Here is the situation on Sunday, August 27, 2023.
- A Ukrainian commander fighting in the south said he believes Ukrainian forces have broken through the most difficult Russian defensive line and will now be able to advance more quickly. “We won’t stop here,” declared the commander who led some troops into Robotyne village and goes by the name “Kombat”. Next, we will take (the town) Berdiansk and more. I told my fighters that our goal was not Robotyne but [the Sea of] Azov. Andrii Pilshchykov, one of the most well-known fighter pilots in Ukraine, was among the dead. The country’s airforce released a statement confirming the incident. Among the dead was Andrii Pilshchykov, one of the country’s most well-known fighter pilots.
- Two people were killed and a third wounded when Russian shelling hit a cafe in the village of Podoly in the eastern Ukrainian region of Kharkiv, according to local governor Oleh Syniehubov.
- Russia said air defences brought down a drone over Moscow in an attack that forced authorities to briefly shut down all three major airports serving the capital.
- Vyacheslav Gladkov, the governor of Russia’s Belgorod region, accused Ukraine of using “cluster munitions” in an attack on the town of Urazovo, about 10km (6 miles) from the border, that injured six people.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered fighters from the mercenary Wagner group to sign an oath of allegiance to the Russian state. The introduction of a mandatory oath for all private military contractors is seen as a clear move to bring such groups under tighter state control.
- German magazine Der Spiegel published a lengthy and detailed investigation into the attacks on the Nord Stream pipelines in the weeks following Russia’s full-scale invasion, saying that “a striking number of clues point to Ukraine”.
- Ukraine’s foreign ministry condemned as “categorically unacceptable” any continuation of European Union import restrictions on its grain when the current ban expires on September 15. There is particular opposition in Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary towards Ukrainian grain imports due to fears they could undercut local farmers.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov reiterated Moscow’s intention to maintain ties with Iran, after a report Washington had asked Tehran to stop selling drones to Moscow. Ryabkov told RIA that there will be no change in the cooperation between Russia and Iran. “We are independent states and do not succumb to the dictates of the United States and its satellites.”
- Finland arrested an alleged member of an extreme right-wing military sub-unit of the Wagner mercenary force on charges of participation in a “terrorist group” following a request from Ukraine, according to Finnish public broadcaster Yle. Finnish police are requesting that the 36-year-old Russian national, identified as Yan Petrovsky, be detained in preparation for his extradition.
- German prosecutors said they were investigating whether Russian journalist Elena Kostyuchenko, who is now living in hiding, was the victim of an attempted murder when she became ill last October. Kostyuchenko is one of three Russian journalists who have been poisoned abroad during a similar time period. Documents published by a Moscow Court show that Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich has appealed a Russian court decision to extend his detention before trial by three months. The 31-year old US citizen was arrested on espionage allegations in March, which he denies. Little announced that people who arrive in New Zealand with the Special Ukraine Visa on or before March 15, next year will be eligible for permanent residency.