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Ukraine updates: More than a dozen dead in market attack

Published September 6, 2023last updated September 6, 2023

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said over a dozen were killed in a Russian attack on a market in the east of Ukraine. Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken made a surprise visit. Follow DW for the latest.

Emergency services work following an attack on the city of Kostiantynivka in eastern Ukraine
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russia was responsible for the attackImage: Volodymyr Zelenskiy Via Telegram/REUTERS
Skip next section What you need to know

What you need to know

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said at least 16 people had been killed in a Russian strike in the Donetsk region.

"At this moment, the artillery of Russian terrorists has killed 16 people in the city of Kostiantynivka, Donetsk region. A regular market. Shops. A pharmacy. People who did nothing wrong. Many wounded," he said in a post on social media.

Authorities later updated the death toll to 17.

Reports of the attack came as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken made an unannounced visit to Kyiv.

Here are more headlines concerning Russia's war in Ukraine on Wednesday, September 6:

Skip next section UN, EU condemn market attack
September 6, 2023

UN, EU condemn market attack

This updates article has been closed. For the latest developments about the war in Ukraine, please click here. 

The market attack on Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region drew international condemnation.

United Nations Ukraine humanitarian envoy Denise Brown said the attack "brutalized civilians in this war-torn community, killing and injuring dozens of adults and children."

The European Union condemned it as "heinous and barbaric." It accused Moscow of "terrorizing Ukraine's civilian population" and said those behind the attack would be held to account.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock also condemned it as an attack "on international law, on humanity." 

"We stand by Ukraine," Baerbock said in a post on social media.

Skip next section US announces fresh $175 million Ukraine assistance package
September 6, 2023

US announces fresh $175 million Ukraine assistance package

The US Pentagon announced additional security assistance to Ukraine worth $175 million (approximately €163 million), coinciding with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken's surprise visit to Kyiv.

The package includes additional air defense equipment, artillery munitions, anti-tank weapons and other equipment, the Pentagon said in a statement. 

It added that this was the 46th tranche of equipment to be provided to Ukraine since August 2021.

The package also includes 120mm depleted uranium tank ammunition for Abrams tanks. 

The decision to provide Ukraine with depleted uranium rounds, amid health concerns about inhaling or swallowing particulates if near explosions caused by such ammunition, could stir controversy.

The reason the ammunition is used is the high density of the material, making it suitable both as armor and for piercing armor.

The US was scheduled to start shipping Abrams tanks to Ukraine around September. Abrams tanks have depleted uranium armor and can also use depleted uranium rounds.

Ammunition stockpiles have been dwindling amid the deliveries to Ukraine. Britain has already sent such rounds to Ukraine but this would be the first US shipment.

The package was also part of assistance previously authorized under the Presidential Drawdown Authority. In June, the US announced it had miscalculated the sum of assistance and that it still had $6.2 billion to offer, as per the revised figure.

Skip next section Romania briefs NATO about possible Russian drone
September 6, 2023

Romania briefs NATO about possible Russian drone

Romania has briefed members of the NATO military alliance regarding an incident where parts of what could be a Russian drone fell on its territory.

NATO allies expressed strong solidarity with Bucharest.

"We continue to monitor the situation closely, and we remain in close contact with our Ally Romania," NATO said in a statement.

Ukrainian comments earlier in the week about the possible drone pieces landing in Romania prompted the investigation and comments from Bucharest, whose government at first voiced skepticism about the report.

Since the start of Russia's war in Ukraine in February 2022, Ukraine has reported several suspected occasions of Russian weapons flying over or crashing into neighboring countries' territory.

Perhaps the most famous case was in November of last year, when a missile hit south-eastern Poland and killed two people, but Poland and NATO allies later said they believed this had been a misfired Ukrainian air defense missile.

Skip next section Blinken hails progress in Ukraine counteroffensive
September 6, 2023

Blinken hails progress in Ukraine counteroffensive

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken hailed what he described as "very encouraging" progress in Ukraine's counteroffensive against Russia, during an unannounced visit to Kyiv which saw him meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

"We see the important progress that's being made now in the counteroffensive and that's very, very encouraging," Blinken said. 

He vowed that Washington would continue to walk "side by side" with Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Zelenskyy warned of a trying winter ahead, as the summer season comes to a close. Ukraine's first winter under war saw Russian forces attack energy infrastructure. Kyiv waited until summer to start its long anticipated counteroffensive; weather conditions in the region in the winter months tend to be unsuitable for large military operations, with often freezing temperatures, frequent snows and typically wet, soft ground.

"A difficult winter is ahead. But we're happy that we're not alone through this winter. We will do it together with our partners," Zelenskyy told Blinken. He thanked Washington for helping Ukraine's energy sector.

