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Ukraine updates: Lviv city targeted by drone attack

Published September 19, 2023last updated September 20, 2023

At least one person was killed in the Russian attack on the western Ukrainian city, officials said. Meanwhile, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is set to take center stage at the UN General Assembly. DW has the latest.

In this photo provided by the Ukrainian Emergency Service, emergency services personnel work to extinguish a fire following a Russian attack in Lviv on September 19
Three warehouses in Lviv were destroyed in the attackImage: Ukrainian Emergency Service/AP Photo/picture alliance
Skip next section What you need to know

What you need to know

Russian drone strikes caused fires in three industrial warehouses and killed at least one person in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, according to local officials 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy took center stage at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday where he said Russia was weaponizing food against the world.

Russia's Foreign Ministry hailed Beijing's position on Ukraine as the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held meetings with his Russian counterpart in Moscow

Here are the main headlines concerning Russia's war in Ukraine on Tuesday, September 19:

Skip next section US Defense Secretary Lloyd urges allies to commit to Ukraine's air defenses
September 20, 2023

US Defense Secretary Lloyd urges allies to commit to Ukraine's air defenses

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin urged allies to "dig deep" and provide more air defense systems for Ukraine.

"Air defense is saving lives," Austin said at the close of the meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

"I urged allies and partners to dig deep and donate whatever air defense munitions they can as Ukraine heads into another winter of war."

Kyiv has asked for long-range missiles from allies, but its partners have been reticent to send them because they fear it could lead to an escalation of the conflict.

He and General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the key was to prepare Ukraine to continue to make progress as it continues to wage a counteroffensive against Russian forces over the coming winter months.

What is the European Sky Shield Initiative?

Skip next section Zelenskyy says Russia using food and energy as weapons
September 19, 2023

Zelenskyy says Russia using food and energy as weapons

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says, in addition to its war on Ukraine, Russia is trying to "weaponize" things like the global food and energy supply to create broader disruption.

"The aggressor is weaponizing many other things and those things are used not only against our country but against all of yours as well," Zelenskyy told the UN General Assembly. 

"Russia is launching food prices as weapons. The impact spans from the Atlantic Coast of Africa to southeast Asia."

Zelenskyy also highlighted the weaponizing of energy such as oil and gas to Europe, and said Russia was using nuclear power plants as potential "dirty bombs."

Children were also being weaponized, said Zelenskyy. "We know the names of tens of thousands of children" who had been deported, he said. Ukraine's hopes of bringing President Vladimir Putin before an international criminal tribunal are currently tied to allegations of the deportation of Ukrainian children and this constituting a form of genocide. 

Skip next section Joe Biden urges unity in face of Russian aggression
September 19, 2023

Joe Biden urges unity in face of Russian aggression

US President Joe Biden told the UN General Assembly the world must remain united against Russian aggression, and said no nation would be secure if Moscow was allowed to win in Ukraine.

Biden said was Russia was counting on countries to grow tired of prolonged conflict in Kyiv which will "allow it to brutalize Ukraine without consequence."

"I ask you this: If we abandon the core principles of the United States to appease an aggressor, can any member state in this body feel confident that they are protected?" Biden said in his address.

"If we allow Ukraine to be carved up, is the independence of any nation secure?"

Skip next section Czechs to get funding from allies for Ukraine weapon supplies
September 19, 2023

Czechs to get funding from allies for Ukraine weapon supplies

The Czech Republic has signed a letter of intent with Denmark and the Netherlands on financial support for deliveries of Czech weapons to Ukraine, the country's defense ministry says.

The ministry said it will help cover supplies of additional tanks, howitzers, small arms, air defense capacities and forms of electronic warfare or ammunition. The first project will be the donation of modernized T-72EA tanks in the near future, it

Meanwhile, Denmark will donate another 45 tanks to Ukraine, news agency Ritzau reported citing the country's Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen. The donation will consist of 30 Leopard 1 tanks and 15 T-72 tanks.

'It is in our own vital interest to support Ukraine'

Skip next section Three people killed in Russian attack on Ukrainian town of Kupiansk
September 19, 2023

Three people killed in Russian attack on Ukrainian town of Kupiansk

At least three people have been killed in a Russian attack on the northeastern Ukrainian town of Kupiansk, a regional official said.

"Today, the enemy attacked the town of Kupiansk with a guided air bomb," Kharkiv region governor Oleh Synehubov said on the Telegram messaging app.

Russia has been leading a local offensive in Kupyansk for weeks. In August, Ukrainian authorities ordered evacuation from the city.

