Fire burns at an airbase in Pskov in northwest Russia after a drone strike, August 30, 2023
Map: Institute for Study of War
UPDATE 1540 GMT:
A Ukrainian partisan group, Atesh, says it has successfully attacked the election headquarters of a pro-Russian party in the occupied Kherson region in southern Ukraine.
Atesh said the headquarters of the United Russia Party in Nova Kakhovka was bombed on Tuesday, killing three Russian soldiers.
“As a result of the fire caused by the explosion, all the documentation that the occupiers had brought for the elections scheduled for September 8-10 was burned. We will not tolerate Russo-fascist pseudo-elections on our territory!” Atesh said in a statement posted online.
The Russian proxy mayor, Vladimir Leontiev acknowledged the attack while insisting, “No one will disrupt our peaceful life.”
UPDATE 1050 GMT:
The Kremlin said that it will consider deliberate action in the investigation into the jet crash that killed Wagner Group mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin and nine other people last week.
“It is obvious that different versions are being considered, including the version – you know what we are talking about, let’s say, a deliberate atrocity,” said spokesperson Dmitry Peskov.
Peskov did not say if the Kremlin would consider that anyone inside the Kremlin ordered the downing of the jet.
He emphasized that there can be no international investigation (see also 0628 GMT).
UPDATE 0722 GMT:
Local outlet Pskovskaya Gubernia reported that the attack on a Russian airbase in Pskov early Wednesday, damaging four Il-76 heavy transport warplanes, was with 10 to 20 drones.
Citing “various sources”, the outlet said Russian soldiers tried to shoot down the UAVs with small arms.
UPDATE 0715 GMT:
The latest Russian shelling of the Kherson region in southern Ukraine has killed three civilians and injured three.
The head of the regional administration, Oleksandr Prokudin, reported 77 strikes in 24 hours, with 452 shells from mortars, artillery, tanks, Grad rocket systems, drones, and aviation.
UPDATE 0648 GMT:
Ukrainian air defenses downed all 28 Russian missiles and 15 out of 16 Iran-made “kamikaze” drones launched overnight, said General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, commander-in-chief of Ukraine‘s armed forces.
The attacks included more than 20 missiles and drones fired on Kyiv, with two people killed and two wounded by falling debris (see 0622 GMT).
UPDATE 0628 GMT:
Russia will not adhere to “international rules” to examine last Wednesday’s jet crash that killed 10 people north of Moscow.
The victims included Wagner Group mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, military commander Dmitry Utkin, and head of logistics Valery Chekalov. They were travelling from Moscow to St. Petersburg when an explosion downed the Brazilian-made Embraer jet.
Brazil’s Center for Research and Prevention of Aeronautical Accidents said that, in the interests of improving aviation safety, it would join a Russian-led investigation if it were invited and if international rules were observed.
Russia replied that it could not make the commitment “at the moment”.
UPDATE 0622 GMT:
At least two people have been killed and two injured by Russian missile attacks on Kyiv early Wednesday.
Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko said fire and rescue services were working at sites in the Darnitsky district and in four areas in the Shevchenkivskiy district.
The Kyiv military administration said the assault was Russia’s “most powerful” since the spring, with more than 20 missiles and drones destroyed by air defenses.
Explosions from rockets were also reported in the port city of Odesa in southern Ukraine.
UPDATE 0611 GMT:
Ukrainian officials have criticized an address by Pope Francis to Russian youth as “imperialist propaganda”.
In a video for the 10th All-Russian Catholic Youth Assembly in St. Petersburg last Friday, the Pope said:
Never forget your heritage. You are the descendants of great Russia: the great Russia of saints, rulers, the great Russia of Peter I, Catherine II, that empire — educated, great culture and great humanity. Never give up on this heritage.
You are descendants of the great Mother Russia, step forward with it. And thank you — thank you for your way of being, for your way of being Russian.
Ukraine Foreign Ministry spokesperson Oleh Nikolenko responded on Monday, “This is the kind of imperialist propaganda — ‘spiritual bonds’ and the ‘need’ to save ‘Great Mother Russia’ — which the Kremlin uses to justify the murder of thousands of Ukrainians and the destruction of hundreds of Ukrainian towns and villages.
Nikolenko urged the Pope “to open the eyes of Russian youth to the devastating course of the current Russian leadership” rather than promoting “Russian great-power ideas, that are, in fact, the reason for Russia’s chronic aggression”.
Vladimir Putin has justified the invasion of Ukraine by comparing himself to Peter the Great.