Skip next section Child among the dead in market attack, PM Shmygal says
September 6, 2023

Child among the dead in market attack, PM Shmygal says

The market attack has killed 17 people, Minister of Internal Affairs Ihor Klymenko said, while Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmygal added that those killed included a child.

The strike ripped through the center of Kostiantynivka, a town of some 70,000 inhabitants in the eastern Donetsk region. The Defense Ministry identified the object which hit the market as a ballistic missile.

Ukrainian authorities updated the number of injured to 32.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy suggested the attack was "deliberate."

"Those who know this place are well aware that it is a civilian area," he said at a news conference with visiting Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen. "There aren't any military units nearby. The strike was deliberate."

Local prosecutors said the attack damaged 20 shops, power lines, an administrative building and a residential building. Eight retail facilities were also burned down as a result, the authorities added.

Russia did not immediately comment on the attack.

Skip next section Zelenskyy decries lethal attack on 'regular market'
September 6, 2023

Zelenskyy decries lethal attack on 'regular market'

At least 16 people have been killed and another 20 injured in a Russian strike in the eastern city of Kostyantynivka, according to Ukrainian officials.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy posted on social media saying that "Russian terrorists" were responsible for the deadly attack which he said targeted a "regular market" and "people who did nothing wrong."

"Anyone in the world who is still dealing with anything Russian simply ignores this reality. Heinous evil. Brazen wickedness. Utter inhumanity," Zelenskyy posted, along with video purportedly from the scene of the attack.

The Associated Press (AP) news ageny reported that its journalists were at the site of the attack, and that covered bodies could be seen lying on the ground while emergency workers extinguished fires at nearby market stalls.

The office of the prosecutor general said twenty shops, power lines, an administrative building and the floor of an apartment building were damaged.

Search and rescue crews were scouring the rubble for any trapped civilians.

Reports of the attack came as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken made an unannounced two-day visit to Kyiv.

Skip next section Ukraine's parliament approves new Defense Minister Umerov
September 6, 2023

Ukraine's parliament approves new Defense Minister Umerov

The newly appointed Defense Minister Rustem Umerov vowed to do everything possible to recapture the territory under Russia's control.

"I will do everything possible and impossible for the victory of Ukraine — when we liberate every centimeter of our country and every one of our people," Umerov said in a social media post.

Earlier, Ukrainian lawmakers approved Umerov's appointment as the country's new defense minister after being nominated by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Umerov replaces Oleksii Reznikov who was dismissed from his ministerial position over the weekend.

Umerov is active in Crimea's Tatar Muslim community, annexed by Russia from Ukraine in 2014.

Skip next section China cautions against 'a new Cold War'
September 6, 2023

China cautions against 'a new Cold War'

Chinese Premier Li Qiang has urged major world powers "to oppose taking sides, bloc confrontation and a new Cold War."

Speaking to leaders of Japan, South Korea and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Jakarta, Indonesia, Li added, "Disagreements and disputes may arise between countries due to misperceptions, diverging interests or external interferences."

He did not mention the United States, but Beijing frequently accuses Washington of pursuing bloc politics in the region. It is unclear whether Li will meet with US Vice President Kamala Harris, who is also attending the summit in Jakarta.

China claims to be neutral in the Ukraine conflict and has blocked UN efforts to condemn Russia's invasion.

Skip next section Ukraine GDP grows by 2.2% — Economy Ministry
September 6, 2023

Ukraine GDP grows by 2.2% — Economy Ministry

Ukraine's gross domestic product has grown by 2.2% in the first seven months of the year when compared to the same period in 2022, according to the country's Economy Ministry.

In a statement, the ministry said there were signs of a recovery following Russia's full-scale invasion that saw the economy shrink by around a third.

"We have positive news — the Ukrainian business is recovering and the number of registered entrepreneurs is growing. As of the middle of summer we have about 2 million entrepreneurs," Deputy Economy Minister Nadiia Bigun said in the statement.

The World Bank is more cautious with forecasts of expected GDP growth of 0.5% in 2023.

Skip next section US Secretary of State Blinken arrives in Kyiv for surprise visit
September 6, 2023

US Secretary of State Blinken arrives in Kyiv for surprise visit

Top US diplomat Antony Blinken arrived in Kyiv on Wednesday in a show of support for Kyiv as Ukrainian forces continued a counteroffensive against Russian troops. 

Blinken is expected to announce a new aid package for Ukraine worth $1 billion (€930 million) during his two-day visit.

Skip next section Russian airstrikes damage Danube River port, 1 dead — Ukraine military
September 6, 2023

Russian airstrikes damage Danube River port, 1 dead — Ukraine military

Ukraine's military said Russia had launched airstrikes on Kyiv and the southern Ukrainian region of Odesa early on Wednesday.

Regional Governor Oleh Kiper said there were three hours of drone attacks on Odesa and port facilities were damaged, while several fires were reported in the Izmail district.

"An employee of an agricultural enterprise, who was seriously injured, died in the hospital," Kiper said.