Ukrainian authorities order evacuation of Kupiansk

Skip next section Ukraine urges world court to impose 'reparations' on Russia
September 19, 2023

Ukraine urges world court to impose 'reparations' on Russia

Ukraine said the International Court of Justice (ICJ) should impose reparations on Russia for its "war of annihilation," arguing that international law itself was at stake.

"Russia is not above the law. It must be held accountable," Ukraine's lead speaker, Anton Korynevych, told the court, sitting just a few meters from his Russian opponents in the Peace Palace in The Hague.

"You have the power to declare that Russia's actions are unlawful, that its continued abuses must stop, that your orders must be followed, and that Russia must make reparations," he told the judges.

Ukraine dragged Russia before the ICJ only a few days after the February 24, 2022, invasion, seeking to battle its belligerent neighbor on all fronts  legal, diplomatic and military.

Kyiv's argument is that Russian President Vladimir Putin invoked a supposed "genocide" against pro-Russian people in eastern Ukraine as one of the reasons for Moscow invading its neighbor.

In a preliminary ruling in March last year, the ICJ sided with Ukraine and ordered Russia to halt its invasion immediately. But Russia objected to this judgement, saying the ICJ had no legal right to decide in this case.

ICJ hearings on Russian genocide allegations

Skip next section NYT reports 'errant' Ukraine air defense caused market blast
September 19, 2023

NYT reports 'errant' Ukraine air defense caused market blast

Flames rise and people run during an attack on the city of Kostiantynivka in eastern Ukraine, September 6
The explosion at the busy market earlier this month killed at least 16 peopleImage: Volodymyr Zelenskiy Via Telegram/REUTERS

The New York Times (NYT) reported, citing evidence it had collected, that  a deadly explosion at a busy market in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kostiantynivka this month was likely caused by an errant missile fired by Ukraine.

Ukraine has said the September 6 blast, which killed at least 16 people, was caused by a Russian missile.

"Evidence collected and analyzed by The New York Times, including missile fragments, satellite imagery, witness accounts and social media posts, strongly suggests the catastrophic strike was the result of an errant Ukrainian air defense missile fired by a Buk launch system," the newspaper reported.

It said security camera footage showed the missile flew into Kostiantynivka from the direction of Ukrainian-held territory, not from behind Russian lines.

NYT also cited evidence showing that minutes before the strike, the Ukrainian military had launched two surface-to-air missiles towards the Russian front line from the town of Druzhkivka, 16 kilometers (10 miles) northwest of Kostiantynivka. 

The report could not be independently verified. The Buk system is used both by Ukraine and Russia.

Skip next section Abrams tanks to enter Ukraine 'soon' — US defense secretary
September 19, 2023

Abrams tanks to enter Ukraine 'soon' — US defense secretary

US, German and Ukraine officials meeting in Ramstein, in Germany
Austin and Ukraine's Defense Minister Rustem Umerov are meeting at the Ramstein Air Base, southwestern GermanyImage: AFP/Getty Images

Ukraine will "soon" receive M1 Abrams tanks from the United States as Ukrainian forces make "steady" progress in a counteroffensive against Russian troops, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said at the opening of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group in Germany.

"I'm... pleased to announce that the M1 Abrams tanks that the United States had previously committed to will be entering Ukraine soon," Austin said.

The tanks will be paired with 120mm armor-piercing depleted uranium rounds that were announced earlier this month.

Washington had promised the tanks to Kyiv at the beginning of the year, part of more than $43 billion (€40 billion) in security assistance pledged by the United States since Russia launched the war in Ukraine in February 2022.

What makes the Abrams tank so effective?

Skip next section Ukrainian grain ship leaves Black Sea port despite Russian threat
September 19, 2023

Ukrainian grain ship leaves Black Sea port despite Russian threat

A cargo ship carrying grain left the Southern Black Sea port despite a Russian threat to treat civilian vessels as potential military targets, said Kyiv on Tuesday.  

"The vessel Resilient Africa with 3,000 tons of wheat has left the port of Chornomorsk and is heading towards the Bosphorus," Ukraine's Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kurakov said on twitter. 

Moscow's warnings came after it exited the UN and Turkey brokered grain deal which permitted  maritime exports from Ukraine to be shipped peacefully. 

However, Kyiv has since created a "humanitarian" naval corridor which several cargo ships have used. The first cargo ship that crossed this corridor was in August.

Kurakov also said that the ship entered the Ukrainian port several weeks earlier via the new corridor along with another vessel that would soon depart for Egypt. 

Skip next section Russia ramps up military production by nearly ten-fold
September 19, 2023

Russia ramps up military production by nearly ten-fold

Moscow has ramped up the production of military hardware by more than tenfold, said Russia's biggest weapons producer on Tuesday. 

