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Ukraine-Russia – live: Warning that funding delay will ‘kneecap’ Kyiv’s forces on frontline

The White House has warned the US Congress that if they do not pass additional aid to Ukraine, which is due to run out by the end of the year, “the likelihood of Russian military victories will increase”.

A proposed package of roughly $60 billion (£48bn) in aid to Ukraine is currently being blocked by a razor thin Republican majority in the lower chamber of Congress. Their preference is to shore up the Mexican border.

In a letter to House and Senate leaders, the Biden administration warned that if this impasse prevails, it will “kneecap” Ukraine on the battlefield.

The absence of US help next year will also bring into sharp relief European Union underinvestment in support for Ukraine. It could leave Kyiv without substantial military support for the first six months of 2024, according to one EU official who spoke to The Independent.

It comes as the top Ukrainian advisor to president Volodymyr Zelensky said they are redirecting resources to “increase domestic arms production”.

Mykhailo Podolyak wrote on X: “Now all our resources are being directed to increasing domestic arms production and speeding up negotiations with partners to increase supplies of critical equipment for the new stage of offensive operations.”

Key Points

  • US is running out of money for Ukraine and that could hinder fight against Russia, White House warns

  • Ukraine changing war tactics, says presidential aide

  • Putin orders Russian military to increase troop numbers by 170,000

  • Moscow repelled on six fronts on battlefield

Russia presses attacks on devastated Avdiivka in eastern Ukraine

08:30 , Tom Watling

Russian forces intensified attacks on Monday on the pulverised town of Avdiivka, Ukrainian officials said, as Moscow’s military presses its slow advance through eastern Ukraine.

The town is just 12 miles north of the Russian-held city of Donetsk, part of the eastern Donbas region which Russia‘s military has been fighting to control since failing to take Kyiv at the start of its February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

The Institute for the Study of War wrote that Russia had made confirmed gains in the area.

They wrote in their overnight assessment: “Geolocated footage published on December 4 shows that Russian forces advanced near the reservoir area directly north of Avdiivka. Additional geolocated footage published on December 4 shows that Russian forces have advanced within Stepove (5km northwest of Avdiivka).”

Ukrainian officials acknowledge that not a single building remains intact in the town. Fighting has also raged around two other nearby towns, Maryinka and Bakhmut.

“Yesterday and today, we have seen a significant increase in artillery shelling ... and a great many instances of mortar shelling,” Vitaliy Barabash, head of Avdiivka’s military administration, told national television.

“There has also been an increase in assault actions. They are probably waiting for better weather to use some of their equipment again as they did previously, but on a larger scale.”

Avdiivka was seized for a time in 2014 by Russian-financed separatists, but retaken by Ukrainian troops who put major fortifications in place.

Ukrainian soldiers are seen in a tank as Russia and Ukraine war continues in the direction of Avdiivka (Anadolu via Getty Images)
Ukrainian soldiers are seen in a tank as Russia and Ukraine war continues in the direction of Avdiivka (Anadolu via Getty Images)

Ukrainian soldier on frontline says he can ‘smell an incoming Russian offensive’

11:42 , Tom Watling

A Ukrainian soldier has admitted that he and his colleagues are preparing for a “difficult winter and spring ahead”, adding that it “smells like a Russian offensive” is imminent.

Dmytro Verbych, writing for the Ukrainian publication Novynarnya, which means “Newsroom” in English, said he had “lost a lot of quality people” in the past few months.

He is stationed in Robotyne, southern Ukraine, where the main thrust of the counteroffensive took place, but said he knew in June, when the attack started, that “it would be a failure”.

Writing in the wake of the counteroffensive, he said: “We are exhausted. We have lost the initiative. We have a difficult winter and spring ahead, which smells like a Russian offensive. The situation is truly ‘unfortunate’.

“The main deficit is not drones, shells or equipment. We lost a lot of quality people . And those who remained are exhausted and unmotivated.”

He and his forces currently reside in a bulge in the Russian frontline, having made small advances during their months-long attack.

Subsequently, they are surrounded on three sides by Russian forces and are at a heightened risk of a Russian counterattack.

