Russia is moving large numbers of troops to Ukraine’s south in preparation for a Ukrainian counteroffensive, according to Ukraine’s deputy head of military intelligence. “They are increasing their troop numbers, preparing for our counteroffensive [in Ukraine’s south] and perhaps preparing to launch an offensive of their own,” Vadym Skibitsky said. The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said Russia was relocating some of its troops from their positions in the east to the south in order to push towards Kherson’s regional capital as well as the Zaporizhzhia region.
Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been urged to evacuate the frontline eastern Donetsk region, the scene of fierce clashes with the Russian military. More than 50,000 children are still in the region, according to local officials. “They need to be evacuated, you cannot put them in mortal danger in the winter without heating, light, without the ability to keep them warm,” Kyiv’s ministry of reintegration of temporarily occupied territories said in a statement.
Russia claims five people were injured after a Ukrainian drone strike on its Black Sea fleet headquarters, prompting officials to cancel festivities planned for Navy Day. “Early this morning, [Ukraine] decided to spoil our Navy Day,” said Mikhail Razvozhayev, the head of the local Russian administration in Sevastopol in Crimea. “An unidentified object flew into the yard of the fleet headquarters. According to preliminary data, it was a drone. Five people were injured.”
Russian strikes hit the southern Ukrainian port city of Mykolaiv early on Sunday, wounding three people and damaging homes and schools, according to the city’s mayor, Oleksandr Senkevych. Zelenskiy described the strikes as “probably the most brutal” on the city and region of the entire war.
Russian shelling on Mykolaiv reportedly killed one of Ukraine’s wealthiest men, Oleksiy Vadatursky, and his wife, Raisa. Vadatursky headed the grain production and export business Nibulon, which included a fleet of ships for sending grain abroad. A presidential adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, said Vadatursky was specifically targeted and his death was “not an accident, but a well-thought-out and organised premeditated murder”.
The International Committee of the Red Cross has not yet received permission to visit the building in Olenivka where at least 50 prisoners Ukrainian prisoners of war were killed, it said on Sunday. Russia said it had invited experts from the UN and Red Cross to examine the deaths “in the interests of conducting an objective investigation”. Zelenskiy denounced the attack as a war crime.
Two-hundred Russian marines from the 810th naval infantry brigade refused to return to fight in the southern regions of Ukraine, according to Ukraine’s defence ministry intelligence directorate.
Ukraine’s harvest this year could be half its usual amount because of the Russian invasion, Zelenskiy claimed. “Ukrainian harvest this year is under the threat to be twice less,” the Ukrainian president said in comments likely to intensify fears of global hunger.
The first grain-exporting ship could leave Ukraine’s ports on Monday, a spokesperson for the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said. Speaking in an interview with broadcaster Kanal 7, Ibrahim Kalin said the joint coordination centre in Istanbul would probably complete the final work on the exporting routes very soon.
Britain will now require foreign companies holding UK property to identify their true owners as part of a crackdown on Russian oligarchs and corrupt elites laundering illicit wealth. The Register of Overseas Entities will seek to ensure criminals cannot hide behind secretive chains of shell companies or use property in Britain to hide dirty money, the business ministry said in a statement on Monday.