September 22, 2023 - Russia-Ukraine news

By Tara Subramaniam, Lauren Kent, Hannah Strange, Aditi Sangal and Tori B. Powell, CNN

Updated 0711 GMT (1511 HKT) September 23, 2023
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11:51 p.m. ET, September 21, 2023

US secretary of state announces new security assistance for Ukraine

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler

Antony Blinken participates in the global infrastructure and investment forum in New York, on September 21.
Antony Blinken participates in the global infrastructure and investment forum in New York, on September 21. Seth Wenig/AP

The United States will give $128 million in new security assistance to Ukraine as well as $197 million in arms and equipment in previously authorized drawdowns, the secretary of state announced. 

The package includes additional air defense munitions "to help strengthen Ukraine’s air defenses against aerial assaults from Russia now and in the coming winter, when Russia is likely to renew its attacks against Ukrainian critical infrastructure,” Antony Blinken said Thursday.

“It also contains artillery ammunition and anti-armor capabilities, as well as cluster munitions, which will further enhance Ukraine’s capacity to continue its counter-offensive against Russia’s forces," he added.

This is the second time the US has provided the controversial cluster munitions to Ukraine, the Defense Department said. In late July, shortly after the US first provided cluster munitions, the White House said Ukrainian forces were using the weapons “effectively” and “appropriately” against Russian defensive positions.

The US will not be providing Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) to Ukraine, however, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said, despite requests from Ukraine. He said while not providing it in this package, Biden is "not taking it off the table in the future.”

The announcement comes as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met with President Joe Biden in Washington, DC.

12:01 a.m. ET, September 22, 2023

Analysis: Here's what to know about Poland halting arms supply to Ukraine

From CNN's Rob Picheta

Mateusz Morawiecki arrives at The European Council Building in Brussels on July 18.
Mateusz Morawiecki arrives at The European Council Building in Brussels on July 18. Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

One of Ukraine’s closest and most vocal allies has said it will stop sending arms to Kyiv, a major reversal that threatens to upend Europe’s strategic relationship with the country as it wages a counteroffensive against Russia.

Poland’s decision was both sudden and predictable, coming after months of tensions over a temporary ban on Ukrainian grain imports to a number of European Union countries.

It also follows a pattern of increasingly confrontational behavior towards Kyiv from Poland’s government, just weeks before a tight general election.

And it could have implications for Ukraine’s attempts to push Russian forces out of the country’s southern regions, in an ongoing assault that has been making slow and grinding progress.

What has Poland announced? “We no longer transfer weapons to Ukraine because we are now arming Poland,” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said in a blunt social media statement on Wednesday.

Morawiecki added in a television interview that Poland will now focus on supplying “the most modern weapons” for its own purposes, state news agency PAP reported. “If you want to defend yourself you have to have something to defend with,” the prime minister said.

It marks a major change in policy. In the spring, Poland became the first NATO country to send fighter jets to Ukraine – months ahead of the United States, which only agreed last month to approve the transfer of F-16 jets, pending the completion of training by Ukrainian forces.

It has also previously sent more than 200 Soviet-style tanks to Ukraine, and most Western military equipment and other supplies reach Ukrainian forces by crossing Polish territory.

Poland will now only carry out the supplies of ammunition and weapons to Kyiv that were agreed before Warsaw made its decision to stop shipments, government spokesman Piotr Muller said Thursday, according to PAP.

Muller emphasized that Ukraine has made a series of “absolutely unacceptable statements and diplomatic gestures” and that “Poland does not accept this type of unjustified actions,” PAP reported.

How did we get here? Pressure has been building for months over a ban on Ukrainian grain, initially put in place earlier this year by several EU nations to protect the livelihood of local farmers worried about being undercut by the low price of Ukrainian grain.

Last week, the EU announced plans to suspend the rule. But three nations – Poland, Hungary and Slovakia – said they intended to defy the change and keep the restrictions in place. It prompted protests from Ukraine, which this week filed lawsuits against all three countries over the issue.

Read more here about Poland's reversal and how it might impact the war.

10:28 p.m. ET, September 21, 2023

Russia launches missile attacks on Ukraine's power infrastructure for first time in months

From CNN's Olga Voitovych in Kyiv

Ukraine's state energy provider Ukrenergo said Thursday that Russian missile attacks caused damage to power facilities in western and central regions in Ukraine.

Ukrenergo said it was the first time that Russia had launched attacks on the power infrastructure in six months. The strikes come as Ukraine prepares for the winter months. Last year, Russia began a series of intense attacks on Ukraine's energy infrastructure in October.

"Due to the consequences of the attack, there were partial blackouts in Rivne, Zhytomyr, Kyiv, Dniproptrovsk and Kharkiv regions. The power supply is being restored to consumers," Ukrenergo said. 
"Due to the hostilities and other reasons, 398 settlements remain without electricity as of the morning.

Vitalii Koval, head of the Rivne regional military administration, said the region suffered several missile strikes. "Unfortunately, there are hits on the energy and civilian infrastructure," he said.

Speaking in front of a service station that was damaged, Koval said that there were no casualties, but added: "There is also no power supply in part of Rivne district."

Some context: Last year, Russia ramped up strikes on Ukraine's energy infrastructure as temperatures dropped. 

In October 2022, the country's energy facilities were attacked at least 82 times — more than in all previous months of the full-scale invasion combined.

From October through to January, Russia hit infrastructure throughout most of Ukraine.

10:27 p.m. ET, September 21, 2023

Ukraine shot down 36 of 43 Russian missiles Thursday, army chief says

From CNN's Yulia Kesaieva, Olga Voitovych and Manveena Suri

Ukrainian air defenses shot down 36 of 43 missiles launched by Russia on Thursday in attacks across the country, Ukraine's army chief said.

Valerii Zaluzhnyi, commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, said in a Telegram post that cruise missiles launched from aircraft in southern Russia were “constantly changing course along the route.”

In an update Thursday, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said Russian forces launched "a massive missile attack" on civilian infrastructure in multiple regions:

  • Kherson: Since Thursday morning, Russian shelling killed at least five people and injured 10 others in the southern city of Kherson, Oleksandr Prokudin, head of Kherson Region Military Administration said.
  • Kyiv: At least seven people were wounded in aerial assaults on Kyiv, including a 9-year-old girl, Mayor Vitalii Klitschko said. Air raid sirens have now sounded for more than 1,000 hours in Kyiv since Russia's full-scale invasion began in February last year, an official said.
  • Kharkiv: At least two people were injured after six Russian strikes on the northeastern city, a Ukrainian official said. The attacks were focused on the Slobidskyi district and damaged civilian infrastructure, he added.
  • Cherkasy: A Russian missile strike destroyed a hotel in the central city, resulting in a fire, officials said. Seven people were injured.
  • Lviv: Structural damage to an industrial area was reported after a fire broke out following Russian attacks, according to officials. No casualties were immediately reported.