A Ukrainian soldier of the 65th Mechanized Brigade walks past a destroyed car, next to the trenches built by Russian forces, and that were captured by the Ukrainian army, near the frontline village of Robotyne, in the Zaporizhzhia region, on 1 October 2023 (AFP via Getty Images)
A Ukrainian soldier of the 65th Mechanized Brigade walks past a destroyed car, next to the trenches built by Russian forces, and that were captured by the Ukrainian army, near the frontline village of Robotyne, in the Zaporizhzhia region, on 1 October 2023 (AFP via Getty Images)

Zelensky and top US officials to make case for Ukraine funding to Congress

11:03 , Tom Watling

Ukraine president Volodomyr Zelensky and top aides to US President Joe Biden will make their case to US senators on Tuesday about why a fresh infusion of military assistance is needed to help Ukraine repel Russian invaders.

The Ukrainian wartime leader was invited to address the upper chamber of Congress by the Senate majority leader after the lower chamber, known as the House of Representatives, was warned on Monday that if they continue to block aid to Ukraine, financial and military support will run out by the end of the year - leading to potential Russian advances on the battlefield.

Mr Biden’s administration in October asked Congress for nearly $106 billion (£84bn) to pay for ambitious plans for Ukraine, Israel and US border security, but Republicans who control the House with a slim majority rejected the package.

A variety of top Biden officials, including Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, are expected to brief the senators on Tuesday.

Senate leader Mick Schumer also started the process of advancing a Ukraine-Israel emergency aid bill on the Senate floor.

President Volodymyr Zelensky and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will address Senators later today (Brenden Smialowski via Reuters)
President Volodymyr Zelensky and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will address Senators later today (Brenden Smialowski via Reuters)

Isolated Putin set for ‘working visits’ to UAE and Saudi Arabia as rest of world discusses climate action at Cop28

10:30 , Tom Watling

Vladimir Putin is reportedly set to travel this week to meet with oil-producing allies Saudi Arabia and the UAE, in a trip that serves to highlight the Russian president’s international isolation over his war against Ukraine.

Just days after more than 100 world leaders walked together down the flag-lined boulevard at Cop28 in Dubai for a “family photo” at the start of crucial UN climate talks, the absent Russian president will instead make his own “working visit” to the UAE.

That will then be followed by a visit to Saudi Arabia, where Mr Putin will sit down for negotiation mainly with crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov.

Isolated Putin set for his own ‘working visits’ to UAE and Saudi Arabia

Iranian president Raisi to travel to Russia on Thursday

09:57 , Tom Watling

Iran’s president Ebrahim Raisi will travel to Russia on Thursday along with a political and economic delegation, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported on Tuesday.

Iran’s foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian was in Moscow on Tuesday to attend a Caspian littoral states meeting.

Moscow and Tehran have boosted security, political and economic ties since the start of the war in Ukraine in February 2022 as both countries are targeted by US sanctions. Iran has also been accused of supplying Russia with deadly kamikaze drones.

Vladimir Putin meets with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in September (Copyright 2022 Sputnik)
Vladimir Putin meets with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in September (Copyright 2022 Sputnik)

Russia making ‘creeping advances’ in eastern Ukraine, says British MoD

09:30 , Tom Watling

Russian forces are making “creeping advances” around Donetsk City in eastern Ukraine, the British Ministry of Defence has said in its latest intelligence brief, as the Kremlin looks to take control of the entire region.

The update said Russia “likely controls most of the built-up area” of Marinka, a small town to the west of Donetsk City.

The area has been on the frontline of the Russia-Ukraine conflict since Kremlin proxy forces, nicknamed “little green men”, took control of parts of the region in 2014.

The briefing said: “Over recent weeks Russian forces have made creeping advances through the ruins of Marinka, a town in Donetsk Oblast. Russia now likely controls most of the built-up area. However, Ukrainian forces remain in control of pockets of territory on the western edge of the town.

“Russia’s renewed efforts against Marinka are part of Russia’s autumn offensive which is prioritising extending Russia’s control over the remaining parts of the Donetsk Oblast – highly likely still one of the Kremlin’s core war aims.”

Marinka is just 17 miles southwest of Avdiivka, a town that has been razed almost entirely to the ground by Russian forces in the past couple of months.

Two killed in Russian strike on southern Ukraine

08:59 , Tom Watling

At least two people were killed and three wounded after Russian forces shelled the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, local authorities have said.

Regional prosecutors opened a war crimes investigation into one of the strikes, which occurred around 9 am local time and killed a 48-year-old man and a woman who had not yet been identified.

“Terrorists,” Andriy Yermak, the head of Ukraine‘s presidential administration, posted on Telegram along with two images of bodies laying on a sidewalk.

Kherson Mayor Roman Mrochko said two doctors had been wounded in a separate artillery strike on a medical facility early on Tuesday.

