Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy greets European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Kyiv, November 4, 2023
Map: Institute for the Study of War
UPDATE 1321 GMT:
More than 20 Ukrainian soldiers were killed by a Russian missile strike at an awards ceremony in the Zaporizhzhia region on Friday, according to the outlet Ukrainska Pravda.
Defense Minister Rustem Umerov ordered a full investigation of the “tragedy”: “We must make every effort to protect our people and give honest answers to the families and friends of the fallen soldiers.”
Russia launched 116 strikes with artillery, drones, and warplanes against 19 Ukrainian settlements in Zaporizhzhia over the past 24 hours, posted Governor Yurii Malashko. Infrastructure and residential buildings were damaged but no casualties were reported.
UPDATE 1110 GMT:
Ukraine Air Force commander Nikolay Oleshchuk says the Russian cruise missile carrier Askold has been destroyed in a Ukrainian missile strike on a shipbuilding complex in Kerch in occupied Crimea on Saturday night.
Navy Capt. Andrii Ryzhenko, citing satellite images, said, “You can see that it’s still afloat, but the upper part of the ship is significantly damaged.”
The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed that an unnamed warship was hit, while claiming that 13 of 15 cruise missiles had been downed.
Sergey Aksyonov, the Russian proxy “governor” of Crimea, wrote that debris from intercepted missiles fell onto one of the dry docks.
UPDATE 1107 GMT:
Ukrainian forces have destroyed a Russian “Pole-21” electronic warfare system, says Gen. Oleksandr Tarnavskyi, a commander on the southern frontline.
Tarnavskyi said the system was “designed to suppress satellite navigation channels”.
UPDATE 0744 GMT:
Russian attacks on Kherson city in southern Ukraine killed an 82-year-old woman on Saturday.
The woman died on the operating table in hospital. An 84-year-old man and another woman were also injured in the strike on a residential building about 11 a.m.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has knocked back his military commander’s remarks on “static and attritional stalemate” —- and chatter from unnamed US and European officials of talks with Russia that would leave Moscow in occupation of parts of Ukraine.
Alongside European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen, Zelenskiy told a news conference, “Time has passed, people are tired….But this is not a stalemate.”
On Wednesday, Ukraine’s armed forces commander Gen. Valery Zalushnyi used an interview and essay for The Economist to discuss the battlefield situation. He said his units need new military capabilities and technological innovation to make a decisive breakthrough.
There will most likely be no deep & beautiful breakthrough….The level of our technological development today has put both us and our enemies in a stupor.
Without referring to his commander, Zalushnyi noted similar proclamations of stalemate in summer 2022, before Ukraine’s liberation of much of the northeast and south of the country.
A few military tricks, and you remember, the Kharkiv region [in the northeast] was liberated.
We have difficulties and different opinions, but we have no right to give up. Because what is the alternative? If we give away a third of our country, nothing will end. We know what a frozen conflict is.
He denied the reports of “quiet” approaches by US and European officials about negotiations with Russia, with an outline of which Ukrainian areas could be left in Moscow’s control.
Today no one is putting pressure, not one of the leaders of the EU or the United States. For us now to sit down with Russia and talk and give it something — this will not happen.
He put forward the alternative of support for Ukraine airpower and air defense to ensure advance on the ground.
How to overcome this? F-16 [fighter jets], we have to wait for the guys to learn, when they come back. When there is air defense at the front, the military goes forward and uses equipment.
“Excellent Progress” Along Ukraine’s Path to EU
The European Union’s Von der Leyen boosted Zelenskiy with fervent praise for Ukraine over its campaign for accession to the European Union.
The start of negotiations is scheduled for next month. Speaking of the political, economic, and judicial conditions set by the EU for Kyiv’s candidacy, Von der Leyen told the news conference:
I must say, you have made excellent progress, it is impressive to see. We will testify to this next when the Commission will present its report on enlargement.
She said Kyiv had “reached many milestones” as “the result of hard work”, and looked to further reforms: “If this happens, and I am confident, Ukraine can reach its ambitious goal of moving to the next stage of the accession process.”
Zelenskiy responded in his nightly address to the nation:
Ukraine has come a long way—from the point when no one believed Ukraine could get closer to the EU during a full-scale war—to achieving EU candidate status in record time and fulfilling recommendations required to open EU accession talks.
This demonstrates that Ukraine is… pic.twitter.com/m6cZQpTVK3
— Volodymyr Zelenskyy / Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) November 4, 2023