Day 582 of the Invasion of Ukraine: NATO Chief visited Kyiv
Day 582 of the invasion of Ukraine. Summary of key events in the last 24 hours:
- Jens Stoltenberg on an unannounced visit to Kyiv
- Russia is preparing to buy Iranian missiles with a range of over 300 km
- Russia is ready to negotiate with Kyiv under certain conditions
- Ukraine reported massive drone attacks and fighting on the eastern front
- Canada apologized for a Nazi portrayed as a hero to Zelensky
Jens Stoltenberg on an unannounced visit to Kyiv
Ukrainian forces are gradually making progress, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said during an unannounced visit to Kyiv. He also announced another package of financial aid for Ukraine.
"Today your forces are advancing. They are meeting fierce resistance, but they are advancing. Every meter that Ukraine regains is a meter that Russia loses. Ukrainians are fighting for their families, for their future, for their freedom. Moscow fights for its imperial delusions. Today I can confirm that NATO has framework contracts worth 2 billion and 200 million dollars for basic munitions, including one billion in confirmed orders," said Jens Stoltenberg.
After the conversation with Stoltenberg, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said it was only a matter of time before Ukraine became a member of NATO.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, on an unannounced visit to Kyiv, says Ukrainian forces are 'gradually gaining ground' in their counteroffensive against Russian forces https://t.co/u7VwQY9JT9 pic.twitter.com/mnKjvpH9Vr— Reuters (@Reuters) September 28, 2023
"Today, the de facto conversation is between allies, and it is only a matter of time before Ukraine becomes a de jure member of the Alliance. We are doing everything possible to make this time shorter. Ukraine is already the guarantor of a large part of the freedom that unites NATO. The victory of Ukraine, in this unprovoked and evil war that Russia unleashed, guarantees long-term security and peace not only for our country, but also for the entire continent," Zelensky said.
Russia is preparing to buy Iranian missiles with a range of over 300 km
Russia is preparing to buy Iranian missiles with a range of more than 300 kilometers from Iran after international sanctions against the Islamic Republic, which prohibited it from selling such weapons, expired in October, the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reports.
According to Western intelligence, Russia, which bombards Ukraine every day with ballistic and cruise missiles and kamikaze drones, cannot cover its own needs for them. It is also looking for a way to respond to Western deliveries of American ATACMS and British Stormshadow missiles, with which Kyiv can strike Russian targets in depth.
On September 19, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu went to Iran to learn about its military production. Earlier, he visited the Iranian stand at an exhibition of military equipment in Moscow.
Shoigu's Iranian visit followed a similar one in North Korea, the main purpose of which was to strengthen military cooperation, i.e. purchase of North Korean weapons. It followed North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's visit to Russia, which also centered on selling arms to Moscow in exchange for Russian food and space technology for the isolated Asian nation.
Commander of Iran's Aerospace Forces, Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, took Shoigu on a tour of Iran's drone, missile and air defense arsenal in Tehran on September 20, ISW reported.
Shoigu also discussed the expiration of UN Security Council Resolution 2231 missile restrictions with Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Ashtiani on the same date. That resolution endorsed the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which suspended UN sanctions related to its nuclear program and set dates for the end of sanctions against Iran related to missiles and other weapons, the ISW recalled.
The expiration of missile restrictions in October will allow Iran to export missiles and missile-related technology without international scrutiny, giving Tehran an opportunity to respond to Russia's needs.
Hadjizadeh showed Shoigu cruise, anti-aircraft and ballistic missiles and other military equipment. The institute recalls that on September 5, Ashtiani stated that his ministry was ready to develop defense and strategic relations with "all independent and allied countries" after the expiry of the UN Security Council's missile restrictions. He emphasized that his country produces ballistic and cruise missiles.
Ukrainian and Israeli intelligence reports indicate that Russia wants to acquire Iran's Fateh-110 and Zolfaghar ballistic missiles. Both have a range of 300 kilometers or more.
ISW also recalls that unnamed Iranian officials told Western media in October 2022 that Iran and Russia had reached an agreement for Iran to provide Russia with surface-to-surface missiles, including the Zolfaghar missile, in addition to more drones.
Russia is ready to negotiate with Kyiv under certain conditions
In Ukraine, Kyiv forces said they had repelled Russian attacks on the eastern front. Russian units again attacked with drones. An air raid warning was issued in several areas. One person died and another was injured in the shelling in Kherson region.
In his evening video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky drew attention to the Russian attacks in the Kherson region:
"These days, Russia is shelling Kherson, Berislav and villages in the region with particular cruelty. Artillery, guided bombs targeting houses, farms, shops and infrastructure. This is a deliberate terror of the occupier... I express my gratitude to everyone who works in the region of Kherson and in all other regions experiencing similar strikes".
