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Russo-Ukrainian war, day 600: Russia admits most of its drones come from China

“Army of drones” project’s UAVs have struck over 400 pieces of Russian equipment in the past week alone, Ukraine’s digital minister reported. Ukrainian successful drone attacks coincide with Russia’s finance minister acknowledging its military is now overwhelmingly using Chinese-supplied drones against Ukraine.
Russo-Ukrainian war, day 600: Russia admits most of its drones come from China


Frontline report: Russia’s failed frontal assault on Avdiivka coal spoil tip shows Russian strategic lapses. In a perilous maneuver, Russian forces unsuccessfully attempted to seize the fortified Terrikon – a huge coal spoil tip – in Avdiivka. The botched assault resulted in Russia’s disastrous casualties and again exposed their flawed tactics of using “human waves.”


Military: Ukrainian forces destroyed three Russian Su-25 fighter jets last week. On 16 October, General Oleksandr Tarnavskyi, commander of Ukraine’s Tavria operational-strategic group, reported the third downing of a Russian Su-25 fighter jet in the last week.

Avdiivka official: Russian assaults less numerous as Russians petering out. Avdiivka sees fewer Russian attacks as Russian troops get exhausted, but the overall situation remains “hot,” an Avdiivka administration head says.

“Army of drones” project’s UAVs hit 428 pieces of Russian equipment in one week. “Russians have lost 101 howitzers, 88 armored vehicles, 75 tanks, and a lot of other equipment” Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov said.

ISW: Ukraine continues offensive ops near Donetsk’s Bakhmut and in Zaporizhzhia Oblast. Ukrainian forces, based on an ISW daily report, continue their advance south of Bakhmut and other regions, while Russia maintains offensive operations on several lines.

As of 16 Oct 2023, the approximate losses of weapons and military equipment of the Russian Armed Forces from the beginning of the invasion to the present day:

      • Personnel: 288630 (+860)
      • Tanks: 4965 (+17)
      • APV: 9385 (+23)
      • Artillery systems: 6910 (+44)
      • MLRS: 814 (+1)
      • Anti-aircraft systems: 547
      • Aircraft: 318 (+1)
      • Helicopters: 317 (+1)
      • UAV: 5280 (+11)
      • Cruise missiles: 1531
      • Warships/boats: 20
      • Submarines: 1
      • Vehicles and fuel tanks: 9271 (+22)

Intelligence and technology

Russia claims it set up drone production at bread factory for war in Ukraine. Most likely, Russian propaganda outlets aim to create a misleading impression of Russia’s large-scale drone production, when in reality, the bread factory likely only houses a modest assembly workshop.

Most of Russia’s drones come from China, Russian Finance Minister admits. “Today, (our) drones are mostly all from the People’s Republic of China. We are grateful to our partners,” Siluanov stated.

Russia’s Redut PMC’s covert recruitment in Ukraine possibly backed by Russian GRU. Russia’s “private military company” Redut is covertly recruiting “volunteers” for combat in Ukraine. The Russian GRU likely oversees this group, which includes former Wagner members, boasting a strength of over 7,000 personnel, as per British intel.


Qatar to return three Russian-abducted Ukrainian children after repatriation talks. Three Ukrainian children, previously forcibly deported to Russia, are set for release to Qatari officials, signaling Qatar’s larger goal of repatriating abducted Ukrainian children, according to a Reuters source.

Ukraine evacuates 107 women and 23 children from Israel on second Ukrainian evacuation flight. Amidst the Palestine-Israeli war, two flights on 14 and 16 October evacuated a total of 362 Ukrainians including 86 children, with the Ukraine embassy’s guidance.

Zelenskyy meets with US special representative for Ukraine’s economic recovery in Kyiv. Zelenskyy and Pritzker discussed macro-financial assistance for Ukraine in 2024, rebuilding damaged infrastructure, and using frozen Russian assets for reconstruction needs.

Biden says US can support both Israel and Ukraine: “We have the capacity to do this and we have an obligation”. In a televised segment, President Biden assures the US’s ability to support Israel and Ukraine, emphasizing its historical power and vital international role.

Humanitarian and social impact

Russia’s night air attack injures four as Ukraine downs 2/5 missiles, 11/12 explosive drones (updated). Overnight into 16 October, Russian forces launched a nighttime air attack on Ukraine from multiple directions, causing injuries to three individuals, among whom was a ten-year-old child. Ukrainian air defenders curtailed potential damages, shooting down most of Russian missiles and almost all explosive drones.

Russian shelling of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast leaves 1,900 households without electricity. Russian forces directed artillery barrages at several communities in Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, damaging 20 private houses, five farms and energy infrastructure.

Slovak coalition agreement signals reducing support for Ukraine. The Slovak parties Smer-SD, Hlas, and the Slovak National Party signed a coalition agreement, while the anti-Ukrainian Smer-SD leader Robert Fico aims to accelerate the formation of a new government.

New developments

Ukraine, OSCE to coordinate on returning deported Ukrainian children, civilians from Russian captivity. Ukraine’s FM Dmytro Kuleba discussed the issue of returning deported and imprisoned Ukrainians during a meeting with Bujar Osmani, the chairman-in-office of the OSCE in Ukraine’s capital on 16 October.

Read our earlier daily review here

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