Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy greets Netherlands Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren, Kyiv, November 2, 2023

Thursday’s Coverage: Kyiv’s Commander Warns of “Attritional Stalemate”

Map: Institute for the Study of War


In the latest claim of Russian efforts to stage a coup next door to Ukraine, Moldova’s security service SIB has accused fugitive businessman Ilan Shor of funnelling 1 billion lei (€50 million) into the country to stage anti-government protests and to “buy” voters at this weekend’s elections.

SIB head Alexandru Musteata said that “the hybrid war waged by Russia and cross-border criminal groups intensified in 2022” with election meddling, the fostering of separatist sentiments in the south, and the distortion of democratic processes.

He continued with refernce to Shor, who has been sentenced in absentia for bank fraud:

The authors of this scenario, directly in Moldova, are established — they are representatives of a criminal group headed by Ilan Shor….The group operates under the cover of many political projects.

Both President Maia Sandu and Prime Minister Dorin Recean have warned of Russian efforts to spread protests to disrupt the country and eventually topple the government. Earlier this year, the Moldovan courts banned Shor’s party as a Russian instrument.


Activists have responded to Elon Musk’s claim that there is a lack of visible resistance in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine and that residents want to live under Moscow’s rule.

Tom Burgis of The Guardian explains why some residents may be reluctant to show their oppostion to the occupiers.


The fire in Kharkiv city set by Russian drones (see 0910 GMT), covering 1,000 square meters, was extinguished by almost 70 rescuers and 12 units of equipment.


US officials says a $425 million military aid package to Ukraine is forthcoming.

The assistance includes $300 million for laser-guided munitions to down attack drones.

The military aid is the 50th package during Russia’s invasion.


The Ukraine Air Force says it downed 24 of 40 attack drones launched overnight by Russia.

In addition to 10 drones fired on Kharkiv city (see 0531 GMT), a “military object” was set on fire in the Ivano-Frankivsk region in western Ukraine, and there were five drone strikes on “a critical infrastructure facility” in the Lviv region.

In the south, an infrastructure facility was hit in the Odesa region. Russian shelling has disrupted water and electricity to parts of Kherson city.


Russian forces launched at least 10 attack drones overnight on Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second city.

Multiple fires were set. The roof and two floors of a school were destroyed, and a residential building, a service station, and an administrative building were also hit.

No casualties have been reported.


Vladimir Putin has confirmed the withdrawal of Russia’s ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

Putin signed the withdrawal into law on Thursday. Russia says it mirror the position of the US: the Clinton Administration signed the treaty in 1996, but the Senate did not ratify it.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reacted, “Russia’s action will only serve to set back confidence in the international arms control regime.”

Nuclear experts also expressed dismay. Robert Floyd, head of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization, said, “Today’s decision by the Russian Federation to revoke its ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty is very disappointing and deeply regrettable.”

ORIGINAL ENTRY: President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has expressed confidence in Ukraine’s eventual defeat of the 20-month Russian invasion, following his top military commander’s warning of a “static and attritional stalemate”.

In his nightly address to the nation, Zelenskiy said:

I am proud of everyone who fights for Ukraine, who destroys occupiers, who restores our positions. Those who are in the trenches right now. Those who are at combat posts. Those who train our soldiers. Those who produce weapons, ammunition, and equipment for Ukraine. Those who teach our children. Those who treat and save after strikes. Those who provide a normal life in our cities. Those who give us light. Everyone who gives us confidence – our parents, our children.

On Thursday, in an interview and essay for The Economist, Gen. Valery Zalushnyi cited the need for new military capabilities and technological innovation to make a decisive breakthrough against the Russians.

Zelenskiy did not refer to Zalusnyi’s assessment, instead speaking about a video conference with commanders and government officials. He focused on successful attacks against Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, including its headquarters, bases, bridges, warships, and oil installations.

Russia is gradually losing control of the Black Sea and retreating to the eastern part of the waters. We will reach them there as well.

The President also spoke of progress toward Ukraine’s accession to the European Union, with the opening of membership negotiations expected in December. He cited “bills and government decisions” for “specific reforms” required for the accession, and mentioned meetings with European Council head Charles Michael and Netherlands Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren.

And Zelenskiy praised sweeping US sanctions against Russia covering more than 200 entities and individuals: “This is what is needed. Critical sectors of the aggressor’s economy. Sensitive schemes for terrorists.”

On Thursday, the US Treasury issued the designations over networks for the development of KUB-BLA and Lancet suicide drones, and for the Siberian project Arctic-2 LNG, which plans to ship liquefied natural gas to global markets.

Entities in the UAE, Turkey, and China were listed over the provision of high priority dual-use products and components for weapons systems to Russia. Seven Russia-based banks and dozens of industrial firms were named.