Sviatoslav Shevchuk, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, said in a statement that Peter the Great and Catherine the Great are the “worst examples of imperialism and extreme Russian nationalism”. Thus, the Pope’s address “could be perceived as support for the nationalism and imperialism that has caused the war in Ukraine today”.
The Vatican said on Tuesday, “The Pope intended to encourage young people to preserve and promote all that is positive in the great cultural and Russian spirituality, and certainly not to exalt imperialist logic and government personalities, cited to indicate some historical periods of reference.”
UPDATE 0558 GMT:
As they advance on the southern front of their 11-week counter-offensive, Ukrainian troops speak of “complete chaos” and fighting at close quarters with Russian forces.
The counter-offensive liberated Robotyne, 10 km (6.2 miles) south of Orikhiv, last weekend. Having passed the first set of Russian fortifications, Ukrainian troops are now moving on a line between Novodanylivka and Verbove, 13 km and 18 km south of Orkihiv.
The objective is to capture the strategic hub of Tokmak, in the direction of the port city of Melitopol.
A Telegram channel used by soldiers of Ukraine’s 46th Separate Airmobile Brigade wrote of “a large number of Ukrainian and enemy units in a narrow area from Robotyne to Verbove [that] leads to chaos in the area”.
It noted, “There have already been moves by our groups and the enemy into each other’s rear due to a lack of understanding of the location of their own and our trenches.”
However, the channel added on Tuesday, “There is progress in the direction of Verbove. Yesterday, the Ukrainian Armed Forces took several [Russian] positions in the area.”
It cautioned that with Russia attempting counter-attacks in the nearby Novoprokopivka area, “the enemy is not going to give up their positions without a fight”. On Monday night, there “was a heavy battle with losses on both sides”.
There is a constant tactical coverage of each other’s positions and all this under the constant supervision of reconnaissance drones of both ours and the enemy. It’s an online war.
A soldier with the 46th said two forest plantations, several kilometers long, near Verbove had been taken by Ukrainian forces. Russian units were counterattacking against the Ukrainian flanks.
We jokingly call the Novodanylivka-Robotyne-Verbove area the “triangle of errors” because no one understands who is where, because there is no solid line of defense, nor contact line…Complete chaos.
UPDATE 0554 GMT:
The US is sending an additional $250 million in security assistance to Ukraine.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday that the aid includes air defense missiles, artillery ammunition, Javelin systems and rockets, and mine-clearing equipment.
Russia started this war and could end it at any time by withdrawing its forces from Ukraine and stopping its brutal attacks. Until it does, the United States and our allies and partners will stand united with Ukraine, for as long as it takes.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: A drone attack on an airfield in Pskov, in northwestern Russia almost 800 km (500 km) from the Ukraine border, has damaged four Il-76 heavy transport warplanes.
In the most widespread UAV assault since Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, drones struck six regions across western Russia: Pskov, which borders Latvia and Estonia; Oryol; Bryansk; Ryazan; Kaluga; and Moscow early Wednesday.
Video indicated that the strike in Pskov was on the Cheryokhino base, hosting the 104th VDV Regiment of airborne troops.
Explosions in Pskov (videos 1 and 2) and Bryansk (3) and Orel Oblasts (4), Russia, with reports of unidentified UAV sightings in other regions. This appears to be a well-orchestrated drone raid on Russia.
In Pskov, four IL-76 planes were reportedly hit in an airfield. All… pic.twitter.com/eVdegSkmNn
— Dmitri (@wartranslated) August 29, 2023
Pskov Governor Mikhail Vedernikov posted a clip of a large fire, with the sounds of explosions and sirens, even as he claimed, “The Defense Ministry is repelling a drone attack in Pskov’s airport.”
He ordered a halt to all arrivals and departures at the Princess Olga International Airport on Wednesday, as damage was assessed.
The scale of damage is unclear in the other regions. Russian officials claimed three drones were downed in Bryansk, two in Oryol, and one each in Ryazan, Kaluga, and Moscow. No casualties were reported.
Ukraine has stepped up drone attacks inside Russia since the spring, hitting military positions and high-rise buildings, including in Moscow.
On August 20, drones damaged or destroyed two Russian warplanes —- including a Tu-22M3 long-range supersonic bomber — in the Novgorod region, 650 km (403 miles) inside Russia. Military observers queried how a mall and relatively inexpensive quadrocopter inflicted so much damage, and why warplanes were not in hangars.