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Ukraine updates: Berlin pledges €1.3 billion in military aid

Published November 21, 2023last updated November 22, 2023

Germany announced another military aid package worth €1.3 billion for Ukraine, including four more IRIS T-SLM air defense systems. Follow DW for more.

German Iris-T air defense system
German Iris-T air defense systems proved effective in repelling Russian missile attacks on UkraineImage: Diehl Defence/abaca/picture alliance
Skip next section What you need to know

What you need to know

German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius announced another military aid package worth €1.3 billion for Ukraine, that will include four more IRIS T-SLM air defense systems. Pistorius also paid tribute to those killed during the demonstrations on Maidan square ten years ago. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told Ukrainians that 10 years ago, "Ukrainians launched their first counteroffensive" against Russian attempts to "deprive Ukraine of a European future," referring to the pro-European Maidan protests.

Meanwhile, the US said it will provide Ukraine with another $100 million in military aid, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said during a visit to Kyiv.

The US State Department also announced it was imposing sanctions against two members of the Russian military, including the so-called "Butcher of Bucha," over alleged human rights violations in Ukraine.

Here's a look at the latest developments of Russia's war in Ukraine from Tuesday, November 21.

Skip next section UN warns Ukraine could fail to meet wheat demands
November 22, 2023

UN warns Ukraine could fail to meet wheat demands

If Black Sea export routes remain shuttered with continued attacks on food infrastructure in Ukraine, the war-battered country may fail to meet domestic and export wheat demand in the coming years, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has warned.

Ukraine's grain production and export facilities have suffered due to 31 documented attacks since mid-July, as per a forthcoming report by the UN's Human Rights Office (OHCHR).

WFP's Ukraine Director Matthew Hollingworth cited the report to the UN Security Council, adding that 28 of the attacks "were in Odesa Oblast alone, which is home of the vital Black Sea and Danube River terminals essential for global trade."

"If attacks on food infrastructure and the blockage of sea export routes continue, it will dramatically impact the agricultural production outlook over years to come, and may, in a worst-case scenario, lead to wheat production being unable to meet domestic and export demand," Hollingworth said.

Russia's UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told the UNSC that Moscow only targets military infrastructure, and not civilian infrastructure. 

Skip next section UN says civilian death toll in Ukraine tops 10,000
November 21, 2023

UN says civilian death toll in Ukraine tops 10,000

More than 10,000 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since Russia invaded in February 2022, with about half of recent deaths occurring far behind the front lines, the UN Human Rights Office said.

The UN human rights mission in Ukraine, which has dozens of monitors in the country, said it expects the real toll to be "significantly higher" than the official tally since corroboration work is ongoing.

This includes events in the first months after the invasion, such as the battle for control of Mariupol, where residents reported high civilian casualties.

The vast majority of the deaths have been caused by explosive weapons with a wide-area impact such as shells, missiles and cluster munitions, the United Nations said.

Close to half of the deaths in the last three months have occurred far beyond the front lines, the UN said, attributing this to Russian forces' use of long-range missiles and the late explosion of abandoned ordinances.

Skip next section Germany pledges new military aid worth €1.3 billion for Ukraine
November 21, 2023

Germany pledges new military aid worth €1.3 billion for Ukraine

Germany on Tuesday announced €1.3 billions ($1.4 billion) more in military gear for Ukraine, including four further IRIS T-SLM air defense systems as well as artillery ammunition.

The package was unveiled by Defense Minister Boris Pistorius after talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Rustem Umerov in Kyiv.

Germany is the second biggest contributor of military equipment to Ukraine. The IRIS-T systems are highly sought after by Ukraine to shoot down Russian drones and missiles.

The latest four pledged by Germany mark the third batch of IRIS-T systems that Berlin is offering to Ukraine since the beginning of the war.

Three IRIS-T systems from the first batch have already been delivered, and a fourth will follow in this winter. A second batch of four will arrive in 2024.

