A Ukrainian soldier with an elderly woman after the liberation of Robotyne in the Zaporizhzhia region in southern Ukraine, August 2023

Thursday’s Coverage: Another Russian Mass Killing of Civilians

Map: Institute for Study of War


The toll from this morning’s Russian missile strike on Kryvyi Rih in south-central Ukraine has risen to one killed and 72 wounded.

The fatality was a police officer. Three of his colleagues are in serious after being pulled from the rubble of a police administrative building.


Lithuania is supplying another 4.5 million rounds of ammunition to Ukraine.

The Defense Ministry said in a statement:

Lithuania continues to provide uninterrupted military support to Ukraine and today handed over 1 1/2 million rounds of ammunition to the warring country.

The military support transferred from Lithuania to Ukraine already includes Mi-8 helicopters, L-70 anti-aircraft guns with ammunition, M113 armored personnel carriers, millions of cartridges, and grenade launcher ammunition.

NASAMS missile launch systems, anti-drones, logistical equipment, and other support will soon be transferred to Ukraine.

Lithuania is also training Ukrainian soldiers.


The Council of the European Union has sanctioned another six people for serious human rights violations over treatment of members of ethnic groups in Russian-occupied Crimea.

Those blacklisted include prosecutors and judges, active in courts established by the occupiers, who imposed a long prison term on a Crimean Tatar journalist. Two members of the Russian State security service FSB are cited for torturing the journalist or participating in the investigation against him and members of the Crimean Tatar and Jehovah’s Witnesses communities in Crimea.


Spain is sharply increasing its import of Russian natural gas despite European Union and international sanctions.

In July, Spain’s imports from Russia were up 65% from July 2022 2022, even though it imported 14% less gas during the month.

The share of Russian gas of total imports was 28%, compared to 14.5% in July 2022. Russia is now Spain’s second-largest supplier of gas after Algeria.

Between January and July, the 27 nations of the EU imported about 40% more liquified natural gas (LNG) from Russia than in the first six months of 2021 — 22 million cubic meters v. 15 million.

Spain and Belgium, as gateways for LNG supplies throughout the EU, are now the second and third-biggest customers of Russian gas after China.


The US Pentagon has announced another $600 million in military aid to Ukraine, including equipment for air defense systems; ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems and for 105mm artillery; and tools for electronic warfare and counter-electronic warfare equipment.

The package is the second from the US this week. On a Wednesday visit to Kyiv, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced a $1bn financial and security package with $150 million in military support.


The toll from this morning’s Russian missile strike on Kryvyi Rih in south-central Ukraine (see 0843 GMT) has risen to 1 killed — a police officer — and 54 injured.

In the Sumy region in northern Ukraine, an elderly couple and their dog were buried when their two-story residential building was destroyed by a Russian missile. About 20 houses and eight vehicles were damaged.


About 90% of Ukrainian prisoners of war have been subjected to torture, rape, threats of sexual violence, or other forms of cruel and inhumane treatment, says Ukraine Prosecutor General Andrii Kostin.

Ukraine found “evidence of these horrors in all the liberated territories,” Kostin said, during a meeting with Alice Kill Edwards, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture.

He explained that 156 suspects have been identified, with indictments sent to court against 114, including “Russian military personnel and representatives of the occupying authorities”. There have been 35 convictions.

In Kherson region alone, 11 torture chambers have been recorded. In Kharkiv region, investigations are open into almost 100 cases of torture, where more than 700 victims have been identified.


Three civilians — two women and a 46-year-old man — have been killed and four injured in a Russian airstrike on the village of Odradokamianka in the Kherson region in southern Ukraine.


Ukrainian officials have given more detail — and increased the toll of casualties — from this morning’s Russian attack on Kryvyi Rih in south-central Ukraine.

A policeman was killed and several people pulled from rubble when a police administrative building was destroyed.

At least 44 people were injured, said emergency services.

Three administrative buildings and seven residential buildings, including a high-rise structure, were damaged, said Lysak.


Authorities in the Moscow region have detained the commander of the 1st Special Purpose Air and Missile Defense Army, responsible for air defenses, amid the escalation of Ukrainian drone attacks.

Maj. Gen. Konstantin Ogienko is being held on bribery and corruption charges.


A Russian missile strike has killed one civilians and injured nine others in Kryvyi Rih in south-central Ukraine.

Dnipropetrovsk Governor Oleh Lysak said the missile hit an administrative building Friday morning.


Cuba’s authorities have arrested 17 people over a human trafficking network, operating from Russia, which is recruiting Cuban citizens to fight on the frontline in Ukraine.

