Here are the main events as the war enters its 632nd day.
This is the situation as of Friday, November 17, 2023.
- Russia has stepped up attacks on the town of Avdiyvka in eastern Ukraine, near the Russian-controlled regional stronghold of Donetsk. Mayor Vitaly Barabash told national television that the situation was “very hot” and that the Russians were using armored vehicles in an attempt to take it over, targeting the industrial zone and hitting positions in the city “around the clock.” Avdiivka had approximately 30,000 inhabitants before the war, just over 1,400 remain.
- As a result of Russian attacks on various areas of the southern Kherson Oblast in Ukraine, two people were killed and at least 12 were injured. The region’s governor, Oleksandr Prokudin, said one of the dead was a 75-year-old woman who died when Russian forces on the eastern bank of the Dnieper River shelled Kherson, the region’s largest city.
- Ukrainian officials said Russia fired 18 drones and an unspecified number of missiles, and the air force destroyed 16 drones and one missile. One person was injured by falling debris in the western Khmelnytsky Oblast. Food warehouses were also damaged.
- Search and rescue teams in the eastern Ukrainian town of Selydove found the bodies of a married couple while clearing debris from Wednesday’s Russian missile attack, in which two people have already been confirmed dead. The General Prosecutor’s Office reported that due to the war, the couple moved from another city in the Donetsk Oblast.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the use of a fleet of naval drones helped Kiev “take the initiative” from Russia in the Black Sea, forcing the Russian navy to scale back its activities.
- Russia’s Defense Ministry said its missile defense system shot down three Ukrainian drones over the Black Sea near Crimea and two more over the Bryansk Oblast.
- As reported by the state news agency TASS, a Russian court has convicted Russian far-right activist Denis Kapustin, who is residing in Ukraine, of high treason and terrorism for organizing armed raids on the Bryansk Oblast in Russia.
Politics and diplomacy
- The Yale Humanitarian Research Laboratory stated in: report that at least 2,442 Ukrainian children have been transferred from Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine to 13 centers in Belarus, where they must participate in political and cultural re-education and military training. The report accused Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of direct involvement in the deportation of children. The Yale Laboratory is a partner of the Conflict Observatory funded by the U.S. Department of State.
- A court in St. Petersburg sentenced Russian artist Aleksandra Skoczilenko to seven years in prison after finding her guilty of spreading false information about the Russian army. Skoczilenko was arrested after she replaced five supermarket price tags in March 2022 with messages calling for an end to Moscow’s war in Ukraine.
- Newly appointed British Foreign Secretary David Cameron made a surprise trip to Kiev, where he promised Ukraine the UK’s “moral, diplomatic and military support” “no matter how long it takes.” Cameron also visited Odesa, a port city on the Black Sea.
- Switzerland has joined the international call to establish a special tribunal to deal with the Russian crime of “aggression” against Ukraine. “Switzerland is deeply convinced that aggression against Ukraine cannot remain unpunished,” the foreign minister said in a statement. The tribunal has the support of 38 countries, including Canada, France, Guatemala and Japan.
- Finland said it would close four of its eight border crossings with Russia on Saturday after a surge in asylum seekers. Helsinki believes that Moscow is encouraging people to go to the border with Finland, where they can apply for asylum, in order to destabilize the country. There has been a sharp increase in the number of undocumented people, mainly from Africa and the Middle East, crossing the border into Russia.
- The United States has imposed sanctions on three United Arab Emirates shipping companies and their vessels for transporting Russian oil sold above the $60 per barrel price ceiling agreed by the Group of Seven countries (G7) and Australia.
- The Kremlin said the Czech Republic’s decision to freeze Russian state properties is illegal and warned it may retaliate for what it calls a hostile step. The Czech government announced on Wednesday a freeze on the extension of sanctions imposed in connection with Moscow’s war in Ukraine.
- Zelensky said deliveries of key artillery shells to Ukraine have declined since the start of the Israel-Hamas war last month. “Our deliveries have dropped,” Zelensky told reporters, referring specifically to the 155-millimeter missiles that are widely used on Ukraine’s eastern and southern front lines, stating that they have “really slowed down,” adding that “everyone is fighting for [stockpiles] yourself.”