Skip next section UK says Russia is likely stockpiling missiles for winter attacks
November 21, 2023

UK says Russia is likely stockpiling missiles for winter attacks

Between the 18-19 November 2023 Russia launched around 50 Iranian-designed Shahed drones, primarily towards Kyiv, the British Ministry of Defense said in its daily intelligence update.

One of Russia's goals was likely to degrade Ukraine's air defenses in order to shape the battlefield ahead of a concerted winter campaign of strikes against Ukraine's energy infrastructure, the ministry said.

"Russia has now refrained from launching its premier air launched cruise missiles from its heavy bomber fleet for nearly two months, likely allowing it to build up a substantial stock of these weapons," the update said.

The update concludes that Russia is highly likely to use these missiles if it repeats last year's efforts to destroy Ukraine's critical national infrastructure.

Ukraine looks to secure infrastructure from winter strikes

Skip next section Russia claims thwarting Ukrainian Dnipro River landings near Kherson
November 21, 2023

Russia claims thwarting Ukrainian Dnipro River landings near Kherson

Soliders wade in a river
Ukrainian servicemen board a boat on the shore of Dnipro River in October Image: Mstyslav Chernov/AP Photo/picture alliance

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that Ukraine had failed to carry out a landing operation in the Kherson region.

Shoigu's ministry said earlier on Tuesday that marines, aviation and artillery had scuppered further Ukrainian attempts to gain a foothold on the eastern bank of the Dnipro River and on islands at the mouth of the river in southern Ukraine.

Ukrainian and Russian forces have been entrenched on opposite sides of the vast waterway in the southern Kherson region for more than a year, after Russia withdrew its troops from the western bank last November. 

Earlier this month, however, Ukraine said its forces had crossed the Dnipro and established several bridgeheads on the river's eastern bank, and Russia confirmed this.

A bridgehead on the east bank of the Dnipro could allow a deeper offensive in the south and offer protection to Ukrainian towns and villages facing relentless Russian shelling.

Skip next section Michel visits Kyiv to express EU support
November 21, 2023

Michel visits Kyiv to express EU support

European Council President Charles Michel made an unannounced visit to the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, on the tenth anniversary of the start of the pro-European Maidan protest movement.

"Good to be back in Kyiv, among friends," Michel posted on social media alongside a picture of him descending from a train.

Michel said ahead of his arrival in Kyiv that he was coming to "express the strong support of the EU" and prepare with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for an upcoming European Union summit in December.

The European Commission recommended in early November that formal membership talks be opened with Ukraine. The EU's 27 leaders must sign off on the recommendations at the summit.

Skip next section German Defense Minister Pistorius visits Kyiv
November 21, 2023

German Defense Minister Pistorius visits Kyiv

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius arrived by train in Kyiv on Tuesday on an unannounced visit, where he is due to meet President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Pistorius said he wanted to express Germany's "deep solidarity and admiration for the courageous, brave and costly fight that is being
waged here."

The visit will touch upon military aid to Ukraine, as well as reaffirming Germany's support in resisting the Russian invasion. Pistorius is scheduled to meet his Ukrainian counterpart, Rustem Umerov.

Pistorius also visited a makeshift memorial for those killed during the Maidan protests in Kyiv, which started on November 21, 2013. 

"Courageous people of all ages took to the streets for freedom, for rapprochement with Europe, and paid for it with their lives," he

Tuesday's visit is Pistorius' second time in Ukraine. He visited in February 2023, and pledged the delivery of German tanks. 

Russia has stepped up its attacks on Ukraine in recent weeks, amid growing concern that Western countries have shifted their attention away from Ukraine, due to the situation in the Middle East.

Germany is the second biggest military supplier to Ukraine after the US. Washington's military support to Ukraine amounts to €42.1 billion ($46 billion), and Berlin's €17.1 billion, according the Kiel Institute for World Economy research center.

Skip next section Zelenskyy says Maidan protests 10 years ago were 'the first victory of today's war'
November 21, 2023

Zelenskyy says Maidan protests 10 years ago were 'the first victory of today's war'

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed Ukrainians on the "Day of Dignity and Freedom," which commemorates two pro-democracy protest movements: the "Orange Revolution" of 2004 and the so-called "Revolution of Dignity."

