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Russo-Ukrainian war, day 576. Ukraine strikes Russian Fleet HQ in occupied Crimea

Ukraine targeted the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea fleet in the occupied city of Sevastopol. The US will send long-range ATACMS missiles to Ukraine after previously resisting. Zelenskyy visited Canada, addressed parliament and met with Ukrainians.
Russo-Ukrainian war, day 576. Ukraine strikes Russian Fleet HQ in occupied Crimea

Military

Frontline report: Russia shells Ukrainian cities retaliating Ukraine’s attack on airbase in Crimea. Ukraine struck Russian-occupied Crimea with dozens of drones and missiles on September 21. Russia responded by firing 43 missiles at Ukrainian cities.

Ukraine strikes Russian Black Sea fleet HQ in occupied Crimea. A major fire started at the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in occupied Sevastopol while the Russian Ministry of Defense unusually quickly recognized at least one serviceman “missing.” Ukrainian strikes on the city of Sevastopol have become regular since the summer of 2023.

RFE/RL’s Crimean desk published a photo of the burning headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in occupied Crimea’s Sevastopol seconds before the new strike. The photo shows a missile that hit the headquarters a moment later. This photo and the videos published online refute the Russian authorities’ claims that they downed all the missiles that attacked Sevastopol today.

ISW: Ukraine might breach the main Russian defensive line in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast. Ukrainian forces make gains in southern Zaporizhzhia Oblast, penetrating the Russian tri-layer defense, which is the first observed instance of Ukrainian forces operating armored vehicles.

Assessed control of terrain around Robotyne as of 21 September.

British intel: Ukraine and Russia strikes reach deeper as frontline barely moves. Ukrainian and Russian armies seek advantages by striking through their adversary’s strategic depth as the ground battle is relatively static.

Ukraine’s Offensive Guard advances deep into Russians’ defence in the south, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Colonel Mykola Urshalovych, acting Head of the Department of Planning of the Chief Directorate of the National Guard of Ukraine, at a briefing in Military Media Center.

Urshalovych reported that units of the Offensive Guard brigades are driving the Russians out of their positions and gaining a foothold on the achieved borders despite the strong resistance of the Russians. Despite dense mining, engineering equipment and strong resistance of the occupiers, our units have had partial success and have advanced deep into the Russians’ defence, as well as on the frontline.”

Russia withdrew all large amphibious ships from Crimean ports, – OC “South”, Censor.net reports, citing Ukrinform quoting the joint press center of the Operational Command “South” Natalia Humeniuk.

The Russians, fearing new strikes by the Armed Forces, moved all large amphibious ships from Crimean ports to Russia. In the Black Sea, the naval group continues to maneuver in the same area, which it considers relatively safe for itself now, reaching to the eastern coast of Crimea all the way to Novorossiysk. […] Missile carriers are also not observed on combat duty. 10 ships and boats on duty in the Black Sea […].”

In Kupiansk and Lyman directions, Russians are strengthening advanced units, Censor,net reports, citing Colonel Mykola Urshalovych, director of the Department of Planning for the Use of the Main Directorate of the National Guard of Ukraine.

The Russian occupiers continued to equip assault and tank units in the Kupiansk and Lyman directions. In addition, the engineering and sapper groups of the enemy covertly arrange passages in their own mine-explosive barriers. In total, over the past week, the Russians carried out 21 airstrikes and about 800 shellings from heavy weapons in these directions.” 

As of Friday 22 September, the approximate losses of weapons and military equipment of the Russian Armed Forces from the beginning of the invasion to the present day:

  • Personnel – about 274950 (+480)
  • Tanks – 4644 (+6)
  • Armoured combat vehicles – 8891 (+8)
  • Artillery systems – 6177 (+40)
  • Multiple rocket launchers –MLRS – 785 (+4)
  • Air defence means – 528 (+0)
  • Aircraft – 315 (+0) 
  • Helicopters – 316 (+0)
  • Automotive technology and fuel tanks – 8690 (+20)
  • Vessels/boats – 21 (+0)
  • UAV operational and tactical level – 4858 (+8)
  • Special equipment – 912 (+1)
  • Mobile SRBM system – 4 (+0)
  • Cruise missiles – 1517 (+38)

Intelligence and Technology

Denmark recognizes that the tanks it donated to Ukraine are out of order. Previously, Ukraine rejected ten tanks from Germany because they needed severe repairs. Now Denmark has sent tanks of the same type. However, 12 out of 20 were out of order, Denmark’s Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen recognized.

International

Canada to participate in F-16 pilot training for Ukraine. Canada will provide an additional $500 million in military assistance to Ukraine, including 50 armored vehicles. Additionally, Canada will send instructors to train Ukrainian pilots and technicians on F-16 fighter jets.

US provides new security aid for Ukraine worth $325 mn. President Biden confirmed the first delivery of US Abrams tanks to Ukraine will occur next week as part of a new $325 million aid package.

Ukraine’s Commander-in-Chief spoke with US Joint Chiefs Chairmen Gen. Milley and his successor, Gen. Brown. Zaluzhnyi briefed both generals on Ukraine’s battlefield situation, including recent defensive and offensive operations against Russia’s invasion and key needs of the army.

