Russians try to retake southern village, as navy conducts ballistic missile test

The Ukrainian army said on Monday that Russian forces were trying to retake Robotyne, a village in the south whose liberation at the end of August had given Ukraine hope of a breakthrough in its counteroffensive, a hope that has not come to fruition.

In the south, “the enemy tried to regain its positions near Robotyne, without success”, said Andri Kovaliov, spokesperson for the Ukrainian army.

In the east of the country, Moscow’s troops are also “continuing” to attack Avdiivka, an industrial town they have been trying to encircle for several weeks, he added.

Since June, the Ukrainian army has been conducting a counteroffensive in the east and south, without succeeding in breaking through the Russian lines. In recent weeks, it has been the Russians who have gone on the attack, leading assaults in several areas.

There have been no significant developments on the front since around a year ago, when the Ukrainian army recaptured the town of Kherson.

The lack of movement is such that the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian army, Valery Zaloujny, recently declared that the war had “reached a stalemate”. 

These were unusually frank statements, but they were firmly rejected by both the Kremlin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Russia tests intercontinental ballistic missile

The Russian military on Sunday reported a successful test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile designed to carry nuclear warheads, which was fired from a submarine. 

The report comes as tensions are soaring between Russia and the West over the fighting in Ukraine. 

Worsening relations, President Vladimir Putin last week signed a bill revoking Russia’s ratification of a global nuclear test ban in a move that Moscow said was needed to establish parity with the United States.

Emperor Alexander III nuclear submarine of the Russia navy test-fires a Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile from the White Sea, 5 November 2023

The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement that the Imperator Alexander III strategic missile cruiser fired the Bulava missile from an underwater position in Russia’s northern White Sea. They said it hit a target in the far-eastern region of Kamchatka. 

It wasn’t immediately clear from the statement when the test launch occurred.

The Imperator Alexander III is one of the new Borei-class nuclear submarines that carry 16 Bulava missiles each. They are intended to serve as the core naval component of the nation’s nuclear forces in the coming decades. 

According to the Defense Ministry, launching a ballistic missile is the final test for the vessel, after which a decision should be made on its induction into the fleet.

The Russian navy currently has three Borei-class submarines in service, one more is finishing tests and three others are under construction, the Defense Ministry said.

Ukrainian missile strike on a shipyard in Crimea damages a Russian ship

The Russian military said a Ukrainian missile strike on a shipyard in annexed Crimea had damaged a Russian ship.

The Russian Defense Ministry said late Saturday that Ukrainian forces fired 15 cruise missiles at the Zaliv shipyard in Kerch, a city in the east of the Crimean Peninsula. 

Air defences shot down 13 missiles but others hit the shipyard and damaged a vessel, a statement from the ministry said.

The ministry didn’t give details about the ship or the extent of the damage.

The Ukrainian air force commander, Mykola Oleshchuk, said in a statement that at the time of the attack carried out by Ukrainian tactical aviation, “one of the most modern ships of Russia’s Black Sea fleet was at the shipyard – carrier of the Kalibr cruise missiles.” 

He didn’t say directly, however, that this particular ship was damaged by the strike.

The Crimean Peninsula, which Russia illegally annexed from Ukraine in 2014, has been a frequent target since Putin ordered a full-scale invasion of Ukraine 20 months ago. Crimea has served as the key hub supporting the invasion.

Ukraine has increasingly targeted naval facilities in Crimea in recent months.

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