Overview:

  • Boycotted OSCE meetings in Balkans disintegrate as delegates and Lavrov walked out
  • Moscow’s missiles kill more innocent bystanders and a baby
  • SBU credited for arson on railroad bringing supplies from China to Russia
  • Moscow’s forces on the move once again around Bakhmut
  • The Netherlands promises additional aid to Ukraine
  • More bombing, Russian advances near Avdiivka
  • For once, a quieter day on the left bank of the Dnipro River

Renewed Russian strikes kill at least five, and injure an infant, in southeastern Ukraine

At least five civilians were murdered in a renewed volley of Russian rocket and artillery fire for 48 hours, with several missing, AFP reported on Thursday, quoting local officials.

In the Kherson region, local officials said Russian shelling had killed three people in the village of Sadove. An unknown number of civilians, including a child, were trapped under rubble in the Donetsk region after Moscow’s forces unleashed attacks on three towns, Ukraine’s emergency services said.

AFP reported that there were six S-300 rockets fired on Pokrovsk, Novohrodivka and Myrnohrad.

In Pokrovsk, crews helped rescue a man with a six-month-old baby in his arms, covered in blood, officials said. On Wednesday, teams also recovered the bodies of two men from a residential building in Novohrodivka, while rescuers were still searching for others overnight.

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OSCE officials walk out on Lavrov before he says the West is deciding “fate of humanity”

Reuters reported on Thursday that several unidentified officials walked out of a meeting of OSCE ministers in Northern Macedonia as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was about to make comparisons to Cold War policies to curb Soviet expansion.

Lavrov called the West's position on Moscow’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine a “philosophy of containment,” in a reference to a Kennedy-era doctrine attributed to the late US ambassador to the Soviet Union and US policy advisor, George Kennan.

Ukraine's Heavily-Shelled Kharkiv Builds Underground Schools
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Ukraine's Heavily-Shelled Kharkiv Builds Underground Schools

The Mayor said the city, which launched its first underground school earlier this year, was allocating its funds for the new schools to make headway as soon as possible.

“Unfortunately, the Western political elites, which have arrogated to themselves the right to decide the fate of humanity, have made a short-sighted choice not in favor of OSCE, but in favor of NATO,” Lavrov proclaimed after many delegates already had made for the exits.

“In favor of the philosophy of containment, zero-sum geopolitical games and the ‘master-slave’ logic,” he droned on. “One of the key components of this policy was NATO’s reckless expansion to the East, which began after the dissolution of the Warsaw Treaty Organization.”

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According to the AP, Lavrov spoke for 15 minutes before himself walking out of the meetings. “He blamed what he described as Western tolerance of the “ruling neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv” for the war, AP reported.

Delegates from Poland and Romania already had joined Ukraine in boycotting the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s talks after Lavrov’s presence was scheduled.

Dutch promise €2.5 billion in aid in 2024

According to reports from national news agency Ukrinform, the Netherlands will provide Ukraine with an additional aid package of €2.5 billion in 2024.

Dutch Foreign Minister Hanke Bruins Slot, during the OSCE meeting on Thursday in the capital of Northern Macedonia, said that her country will continue to support Ukraine in “all possible ways for as long as it’s needed” and that “the Netherlands is pleased to announce that the country will help Ukraine with an additional €2.5 billion support package for 2024,” she said.

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According to financial data this summer from Statista.com, the Netherlands sat in seventh place, just behind Poland and just ahead of Canada, in terms of euro-denominated military aid to Kyiv.

Operations: Bakhmut

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported that Russian forces reportedly made multiple advances near Bakhmut on Thursday, in the Donetsk region. Kremlin-loyal bloggers that the ISW cited claimed that Moscow’s troops advanced south of the Berkhivka Reservoir (3 km northwest of Bakhmut) and near  Bohdanivka (5 km northwest of Bakhmut), while one of the military bloggers said that the Russians also captured a section of the Bakhmut-Chasiv Yar highway immediately west of Bakhmut.

They further iterated claims that the 11th Separate Airborne (VDV) Brigade captured Khromove, and advanced in forested areas north and northwest of the town.

The ISW said it has not observed visual confirmation of these claims. However, one Ukrainian military observer posted on social media that Russian forces captured several Ukrainian positions near Klishchiivka (7 km southwest of Bakhmut), north of Khromove, and those around Bohdanivka.

Russian infantry also made small advances along the Donetsk-Zaporizhhia regional border area on Thursday, the ISW noted, citing footage of elements of the Russian 394th Motorized Rifle Regiment (127th Motorized Rifle Division, 5th Combined Arms Army, Eastern Military District) capturing Ukrainian positions southwest of Staromayorske.

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SBU behind Siberian railway sabotage, Ukrainian media says

Russian Railways and other transit officials said on Thursday that a freight train caught fire in the Severomuysky Tunnel on the Itykit-Okusikan section of the East Siberian Railway on Wednesday night.

Although the fire did not interrupt train traffic, Russian opposition media outlets reported that 10 trains were delayed, when two railway cars carrying diesel fuel detonated, igniting a total of six.

The ISW said that “several Ukrainian outlets reported that Ukrainian intelligence sources stated that four explosive devices detonated on the railway as part of an SBU [Ukraine’s Main Intelligence Directorate] operation and that the railway line, which is the only major railway line between Russia and China and is used to transport military supplies, is paralyzed.”

Operations: Dnipro River

In its daily intelligence update, Britain’s Ministry of Defence reported on Thursday that elements of the newly formed Russian 104th Guards Airborne (VDV) Division have likely deployed to the Kherson region and that the Russian 337th VDV Regiment and Russian 52nd VDV Artillery Brigade will likely be subordinate to the 104th Guards VDV Division there. The ISW said that it recently observed reports that elements of the 328th VDV Regiment (104th Guards VDV Division) are currently defending in the Krynky area.

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On Thursday, neither side was reported to have gained any ground on the Dnipro River front but the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) had held their positions along the left bank.

Operations: Avdiivka

Russian infantry forces reportedly made more advances around Avdiivka on Thursday as increased air assaults continued while the frozen turf turns to mud.

According to the ISW, Russian military bloggers are claiming that Moscow’s forces moved forward west of the railway line near Stepove (3 km northwest of Avdiivka) and Novokalynove (11 km northwest of Avdiivka), and that Russian troops also advanced north of the industrial zone southeast of Avdiivka. As usual, fighting continues near the Avdiivka coke and chemical plant and the adjacent “Terrikon” slag heap.

Ukrainian news outlets on Thursday said that the frozen ground near Avdiivka “has already softened into mud, complicating both Russian and Ukrainian forces’ ability to operate vehicles,” the ISW reported. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Tavriisk Group of Forces Spokesperson Colonel Oleksandr Shtupun said that Russian forces are conducting glide-bomb strikes with Su-35 aircraft near Avdiivka.

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