The Russian army in Ukraine will now get an increased number of missiles, drones, combat vehicles and artillery. 

President Vladimir Putin ordered the increased output to ensure Moscow's objectives in Ukraine are met despite the West supplying Kyiv with weapons and imposing sanctions on Russia. 

Bekhan Ozdoev, industrial director of the armament complex at Rostec, the Russian state corporation which controls much of the weapons industry said that the production volume for various types of weapons have been increased between two to ten times. 

"We are going forward at cruising speed, smoke from all the pipes," he said. Rostec, which is sanctioned by the West, is run by Sergei Chemezov, a close ally of Putin. 

It controls 800 Russian civilian and defense entities and is by far Russia's biggest arms producer.

Skip next section G7 calls on China to press Moscow to stop its war on Ukraine
September 19, 2023

G7 calls on China to press Moscow to stop its war on Ukraine

The Group of Seven (G7) called on China to push Moscow to stop its aggression in Ukraine on Tuesday. 

The bloc met along the sidelines of the UN General Assembly and released a statement which hoped that China would ask for the immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine. 

China exporting military gear to Russia despite sanctions

The statement comes as China's top diplomat Wang Yi visits Moscow for a four-day trip where both nations are expected to pledge deeper political ties. 

The G7 also welcomed Beijing's participation in the Ukraine-led meeting in Jeddah and "encouraged China to support a just and lasting peace, including through its direct dialogue with Ukraine."

Skip next section Russia hails China's position on Ukraine
September 19, 2023

Russia hails China's position on Ukraine

Russia and China are closely aligned on their stand on resolving the Ukraine conflict, said Moscow's foreign ministry after talks between their top diplomats on Monday. 

China's Wang Yi kicked off his four-day visit to Moscow with a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. 

Moscow, in its statement said that both parties "discussed in detail the current state of affairs in Ukraine, noting the futility of attempts to resolve the crisis without taking into account Russia's interests and, all the more so, without Russia's participation." 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks to China's Wang Yi
Russia hailed China's position on Ukraine Image: Russian Foreign Ministry/AFP

Meanwhile, Wang reiterated Beijing's position on the Ukraine conflict and called for peace talks

He told Lavrov that the intended peace talks will take into account "the security concerns of all parties and is conducive to eliminating the root causes of the conflict," reported the Chinese state media outlet Xinhua

EU leaders push China on Ukraine stance

So far, China has positioned itself as a neutral party in the Ukraine conflict. However, Beijing has continuously offered Moscow a vital diplomatic and financial lifeline as its international isolation deepens. 

Skip next section Zelenskyy to take center-stage at UN summit
September 19, 2023

Zelenskyy to take center-stage at UN summit

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is set to take center-stage as world leaders gather for the UN General Assembly on Tuesday. 

Zelenksyy is expected to use his speech to demand further condemnation of Russia. 

He will also meet leaders with differing views including Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silvawho has previously said that Ukraine is to partly blame for Russia's attack on Kyiv and criticized the millions of dollars of aid being sent to Ukraine. 

Zelenskyy speaking at the UN Generally Assembly in 2022.
Ukrainian President Zelenskyy is set to take center-stage at the UNImage: Jason DeCrow/AP/picture alliance

On Wednesday Zelenskyy will take part in a special session on Ukraine at the Security Council where Russia is a permanent member wielding a veto over any binding action. 

Zelenskyy, who earlier called Russian President Vladimir Putin a "second Hitler" also said that the  UN is still providing "a place for Russian terrorists."

The world must "decide whether we want to stop Putin, or whether we want to start the beginning of a world war," Zelensky said.

Ever since its invasion, Russia has met overwhelming criticism at the General Assembly but the focus on the war has also drawn criticism from developing countries who believe it has distracted from other urgent priorities.

Putin will not be attending this year's UN summit. 

Skip next section Ukraine's Lviv under drone attack
September 19, 2023

Ukraine's Lviv under drone attack

Ukraine's western city of Lviv was attacked by drones leaving atleast one person dead on Tuesday.  

Numerous explosions and movements of heavy vehicles on the streets were observed during the nightly curfew. 

The Russian attack struck three industrial warehouses and caused a huge fire.

Lviv's Governor Maxim Kozitsky that the warehouses "are ordinary industrial warehouses. Nothing military was stored there."

He added that Moscow had launched 18 drones of which 15 had been shot down, including seven which were directly over the Lviv region. 

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In this 2019 file photo, Russian helicopters and a Russian warship are pictured during a military parade in Sevastopol
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