Ukraine updates: Putin to join virtual G20 summit

Moscow says the Russian leader will join his global counterparts by video link on 22 Nov. Meanwhile, Kyiv says it has pushed Russian troops back several kilometers from the Dnipro River

Russian President Vladimir Putin has missed the last two G20 summits in India and Indonesia. (photo: DW)
Russian President Vladimir Putin has missed the last two G20 summits in India and Indonesia. (photo: DW)


  • Moscow and Kyiv hit by overnight drone strikes

  • Ukraine has claimed advances across the Dnipro River

  • Jailed Russian nationalist Girkin wants to run for president

  • Putin to join virtual G20 summit next week organised by India

Russian leader to join virtual G20 summit

After missing the last two G20 summits in Indonesia and India, Russian President Vladimir Putin will take part in virtual talks with other G20 world leaders on Wednesday, state-run TV reported.

"Vladimir Putin will take part in the virtual G20 summit," Russia's Vesti TV show said in a social media post on Sunday.

Wednesday's talks, organized by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, aim to "take forward key, select outcomes/actions points from the New Delhi summit," according to a statement from Modi's office.

Putin has taken few trips outside Russia since the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for the Russian leader over the unlawful deportation of Ukrainian children.

The G20 comprises 19 of the world's largest economies plus the European Union and the African Union.

Five hurt in Russian shelling in Kherson, Kyiv says

Five people including a 3-year-old girl were injured in Russian artillery shelling of Kherson on Sunday morning, Ukrainian Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said.

"All of them sustained shrapnel wounds. The child and the grandmother were walking in the yard. Enemy artillery hit them near the entrance," Klymenko said on the Telegram messaging app.

Russian troops abandoned Kherson and the western bank of the Dnipro River in the region late last year, but now regularly shell those areas from positions on the eastern bank.

It was not possible to independently confirm the report.

Blockade leaves Ukrainian trucks stranded in Poland

About 3,000 mostly Ukrainian trucks remain stuck on the Polish side of the border due to a more than 10-day blockade by Polish truckers, Ukrainian authorities said.

Polish truckers earlier this month blocked roads to three border crossings with Ukraine to protest against what they see as government inaction over a loss of business to foreign competitors since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Ukrainian officials said last week Kyiv and Warsaw had again failed to reach an agreement to stop the protest.

"For over 10 days, Ukrainian drivers have been blocked at the Polish border. Thousands of people are forced to live in difficult conditions with limited food, water and fuel," Oleksandr Kubrakov, Deputy Ukraine's Prime Minister, said on X, formerly Twitter.

He said trucks were backed up more than 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) toward the Yahodyn crossing, more than 10 kilometers toward Rava-Ruska, and more than 16 kilometers toward the Krakivets crossing.

According to the Ukrainian Infrastructure Ministry, an average of 40,000 - 50,000 trucks cross the border with Poland per month via eight existing crossings, twice as many as before the war.

Most of the goods are carried by Ukraine's transport fleet.

Jailed Russian nationalist Girkin wants to run for president

Pro-war Russian nationalist Igor Girkin, who is in custody awaiting trial for inciting extremism, has said he wants to run for Russian president in the March 2024 election.

But he acknowledged that the vote would be a "sham" with the winner already clear.

"I understand perfectly well that in the current situation in Russia, participating in the presidential campaign is like sitting down at a table to play with card sharps," Girkin said in a letter published by his account on Telegram.

Although his participation would likely be refused, Girkin said he hoped that his attempt to unite supporters would disrupt the Kremlin's plan for a "sham election" in which "the only winner is known in advance."

Russia's opposition says Putin has built a dictatorial system since he first came to power in 1999 that mimics the institutions of democracy while preventing any true political competition or real dissent.

Girkin, who is also known by the alias Igor Strelkov, has repeatedly said Russia faces revolution and even civil war unless President Vladimir Putin's military top brass fight the war in Ukraine more effectively.

Girkin is a former Federal Security Service (FSB) officer who helped Russia to annex Crimea in 2014 and then organize pro-Russian militias in eastern Ukraine.

Girkin was convicted last year in absentia by a Dutch court of murder for his role in the shooting down of Flight MH17 over Ukraine in 2014 with the loss of 298 passengers and crew. He has denied he was involved.

Pope: Peace in Ukraine possible with 'goodwill'

Pope Francis on Sunday renewed calls for peace in Ukraine and the Middle East during his Angelus prayer, saying it was essential to keep up efforts to stop the ongoing conflicts.

"I pray for the tormented population of Ukraine ... and the people in Palestine and Israel," he told the crowds gathered in St. Peter's Square, adding he had spotted some yellow and blue Ukrainian flags.

"Peace is possible, goodwill is needed ... we must not resign ourselves because, always, always, always war is a defeat from which only weapon manufacturers profit," he said.

Kyiv and Moscow hit by overnight drone attacks

The Russian and Ukrainian capitals were struck by drone attacks, which were largely intercepted by anti-aircraft defenses and did not result in casualties, authorities said on Sunday.

"An attempt by the Kyiv regime to carry out a terrorist attack using a drone against facilities of the Russian Federation was thwarted," Russia's Defense Ministry said in a statement.

According to the Russian ministry, the drone in question "was destroyed by the air defense equipment... over the territory of the Bogorodsky urban district, in the Moscow region."

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said later on Telegram that the foiled attack "did not cause any damage or casualties."

Ukrainian drone attacks on Moscow were particularly frequent in the spring, ahead of the launch of its counteroffensive in June, but they have been rare in recent weeks.

Kyiv was also targeted for a second night by a barrage of Iranian-made Shahed drones packed with explosives that were launched by Russian forces, local authorities said, reporting "an intensification" of attacks on the Ukrainian capital.

"For the second consecutive day, the enemy attacked the capital with drones," said Sergiy Popko, head of the city's military administration, on Telegram.

The Russian drones "were launched in several groups and attacked Kyiv by waves from different directions," he said.

In total, "15 of 20 enemy drones were destroyed," the Ukrainian general staff said in a separate statement.

Ukraine claims advances across Dnipro River

The Ukrainian army said on Sunday that it had pushed Russian forces "three to eight kilometers" (two to five miles) back from the banks of the Dnipro River, the first measurable advance by Kyiv's forces months into a difficult and slow counteroffensive.

"Preliminary figures vary from three to eight kilometers, depending on the specifics, geography and landscape design of the left [eastern] bank," army spokeswoman Natalia Gumenyuk told Ukrainian television.

Ukrainian forces have been making regular forays across the Dnipro River in recent months and this weekend reported "successful operations" in establishing footholds on the eastern bank.

In addition to attempting to force a path to Russian-occupied Crimea, Ukrainian forces are primarily trying to push Russian troops back as far as possible, in order to stop attacks on the civilian population across the river in Kherson.

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