Dispatches from Ukraine. Day 572.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has arrived in the United States to take part in the high-level meetings of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly. From the airport, Ukraine’s president went to Staten Island University Hospital where he meet with the wounded Ukrainian servicemen, who are undergoing treatment and rehabilitation there.
Front line. Ukrainian forces liberated the villages of Klishchiivka and Andriivka, just south of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region, the general staff of Ukraine’s armed forces confirmed on Sept. 15. Ukraine’s 3rd Separate Assault Brigade, assigned with tactical operations around Andriivka, announced it had “completely defeated” Russia’s 72nd Brigade, which had been stationed there and lost its top officers, as well as most of its infantry forces. The surviving adversary forces were notified of the chance to surrender via public address systems. On Sept. 17, Ukraine’s 80th Separate Assault Brigade released video footage of its soldiers proudly holding Ukrainian flags among the ruins of the liberated settlement of Klishchiivka. “We are standing firm! After all, this is our land! Glory to the Defenders of Ukraine!” wrote the brigade in an accompanying message.
Ukraine dismissed six deputy defense ministers on Sept. 18, according to a Telegram social media post from Taras Melnychuk, permanent representative of the Cabinet of Ministers in the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament. No reason was immediately given for the firing of the six deputy ministers: Volodymyr Gavrilov, Hanna Malyar, Andriy Shevchenko, Rostyslav Zamlynskyi and Vitaliy Deynega. Their dismissal comes two weeks after President Volodymyr Zelenksky replaced his Minister of Defense, Oleksii Reznikov, on the heels of a corruption scandal at the ministry.
Local news. Kharkiv region. Russia attacked the eastern city of Kharkiv with five hypersonic missiles on Sept. 16, regional governor Oleg Sinegubov said. Around 11 am, the suburban district of Kholodnohirsky was hit by Russian “Iskander K” cruise missiles, which damaged civilian homes and facilities. Further outside the city, between the villages of Hlyboke and Strilecha near the Russian border, Russian forces struck a civilian car with a guided anti-tank missile. Two of its passengers, a man and a woman, were killed instantly.
World. The United States Department of Defense supplied Ukraine with industrial 3D printers capable of producing spare parts for military equipment, undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment William LaPlante, told Voice of America. LaPlante anticipates that the truck-sized printers will be game-changers in this war. “You can do amazing things with 3D printing, not just because of the speed,” he said. “You can actually produce parts that you couldn’t normally make.” The undersecretary noted that Ukrainians have already been using 3D printing independently to make spare parts since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion in February of 2022, but without legal authorization. “You know what they say, when your country is under an existential attack, intellectual property laws matter only a little,” the official said smiling. “So, we put this in order, along with other countries. Now they have all the technical data packages.”
Forbes Ukraine estimates that Moscow is spending nearly $300 million per day to finance its brutal war against Ukraine. In the 18 months of fighting since the start of the invasion, Russia has spent $167.3 billion in direct military expenditures and lost equipment, according to Forbes calculations based on data from the Ukrainian military. Based on data published and updated regularly by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the editors of Forbes concluded that the Kremlin expended more funds during the first six months of this year than it initially planned to spend in all of 2023. Major areas of Russian spending include maintenance of military operations, which includes ammunition ($51.3 billion), personnel wages ($35.1 billion), compensations to the families of troops killed or injured ($45.6 billion) and the value of destroyed equipment ($34 billion).
Culture. Ukraine’s national team finished the 2023 Invictus Games in Duesseldorf, Germany with its best results to-date, Suspline Sport reported on Sept. 16. Founded by Britain’s Prince Harry in 2014, the Invictus Games is an annual tournament focused on recovery through sports for wounded service members and veterans. Representing the warring nation this year were 25 athletes, including former members of the armed forces, national guard, and volunteer battalions. The participants all shared a common, inspiring goal: to return to everyday normalcy. Ukraine closed the seven-day tournament with a total of 34 medals. Nazar Volzniuk emerged as the most “titled” national team player, with six medals, while Volodymyr Tovkys secured his second spot with four medals.
By Daria Dzysiuk, Karina L. Tahiliani