The latter was sparked by protests on November 21, 2013 centered on Kyiv's Maidan square against the former pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych scrapping an agreement to bring Ukraine closer to the EU. 

"Ten years ago, we started a new page in the struggle. 10 years ago, Ukrainians launched their first counteroffensive. Against lawlessness, against the attempt to deprive us of our European future. Against our subjugation," he said a statement.

Standing in front of the flags of Ukraine and the European Union, Zelenskyy said that the country's candidate status and further accession negotiations should certainly lead to Ukraine's full membership in the EU.

Zelenskyy said that by winning the Revolution of Dignitiy, Ukrainians achieved "the first victory in today's war."

The Ukrainian president linked the Maidan protests to Russia's ongoing full-scale invasion of Ukraine, saying that "the defense of democratic values turns into the defense of sovereignty and territorial integrity."

Zelenskyy called on Ukrainians to unite and on the world to show support and solidarity with Ukraine. "When the civilized world begins to seek compromises with terrorists and make concessions to tyrants. Then we all definitely lose," he said.

Skip next section Russian strikes kill 2 in east Ukraine
November 21, 2023

Russian strikes kill 2 in east Ukraine

Overnight Russian missile attacks and shelling killed two people and wounded six in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk and Kharkiv regions, Ukrainian officials said.

Missiles hit a hospital in the Donetsk town of Selydove and a coal mine, Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said on the Telegram messaging service.

"Two buildings of the hospital were damaged, six civilians were injured. There may be victims under the rubble, search operations continue," Klymenko said. One worker was killed in the attack on the coal mine, he added.

"Four buildings, 19 vehicles and a power line were damaged. 39 miners were trapped underground. As of now, all miners have been brought to the surface," he said.

Separately, in Kharkiv, one person was killed in Russian shelling, the region's governor, Oleh Synehubov, said.

Meanwhile, Ukraine's air force said its air defenses shot down one missile and 9 of 10 drones in a Russian attack overnight.

Russian drones change Ukraine's tactics on eastern front

Skip next section US Secretary of Defense Austin announces $100 million aid in Kyiv
November 21, 2023

US Secretary of Defense Austin announces $100 million aid in Kyiv

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced a fresh package of US military aid to Ukraine worth $100 million (approximately €91.38 million), during a surprise visit to Kyiv.

The State Department said the new package includes three million rounds of small-arms ammunition and equipment for the HIMARS precision rocket launchers.

The US has supplied Ukraine since the start of the war with some $40 billion worth of security assistance, which has proved integral in Kyiv's fight against Moscow.

"The message that I bring you today, Mr. President, is that the United States of America is with you. We will remain with you for the long haul," Austin told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during the visit.

Zelenskyy told Austin that his visit was "a very important signal" for Ukraine.

"We count on your support," he added.

Recently, the sustainability of such key support has been called into question, with Republicans only advancing military aid to Israel out of an aid package for both Ukraine and Israel requested by President Joe Biden.

Biden says House turmoil could hurt Ukraine aid

Skip next section US bars 2 Russian armed forces members
November 21, 2023

US bars 2 Russian armed forces members

The United States has banned the entry of two Russians over their alleged involvement in human rights violations in Ukraine, the US State Department said on Monday.

The sanctions extend to their immediate families.

The State Department accused Russian Colonel Azatbek Omurbekov and Russian Guard Corporal Daniil Frolkin of committing extrajudicial killings of unarmed civilians in Ukraine.

Omurbekov, who has been called the "Butcher of Bucha," led a unit of soldiers that allegedly killed, dismembered and burned civilians in the town of Bucha, close to Kyiv, during the Russian occupation.

Russian President Vladimir Putin subsequently praised the unit and promoted Omurbekov.

Frolkin has been accused of executing an unarmed civilian in the eastern Ukrainian town of Andriivka.

"The reports that Omurbekov and Frolkin were involved in gross violations of human rights, as documented by NGOs and independent investigations, are serious and credible," the State Department said in a press release.