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Ukraine war latest: Zelensky says Russia has lost at least a brigade trying to capture Avdiivka

by The Kyiv Independent news desk October 27, 2023 9:18 PM 7 min read
Flags at the entrance to Avdiivka on Oct. 26, 2023. Fighting has intensified in recent days after Russia launched a major offensive here earlier this month. (Kostya Liberov / Libkos via Getty Images)
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Key developments on Oct. 27:

  • Zelensky: Russia has lost at least a brigade trying to capture Avdiivka
  • Germany delivers IRIS-T air defense system, other aid to Ukraine
  • Russian pilot sentenced in absentia to 14 years in prison for killing civilian
  • Ukraine retrieves 50 bodies of fallen soldiers
  • Wanted pro-Russian politician reportedly shot in Crimea
  • Russia claims drone attack on Kursk Nuclear Power Plant

Russia has lost at least a brigade of troops trying to capture Avdiivka in Donetsk Oblast during its latest offensive, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Oct. 27.

A brigade in the Russian army can include between 2,000 and 8,000 personnel, according to open sources.

"Russia will continue trying to occupy the entire Donbas (region)," Zelensky told U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in a phone call. "The invaders made several attempts to surround Avdiivka, but each time, our soldiers stopped them and pushed them back, causing painful losses."

Russia has been intensifying its attacks against Avdiivka, a front-line town a few kilometers north of occupied Donetsk, for several weeks. Moscow has reportedly thrown in extensive forces to encircle the town, suffering heavy losses in manpower and equipment in the process.

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War Notes

In addition to the situation on the battlefield, Zelensky and Sunak discussed further support for Ukraine, the country's air defense needs, and the security situation in the Black Sea, according to the President's Office.

Zelensky assured Sunak that the temporary Black Sea corridor established by Ukraine after Russia terminated the U.N.-brokered grain deal would continue operating "despite all threats." The two leaders discussed further steps in implementing insurance for civilian ships.

Ukraine's president also thanked Sunak for the U.K.'s £100 million (about $122 million) military aid package for Ukraine announced on Oct. 11.

The package includes a variety of military equipment that can be used to breach minefields, as well as the provision of the multi-use MSI-DS Terrahawk Paladin, a remote-controlled air-defense system that also has the capability to defend against ground threats.

Record Russian armor, personnel losses in failed attempt to take Avdiivka by storm
Starting on Oct. 9, Russian forces launched an offensive at the flanks of the city of Avdiivka. It has been an undisputed failure so far.

Germany delivers IRIS-T air defense system, other aid to Ukraine

Germany has handed over an IRIS-T SLM air defense system, IRIS-T SLS missiles, 5,000 155mm artillery shells, and other defense assistance as part of its latest aid deliveries to Ukraine, the German government announced on Oct. 27.

The delivery also included four armored personnel carriers, eight Vector reconnaissance drones, a TRML-4D aerial radar, four ground radars, five unmanned surface ships, and six border guard vehicles.

Ammunition for MARS II multiple-launch rocket systems, four tractors with semi-trailers, and 10,000 safety glasses were also included, Berlin said.

Advanced Western air defenses represent a crucial aid for Ukraine ahead of the coming winter. Ukrainian officials have warned that Russia will likely intensify its strikes against the country's energy infrastructure in the following months.

Previously, Germany transferred two IRIS-T SLS systems to Ukraine in August, in addition to two SLM versions delivered in April this year and October 2022.

SLM variants have a range of up to 40 kilometers, while their shorter-range SLS counterparts can reach targets 12 kilometers away.

Russian pilot sentenced in absentia to 14 years in prison for killing civilian

A court in Chernihiv has sentenced a Russian pilot to 14 years in prison for killing a local civilian last year, the Prosecutor General's Office announced on Oct. 27.

The sentencing was carried out in absentia.

A Russian Sukhoi Su-34 jet was shot down over Chernihiv on March 5, 2022, amid the first weeks of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The navigator was killed, but the pilot survived.

A local resident, Vitalii Serhiienko, found the pilot hiding on his property. Although Serhiienko was unarmed, the pilot shot him, leaving Serhiienko to die of his injuries.

The pilot was detained by members of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, and named by Ukraine's Military Intelligence as Aleksandr Krasnoyartsev, a major in the Russian Air Force.

Photos posted on social media appeared to show Krasnoyartsev posing with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, leading Ukrainian investigators to believe it was likely that he took part in Russian engagements in Syria.

