Day 608: Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is fleeing Crimea, Zelenskyi says

A top priority for Ukraine is to meet the necessary conditions to begin accession talks with the EU, Zelenskyi says. Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is fleeing Crimea, Zelenskyi says. Russia is buying shells from North Korea.

Top priority for Ukraine is to meet conditions to begin accession talks with EU, Zelenskyi says

A top priority for Ukraine is to be ready for a political decision to begin accession talks with the EU this year, President Zelenskyi said, addressing a meeting of the College of EU Commissioners via video link on October 24. He said he hopes this is a priority for the European Union, too.

Zelenskyi spoke of how Ukraine advanced in meeting the necessary criteria for opening the talks. “We have adopted and started implementing the law on the selection of judges of the Constitutional Court, which is in line with the conclusions of the Venice Commission. We already have a group of experts who will evaluate the candidates – three experts were appointed based on proposals from our international partners as a guarantee of transparency and fairness in the selection of judges. And we are launching the competition. The second is the reform of the High Council of Justice and the High Qualification Commission of Judges. The reboot of these key bodies launched the process of renewing the entire judicial system of Ukraine,” Zelenskyi said.

Also, Ukraine has passed a law to restore electronic asset declarations for public officials and an antitrust law, Zelenskyi added.

The European Union’s executive is set to present on November 8 an assessment of progress made by Ukraine in its membership bid, Reuters said, citing three officials familiar with the matter. Kyiv is expected to get a positive recommendation, possibly under additional conditions related to fighting graft and the rights of minorities, the latter issue having been raised by Hungary.

Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is fleeing Crimea, Zelenskyi says

Russia is moving its Black Sea Fleet from Crimea to Abkhazia, a territory it seized from Georgia. Yet Ukraine will continue to strike Russia’s vessels there, President Zelenskyi told the second parliamentary summit of the Crimea Platform gathered in Prague. 

“The Russian military fleet is no longer able to operate in the western part of the Black Sea and is gradually retreating from Crimea. This is a historic achievement,” Zelenskyi said as he spoke of Ukraine’s efforts to restore the sovereignty over the peninsula.

“Recently, the Russian leader was forced to announce the creation of a new base for the Black Sea Fleet – or what’s left of it – in the occupied territory of Georgia, in the southeastern part of the sea, as far as possible from Ukrainian missiles and naval drones. But we will get them everywhere,” Zelenskyi said.

In an interview with the Russian newspaper Izvestiya in early October, the de-facto leader of Russian-occupied Abkhazia, Aslan Bzhania claimed that Russia will soon establish a naval base in Abkhazia’s district of Ochamchire. 

Georgia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said the Russian actions would represent “a gross violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia” and another attempted provocation to legalize the illegal occupation of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region.

Abkhazia, which is located in the northeastern part of Georgia on the Black Sea coast, fought a war of secession with Georgia from 1992-93. After Russia illegally occupied parts of Georgia in 2008, only Venezuela, Nicaragua, Nauru, and Syria have recognized Abkhazia as independent.

Russia buying shells from North Korea

Russia’s domestic production of artillery shells, supplemented by increased ammunition imports from North Korea, will likely allow Russian forces to sustain sufficient rates of artillery fire in Ukraine in 2024, albeit at a relatively lower level than during 2022, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said in a report on October 23.

Estonian Defense Forces Intelligence Center Head Colonel Ants Kiviselg stated on October 20 that Russia still has around four million artillery shells remaining, which Russian forces can use for “low intensity” warfare for an additional year. Kiviselg noted that there are reports that North Korea has shipped up to 1,000 containers of ammunition to Russia, each containing between 300-500 pieces of artillery ammunition, ISW said.

Days after a meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Russian President Vladimir Putin in September, U.S. think tank Beyond Parallel observed an increase in freight railcars along the North Korea-Russia border, suggesting likely supply of arms and munitions to Moscow.

From Textbooks to Tanks: The Militarization of Russian Education. Ukraine in Flames #524

According to many studies, Russian youth is the least influenced by state propaganda – they do not watch TV and they read independent websites. So, the only way left for the authorities to somehow get their hands on them is to turn schools into centers of military propaganda. Today, this process is mostly focused on high school students, who potentially can be summoned soon, but will later cover the entire education system. Watch Ukraine in flames #524 to find out about militarization in the Russian education system and ideological tools for shaping the “right” worldview for Russian youth.


  • Volodymyr Solovian, Senior HWAG Analyst, Project Manager at The New Geopolitics Research Network 
  • Alina Ponypaliak, PhD in History, Expert at the Ukrainian Centre for Security and Cooperation
  • Serhiy Terepyshchyi, Professor of the Department of Social Philosophy and Educational Policy of Mykhailo Drahomanov Ukrainian State University