Ukraine soldiers in liberated Snihurivka, north of Kherson city, November 10, 2022

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Thursday’s Coverage: Russia Sending Ukrainian POWs to Fight on Frontlines

Map: Institute for the Study of War


UK military intelligence believes Russia may have accidentally struck a Liberian-flagged cargo ship, in the Black Sea port of Pivdennyi in southern Ukraine, on Wednesday.

Ukrainian officials said the munition was likely a KH-31 air-launched missile. A harbor pilot was killed, and three crew members and a port worker injured.

The ship was loading iron ore to be moved to China.

The UK analysts assess there is “a realistic possibility” that the KH-17, seeking a live military radar but not finding one, locked onto the civilian ship’s radar.


The Kremlin insists it is under no obligation to reveal the whereabouts of Ukrainian prisoner of war Maksym Butkevych.

Russian authorities convicted Butkevych — a volunteer soldier, journalist, human rights activist, and head of a refugee charity — and sentenced him to 13 years on the charge of trying to kill two civilians. Amnesty International has denounced a “sham trial” with Butkevych having no access to his lawyer and “confessing” under duress.

Amnesty and writers association PEN International are calling on Russia to provide information about Butkevych. His family and lawyers say they have been unable to establish his whereabouts since August.

“The Federal Penitentiary Service has no obligation to disclose, in response to such requests, the place of detention of a person sentenced to a long term,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.


Survivors of a Russian missile attack on a Ukraine military ceremony, which killed at least 19 troops and wounded dozens on November 3, have expressed their anger with superiors.

Soldiers of the 128th Separate Mountain Assault Brigade were gathered in the Zaporizhzhia region in southern Ukraine, near the frontline of the Ukrainian counter-offensive, when they were hit by an Iskander-M missile.

The Russians struck about 10 minutes into the ceremony. The brigade’s commander, late for the proceedings, was not present.

A soldier of the brigade said, “At the time of the shelling, it was difficult to say how many people were wounded or killed. After the shelling, 21 corpses were counted. It is unknown whether everyone survived in the hospital.”

Another complained about the holding of the ceremony, “The Soviet era has returned. It was reminiscent of scenes from Russian propaganda films about World War II.”

Typical awards ceremonies are held in a well-protected bunker or trench with about 30 participants. The gathering on November 3 was in an open area with 43 awardees and about 100 people involved.

A brigade fighter noted that the site was “constantly in the range of ballistic missile strikes and everything else that flies from afar”.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov has ordered a thorough investigation of the “tragedy”. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said criminal proceedings have begun: “The main thing is to establish the full truth about what happened and prevent this from happening again.”

A serviceman summarized that troops are “angry at the command”:

They could have given the order to move everything to another place or to some shelter. Move everything and hold the ceremony there. Why this didn’t happen, I don’t know. This is simply stupidity of the military leadership.


A Ukraine military intelligence says an overnight strike hit two Russian light landing craft in occupied Crimea.

“As a result of a night operation on the territory of temporarily occupied Crimea, small amphibious ships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet were hit by soldiers,” the intelligence service posted.

Reports are circulating of “numerous explosions” near the town of Chornomorsk on the western coast of the peninsula. Eyewitnesses said Russian military barracks may have been struck.

The Russian Defense Ministry claimed two drones were downed. Russian officials had no immediate comment about the claimed attack on the landing craft.


The Ukraine Air Force says it downed five Iranian-made Shahed attack drones and one of two cruise missiles launched by Russia overnight.


In interviews with The Moscow Times, residents of Sievierodonetsk in eastern Ukraine, seized in June 2022 by Russian forces, speak of the destruction and desolation in the occupied city.

Oleg, 59, sits in the courtyard of a residential building on the town’s outskirts. His apartment on the eighth floor of the shelling block is no longer habitable and could collapse at any moment.

“I spent one night up there, and I could hear creaking all the time, it was terrifying,” he says.

He recalls the weeks of Russian siege last spring as the invaders overran all of the Luhansk region, with thousands in underground shelters without heating, electricity, or running water.

“We thought it would be over soon,” he says. Instead, he spent three months in a church basement.

Ukraine authorities say more than 1,000 civilians died and about 80% of buildings were partially or completely destroyed during the Russian onslaught.

More than 20 months later, “No mines here” and “People live here” are painted on derelict facades throughout the city center. Running water, gas, and electricity have been partially restored and a few schools have reopened; however, the majority of the buildings are destroyed or damaged. Fearing a Ukrainian counter-offensive, local authorities have cut mobile communications.

“It used to be a very beautiful city,” says Andrei, 64, who sells electronic cigarettes in a local shop and lost a leg during the siege. “Now, there’s no more life: only pensioners, elderly people, and the disabled remain.”

His family fled Ukraine and are in Germany. “I don’t think they will ever return,” he says.


Hungary is threatening to block the start of negotiations for Ukraine’s accession to the European Union.

The European Commission recommended earlier this week that the talks begin once Kyiv, whose candidacy was approved in June 2022, satisfied conditions. A Commission report said four of the seven conditions have been met, and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy cited progress on the other three.

However, Hungary — whose leader Viktor Orbán is a long-time ally of Vladimir Putin — said the EU should consider only a “privileged partnership” for Ukraine, rather than full membership.

Ukraine Deputy Prime Minister Olga Stefanishyna expressed confidence that the EU would overcome the Hungarian obstacle: “We understand that there is a such a statement, but we also understand there is a dialogue with Budapest.”

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Ukrainian forces have expanded their foothold east of the Dnipro River in the Kherson region in southern Ukraine.

The latest gains continue a gradual but notable advance since Ukraine liberates its territory, including Kherson, on the west (right) bank of the Dnipro last November.

Russian forces tried to pre-empt any further Ukrainian success in early June by destroying the Nova Kakhovka Dam, flooding the Kherson region in an “eco-cide” which killed scores of civilians.

But Kyiv’s troops first crossed the Dnipro in early July, and in August established a pocket on the east (left) bank of the Dnipro, across from Kherson city.

Russian military bloggers posted on Thursday that Ukrainian forces established control over new positions in Krynky, 2 km (1.25 miles) from the Dnipro and 30 km (18.5 miles) northeast of Kherson city. They attacked Russian positions south and southwest of the settlement, with reports of an advance in forest to the south.

The milbloggers also reported that the Ukrainians attacked near Poyma, Pishchanivka, and Pidstepne, up to 4 km (2.5 miles) from the Dnipro, and are trying to establish new positions.

One blogger said the advance has cut the road between Oleshky and the town of Nova Kakhovka, the main Russian position 53 km (33 miles) northeast of Kherson City, in at least two areas.

The Russians are reportedly redeploying units from the frontline in the neighboring Zaporizhzhia region. However, the Institute for the Study of War assesses that “the Russian command will likely face significant challenges” if “relatively combat-ineffective Russian formations and currently uncommitted Russian forces” are unable to respond to the Ukrainian offesnvie.

The US-based analysts note that any redeployment “will likely degrade the Russian ability” to sustain other operations in southern and eastern Ukraine.