US will, in fact, supply long-range ATACMS missiles to Ukraine. Biden promised Zelensky during his visit to Washington that the US would send Ukraine the long-range ATACMS missile system. Some in Washington had previously resisted providing the weapons due to concerns it could escalate the conflict with Russia.

Zelensky visits Canada, addresses Parliament, meets with its Ukrainian community. During Zelenskyy’s first visit to Canada since February 2022, Ukrainian and Canadian presidents will sign an agreement to further strengthen economic ties between the two countries.

Ukraine receives 10 Stridsvagn 122 tanks with trained crews from Sweden, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing European Pravda. “Ukraine has received 10 Swedish Stridsvagn 122 tanks, manned by Ukrainian crews trained in Sweden. The tanks have been in Ukraine for some time. The Swedish military follows Ukrainian colleagues’ progress on social media as much as possible.

Memoranda of cooperation in defence industry signed between Ukraine, United States, Ukrinform reports, citing the Office of the President of Ukraine. “In the presence of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, memoranda of cooperation and development of joint projects were signed between the Ukrainian Strategic Industries Ministry, the Global Defense & Industry Alliance, the Arizona Defense & Industry Coalition, and the Utah Aerospace and Defense Association. […]

The document enshrines cooperation in the implementation of projects in the defense industry and reconstruction. The GDIA is to ensure the establishment of ties and development of cooperation between Ukraine and American defense companies interested in locating their production facilities in Ukraine, the report states.

In addition, Oleksandr Kamyshin and President and CEO of the Utah Aerospace and Defense Association Aaron Starks signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the Ukrainian Strategic Industries Ministry and the Utah Aerospace and Defense Association. This business association comprises more than 2,000 powerful world-renowned defense companies developing advanced defense technologies.

The signing of the memoranda is a signal from American businesses that they view Ukraine and the Ukrainian defense industry as a promising and reliable partner in the development of new technologies and joint production. Earlier, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky noted that Ukraine and the United States will be working together to produce the necessary weapons.”

Ukraine receives US$1.25 billion grant from US, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine. “The state budget received US$1.25 billion of grant funds from the USA on 21 September through the World Bank’s Multi-Donor Trust Fund. The funds raised will be used to reimburse state budget expenditure, namely: provision of pension payments; payments to employees of the State Emergency Service; salaries of medical workers who provide services under the medical guarantee programme, civil servants and teaching staff. […]

Ukraine has received US$9.7 billion in direct budget support from the United States through grants in 2023.”

  1. Warsaw hopes Ukraine won’t impose embargo on Polish agri-products, Ukrinform reports, citing Polish Minister of Agriculture Robert Telus said this in a commentary to PAP. “Warsaw hopes that Kyiv will not impose an embargo on the import of Polish agricultural products to Ukraine. Poland has no confirmation that Ukraine has imposed restrictions on imports of fruits or vegetables, as the Ukrainian government representative said in the media, Telus stated. He hopes that there will be no such embargo, as it would unnecessarily aggravate the situation. […]

On September 15, the EC announced that the EU would not extend temporary restrictions on Ukrainian grain. After that, Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia announced their decision to block imports of Ukrainian agri-products and stopped participating in the Coordination Platform established under the auspices of the EC to resolve this issue. First Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine – Minister of Economy Yulia Svyrydenko announced on September 18 that in accordance with the WTO’s dispute settlement procedure, Ukraine had requested consultations with Slovakia, Poland, and Hungary within the WTO.

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said Ukraine would limit imports from Poland and Hungary if these countries did not lift their grain embargoes.

For his part, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki warned on Wednesday that Poland would impose an embargo on further agricultural products from Ukraine if the Ukrainian government escalated the tension in the grain dispute, including banning the import of Polish vegetables to Ukraine.”

Humanitarian and Social Impact

Chernihiv school equipped with hybrid solar systems after Russian shelling. 100RESforSchools campaign aims to bolster school resilience with solar stations and energy storage systems, similar to their previous installation at school in Irpin.

Russian forces strike residential areas in Kherson, killing 25-year-old man. One individual was injured and another one killed as a result of the attack. Fires broke out in a residential building and a garage.

Second ship with Ukrainian grain leaves Odesa port despite Russian blockade. Ukraine sent its second grain shipment to Egypt, containing 17,600 tons of wheat, utilizing recently approved sea lanes that bypass Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian ports.

EU directive on temporary protection is mandatory for all member states: Poland will be forced to extend temporary protection to Ukrainians, Censor.net reports. “Next week, the Council of the European Union, on the recommendation of the European Commission, should extend the directive on temporary protection for Ukrainians until 2025. This became known from Radio Svoboda’s sources in diplomatic circles. The continuation of the directive does not require a unanimous vote and can be approved by a qualified majority.

