September 18, 2023 Russia-Ukraine news

By Tara Subramaniam, Ed Upright, Joshua Berlinger, Aditi Sangal, Elise Hammond and Maureen Chowdhury, CNN

Updated 10:13 a.m. ET, September 28, 2023
29 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
6:53 p.m. ET, September 18, 2023

Kharkiv under attack from Russian missiles, city's mayor says

From CNN’s Mariya Knight

Russia hit an industrial area of the northeastern city of Kharkiv, the mayor of the city, said in a Telegram post on Monday.

“Kharkiv is again under attack from Russian missiles. According to preliminary information, the central part of the city is under attack,”  Ihor Terekhov said.

Oleh Syniehubov, the head of the region’s military administration, also reported explosions in the city, noting that no casualties have been reported so far. According to Syniehubov, the Kholodnohirsky District of the city was targeted.

Earlier, Ukraine’s Air Force reported a threat of a ballistic missile attack in the Kharkiv region.

7:10 p.m. ET, September 18, 2023

Zelensky arrives in New York to address world leaders at UN General Assembly. Here's what to know

From CNN staff

Volodymyr Zelensky speaks while visiting with wounded Ukrainian soldiers at the Staten Island University Hospital, in New York City, on September 18.
Volodymyr Zelensky speaks while visiting with wounded Ukrainian soldiers at the Staten Island University Hospital, in New York City, on September 18. Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived Monday in New York for the United Nations General Assembly. He is set to meet with several world leaders to push for support as Ukraine presses ahead with its counteroffensive against Russian forces.

Zelensky is also scheduled to meet with President Joe Biden and US lawmakers in Washington, DC, later this week.

Meanwhile, fighting continues in the eastern part of the country after Ukrainian troops recaptured two key villages near Bakhmut.

Here's what else to know:

  • UN gathering: Zelensky will address the General Assembly in person this week, but first he visited Monday with Ukrainian soldiers who are undergoing rehabilitation in New York. Among various world leaders, Zelensky will meet with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva for the first time in person on Wednesday, a spokesperson said. The war in Ukraine is expected to be a significant item on the agenda at the assembly of world leaders.
  • Pledged aid: Germany will provide Ukraine with an additional 400 million euros ($427 million) worth of weapons and aid, according to the defense minister. Notably, the package will not include long-range Taurus missiles, Boris Pistorius said. Ukraine has been urging Germany to provide the weapons.
  • Situation near Bakhmut: The situation in the eastern part of Ukraine "remains difficult" even after Ukrainian troops recaptured the villages of Klishchiivka and Andriivka near the eastern city of Bakhmut, the Commander of Land Forces, Oleksandr Syrskyi, said. He said Russia does "not abandon its intentions to resume offensive actions" in the area.
  • Preparing for winter: Ukraine is anticipating ramped-up Russian attacks on energy infrastructure as the weather gets colder, the CEO of Ukraine's largest private energy company said. The company, DTEK, is working on building a 500-megawatt wind power plant to boost the country’s energy sector, but CEO Maxim Timchenko said Ukraine needs air defense to protect power stations.
  • Agricultural lawsuit: Kyiv has filed a lawsuit against Poland, Hungary and Slovakia over their ban on imports of Ukrainian agricultural products, Economy Minister Yuliia Svyrydenko said Monday. The three countries are worried their farmers will be undercut by a bottleneck of cheap Ukrainian grain. On Friday, the EU announced plans to suspend a temporary ban placed on the export of Ukrainian grain to a select number of countries in Eastern Europe.
  • Russia's economy: President Vladimir Putin claims that Russia's economy has withstood "unprecedented external pressure" from the West. He described the economic situation in the country as "stable and balanced," but Russia’s ruble last month plunged to 17-month lows. The West has imposed heavy sanctions on Moscow since the start of the war.
5:52 p.m. ET, September 18, 2023

Russian national charged in scheme to send military-grade electronics to Russia

From CNN's Hannah Rabinowitz

The Justice Department announced charges Monday against a Russian citizen accused of helping to smuggle US-sourced electronics with military applications to individuals in Russia.

The defendant, Maxim Marchenko, helped to run a procurement network to obtain dual-use, military-grade microelectronics from an American company to send to Russia, according to the US government.

Prosecutors allege that Marchenko’s role in the scheme was to maintain front companies in Hong Kong that a procurement network would use to pay American companies for their technology. 

The procurement network, according to court documents, smuggled micro-displays that could be used in civilian life — for medical imaging, video games and digital cameras — or could be used for military rifle scopes, night vision goggles, thermal optics and other weapons systems. 

After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the American company decided to stop sending its technology to Russia. To circumvent both the company’s prohibition and tightening US export controls, the Justice Department alleges Marchenko and his two co-conspirators, both of whom are not named but are identified as Russian nationals, falsely told both government agencies and the American company that the displays were being sent to China for scientific research.  

Members of the alleged conspiracy to ship the micro-displays acknowledged they were evading government scrutiny, prosecutors say, sending messages to one another that they need to “support the legend that… we know nothing about Russia.” 

Marchenko is charged with several conspiracy charges, smuggling goods from the United States and wire fraud. He was arrested Monday, according to court documents, and is being held in custody.  

He has not yet entered a formal plea, and his attorney has declined to comment.  

5:37 p.m. ET, September 18, 2023

Zelensky visits Ukrainian soldiers undergoing rehabilitation in New York 

From CNN's Mariya Knight

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Ukrainian soldiers who are undergoing rehabilitation in New York following his arrival to the United States on Monday. 

“Right from the airport I am going to visit our soldiers who are undergoing treatment and rehabilitation in America,” Zelensky wrote in a Telegram post. 

The Ukrainian president is in the country for the UN General Assembly where he is expected to meet with several world leaders and push for more aid.