Ukraine's air force, meanwhile, reported that air defense systems had intercepted and destroyed 23 out of the 33 air attacks Russia launched overnight. These included 25 Iranian-made Shahed drones, seven cruise missiles and one Iskander ballistic missile, it said.

The reports could not be independently verified.

Skip next section Border guards stopped thousands of men fleeing Ukraine
September 6, 2023

Border guards stopped thousands of men fleeing Ukraine

A Kosyno border guard unit
In the face of mounting counteroffensive challenges, Kyiv is trying to curtain the corruption enabling some to evade military serviceImage: Serhii Hudak/Avalon/Photoshot/picture alliance

Ukraine's border guards have stopped over 20,000 men from leaving the country since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion, according to an official.

"In total, border guards have detained about 14,600 people trying to leave Ukraine illegally since February 24 last year," border guard spokesperson Andriy Demchenko told a TV channel on Tuesday, adding that about 6,200 men were caught with fake exit permits. 

Demchenko said many of these men — aged 18-60 — sought to evade military conscription. 

In the face of mounting counteroffensive challenges, Kyiv is trying to curtail the corruption enabling these men to evade military service. 

Under a January law, those evading the draft or deserting can now face 5 to 12 years of imprisonment.

Kyiv is also considering extraditing over 650,000 Ukrainian males aged 18-64 who have sought refuge across the European Union.

Ivan Ishchenko, 30, who fled Ukraine after seeing a month of combat, told AFP news agency that he went to war thinking he "was a superhero." 

"But all heroism ends when people see (war) with their own eyes and realize that they don't belong there," Ishchenko said. 

He said he eventually paid thousands of dollars and risked prison to leave the front.

The demand for black market exemption papers in Ukraine has risen exponentially, with costs surpassing €10,000 ($10,721) following recent crackdowns. 

Skip next section UK to ban Russia's Wagner Group as terrorist organization: reports
September 6, 2023

UK to ban Russia's Wagner Group as terrorist organization: reports

Britain is set to ban the Russian mercenary Wagner Group as a terrorist organization, according to media reports.

"Wagner is a violent and destructive organization which has acted as a military tool of Vladimir Putin's Russia overseas," the Daily Mail newspaper quoted Home Secretary Suella Braverman as saying.

Draft measures to ban Wagner under the Terrorism Act will be put forward in Parliament on Wednesday, the reports said.

The measures would make it a criminal offense to support or be a member of the group. The law would also allow Wagner's assets to be categorized as terrorist property and confiscated. 

"Wagner has been involved in looting, torture and barbarous murders," Braverman said. 

She added that its work in Ukraine and Africa was a "threat to global security."

"That is why we are proscribing this terrorist organization and continuing to aid Ukraine wherever we can in its fight against Russia."

Wagner's presence in Africa and what it gets in return

Skip next section Supplying weapons to Russia will have consequences, US warns North Korea
September 6, 2023

Supplying weapons to Russia will have consequences, US warns North Korea

North Korea will "pay a price"  if it supplies Russia with weaponry for its war on Ukraine, the White House said.

Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, told reporters that Pyongyang and Moscow were eyeing "leader-level discussions, perhaps even in person."

The meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would be to discuss possible deals for weapons transfer.

Moscow could use additional supplies to "try to conquer territory that belongs to another sovereign nation."

"This is not going to reflect well on North Korea and they will pay a price for this in the international community," Sullivan added.

The Kremlin said on Tuesday that it was unable to confirm the reports of the potential meeting, with spokesman Dmitry Peskov saying: "We have nothing to say on this."

A meeting with Putin would be Kim's first summit with a foreign leader since North Korea closed its borders in January 2020.

They met for the first time in April 2019, two months after Kim's high-stakes nuclear diplomacy with former US President Donald Trump collapsed.

North Korea's Kim Jong Un to meet Putin in Russia

Skip next section Putin 'desperate' if he's turning to Pyongyang, says German lawmaker
September 6, 2023

Putin 'desperate' if he's turning to Pyongyang, says German lawmaker

German lawmaker Falko Drossmann has told DW that he is concerned about reports of a meeting between the leaders of Russia and North Korea because it shows Moscow is "desperate" to acquire new weaponry.

"How desperate Vladimir Putin is, that the last state he can cooperate with...is North Korea," said Drossman, who is from the center-left Social Democrats.

He also said it was clear sanctions were hurting Russia and the country now had a problem.

"They [Russia] don't have new weapons. They don't have modern technology. So they have to use very old-fashioned USSR weaponry, especially artillery, and that's actually the ammunition North Korea can provide because they still use the same weaponry."

On whether he was concerned about warming ties between the two countries, particularly given North Korea's nuclear ambitions, Drossmann said a more significant concern was "Russia starting a war in the center of Europe and killing thousands."

rm/nm (Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa)