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Ukraine war latest: 128th brigade says Russian strike killed 19 of its soldiers; Attack on Odesa injures 8

by Daria Shulzhenko and The Kyiv Independent news desk November 6, 2023 10:53 PM 7 min read
The aftermath of a Russian attack on Odesa overnight on Nov. 6, 2023. (Oleksandr Gimanov/AFP via Getty Images)
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Key developments on Nov. 6:

  • Ukraine's 128th brigade confirms 19 of its soldiers were killed in Russian strike
  • Drone strikes damage Odesa port infrastructure, six architectural sites, injures 8;  Kherson Oblast attacked with 'record high' number of aerial bombs
  • Navy reports Russian ship damaged in strike in occupied Crimea was 'brand new'
  • Ukraine's Military Intelligence: Russia stockpiling missiles in anticipation of freezing temperatures
  • Zaluzhnyi's aide killed in explosion at home near Kyiv

Ukraine's 128th Separate Mountain Assault Brigade said on Nov. 6 that 19 of its soldiers were killed in a Russian missile attack.

Although the brigade did not specify details about the strike, it was likely referring to a Russian Nov. 3 attack on a front-line village in Zaporizhzhia Oblast during a military award ceremony.

Earlier on Nov. 4, the media outlet Ukrainska Pravda reported, citing a source in the Interior Ministry, that Russian forces could have killed more than 20 Ukrainian soldiers during the ceremony. Many Ukrainian service members posted the same information on their social media.

According to Ukrainska Pravda, soldiers of the 128th brigade attended the ceremony to receive honors on Missile Forces and Artillery Day.

Following the report, the State Bureau of Investigation also said that Russia had launched an Iskander missile at a village in Zaporizhzhia Oblast the day before, killing soldiers of the 128th Mountain Assault Brigade and civilians.

The attack damaged around 30 houses and outbuildings in the settlement, the bureau said, adding that its officers had opened a criminal case in connection with the incident.

An internal probe has been initiated against military officials responsible for organizing an event to mark Missile Forces and Artillery Day near the front line, the bureau added.

On Facebook, the brigade urged not to spread "unverified, often fake information" before the end of the investigation.

"The best of our fighters died... We express our sincere condolences to their families and promise to avenge our brothers a hundredfold," the brigade wrote.

President Volodymyr Zelensky also passed on his condolences to the relatives of those killed but said that the tragedy "could have been avoided."

"Defense Minister (Rustem) Umerov reported to me about the measures taken to find out all the circumstances of what happened, who specifically gave what orders. Criminal proceedings were also registered as a result of the tragedy," Zelensky said.

"The main thing is to establish the full truth about what happened and to prevent this from happening again."

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Overnight attack damages Odesa port infrastructure and museum, injures 8; Kherson Oblast attacked with 'record high' number of aerial bombs

Russian troops attacked Odesa with drones and missiles overnight on Nov. 6, damaging port infrastructure and the Odesa Fine Arts Museum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Eight people were injured as a result of the attack, according to Oblast Governor Oleh Kiper.

Five of them were hospitalized in stable condition, and three more received medical assistance on the scene, according to Kiper.

Southern Defense Forces said Russian troops used Onyx and Iskander missiles, as well as Iranian-designed Shahed-131/136 drones to attack Odesa. According to the report, 15 drones were shot down over the city.

The Air Force said Russia launched a total of 22 drones from occupied Crimea without specifying what those that were not downed by Ukrainian forces had hit.

Kipr said the attack also damaged warehouses, loading equipment, and grain trucks. Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko reported that 20 multistoried residential buildings were damaged, as well as over 20 cars.

Odesa Mayor Hennadiy Trukhanov said the attack also nearly destroyed several important works at the museum.

"A little bit here, a little bit there, and we could have lost many of our pieces, exhibits that are very famous worldwide. Fortunately, this did not happen," Trukhanov said.

The aftermath of the Russian attack on Odesa overnight on Nov. 6, 2023. (Oleksandr Gimanov/ AFP via Getty Images)

At night, Russian troops also attacked Kherson Oblast and the regional capital.

