Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy w US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Kyiv, November 20, 2023
Map: Institute for the Study of War
UPDATE 1816 GMT:
At a press conference alongside the Presidents of Ukraine and Moldova, European Council head Charles Michel has pledged, “I will do everything in my power to convince my colleagues that we need a decision in December” over the opening of negotiations for Ukrainian membership of the European Union.
The European Commission has recommended opening formal membership negotiationsm, but all 27 EU member states must agree — and Hungary, whose Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is a long-time ally of Vladimir Putin, is threatening to hold up the process.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said, “We believe that the EU will be ready to do its part…so that by the end of the year in December, the result will be a political decision to start accession negotiations.”
Glad to host @CharlesMichel in Kyiv on Ukraine’s Dignity and Freedom Day.
Ukraine has made good progress in implementing all the recommendations of the European Commission, and we look forward to a powerful EU Council decision in December.
— Volodymyr Zelenskyy / Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) November 21, 2023
UPDATE 1809 GMT:
The UN Human Rights Office says it has confirmed the killing of more than 10,000 civilians during Russia’s 21-month invasion.
The UN human rights mission in Ukraine expects the actual toll to be “significantly higher” as corroboration work continues.
UPDATE 1703 GMT:
In a notable 48 hours of visits by foreign leaders to Kyiv, Moldova President Maia Sandu has met Ukraine counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
Zelenskiy wrote after the meeting with the leader of Ukraine’s neighbor to the west:
It is very symbolic that Moldova's President @SanduMaiaMD is visiting Ukraine today, ten years after Ukrainians ultimately chose their future.
We focused on security, expanding our exports through Moldova, cross-border cooperation, the energy challenges that our nations face,… pic.twitter.com/dipT7gdfxy
— Volodymyr Zelenskyy / Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) November 21, 2023
Russian troops have occupied Moldova’s Transnistria region since 1992. During Vladimir Putin’s invasion, Sandu and her colleagues have withstood Moscow’s attempt to undermine the country and even topple the government.
UPDATE 1656 GMT:
Germany is providing Ukraine with another €1.3 billion ($1.42 billion) in military aid including four additional IRIS-T air defense units.
Defense Minister Boris Pistorius announced the assistance during his visit to Kyiv today (see 0817 GMT).
Presidential Chief of Staff Andriy Yermak posted:
A great aid package from Germany. 4 IRIS-T systems, 20 thousand 155-mm shells, anti-tank mines and other weapons.
Thank you 🇺🇦🇩🇪💪
— Andriy Yermak (@AndriyYermak) November 21, 2023
UPDATE 1000 GMT:
The Ukraine Air Force says air defenses downed a missile and 9 out of 10 drones in Russia’s overnight assaults.
Missile and artillery attacks killed two people and wounded six in the Donetsk and Kharkiv regions.
Missiles hit a hospital, injuring six civilians and possibly burying others under rubble, in Selydove in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine. A worker was killed in a nearby coal mine.
“Four buildings, 19 vehicles and a power line were damaged. 39 miners were trapped underground. As of now, all miners have been brought to the surface,” said Ukraine Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko.
In Kharkiv in northeast Ukraine, one person was killed by Russian shelling.
UPDATE 0817 GMT:
German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius is in Kyiv for meetings with Ukrainian officials, including President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
After the US, Germany supplies the most military assistance to Ukraine.
Pistorius arrived in the Ukrainian capital about 5 a.m.
— Julian Röpcke🇺🇦 (@JulianRoepcke) November 21, 2023
European Council President Charles Michel is also in the city.
Good to be back in Kyiv – among friends. pic.twitter.com/w9cAQzqYyo
— Charles Michel (@CharlesMichel) November 21, 2023
UPDATE 0804 GMT:
Russian authorities are trying to suppress any protests by the wives and mothers of Moscow’s troops in the invasion of Ukraine.
On Sunday, a group of women held an anti-mobilization rally in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk. Defying the refusal of authorization for demonstrations in Moscow and St. Petersburg, about 30 women staged a short picket in the Russian capital.
The women have posted an appeal on Telegram demanding “a complete demobilization”:
Civilians should not take part in hostilities.
We do not impose political choices regarding power or attitude towards the armed conflict in Ukraine. Everyone has the right to decide for themselves.
However, we will support the one who returns our men to us. We are determined to get our men back at any cost.
In cities such as Chelyabinsk, near the Ural Mountains, local authorities have urged wives of mobilized soldiers to meet staff of military registration and enlistment offices. Several women have been visited by police officers.
One woman explained, “Apparently, they decided to nip it in the bud in case we go to an unauthorized rally.”
A relative in the Krasnoyarsk region in Siberia said:
They come to those who were in favor of the rallies and call them with a warning about responsibility for extremism. We no longer have the right to even think about the rally, they will immediately write us down as enemies of the people.
UPDATE 0659 GMT:
Col. Janno Märk of the Estonian Defense Forces says Russia has suffered 3,500 casualties as Ukraine forces establish positions on the east bank of the Dnipro River in southern Ukraine.
Confirming reports from the Ukrainian military and geolocated footage, Märk said the Ukrainian offensive has advanced 2 to 3 kilometers beyond the left bank in a 30-kilometer area, across the river from Kherson city.
The Estonian officer said Ukrainian losses are also high, but are significantly lower than those of Russia.
“And that has already forced the Russian command to redirect units from other fronts to this area,” he added.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: During a trip to Kyiv on Monday, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced $100m in new military aid to Ukraine.
The assistance includes Stinger anti-aircraft missiles; a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) and additional ammunition, 155-mm and 105-mm artillery shells; Javelin and AT-4 anti-tank systems; more than 3 million rounds of small arms ammunition; cold weather gear; spare parts; and demolition munitions to clear obstacles.
The package takes the total of US security assistance to Ukraine to more than $44 billion during the 21-month Russian invasion.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy posted after the discussion with Austin:
Hosted @SecDef Lloyd Austin ahead of the next Ramstein meeting.
We focused on the battlefield developments: our defense, perspectives, and support. We also discussed Ukraine’s actions in the Black Sea and the defense of our export corridor.
Freedom of navigation is a… pic.twitter.com/ws3D6MjyEs
— Volodymyr Zelenskyy / Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) November 20, 2023
Later this week, Austin will host a virtual meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group to coordinate further military aid.
At a press conference, Austin said Ukrainian troops face a “hard, grueling fight” as they seek to liberate territory from the Russian invaders.
Commenting on the possibility of F-16 fighter jets changing the dynamic on the battlefield, Austin cautioned:
There is no silver bullet in these conflicts.
It all depends on the military capabilities provided and their integration, whether we are talking about the F-16, HIMARS or something else. It all depends on how you use these capabilities and synchronize them to achieve the desired effect on the battlefield.
The Hard-Right Group Threatening US Aid
Future American assistance — military, economic, and financial — continues to be threatened by hard-right Republicans and Trumpists in the House of Representatives.
Ousting Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in late September, the group blocked the Biden Administration’s $100 billion aid initiative, which including $60 billion in authorization for Ukraine.
A measure for $11.8 million in economic aid is being promoted by senior officials.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, said last Tuesday that Congress will try after Thanksgiving to pass a joint funding bill for Ukraine, Israel, humanitarian aid for Palestinians, and border security.