Key developments on Nov. 21:
- EU Council chief, German defense minister, Moldovan president in Kyiv for EuroMaidan anniversary
- Germany pledges $1.4 billion military aid package for Ukraine
- UN records over 28,500 civilian casualties in Ukraine
- ABC News: US shell deliveries to Ukraine have dropped over 30% since Hamas attack on Israel
- Russian attacks kill 4, injure at least 14 over 24 hour period
Moldovan President Maia Sandu, European Council President Charles Michel and German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius arrived in Kyiv on Nov. 21 on the occasion of the Day of Dignity and Freedom, the Ukrainian holiday marking the start of the EuroMaidan protests and the Orange Revolution.
"I am absolutely convinced that our future will be safer with Ukraine within the European Union," European Council President Charles Michel said during a meeting in Kyiv with President Volodymyr Zelensky and Moldovan President Maia Sandu on Nov. 21.
Ukrainians "are fighting for our common values" and "our common future," Michel said.
Addressing the people of Ukraine and Moldova, he said that their respective presidents "made a very clear and strategic choice" when deciding to apply for EU membership.
Michel said that "it is our moral duty and also our strategic responsibility to do everything to deliver" on this choice.
EuroMaidan is "a landmark in our shared European history" Michel said during a joint press conference with Sandu and Zelensky.
The message that Ukrainians are Europeans "is guiding Ukraine through its challenges and also toward a better future."
"Speaking with one voice, we become stronger and more resilient," Sandu wrote in a caption of photo of the press conference on X.
Sandu, President Volodymyr Zelensky, and First Lady Olena Zelenska paid their respects together to the more than 100 people killed in the 2013-2014 EuroMaidan Revolution.
The Day of Dignity and Freedom was established by presidential decree in 2014. Ukraine celebrates the 10th anniversary of the EuroMaidan and the 19th anniversary of the Orange Revolution this year.
In addition, Sandu said she planned to meet with Michel and Zelensky to discuss the next steps of Moldova and Ukraine's accession to the EU, improving regional security, and the EU's support for reforms and development in the respective countries.
Pistorius made an unannounced visit to Kyiv, the Defense Ministry reported on Nov. 21.
Pistorius is in Kyiv to "personally see the current situation and the effectiveness of German support," the ministry wrote.
Shortly after arrival, Pistorius visited a memorial to the EuroMaidan revolution and laid flowers to commemorate those killed, marking the 10th anniversary of the day when the revolution started.
The EuroMaidan Revolution began in November 2013, when pro-Kremlin President Viktor Yanukovych refused to sign the long-awaited Association Agreement with the European Union, shortly thereafter receiving a loan from the Kremlin.
The government moved against the revolution in a violent crackdown, which resulted in over 100 protesters killed who are now commemorated in Ukraine as the "Heavenly Hundred."
The protests culminated in February 2014 with Yanukovych and other high-ranking officials fleeing to Russia and being replaced by a pro-Western interim government.
Zelensky commented on Ukraine's progress in its fight for freedom and European integration since the EuroMaidan protests.
"Year after year, step by step, we do everything to ensure that our star shines in the circle of stars on the EU flag, which symbolizes the unity of the peoples of Europe," Zelensky said.
"Twenty years ago, it was a romantic dream, 10 years ago, it was an ambitious goal, and today, it is a reality in which it is no longer possible to stop our progress."
He expressed confidence in Ukraine's future in the European Union despite the war and all the tragedies that have befallen the country in the past 10 years, especially since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion.
"Years and centuries from now, when (hearing) about Ukraine as an integral part of Europe, all future generations will ask in schools: how could it have been otherwise?"
Ingrida Simonyte, the Prime Minister of Lithuania, also marked the holiday, saying, that "without Ukraine, the EU family is incomplete."
"The future of Ukraine is in the European Union. The future that the Maidan fought for has finally begun," said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in a post about the holiday.
Germany pledges $1.4 billion military aid package for Ukraine
Germany will provide Ukraine with another military aid package worth 1.3 billion euros ($1.42 billion), Pistorius said during his visit to Kyiv.
The tranche will include four IRIS-T SLM air defense systems, 20,000 155mm shells, and anti-tank mines, Pistorius said during a press conference with his Ukrainian counterpart Rustem Umerov.
