Day 632 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Bridgehead Established South of the Dnieper, Cameron Pledges SupportUkraine | November 17, 2023, Friday // 13:58| views
Day 632 of the invasion of Ukraine. Summary of key events in the last 24 hours:
- Ukraine announced that the army had established a "bridgehead" south of the Dnieper
- James Cameron pledged military support during a surprise visit to Ukraine
- Over 2,400 Ukrainian children have been kidnapped in Belarus since the start of the Russian invasion
- The next president of Russia should be like Putin, Peskov said
- The EU could send Frontex forces to the border between Finland and Russia if necessary
Ukraine announced that the army had established a "bridgehead" south of the Dnieper
The Ukrainian army announced today that it had conducted "a series of successful operations" on the eastern bank of the Dnieper River in the occupied Kherson region and established several bridgeheads there, Reuters reported.
In a post by the Ukrainian Marine Corps on its Facebook profile, it says that its forces continue to conduct operations on the eastern bank of the river in the Kherson region.
Ukrainian air defenses shot down nine out of a total of ten Russian drones last night over southern Mykolaiv and Odesa regions, in the Zhytomyr region of central Ukraine, as well as over western Khmelnytskyi region, Kyiv's air force said.
Since July, Russia has intensified its strikes on Ukrainian ports, including Odesa, and on grain infrastructure after pulling out of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, a wartime agreement that allowed Ukraine to safely export its grain to famine-stricken African countries, Reuters notes.
The Air Force stated that Russian forces also fired several S-300 missiles last night in the eastern Donetsk region, near the front line.
The exported data cannot yet be independently verified.
James Cameron pledged military support during a surprise visit to Ukraine
British Foreign Minister and former Prime Minister David Cameron made a surprise visit to Kyiv and Odesa and held meetings with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and Deputy Prime Minister Olga Stefanishyna, AFP reported. The two discussed supplies of vital artillery munitions from Western allies, which have been reduced since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas last month.
Zelensky thanked Cameron for the visit amid a shift in focus from Ukraine to fighting between the military of US ally Israel and Hamas. "You know the world is not focused on our battlefield situation in Ukraine right now and splitting the focus really doesn't help," he told Cameron in a video released by the presidency.
It is Cameron's first trip outside the UK as UK foreign secretary since his equally surprising appointment earlier in the week to replace James Cleverly. The UK has been a loyal and strategically key ally of Ukraine since Russia launched the war in Ukraine in February 2022.
"We will continue to give you moral support, diplomatic support, economic support, but above all military support, which you need not only this year and next year, but for however long it takes," Cameron said during a meeting with Zelensky, in a separate statement, added: "Russia thinks it can wait this war out and that the West will eventually turn its attention elsewhere. That couldn't be further from the truth."
Ukraine is already seeing a drop in supplies since the start of Israel's war against "Hamas", provoked by the Islamist group, which is distracting the attention of the Western partners and the result is that some warehouses are empty and others have a "legal minimum" of the reserve. noted Zelensky. The delay of 155 mm shells, which are widely used on the eastern and southern fronts in Ukraine, is particularly problematic.
Zelensky rated the meeting, which focused on front-line weapons, strengthening air defenses and protecting people and critical infrastructure, as good. He told a reporter that Russia was "stockpiling" missiles to bombard Ukraine during the winter months, but Ukrainian air defenses were "better than we were last winter".
There are increasing reports that Ukrainian forces have gained ground on the east bank of the Dnieper River in the south of the country, raising hopes in Kyiv of significant progress towards the Russian-occupied east bank of the river. At the same time, Western allies are concerned after the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Valerii Zaluzhnyi recently said that there was no clear sign of a breakthrough on the front lines.
In addition to Zelensky, Cameron met with Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Olga Stefanishyna to discuss Ukraine's aspirations to join NATO, and with his counterpart Dmytro Kuleba, with whom they discussed issues related to arms supplies, arms production and naval security in the Black Sea.
