Russia-Ukraine war: List of key events, day 544

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy sits in an F-16 fighter jet at Skrydstrup Airbase in Vojens, Denmark, August 20, 2023.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy sits in an F-16 fighter jet in Denmark [Ritzau Scanpix/Mads Claus Rasmussen via Reuters]

Here is the situation on Monday, August 21, 2023.


  • The United Nations condemned a Russian missile attack on Ukraine’s northern city of Chernihiv on Saturday morning, which killed seven people and injured dozens. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy promised a “tangible response” from Ukrainian forces to what he called a “heinous strike”.
  • The Institute for the Study of War said Ukrainian forces conducted offensive operations in western parts of the Zaporizhia region and made modest advances. Russian forces continued to launch offensive operations around the city of Kupiansk in the Kharkiv region but did not make any confirmed advances, it said.
  • Kharkiv region’s Governor Oleh Syniehubov posted on his Telegram channel that a man in his 40s was seriously injured this morning after Russian forces shelled Kupiansk.
  • Russia says it thwarted Ukrainian drone attacks on the Moscow region on Sunday, the second such incident in two days. The Kursk, Rostov and Belgorod regions, all of which border Ukraine, also reported drone attacks. The regional governor said five people were injured in Kursk. No injuries were reported elsewhere.
  • The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence said Russia was looking to strengthen its air defence systems in its western regions in light of the recent drone attacks.


  • South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is hosting this week’s BRICS summit, said the country will not side with any global powers. The summit has turned a spotlight on South Africa’s ties with the Kremlin, especially as it has refused to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. BRICS, a grouping of major developing countries, includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
  • Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said he had spoken to his Senegalese and Guinean counterparts in recent days as part of an effort to strengthen relationships in Africa and counter Russia’s influence on the continent.
  • Hungary struck a deal with Serbia that could bring increased shipments of Russian natural gas through the Balkan country if Ukraine ends a gas transit agreement with Moscow. Hungary gets about 80 percent of its gas from Russia and has fought vigorously against sanctions proposed by the European Union.


  • The Dutch and Danish governments will transfer an unspecified number of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine once Kyiv has met certain conditions. The announcement came after Zelenskyy held separate meetings with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
  • Frederiksen said she hoped the first Danish F-16s could be handed over to Ukraine around the New Year. Rutte did not provide a timeframe, saying it depends on how soon Ukrainian crews and infrastructure are ready.
  • Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov said training on the fighter jets had begun but that it would take at least six months and possibly longer.
  • Zelenskyy said Ukraine had also begun discussing with Sweden the possibility of receiving Gripen jets to boost its air defences.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies