An update version of this story is available here.

Overview

  • US Secretary of State describes billion-dollar aid round during Kyiv visit
  • Eyewitnesses describe carnage from Russian strike on market
  • Russian missiles damage port in Odesa Region
  • Romania now says Russian drone parts indeed fell on their side of the border
  • Videos show AFU advancing in Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions.

In visit to Ukraine, Blinken rolls out $1 billion in assistance

On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced a package worth more than $1 billion of new aid to Ukraine, during his fourth official visit to Kyiv. He said the funding would help Ukraine's counteroffensive “build momentum.” 

The United States has provided Ukraine with over $40 billion of security assistance since Russia invaded last year. The latest round reportedly includes $665.5 million in new military and civilian security funding.  

"Today, we're announcing new assistance totaling more than $1 billion in this common effort," Blinken said at a press conference with Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba.

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About $175 million of the total aid is in the form of weaponry to be provided from US military stockpiles and another $100 million is in the form of grants to allow the Ukrainians to purchase additional arms and equipment, the Associated Press reported, quoting US Department of Defense figures.

Witnesses document the horrors in Kostiantynivka

After 17 civilians, including a child, were killed by a Russian strike at a busy market in Kostiantynivka on Wednesday, in the eastern part of the Donetsk region, videos have appeared on social media showing a bright orange explosion, and eyewitnesses describe the carnage.

Russian Troops Reportedly Regroup in Kharkiv Sector
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Russian Troops Reportedly Regroup in Kharkiv Sector

A Ukrainian officer said the situation in the Kharkiv sector remains difficult, though he added there have been no significant changes in frontline positions.

 

“They smashed everything, all the shop windows, everything was strewn around,” an eyewitness told AFP. “Thank God we are alive, of course. But the girls who were selling there, they are all dead.”

The AFP reported: Rescue workers picked through the debris and carried some of the 32 wounded for treatment, past charred vehicles and kiosks torn to pieces in the blast, according to images distributed by officials.

As of Wednesday, Ukrainian media believed the attack was from the S-300 missile system.

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President Volodymyr Zelensky described the attack as “heinous evil.”

“Brazen wickedness,” he wrote. “Utter inhumanity.” He said there were no military units “anywhere near” the scene. 

The news drew international condemnation from the West, including accusations of war crimes.

Germany's Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock wrote on social media that “this Russian war of aggression is an attack on international law, on humanity.”

Ukrainian gains reported following renewed push towards Berdyansk, new axis in play

Following a high-profile visit by President Zelensky, troops deployed to the east of Ukraine’s main counterattack sector launched a new series of assaults and are gaining ground, according to reports from both Ukrainian and Russian sources.

Close-in assaults by Ukrainian Marine brigades under the new regional command said to be operating south of the town Velyka Novosilka, have broken through Russian fortifications around the village of Novodonetske and are advancing. 

This was reported by Kremlin-affiliated military information platforms and the pro-Moscow “combat correspondent” Vladimir Rogov reported “Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) have achieved tactical success.” Russian troops stationed in the village of Novomaiorske, five kilometers east of Novodonetske, had withdrawn following very heavy Ukrainian artillery bombardment using cluster munitions, the government-linked Ukrainian military analyst Anton Gerashchenko reported on his personal Telegram channel. 

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Read the full report here.

Operations: Donetsk Region

The Ukrainian General Staff reported that AFU forces have succeeded in pushing Russian forces out of positions south of Bakhmut. A Russian military blogger confirmed that Ukrainian forces have advanced in Klishchiivka (6 km southwest of Bakhmut) in the past three days and that Ukrainian forces currently control half of the town.

Russian sources, including the Russian Ministry of Defense, confirm that Ukrainian forces have disrupted Russian ground lines of communications northwest of Klishchiivka.

Further south, just outside the city of Donetsk, a video published on Wednesday by Ukraine’s 59th Infantry Brigade and verified by the Institute for the Study of War indicates that Ukrainian forces marginally advanced east of Nevelske (14 km southwest of Avdiivka).

The dramatic video shows Ukrainian and Russian soldiers exchanging close-range fire:

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Operations: Western Zaporizhzhia Region

Video geolocated by the ISW shows that Ukrainian forces have advanced along the trench line west of Verbove (about 20 km southeast of Orikhiv).

Verbove remains one of the most hotly contested fronts of the war, as AFU forces try to break through the Russian lines that extend from just northwest of Verbove to the north of Solodka Balka.

The video shows Ukrainian troops taking fire from Russia’s 387th Motorized Rifle Regiment as they try to break through those defenses.

Russia launches missiles and drones toward the Odesa Region, damaging port and ag facilities

Ukrainian officials reported that Russia launched seven Kh-101, Kh-555, and Kh-55 cruise missiles from aircraft stationed at its Engels airbase, as well as one Iskander-M ballistic missile and 25 Shahed 136/131 drones.

Ukrainian air defenses shot down eight missiles and 15 drones, the General Staff of the AFU reported, however, the strike damaged the port and agricultural infrastructure in the Odesa Region.

Romania now says some Russian drone debris fell on its territory

Romanian Defense Minister Angel Tilvar announced on Wednesday that several pieces of a Russian drone in fact did fall on Romanian territory near its border with Ukraine. 

The Romanian Ministry of Defense previously denied the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry’s statement on Monday that a Russian drone fell on Romanian soil.

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