempting to attack a polling station in the Russia-occupied Kherson region as voting was under way, Russia’s TASS news agency reported. The voting for Russian-installed legislatures in the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia regions has already begun and concludes Sunday.
- A Russian missile hit a police building in the central Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih, killing a policeman and injuring several others.
- Ukraine’s air force shot down 16 out of 20 Iranian-made Shahed drones launched overnight by Russia in the fifth attack this week on Danube river port facilities in the Odesa region.
- Cuban authorities have arrested 17 people on charges related to a human trafficking ring that allegedly lured Cubans to serve in the Russian army’s war in Ukraine.
- Russia summoned the ambassador of Armenia over “unfriendly steps” as Yerevan announced military exercises with the US military, the Armenian Prime Minister’s wife visited Kyiv, and Yerevan’s decision to join the International Criminal Court.
- Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry slammed “sham elections” in occupied Ukrainian territories, saying they were “worthless” and would have no legal standing.
- Zelenskyy said that Ukraine was prepared to organise elections even while the war with Russia was ongoing.
- Russia is hoping the upcoming US presidential elections will lower Washington’s support for Kyiv, Zelenskyy said.
- British foreign secretary James Cleverly condemned elections being held in Russian-annexed regions of Ukraine. “You can’t hold elections in someone else’s country,” he wrote on social media.
- Russia is shipping its first crude oil cargo to Brazil, as it seeks to diversify its list of buyers due to US and European Union sanctions.
- HSBC will halt commercial payments by business customers to and from Russia and Belarus, the bank has said, as lenders tighten restrictions amid sanctions imposed after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
- Zelenskyy said that his allies had eased up on sanctions imposed on Russia and called for a renewed drive to impose further punitive measures on Moscow.
- Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko said Ukraine opposes the idea of easing sanctions on Russia in order to revive a grain deal between the two countries.
- Spain has become more reliant on Russian natural gas even though its overall imports are falling, government data showed.
- The Council of the EU announced additional sanctions on six people for serious human rights violations in connection with their actions towards members of ethnic groups in Crimea. The individuals listed include prosecutors and judges active in courts established by Russia’s occupying force in Crimea who played a role in handing a prison term to a journalist who belongs to the Crimean Tatar community.
- G20 negotiators have been unable to resolve disagreements over the wording of the summit declaration on the war in Ukraine, according to a draft seen by Reuters, leaving any possible breakthrough to bloc leaders during the two-day meeting.
- Asked if India could act as a potential mediator on the Ukraine crisis, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the two parties of the conflict have decided to continue the fighting. The UN chief was speaking during a news conference in New Delhi as India hosts the G20 summit this weekend.
- UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak says it was not his place to tell India what position it should take on the war in Ukraine.
- Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called for a peaceful end to the war in Ukraine.
- The United States Central Intelligence Agency has released a video targeting Moscow officials with an appeal to tell the truth about a system it said is riddled with lying sycophants. The agency, which is trying to recruit spies in Russia, released the video on social media in Russian, entitled: Why I made contact with the CIA – For Myself.
Black Sea exports
- Romania’s government plans to upgrade road infrastructure in the Black Sea port of Constanta, which could help more Ukrainian grain to transit through the country and on to international markets.
- Ukraine’s anticorruption agencies froze more than $80m in assets belonging to tycoon Ihor Kolomoisky for 48 hours as part of an embezzlement investigation. Kolomoisky, one of Ukraine’s richest men, was ordered into custody on suspicion of money laundering last week, according to media reports.