Here is the situation as it stands on Thursday, November 17.
Explosion in Poland
- Poland and NATO say a missile that crashed in Poland was probably a stray fired by Ukraine’s air defences and not a Russian attack, easing international fears that the war could spill across the border.
- US President Joe Biden has disputed Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s comment that the missile was not Ukrainian, saying: “That’s not the evidence.”
- Ukraine is requesting “immediate access” to the site of the explosion and says it is ready to provide “evidence” that Russia was responsible, claiming that it has evidence of a “Russian trace” to the explosion, without giving further details.
- NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday said the explosion was probably the result of Ukrainian anti-aircraft fire, but that Russia bears “ultimate responsibility” since Moscow is behind the war.
- The US and its allies criticised Russia in the UN Security Council over its invasion of Ukraine and assaults on Ukrainian infrastructure which they said resulted in the missile incident, dubbed “a frightening reminder of the absolute need to prevent any further escalation” by the UN political chief.
- The Kremlin praised Washington’s “measured” response after the incident as Biden said it is “unlikely” the missile came from Russia.
- The top US general said Ukraine’s chances of any near-term, outright military victory were not high, cautioning that Russia still had significant combat power inside Ukraine despite suffering battlefield setbacks.
- Investigators in Ukraine’s recently liberated Kherson in the south have uncovered 63 bodies bearing signs of torture after Russian forces left the area, Ukraine’s interior minister Denys Monastyrsky said, adding that “search has only just started so many more dungeons and burial places will be uncovered”.
- Some 50 Russian soldiers were killed or wounded in a long-range Ukrainian artillery attack, the military said in a rare instance of Ukraine claiming to have inflicted major casualties in a single incident.
- Power was fully restored in seven Ukrainian regions, including the capital Kyiv, less than 24 hours after a Russian missile barrage on energy infrastructure across the country.
- Zelenskyy said he met US Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns, who is in the region to discuss the war in Ukraine. Burns also met Russian President Putin’s spy chief Sergey Naryshkin in Turkey this week.
- French President Emmanuel Macron said G20 leaders agreed to push Russia towards defusing the conflict and expressed hope China could play a more prominent mediation role in the coming months.
- Russia hailed the G20 leaders’ declaration, which mentions the “immense human suffering” caused by the war, as a “balanced text” that Russian diplomats worked hard to influence.
- A UN source said they have reasons to be “cautiously optimistic” on the renewal of a Black Sea grains export agreement, which is set to roll over on Saturday unless there are objections.