The Joint Forces Operation reported that between October 17 and 23, Russian-backed troops in eastern Ukraine committed 53 ceasefire violations, 12 of which involved weapons prohibited by the Minsk agreements. Six soldiers were injured as a result of Russian aggression.
On October 17, Russian occupation authorities blocked Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) representatives at an OSCE base hotel in Horlivka (a non-government-controlled area northeast of Donetsk). The SMM members were “de-facto taken hostage” by occupation authorities who declared they would not be allowed to leave the premises until the release of the officer from the separatist side who was captured four days earlier. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said that the officer – Andrei Kosyak – is a Russian citizen who was sent to eastern Ukraine on an undercover reconnaissance mission.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin visited Kyiv on October 19 to reaffirm “unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and Euro-Atlantic aspirations – and to express our commitment to build Ukraine’s capacity to deter further Russian aggression.” Austin met with his Ukrainian counterpart Andriy Taran to discuss the implementation of the recently signed US-Ukraine Strategic Defense Framework. He also took part in a ceremony honoring Ukrainian soldiers.
On October 20, the EU announced an additional $4 million in humanitarian aid to support vulnerable people affected by the war in eastern Ukraine as well as the pandemic, including elderly people and people with disabilities. That same day, EU Special Representative for Human Rights Eamon Gilmore visited the JFO area and met with the Verkhovna Rada Human Rights Commissioner Lyudmila Denisova, who reported that 158 children have been killed, and over 3,000 injured, as a result of Russian aggression in the east.
On October 22, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) delivered more than 70 tons of humanitarian cargo to Donetsk and Luhansk. The next day, the third and final batch of US additional security assistance arrived in Ukraine. The aid – worth $60 million – included ammunition, anti-tank and high-precision weapons (including additional Javelin missiles), and medical equipment, among other assistance.