"The UK has a clear position - that Ukraine's rightful place is in NATO and is working with allies to ease the way for Ukraine to join by removing the need for a membership action plan," Cameron was quoted as saying by Reuters.
In comments to the media, Zelensky welcomed the summit in California on Wednesday between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden, noting that the talks between the great powers were "good for us".
Over 2,400 Ukrainian children have been kidnapped in Belarus since the start of the Russian invasion
Over 2,400 Ukrainian children have been kidnapped in Belarus since the start of the Russian invasion. This is according to a study by the Humanities Research Laboratory at the Yale School of Public Health, cited by "UNIAN".
Experts claim that children aged 6 to 17 were taken from at least 17 cities in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions (four regions that Russia has partially occupied). They were housed in 13 facilities across Belarus, with over 2,000 of them in the "Dubrava" children's center in the Minsk region, Reuters writes.
"Russia's systematic efforts to identify, collect, transport and re-educate Ukrainian children are carried out with the assistance of Belarus. The Russian federal government and the Belarusian regime jointly coordinate and finance the movement of children from the occupied territories of Ukraine to Belarus," the report said.
Experts are confident that the transportation of children to Belarus via Russia was ultimately coordinated between Putin and Lukashenko.
In mid-March 2023, the International Criminal Court in The Hague issued an arrest warrant for the Commissioner for Children's Rights in Russia, Maria Lvova-Belova, and the Russian President. They are accused of illegally deporting Ukrainian children.
In the summer, members of the European Parliament called on the International Criminal Court to consider issuing an arrest warrant for Lukashenko as well for his involvement in the illegal abduction of children.
Previously, videos from "Dubrava" were circulated in which singers tell children:
"To live in peace, so that Biden dies, God forgives me, so that Zelensky dies, and Putin prospers and takes control of all of Ukraine."
The next president of Russia should be like Putin, Peskov said
The next president of Russia should be like Vladimir Putin, said the press secretary of the head of state, Dmitry Peskov, in an interview with the student news channel "МГИМО 360", TASS reported.
"Like him" - this is Peskov's answer to a question about what the next president of Russia should be. On the subsequent clarifying question whether this is possible, he says: "It could be another person, but one like him."
Peskov says he hopes that Putin will run for a new term and is therefore confident of his victory. According to the Kremlin spokesman, it is difficult to say whether, if it is another person, the next president of Russia will be able to preserve everything that Putin has achieved. The current president of Russia has the right to run for a new term, although he has not yet spoken about his decision on this matter.
"At the moment, Putin has not announced his intention to run for president. But I sincerely want to believe that he will. I have no doubt that he will win the election, I have no doubt that he will continue to be our president. And it's obvious that he will be," Peskov also says.
The presidential election of Russia should be held on March 17 next year. Officially, the date should be set for next month, after which the political parties should conduct their election campaigns and officially nominate candidates, according to TASS.
"МГИМО 360" is an information portal of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations - a university under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia. From May 2021, the channel's correspondents are journalists from the ministry's press office, who cover the working visits abroad of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, TASS notes.
The EU could send Frontex forces to the border between Finland and Russia if necessary
The European Commission supports the measures taken by Finland on the border with Russia, a spokesman for the commission said today at a press conference in response to a question. As BTA reported, Finland has announced its intention to close four of its nine border crossings with Russia to stem the flow of asylum-seeking migrants.
Using migrants to exert pressure is shameful, the spokesman said. He confirmed that the EC is reporting an increase in the number of migrants arriving from Russia in Finland to seek protection. According to him, the commission is ready to provide funds to Helsinki and it is possible, if necessary, to send "Frontex" forces to the border.
We are monitoring the situation, the EU states are obliged to protect the external borders and are within their right to determine the appropriate measures to achieve the goal, while respecting fundamental rights, the spokesperson pointed out. The EC is ready to provide support, he added.
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