According to the Ukrainian Air Force, several Shahed attack drones were launched last night from the Black Sea in the direction of Odesa and Mykolaiv Oblasts. A threat of drone strikes in the Vinnytsia was also reported.
Ukrainian troops yesterday repelled attempts by Russian forces to regain lost positions on the eastern front, Kyiv reported, and according to analysts, the Ukrainian army is making progress in the south.
President Volodymyr Zelensky mentioned on Telegram about "advancement of Ukrainian troops in the Donetsk sector", but did not give details.
The Ukrainian General Staff reported airstrikes in the area and added that 15 towns and villages had been hit by artillery and mortar strikes.
In its summary of the fighting, the Russian Ministry of Defense also reported heavy fighting around Klishchiivka and further south, in the area of the village of Nevelske. According to the department, Moscow's forces repelled ten Ukrainian attacks in this section.
In an interview published today with the TASS agency, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated that Russia is ready to negotiate with Ukraine, but only if the realities on the ground and the interests of Russian security are taken into account.
According to him, the first step for negotiations between Kyiv and Moscow should be the cancellation of Zelensky's decree banning dialogue with Russia.
Ukraine reported massive drone attacks and fighting on the eastern front
Ukraine announced that it destroyed more than 30 drones in Russian attacks on the night of Thursday in Odesa and Mykolaiv regions in the southwest, BTA reports.
"Several groups of attack drones were launched in these regions last night," said Nataliya Gumenyuk, a spokeswoman for the Southern Command of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. She praised Ukraine's "air defense work" as "quite effective".
"The enemy does not stop attacking, does not stop exerting pressure and looking for new tactics, specifically by resorting to mass attacks," Gumenyuk said.
The Air Force of Ukraine specified that 34 of the 44 Shahed drones launched by Russia were shot down.
"Fighter aircraft, anti-aircraft missile units and mobile fire groups were engaged to repel the attack," the Air Force's Telegram channel reported.
Odesa regional governor Oleh Kiper said his region was the main target, but there were no casualties or damage.
"Our air defense forces have done an excellent job," Kiper wrote on Telegram
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the eastern group of troops reported fighting near the villages of Klishchiivka and Andriivka near Bakhmut.
"The enemy is still storming these positions in the hope of regaining the lost positions, but without success. In the last 24 hours, there have been 544 Russian shellings, seven combat engagements and four airstrikes in the area," said Ilya Yevlash, quoted by Reuters.
President Volodymyr Zelensky briefly mentioned in a Telegram post about "our progress in the Donetsk sector" to the east, but did not provide details.
Ukraine's General Staff reported airstrikes on four settlements in the area and said 15 towns and villages had come under artillery and mortar fire.
Russia's defense ministry also reported heavy fighting in the area, saying its forces repelled 10 attacks by Ukrainian troops near Klishchiivka and further south near the village of Nevelske.
Canada apologized for a Nazi portrayed as a hero to Zelensky
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has apologized after a Nazi veteran was invited among the guests for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's visit to Parliament in Ottawa last week, Reuters reported.
Apologies through diplomatic channels have also been offered to Zelensky personally, after the Speaker of the House of Commons presented the veteran of Ukrainian origin Yaroslav Hunka as "a hero who fought for Ukrainian independence", and then it turned out that he served in one of the "Waffen SS" units of Hitler's army during the Second World War.
Anthony Rota resigned as speaker of the lower house of parliament and said he took full responsibility for what happened. Hunka received a standing ovation after being mentioned in Rota's acceptance speech, CNN reports.
Later, the Jewish organization "B'nai Brith Canada" published a statement in which it stated that the 90-year-old Hunka, a Ukrainian who immigrated to Canada after the war, was part of the 14th division of the Waffen, the elite guard of the Nazi Reich.
Russia says the incident supports its claim that the war in Ukraine is aimed at "denazifying" the country, a charge Kyiv and Western allies say is unfounded.
"On behalf of all of us in this room, I would like to offer an unreserved apology for what happened on Friday and to President Zelensky and the Ukrainian delegation for the position they were put in," Trudeau said in the House of Commons on Wednesday.
"For all of us present, to have unknowingly honored this man was a terrible mistake and an insult to the memory of those who suffered grievously at the hands of the Nazi regime" said the Prime Minister.
Trudeau described as "extremely disturbing" the politicization of the mistake by Russia and its supporters to provide false propaganda about what Ukraine is fighting for.
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