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Ukraine updates: Russian mines drive casualties in Ukraine

Russia and Myanmar were the only two countries to actively deploy landmines in 2022

Russia and Myanmar were the only two countries to actively deploy landmines in 2022

The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), a network of over 1,000 NGOs, says more than 600 people were injured or killed by landmines and other explosive remnants in 2022.

The ICBL said as laid landmines in 11 of Ukraine's 27 regions since the invasion of the neighboring country in February 2022.

Only Syria recorded more landmine casualties than Ukraine, with 834.

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said the EU would fall short of its promise to deliver one million rounds of ammunition to Ukraine by March 2024.

Here's a look at the latest developments on Tuesday, November 14, in Russia's war in Ukraine:

Zelenskyy says Russian front-line strikes increasing

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Russia is increasing its attacks across the front line, with increased strikes also against the country's energy infrastructure.

Although neither side has made significant territorial gains for months, both Kyiv and Moscow deny the war has ground to a stalemate.

"The military reported an increase in the number of enemy assaults," Zelenskyy said in a post on social media.

The Ukrainian president said Russians were attacking around the eastern cities of Donetsk, Kupyansk, and Avdiivka. He warned that Russia was likely to increase air strikes against Ukraine's energy network ahead of the winter, as it did this time last year.

Zelenskyy also called Russian rocket and artillery strikes on the city of Kherson "revenge." He said they were "without any military necessity."

Russian attacks on Kherson, which Ukraine seized back from Russian forces a year ago, killed three and wounded at least 12 on Monday, Ukrainian officials said.

Ukraine says Russians intensify assault on Avdiivka

Ukraine's military says Moscow's forces are intensifying air bombardments and trying to move forward with ground forces around the shattered eastern Ukrainian town of Avdiivka.

Officials said Ukrainian forces had repelled Russian attacks in other areas of the 1,000-kilometer (600-mile) front line.

"Fighting is still going on. Over the last two days, the occupiers have increased the number of air strikes using guided bombs from Su-35 aircraft," Ukrainian military spokesman Oleksandr Shtupun told national television.

"The enemy is also bringing in more and more infantry. But when they tried to deploy armored vehicles the day before yesterday two tanks and 14 other vehicles were burned out."

Shtupun said Ukrainian forces had repelled eight attacks in the past 24 hours on the city, known for its vast coking plant.

Russia claims it downed 4 Ukrainian drones

Russia's Ministry of Defense on Tuesday claimed to have downed four Ukrainian UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones) over its territory overnight.

In its claim, which could not be independently verified, the ministry said drones were shot down over four different regions — Bryansk and Oryol in the west, Tambov in central Russia and the capital, Moscow.

The drone over Bryansk was reportedly packed with explosives and had targeted a chemical factory there.

The report follows similar news of Russian anti-aircraft units downing four drones over Moscow and Smolensk, in central Russia, on Saturday.

The Russian military regularly reports such downings, though these can really be verified.

Russian invasion drives up landmine casualties tenfold in Ukraine

Presenting its annual report in Geneva, Switzerland, the ICBL on Tuesday said Russia had deployed landmines in 11 of Ukraine's 27 provinces since it initiated its war of aggression.

The result of that mining has been a dramatic tenfold rise in deaths and injuries, with the ICBL recording 608 Ukrainian casualties in 2022, as compared to 58 in 2021.

The group said Russia's extensive mining in Ukraine represents a unique situation in which a non-signatory to the 1997 Ottawa Treaty banning the use of landmines — Russia, China, and the US are not signatories — is actively mining a signatory country. Ukraine is among those 164 countries that are party to the landmark agreement.

The treaty prohibits the production, transfer, stockpiling and use of antipersonnel mines. It also obliges signatory countries to provide assistance to victims, to clear existing mines, and to destroy existing stockpiles.

The ICBL says Ukraine is currently, "investigating the circumstances of its forces using antipersonnel mines in and around the city of Izium, in Kharkiv oblast, in 2022, when the city was under Russian control."

According to the ICBL, which is comprised of over 1,000 NGOs in some 100 countries, 4,710 people were killed (1,700) or injured (3,010) by landmines in 49 states around the globe in 2022. It said civilians made up 85% of those casualties — with children accounting for half of those.

EU likely to miss target of one million rounds of ammo for Ukraine

The European Union looks likely to miss its goal of delivering one million rounds of ammunition to Ukraine by March, according to German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius.

"The one million target will not be reached, we have to assume that," said Pistorius at a meeting of EU defense ministers in Brussels on Tuesday.

Pistorius said those who had warned the pledge was unrealistic were being proven right, with only 300,000 rounds having been delivered so far.

Thierry Breton, the EU's industry minister, was less pessimistic, saying European arms manufacturers had increased production capacity by 20-30% and were capable of meeting their goal, proclaiming: "This target will be met." Breton called on member states to honor their commitment to Ukraine.

Military aid to Kyiv, as well as long-term support for Ukraine's armed forces, will top the agenda at the Brussels meeting.

Ahead of the meeting, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell underscored the importance of such aid, urging member states to prioritize arms aid to Ukraine as it seeks to fend off the continuing onslaught of invading Russian forces.

Borrell plans to present a new security and military package for Ukraine in December. A plan for €20 billion ($21.4 billion) in EU military aid to Ukraine until 2027 looks doomed, however, as it would require unanimous backing.

Pistorius on Tuesday confirmed that Germany will provide at least €8 billion in bilateral military aid.

Among the other priorities to be discussed Tuesday are the protection of critical energy and communications infrastructure, as well as the possible creation of an EU Rapid Deployment Capacity unit of 5,000 fighters to be ready for action by 2025.

js/rc (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)