The Cuban Foreign Affairs Ministry said on Monday that the network had been uncovered. It said Cubans in Russia and in Cuba were being recruited to be “incorporated into the military forces taking part in the war in Ukraine”.

The Ministry said the network has been dismantled. One person is suspected of being an “organizer of these activities” and two are accused of being recruiters.

Men were recruited through social media groups which promised one-year contracts with a monthly income of 204,000 rubles ($2,090) and Russian citizenship for the recruit and his family. Only a photo and immigration letter was needed to sign up.

A Spanish translator, working with the Cuban diaspora, confirmed:

A lot of young guys come straight from Cuba to earn money here. They’re not local Cubans. They don’t stay in Moscow — they sign contracts right away and then go off to fight

And then they disappear. Their relatives try to find them through the Cuban diaspora or social media. But we don’t have anything to do with this. Most likely, they’ve been killed.


Elon Musk ordered the cutoff of his Starlink satellite communications network near Russian-occupied Crimea last year to impede a Ukrainian drone attack on Moscow’s warships, says veteran US journalist Walter Isaacson.

In his biography of Musk, published next Tuesday, Isaacson describes how armed submarine drones were approaching their targets when they “lost connectivity and washed ashore harmlessly”.

The journalist says Musk ordered Starlink engineers to turn off service because of his concern — fed by the Russian ambassador to the US — that Vladimir Putin would respond with nuclear weapons. Declaring a “mini-Pearl Harbor”, he said Ukraine was “going too far” in threatening to inflict a “strategic defeat” on the Russia.

Musk threatened to cut the provision of Starlink entirely to Ukraine’s forces last year, unless he was paid a substantial sum by the US Pentagon.


The Ukraine Air Force says it downed 16 of 20 Iran-made “kamikaze” drones fired by Russia towards the Odesa region early Friday.

Fourteen drones were destroyed over Odesa and two over the neighboring Mykolaiv region.


Ukraine has submitted an official proposal to Turkey for a protected “grain corridor” in the Black Sea, said Kyiv’s Ambassador to Turkey, Vasyl Bodnar, on Thursday.

Bodnar noted that cargo vessels are already breaking the Russian blockade, reimposed on July 17 by Vladimir Putin when he ripped up the July 2022 deal over three Ukrainian ports. He said the ships are sailing through the territorial waters of Romania, Bulgaria, and Turkey without restrictions.

At least four vessels have passed through the temporary corridor since August 16.

UK insurance firm Lloyd’s of London confirmed on Thursday that it is in discussion with the UN to provide coverage for shipments if a new Black Sea grain corridor agreement can be reached.

Ukraine Economy Minister Yulia Svyrydenko pointed to progress on another front, with shipping of grain through Croatian ports.

Svyrydenko said during the Three Seas Initiative summit in Bucharest on Thursday, “Ukrainian grain has already been exported through Croatian ports. Thank you for this opportunity. Although this trade route is niche, it is already popular.”

ORIGINAL ENTRY: A senior US intelligence officer says there is a “realistic possibility” that the Ukrainian counter-offensive will break through all Russian defenses in southern Ukraine by the end of 2023.

In an interview with The Economist, the Director of Analysis for the US Defense Intelligence Agency, Trent Maul, cited Ukraine’s recent breach of the first of the three Russian defensive layers in the Zaporizhzhia region. He said this opened the way to a complete victory over Moscow’s forces on the way to the port of Melitopol.

Two weeks ago, Ukraine made a significant advance with the capture of Robotyne, 10 km (6.2 miles) south of the Ukrainian-held town of Orikhiv. Since then, the counter-offensive has made further gains on two fronts towards the strategic hub of Tokmak.

Analysts have estimated that Russia put about 60% of its month-long effort into fortifications of the first line, including minefields, wire, and trenches, supported by artillery, drones, and warplanes. Ukrainian officials say that the second and third layers are much weaker and that minefields are not continuous. Battles are already taking place at the second line.

Maul told the Economist:

Had we had this conversation two weeks ago, I would have been slightly more pessimistic.

Their breakthrough on that second defensive belt…is actually pretty considerable.

He said future progress will depend on Ukraine’s supply of artillery and on the weather conditions during the autumn.

During a visit to Kyiv on Wednesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken hailed the “important progress”.

Geolocated footage posted on Thursday indicated further Ukrainian gains northwest of Verbove, 18 km (11 miles) southwest of Orikhiv. A prominent Russian military analyst cited Ukrainian advances in the area, and others said Ukraine’s forces reacted the northwestern outskirts of Verbove on Wednesday.

Map: Institute for Study of War