However, Krasnoyartsev was later exchanged in a prisoner swap that saw five Ukrainian pilots return home, according to Ukrainian Military Intelligence.

The court in Chernihiv found the pilot guilty of violating the laws and customs of war and committing intentional murder.

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Ukraine retrieves 50 bodies of fallen soldiers

The bodies of 50 fallen Ukrainian defenders have been returned to Ukrainian-controlled territory, the Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of the Prisoners of War reported on Oct. 27.

The bodies will be transported to specialized state institutions for forensic examination and identification, the headquarters said on Telegram.

The transfer was conducted in cooperation with Ukraine’s Interior Ministry, the Armed Forces, the Security Service, the State Emergency Service, and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The bodies of almost 2,000 soldiers have been repatriated to Ukraine in the last two years, according to the Coordination Headquarters.

Ukraine has not disclosed how many soldiers were killed in Russia’s full-scale invasion. The General Staff told the Kyiv Independent that the information about losses is secret and will only be revealed after the war is over.

As more soldiers go missing, desperate families left in limbo
Sixteen months have passed since Halyna Nikiforova’s husband went missing on Ukraine’s eastern front line. But the 40-year-old Sloviansk native still texts him daily stories about their children. “They were everything to him,” Nikiforova said of their 13 and 15-year-old sons. “They…

Wanted pro-Russian politician reportedly shot in Crimea

Oleg Tsaryov, a pro-Russian Ukrainian politician who fled Ukraine in 2014, was shot in the early hours of Oct. 27 in Russian-occupied Crimea, according to Russian reports.

Tsaryov is a Dnipro-born businessman and former lawmaker for the former pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's Party of the Regions.

Following the EuroMaidan Revolution, he nominated himself for the 2014 presidential elections but later withdrew his candidacy, claiming his safety was at risk.

He went on to serve as an official of Russia's illegitimate proxies in the Russian-occupied parts of eastern Donbas.

Tsaryov is now reportedly in hospital in serious condition.

"Information about the attempt on Oleg Tsaryov is confirmed by his relatives. Around midnight, he was shot twice in the territory of the sanatorium where he lives," Tsaryov's Telegram channel claimed.

Tsaryov has been wanted by the Ukrainian authorities since after Russia's initial invasion of Ukraine in 2014 for supporting the Russian occupation of Ukrainian territories.

In March 2022, a Kyiv court brought new charges against him after he appeared in Russian-occupied Borodianka in Kyiv Oblast, claiming to deliver humanitarian aid.

U.S. intelligence identified Tsaryov as a potential puppet leader the Kremlin could have installed if they had successfully occupied Kyiv, according to the New York Times.

Tsaryov openly admitted to the New York Times that he participated in Russia's full-scale invasion.

He has been under Western sanctions since 2014.

EuroMaidan murders case: Why is the verdict criticized, and why is it about Russia?
Almost 10 years after the 2013-2014 EuroMaidan Revolution, a court ruled against those implicated in the murders of dozens of protesters in the revolution’s final days. Yet, the prosecutors and lawyers who fought for years to see a fair trial say justice hasn’t been served. Kyiv’s Svyatoshynsky Di…

Russia claims drone attack on Kursk Nuclear Power Plant

Three drones attempted to attack the Kursk Nuclear Power Plant on the evening of Oct. 26, the Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom claimed on Oct. 27.

"This event did not affect the station's operation," and there were no casualties or damage, Rosatom said in a statement.

Air defense systems in Kursk Oblast intercepted drones multiple times over the evening of Oct. 26, the Russian Defense Ministry claimed.

The nuclear power plant is located around 70 kilometers from the border with Ukraine's Sumy Oblast.

Ukraine's National Resistance Center reported in August that Russia is preparing to stage a provocation at the plant involving the evacuation of some of the local population.

The Russian authorities make regular allegations about drone attacks in Kursk Oblast, something that Ukraine does not always claim responsibility for.

However, reports emerged in the Ukrainian media in September that Ukraine's Security Service (SBU) used a drone to destroy a Russian radar system in Kursk Oblast.

Claims of the attack on the Kursk Nuclear Power Plant come days after Russian drones hit the area around the Khmelnytskyi Nuclear Power Plant in western Ukraine, damaging buildings in the plant's premises.

Following the attack on Oct. 25, President Zelensky said that Ukraine will "not only defend" itself but also "respond" to Russia's "terrorist attacks" on critical infrastructure.

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