So far, according to a Radio Svoboda source, only Poland has raised certain objections to the extension of temporary protection (Warsaw is demanding an increase in funding from the EU for the maintenance of refugees). The EU Council will first try to approve the decision unanimously during a meeting of EU interior ministers on September 28 to demonstrate EU unity. But if Warsaw begins to resort to blocking, the decision will be made by the majority.

Ukrainian fund director who raised donations for the military becomes Deputy Minister of Strategic Industries. The appointment gives Ukrainians hope for a more effective management of domestic military production. Before the appointment, Hanna Hvozdiar used to manage a private Serhiy Prytula foundation, collecting money for the military to equip soldiers. The second in Ukraine military charity by size, it earned popularity and respect among Ukrainians.

The European Commission will recommend launching Ukraine’s accession process to the EU — Bloomberg. Once the commission makes its recommendation, EU leaders must sign it. Then, talks on the accession process will begin. They will likely last for several years before all issues on the economic integration of Ukraine into the EU are resolved.

Ukraine allows lowercase “Russia” in informal writing. Ukraine’s language commission permitted the lowercase spelling of “Russia,” “Moscow,” “Muscovy,” “State Duma of the Russian Federation,” and similar words in unofficial texts.

New Developments

Russia plans 68% increase in 2024 military spending, surpassing Ukraine’s defense budget 2.5 times. Ukraine will also increase military spending by 17% in 2024, allocating almost all available money for defense.

Latvia will ban cars registered in Russia and Belarus. The proposed legislative initiative aims to prohibit these vehicles within the country. Owners will have the choice to either take their cars out of the country or re-register them. Otherwise, the vehicles will be confiscated and handed to the Ukrainian army.

  1. Zelenskyy calls on Trump to show his peace plan on ending war, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Zelenskyy in an interview with Wolf Blitzer from CNN after the speech at the UN General Assembly. “On Wednesday, 20 September, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on former US President Donald Trump to share his peace plan for ending the war in Ukraine. But the president cautioned that any peace plan that includes Kyiv giving up the territory is unacceptable. So (if) the idea is how to take the part of our territory and to give (Russian President Vladimir) Putin, that is not the peace formula. Earlier, Trump dodged the question whether he wants Ukraine to win andrefused to call Putin a war criminal.  He also claimed that the US supplied Ukraine with too many weapons. In addition, Trump “liked” the praise he received from Russian President Vladimir Putin regarding his intentions to regulate the Russian war in Ukraine.”

Türkiye’s Erdogan says he doesn’t agree with others’ negative approach toward Putin, ReutersTurkish President Tayyip Erdogan said he does not agree with the negative approach other leaders are showing towards his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, Turkish broadcasters quoted him as saying on Thursday. Speaking to reporters in New York after attending the United Nations General Assembly, Erdogan said Russia was not a country that could be disregarded and repeated he was hopeful a solution could be found to revive the Black Sea grain initiative, which Moscow quit in July.”

  1. Putin says again that he is ready for negotiations to end war, net reports, citing Ukrinform quoting the Chinese Foreign Ministry. “During a meeting with China’s top diplomat Wang Yi in St. Petersburg, president of the aggressor country Vladimir Putin reiterated that he is ready for negotiations to end the aggressive war against Ukraine. The Chinese diplomatic mission noted that during the talks, the parties exchanged views on the current international and regional situation. […] It also notes that the Russian dictator declared his country’s readiness to cooperate with China “to defend international honesty and justice” and once again spoke about the ineffectiveness of sanctions, the impact of which Russia has allegedly overcome. […] The Chinese top diplomat, in turn, noted the strengthening of mutual trust between the two countries and spoke of China’s readiness to deepen practical cooperation with Russia.”

Putin gives biggest hint yet at staggering number of Russians he’s sent to die, Metro reports. “[The Ministry of Labor and Social Development] has ordered almost a quarter of a million certificates for Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine. Some 230,000 certificates have been made for the families of dead soldiers, according to a tender by the Russian government, reported Verstka media outlet.

This gives the closest indication of how many Russian soldiers have been killed, as the Kremlin only publicly acknowledges the deaths of 6,000. The certificates are distributed to widows and the children of soldiers.

Another 757,305 certificates were ordered for surviving ‘combat veterans’, putting the total figure of Russian soldiers deployed at nearly one million. ‘The numbers may indirectly indicate the approximate scale of the Russian group participating in the battles and losses, stated Verstka.”

Countries that did not condemn war against Ukraine lost $180 billion in investments, Bloomberg Economics reports. “About $180 billion of foreign direct investment in 2022 moved from countries that refused to condemn the Russian invasion to those that supported Ukraine. They analyzed data on foreign direct investment by large companies in new factories abroad. And then they compared them with how different countries vote in the UN.

Earlier this year, the IMF’s deputy head of research, Andrea Presbitero, and colleagues looked at the dynamics of foreign direct investment between country pairs. Their geopolitical positions were taken into account based on the 70-year results of voting in the UN.

The authors of the study found that investments between like-minded countries have grown more dynamically in recent years compared to countries that are simply geographically close to each other. Separate work by the IMF found that when the new Iron Curtain comes down and trade and investment between the two rival blocs freezes, global GDP will shrink by 7% in the long run.” 

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