Key developments on Nov. 9:
- National Guard: Russia attacks Avdiivka from 3 directions
- Ukraine extends martial law, mobilization
- Russia claims Ukrainian Neptune missile downed over Black Sea
- Russian proxies claim Ukrainian strike on occupied Skadovsk in Kherson Oblast
- Ukraine brings back 3 more children from Russian-occupied territory
Russia continues to throw infantry and equipment at the embattled city of Avdiivka, attacking from three different directions, Ruslan Muzychuk, a spokesperson for Ukraine's National Guard, reported on Nov. 9.
The Russian military has been trying to surround the heavily fortified industrial town just north of Russian-occupied Donetsk with a wide variety of tactics.
Muzychukalso said that Russian attacks in recent days were using fewer armored vehicles, possibly due to worsening weather conditions or the fact that a significant amount of Russian armor has already been destroyed in the battle for the city.
Almost 80 Russian attacks were recorded over the past day in the sector. A large number of drones are being deployed by both sides, Muzychuk said.
Russian forces intensified ground attacks against Avdiivka, Donetsk Oblast, and surrounding settlements in early October to encircle the town. The campaign has been supported by heavy shelling and air strikes.
The battle for Avdiivka has inflicted heavy losses on Russian forces. Ukraine's 47th Mechanized Brigade said on Nov. 6 that as many as 7,000 Russian soldiers have been killed or wounded there, and hundreds of tanks and armored vehicles have been destroyed.
The battle for Avdiivka illustrates the Russian military command's inability to learn from past mistakes, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said on Nov. 1.
"Avdiivka is a microcosm of the Russian General Staff’s wider failure to internalize and disseminate lessons learned by Russian forces during previous failed offensive efforts in Ukraine," ISW analysts said.
Russian forces have been trying to capture Avdiivka since 2014.
Ukraine extends martial law, mobilization
Zelensky first declared martial law and general mobilization on Feb. 24, 2022, when Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
This is the ninth time Ukraine has extended martial law since then.
Under martial law, Ukrainian men aged between 18 and 60, with some exceptions, are not allowed to leave the country as they may be called up for military service.
The Digital Transformation Ministry's head Mykhailo Fedorov said on Oct. 30 that the ministry was working on the so-called "smart mobilization" project to recruit military specialists on a voluntary basis.
The pilot project is expected to be launched within the next two months and will focus on finding drone operators for Ukraine's Armed Forces, the minister said.
Ukraine brings back 3 more kids from Russian-occupied territory
Three more children from Kherson Oblast were brought back to Ukrainian-controlled territory together with their families, Governor Oleksandr Prokudin reported on Nov. 9.
The Ombudsman’s Office, the Reintegration Ministry, the NGO Save Ukraine, and other Ukrainian authorities carried out the mission.
The children and their parents are receiving medical and psychological assistance, according to the regional governor.
Since the start of the year, Ukrainian authorities have managed to bring back 146 children from the Russian-occupied part of Kherson Oblast, according to Prokudin.
Ukraine's Armed Forces liberated Kherson and other regional settlements on the Dnipro River's west bank in November 2022 after eight months of occupation. Russian forces were pushed to the river’s east bank, which is still under Russian control.
More than 19,500 children have been identified by the Ukrainian government as having been deported or forcibly displaced by Russia. Only 386 of them have been brought back to Ukraine.
Russia imposed restrictions on Ukrainian citizens seeking entry via land border crossings on Oct. 16, making it more difficult for Ukrainian families to bring home deported children, according to the BBC's Russian Service.
Russia claims downing Neptune missile over Black Sea
The Russian Defense Ministry claimed its forces shot down a Ukrainian Neptune anti-ship missile over the Black Sea on Nov. 9.
Neptune is Ukraine’s ground-launched, domestically produced anti-ship rocket with a maximum range of 300 kilometers.
Ukraine hasn’t commented on the claim.
A “powerful” explosion was heard in the port city of Sevastopol in southwestern Crimea, according to Suspilne news outlet.
Following the explosion, Mikhail Razvozhaev, top Russian proxy in occupied Sevastopol, claimed the Russian military had destroyed an aerial target.
The Kyiv Independent couldn’t independently verify this claim.
Ukrainian forces reportedly used Neptune missiles to destroy a Russian S-400 Triumph air defense system on Sept. 14 and sink Russia’s Black Sea flagship Moskva in April last year.
In addition, Volodymyr Saldo, a Russian top proxy in neighboring Kherson Oblast, claimed that Ukrainian forces struck Russian-occupied Skadovsk on Nov. 9.
Saldo said one missile was downed, while another struck the city, allegedly injuring 11 people.
According to Suspilne Kherson, a Ukrainian news outlet, explosions were heard by the city's residents on the morning of Nov. 9.
The National Resistance Center said that, according to as of yet unconfirmed information, the attack targeted a temporary facility of the Russian FSB security service.
The Kyiv Independent could not verify the claims.
The seaside city of Skadovsk, with a pre-war population of around 17,000 some 60 kilometers south of Kherson, has been occupied by Russian forces since March 2022.