Update 51: Russia's war with Ukraine

4 October 2023

According to a new study by the New York Times, significant territorial gains have been hard to come by for either side this year: “Despite nine months of bloody fighting, less than 500 square miles of territory have changed hands since the start of the year. A prolonged stalemate could weaken Western support for Ukraine”. However, Ukraine and its allies continue to claim battlefield progress. The UK’s Chief of the Defence Staff, Tony Radakin, said on 15 September, for example, that Ukraine “continues to hold the initiative, it is pushing Russia back”, while three days later the commander of Ukrainian ground forces, Gen Oleksandr Syrskyi, hailed the recapture of two eastern villages as an important breakthrough. And during his visit to Kyiv on 28 September NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg noted that Ukraine is “gradually gaining ground” in its counteroffensive against Russian forces. 

Nonetheless, Stoltenberg earlier warned on 17 September that there would be no swift end to the war: “Most wars last longer than expected when they first begin. Therefore we must prepare ourselves for a long war in Ukraine”. The UK Ministry of Defence reiterated this warning in its intelligence update on 1 October suggesting that Moscow is preparing for “multiple further years of fighting in Ukraine”. 

Despite the bloody stalemate, diplomacy to end the war remains stalled.

In other developments, President Zelensky made his second trip to the United States since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, where he attended the UN General Assembly meeting before traveling to Washington for a meeting with congressional leaders and a visit to the White House. In one of Kyiv’s boldest attacks yet on the occupied peninsula of Crimea, the Ukrainian military on 22 September carried out a missile strike on the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea fleet in Sevastopol.

Read more in the attached pdf.



Russian attacks on civilian infrastructure

Ukrainian attacks inside Russia, in Crimea and on Russia’s Black Sea fleet

The Wagner Group and Belarus-Poland border tensions

The risk of NATO’s direct involvement in the war

Poland-Ukraine: fraying relations

The UN General Assembly and continuing absence of diplomacy

President Zelensky goes to Washington (again)

Military and financial assistance to Ukraine and Russia

Humanitarian consequences of the war

Continuing concerns over nuclear power plants

Further reading:

On outcomes and consequences of the war

On the risk of nuclear war

On investigation of war crimes in Ukraine

On the Black Sea grain agreement and global food security

On sanctions against Russia and post-war reconstruction in Ukraine

On energy security in Europe (and the Nord Stream attack)

On China’s position on the war

On developments within Russia

On Ukraine’s NATO and EU membership applications

On developments within NATO

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