"I am sure this will help you in your fight against Russian aggression. This underlines that we stand with Ukraine sustainably and reliably," Pistorius commented.
The artillery shells come on top of 140,000 155mm rounds Germany pledged to deliver in 2024, the German defense minister noted.
When asked about the possible delivery of the much-desired Taurus long-range missiles, Pistorius replied that there is no new information on Taurus.
According to Deutsche Welle, citing AFP, the trip's main purpose was to discuss training programs for Ukrainian soldiers and Germany's continuing military aid for Ukraine.
It was Pistorius' second visit to Kyiv since he became defense minister in January 2023.
Pistorius' arrival in Kyiv came one day after another unannounced visit to the Ukrainian capital by U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
Germany is the world's second-biggest provider of military aid to Ukraine after the U.S.
UN records over 28,500 civilian casualties in Ukraine
At least 10,000 civilians have been killed, and over 18,500 have been injured since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU) said on Nov. 21.
The figure of 10,000, which includes over 560 children, consists of civilian deaths verified according to UN methodology.
The HRMMU noted that the actual number of those killed and injured is likely to be significantly higher.
Between August and October, nearly half of civilian casualties were recorded "far away from the front lines," the monitoring mission's head Danielle Bell, said.
"No place in Ukraine is completely safe."
The same period saw 86% of civilian casualties being recorded in territories of Ukraine under Kyiv's control.
"The vast majority were caused by explosive weapons with wide area effect," such as artillery shells, missiles, and cluster munitions, according to the HRMMU.
There is also a disproportionate representation of older people among the casualty figures, as they are often unable to relocate to safer areas.
"The Russian Federation's war against Ukraine, now entering into its 21st month, risks evolving into a protracted conflict, with the severe human cost being painful to fathom," Bell said.
UN Human Rights chief Volker Turk said on March 31 that the number of civilian casualties resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine far outstrips official figures.
"These figures are just the tip of the iceberg," Turk said during a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.
ABC News: US shell deliveries to Ukraine have dropped over 30% since Hamas' Oct 7 attack
The U.S.'s deliveries of NATO-standard 155mm shells to Ukraine have decreased "by more than 30%" since the beginning of the Israel-Hamas conflict on Oct. 7, an unnamed Ukrainian official told ABC News on Nov. 21.
"They (U.S. officials) were telling us it (the Israel-Hamas war) wouldn’t influence the commitments (from the U.S.), but it did," the official said.
However, an unnamed senior U.S. defense official disputed that connection, saying to ABC News that the reduction in shell provisions has "absolutely nothing to do with what's happening in Gaza."
According to the U.S. official, the U.S. presidential drawdown authority packages "start to get put together weeks in advance, so there is no link between what's happening in Gaza to what’s happening in Ukraine."
It is not the first time that such a connection has been drawn.
President Volodymyr Zelensky echoed the assessment, saying on Nov. 16 that the delivery of shells from Western allies had "really slowed down" since the beginning of the Israel-Hamas conflict.
"Let’s be frank: the crisis in the Middle East is already having a lasting impact on our policy in Ukraine," said Josep Borrell, the EU's top diplomat, in a speech on Nov. 6.
Russian attacks kill 4, injure 14 over 24 hours
Russian attacks in Kherson and Kharkiv oblasts killed at least three people and injured another four in the past day, regional authorities reported on Nov. 21.
Russian forces hit a residential building in Kherson on the morning of Nov. 21, leaving a 59-year-old man with a leg injury, the Kherson Oblast Military Administration said on Telegram.
Russian troops struck Kherson Oblast 44 times over the course of 24 hours, killing two civilians and injuring three, Governor Oleksandr Prokudin said in the morning of Nov. 21.
Tanks, warplanes, drones, multiple launch rocket systems, mortars, and artillery were reportedly used to strike Kherson Oblast.
Russian artillery and air strikes on Kherson Oblast on later on Nov. 21 injured at least four civilians, the Kherson Oblast Prosecutor's Office reported.
In Kharkiv Oblast, Russian attacks in the town of Kozacha Lopan damaged a residential building and started a fire, Governor Oleh Syniehubov said.
Once the fire was extinguished, the body of a 29-year-old man was found, Syniehubov said early on Nov. 21.
Russian troops targeted a total of 16 settlements in Ukraine's northeastern Kharkiv Oblast over the past day, the governor added.