The city's military administration head, Roman Mrochko, said that Russian troops targeted residential areas in the city's central district with a Kh-31 missile.

Klymenko said four multistoried buildings were damaged, but there were no casualties.

Apart from that, Russian forces also launched 12 airstrikes at Krynky and Beryslav in Kherson Oblast. According to Klymenko, Russian troops hit the oblast with a "record high" number of aerial bombs – 87 — over the past day.

Russian attacks across Ukraine also killed one civilian and wounded 19 over the past 24 hours, according to regional authorities.

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The Askold Russian cruise missile carrier, which was damaged in a Ukrainian strike on a shipyard in occupied Crimea on Nov. 4, was "brand new," Ukraine's Navy spokesperson Dmytro Pletenchuk on Nov. 6.

The Askold "has not even been taken into the fleet yet," Pletenchuk said, explaining that it was a newly built ship of the Karakurt series of corvettes and equipped with an air defense system that used surface-to-air missiles.

However, Russian state news agency TASS reported that the ship was first floated in Kerch in September 2021.

It was designed to carry Kalibr missiles, which are frequently used to attack Ukraine.

Air Force Commander Mykola Oleshchuk announced on Nov. 4 that Ukrainian forces targeted a Russian ship in a strike on Russian-occupied Crimea but did not specify its name. The Ukrainian Navy said on Nov. 5 that the strike damaged the Askold.

According to Natalia Humeniuk, spokesperson of Ukraine's Southern Operational Command, the ship will be unable to go "on combat duty in the near future."

The damage the ship sustained has not yet been fully assessed, but "the blow was powerful," she said.

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Ukraine's Military Intelligence: Russia stockpiling missiles in anticipation of freezing temperatures

Russia is "waiting for the temperature to drop below zero" before launching mass strikes on Ukraine's energy system, Vadym Skibitskyi, a representative of Ukraine's Military Intelligence (HUR), said in a Nov. 6 interview with RBC Ukraine.

The strikes will start "when there is a greater load on our power system" during the onset of cold weather as electricity consumption peaks.

Temperatures in Kyiv are currently unseasonably warm.

Russian forces attempted to cripple Ukraine's energy network with massive strikes from October to February, leading to frequent blackouts and a lack of heating across the country.

Around 70 large energy facilities were damaged last fall and winter, Volodymyr Kudrytskyi, the head of Ukraine's state grid operator Ukrenergo, said on Oct. 27.

This year, Russia hopes for an even more destructive effect by hitting "all critical points of the energy system" in a wave of attacks, Skibitskyi said.

In early October, Zelensky said Russia would attempt to demolish Ukraine's energy infrastructure with more attacks this winter, trying to "bypass" the country's air defense systems.

"They cannot understand that Ukraine will not be conquered anyway. But (Russian troops) will try to launch more attacks and have more attempts to bypass our defenses," he said.

"We realize the threat completely."

Zaluzhnyi's aide killed in explosion at home near Kyiv

Major Hennadii Chastiakov, an assistant of Ukraine's Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi, was killed by an explosive device in his home, Zaluzhnyi announced on Nov. 6.

The officer was killed on his birthday by explosives present in one of the gifts, Ukraine's top general wrote on his Telegram channel.

The reasons and circumstances of the officer's death are to be established in a pre-trial investigation, he added.

The media reported earlier that the 39-year-old Zaluzhnyi's assistant was killed in an explosion at his home in Chaiky, Kyiv Oblast. The officer's 13-year-old son was seriously injured in the explosion and is in medical care, according to authorities.

Chastiakov's wife reportedly said that her husband was killed by a grenade contained in a gift bag with alcohol he brought home, Ukrainska Pravda reported, citing its sources in law enforcement.

"From the beginning of the full-scale invasion, Hennadii was a reliable shoulder for me, completely devoting his life to the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the fight against Russian aggression," Zaluzhnyi said in his condolences.

The officer is survived by his wife and four children.

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