5:00 p.m. ET, September 18, 2023

Germany pledges more than $400 million additional aid to Ukraine – but no long-range Taurus missiles 

From CNN’s Chris Stern and Amy Cassidy

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius is seen in Roethenbach, Germany, on September 11.  
German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius is seen in Roethenbach, Germany, on September 11.   Heiko Becker/Reuters

Germany will provide Ukraine with an additional 400 million euros ($427 million) worth of weapons and aid, according to Defense Minister Boris Pistorius.

“We are supplying additional ammunition: explosive ammunition, mortar ammunition, mine rockets,” he said in an interview with prominent German newspaper BILD, published Monday. 
“But we also have our eye on the approaching winter: We will send clothing, but also electricity and heat generators. In total, the package will be worth 400 million euros," Pistorius added. 

The package will not include long-range Taurus missiles, the minister said, as the government has not yet decided whether to send them to Kyiv.

Ukrainian officials had urged Germany to provide them with the Taurus weapons for the country's self-defense. Germany, however, is hesitant about delivering long-range cruise missiles fearing they could be used for attacks on Russian territory. 

10:13 a.m. ET, September 28, 2023

Energy company CEO: Ukraine needs air defense to protect power stations from Russia's looming winter attacks

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

Ukraine’s largest private energy company is preparing for winter, anticipating that Russia will attack the country's energy infrastructure as power needs spike during extremely difficult cold weather, its CEO said Monday.

Ukrainian military intelligence has indicated Russia is preparing for winter attacks on energy infrastructure again, DTEK CEO Maxim Timchenko.

“They are stockpiling missiles for it,” he told CNN on his visit to New York ahead of this week's UN General Assembly session.

To prepare for these anticipated attacks, Ukraine needs air defense to protect all power stations, Timchenko said. Without it, all infrastructure restoration and protection in place will be of no use.

He acknowledged that while a Patriot Missile System at every power station was the ideal, it was unlikely to happen. So he hopes that Ukraine can have these air defense systems protecting a larger area which includes the stations.

Russia has strategically shelled Ukraine’s power infrastructure, temporarily but repeatedly cutting off electricity, heat and water to millions. This campaign left Ukraine's energy grid teetering on the brink of collapse, forcing constant repair work which involved scouring the world to find compatible parts.

DTEK's infrastructure has also come under fire. Five of its thermal power turbines were destroyed considerably since the war began. Two of them were restored, Timchenko told CNN, adding that two others will be restored in 2024. However, one was attacked and destroyed beyond restoration, he said.

The answer to preventing this damage, Timchenko says, lies in building renewable energy infrastructure because it’s harder to destroy.

A thermal power generation system producing 200 megawatt of power, for example, requires a big turbine and one boiler to burn coal and gas. "It’s usually the size of a room. If it’s hit by a missile, then it’s all destroyed in one moment," he explained, adding that depending on the level of damage, it could take a month or a year to restore. "The same capacity of 300 megawatt, if it’s wind, you build 50 turbines 100 meters from each other. If you destroy one, the others still operate."

The company is working on building a 500-megawatt wind power plant to boost the country’s energy sector following Russian air strikes.

The launch of Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022 had suspended the project that had been underway for seven months prior, because it was about 100 kilometers (or about 62 miles) from the front lines. But in May 2022, officials decided it was time to continue to the project despite Russian missiles flying overhead, and construction began in August 2022.

“It is a good indication of the bravery and courage of the Ukrainian people, but also that investment can be made in Ukraine even during war,” Timchenko said.

2:07 p.m. ET, September 18, 2023

Zelensky will meet with Brazilian president for the first time in person this week

From CNN's Duarte Mendonca

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will meet with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva for the first time in person on Wednesday, a spokesperson said. The leaders are both in New York for the United Nations General Assembly meetings.

The meeting will take place at 4 p.m. ET, the Brazilian Presidency spokesperson Cynthia Ribeiro said. The spokesperson gave no further details.

People familiar with Zelensky's plans previously said he has several meetings with other world leaders during his time in New York.

More broadly, the Ukrainian president is planning to use an in-person appearance at the annual meeting to appeal for more support for Ukraine as it continues to wage a counteroffensive against Russia.

CNN's Jennifer Hansler, Kevin Liptak and Melanie Zanona contributed reporting to this post.

12:52 p.m. ET, September 18, 2023

Ukraine commander hails recent gains in the east but says overall situation in the area "remains difficult"

From CNN's Jessie Gretener, Andrew Carey, and Olga Voitovych

A Ukrainian assault unit commander runs to his position at the frontline in Andriivka, Ukraine, on September 16.
A Ukrainian assault unit commander runs to his position at the frontline in Andriivka, Ukraine, on September 16. Alex Babenko/AP

Ukraine's Commander of Land Forces, Oleksandr Syrskyi, released a video hailing the soldiers who recaptured the villages of Klishchiivka and Andriivka near the embattled eastern city of Bakhmut, saying their advance had succeeded in breaking a Russian defensive line.

"I am on the front line with our soldiers who are holding the line and continuing to move forward. I thanked them for their steady advance and the liberation of Klishchiivka and Andriivka from the occupiers," Syrskyi said in a video posted on Telegram on Monday.

"As a result of the successful actions of our troops, the enemy's defense line was broken, which it tried to close by throwing all available reserves into the battle," Syrskyi said on Telegram in a separate post, adding that Russian forces had not given up trying to recapture the lost territory, conducting “numerous counterattacks from different directions.”

He cautioned more widely that the "overall situation in the eastern sector remains difficult.”

“The enemy does not abandon its intentions to resume offensive actions in the Kupiansk and Lyman directions,” he said, referencing two towns both held by Russia for six months before being liberated by Ukraine almost exactly a year ago.