Ukraine live briefing: Kyiv dismisses 7 top defense officials; Zelensky to address U.N., Congress

Ukraine’s cabinet dismissed Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar from her post, along with six other top officials in the Defense Ministry, according to an update Monday shared on Telegram. The announcement comes after President Volodymyr Zelensky ousted defense chief Oleksii Reznikov this month, as the ministry grappled with corruption claims.

Zelensky is expected to lobby for more support for Ukraine when he speaks at the United Nations General Assembly meetings that start Tuesday in New York.

Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.

Key developments

Maliar was dismissed two weeks after Zelensky announced that her former boss, Reznikov, was to be replaced. Five other deputy defense ministers were also ousted, along with State Secretary Kostyantyn Oleksandrovych. No reason was provided for the dismissals in the announcement.

Zelensky is expected to hold meetings with other world leaders on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meetings this week before taking his message to Washington. He is tentatively expected to visit Capitol Hill on Thursday, The Washington Post reported. His visit was coordinated with the Biden administration in a push to get Congress to provide $24 billion in additional aid to Ukraine.

A damaged drone carrying explosives was discovered in the Bulgarian Black Sea resort of Tyulenovo on Sunday, the government in Sofia said Monday. The weapon can “certainly be assumed” to be related to the war in Ukraine, Bulgarian Defense Minister Todor Tagarev told reporters. According to the ministry, a specialist team was deployed to the scene on Monday and deactivated the device.

Battleground updates

Ukraine’s air force said it downed 17 cruise missiles over central and western Ukraine that were fired by Russian aircraft overnight. According to an update in a Telegram post Monday, Moscow also launched 24 Iranian-made Shahed drones, 18 of which Ukraine claimed to have successfully intercepted. The Post could not independently verify the claims.

Two people were killed in Russian attacks on Ukraine’s Kherson region, Oleksandr Prokudin, the regional governor, said Monday on Telegram. He said the region was under fire “all night” from Russian drones and shelling. Four other people were injured, he said.

Ukrainian forces are hoping the recapture of the village of Klishchiivka will position them to pursue control of the nearby eastern city of Bakhmut. “We managed to get ourselves a place d’armes that will allow us to further develop assault actions and liberate our land from the occupiers,” spokesman Ilya Yevlash told the TSN news network. Retaking Klishchiivka could be an important development for Ukraine’s prospects in the east, where Russian forces seized control of the destroyed city of Bakhmut this year after months of bloody fighting.

Global impact

National security adviser Jake Sullivan discussed the war in Ukraine with China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, according to U.S. and Chinese readouts of their Sunday conversation, which focused on bilateral relations and Taiwan, among other issues. Both readouts called the talks “candid, substantive, and constructive,” though neither side revealed details.

Wang will be in Moscow from Monday through Thursday to attend a strategic security meeting with top Russian officials, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman announced Monday. Chinese state media outlets say the meeting, held annually since 2005, serves to keep Beijing and Moscow aligned on core interests.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un left the city of Vladivostok after concluding his six-day trip to Russia, the North Korean state-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun reported. Kim’s visit has drawn attention in Washington and beyond over a possible arms deal between Moscow and Pyongyang, as Russia seeks artillery for its waning stockpiles.

A glimpse of Ukraine’s ruins: Photos by Wojciech Grzedzinski from a U.S.-supplied Humvee along the deserted roads in Orikhiv and Novodanylivka in southern Ukraine provide a glimpse of scenes common in communities along the front lines.

Destruction caused by Russian shelling along the southern front near the city of Zaporizhzhia, seen through the window of a military Humvee on Thursday. (Wojciech Grzedzinski for The Washington Post)

Orikhiv, an important juncture for Ukrainian soldiers heading into the fight, has been reduced to a skeleton of its former self. Russian artillery bombarded the small town for months, forcing many of its residents to flee or take shelter underground, where life and even city business goes on.

Washington post

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