Russian forces have regularly shelled Kherson since retreating from the regional capital late last year to the other side of the Dnipro River.

What’s happening this morning in Ukraine?

07:57 , Tom Watling

Below is a brief wrap-up of what has happened in Ukraine overnight and this morning.

- Russia and Ukraine exchanged drone attacks overnight, according to the armed forces of both sides. The Russian ministry of defence claimed they shot down 26 of 41 drones fired by Ukraine. The Ukrainian air forces said they intercepted 10 of 17 drones fired by Russian forces.

- On the frontline, Russian forces carried out “significantly increased artillery and mortar shelling” on Monday on the pulverised town of Avdiivka, Ukrainian officials said. The town is the latest flashpoint on the 600-mile combat line.

- Overseas, White House officials sent a letter of warning to House speaker Mike Johnson that the funding for Ukraine will run out by the end of this year unless the lower chamber of Congress, run by a razor thin Republican majority, stops blocking the Biden administration’s multibillion dollar proposals.

- US Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer, who oversees the upper chamber of Congress, announced after the White House warning that he had invited Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky to address US senators. He said that senators should “hear directly from [Zelensky] precisely what’s at stake”. That will take place later today.

- On the Poland-Ukraine border, the Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki called on the European Union to restore permits limiting transit for Ukrainian truckers as a spat between the two nations continues. Polish drivers have been blocking the crossings since 6 November demanding the restoration of permits. Slovakia and Hungary have also expressed frustration at what they view as cheaper Ukrainian goods and workers undercutting their domestic offerings.

A Ukrainian serviceman stands next to residential buildings heavily damaged by permanent Russian military strikes in the front line town of Avdiivka (REUTERS)
A Ukrainian serviceman stands next to residential buildings heavily damaged by permanent Russian military strikes in the front line town of Avdiivka (REUTERS)
Police officers stand as trucks belonging to different Polish transport company owners block the access to Polish-Ukraine border crossing in protest against ‘unfair' competition in Hrebenne, Poland (AFP via Getty Images)
Police officers stand as trucks belonging to different Polish transport company owners block the access to Polish-Ukraine border crossing in protest against ‘unfair' competition in Hrebenne, Poland (AFP via Getty Images)
Ukrainian servicemen who sustained concussions or minor injuries are recovering in a field hospital near a frontline in the Donetsk region (AFP via Getty Images)
Ukrainian servicemen who sustained concussions or minor injuries are recovering in a field hospital near a frontline in the Donetsk region (AFP via Getty Images)

Russian air defence systems destroy 41 Ukraine-launched drones -Russian defence ministry

07:30 , Tom Watling

Russian air defence systems destroyed or intercepted a total of 41 drones launched overnight and early this morning by Ukraine, the Russian defence ministry has claimed.

Twenty-six of the drones were destroyed over Russian territory, and 15 were intercepted over the Sea of Azov and the Crimean Peninsula, the ministry said in a statement on its Telegram channel.

The ministry did not say whether there was any damage caused by the attack or falling debris.

Ukraine says it downs 10 of 17 Russian drones during overnight strike

07:23 , Tom Watling

Ukraine‘s military shot down 10 out of 17 attack drones launched overnight by Russia, authorities said on Tuesday.

Kyiv’s air force said the drones were shot down over “various regions” of the country.

It also said six S-300 missiles had been launched at civilian objects in the eastern Donetsk and southern Kherson regions.

There were no immediate reports of damages.

A deminer touches the wreckage of a retrieved S-300 rocket, which fell a few months ago in the Dnipro river (REUTERS)
A deminer touches the wreckage of a retrieved S-300 rocket, which fell a few months ago in the Dnipro river (REUTERS)

Ukraine agricultural exports hit 5 million tons

07:05 , Maira Butt

Ukraine has so far exported almost 5 million metric tons of agricultural products via its alternative Black Sea corridor, Deputy Prime Minister Oleksander Kubrakov said on Monday.

Kubrakov said a total of 200 ships had exported 7 million metric tons of cargo of all types from the Black Sea ports since the corridor was set up in August after Russia quit a UN-backed Black Sea grain initiative.

He said a further 31 ships were being loaded at the moment, but gave no details on the type of cargo they would carry.

Hundreds of Ukrainian truck drivers stuck in long queues in Slovakia during winter conditions (Anadolu via Getty Images)
Hundreds of Ukrainian truck drivers stuck in long queues in Slovakia during winter conditions (Anadolu via Getty Images)

Zelensky commends mobile firing groups as they destroy 18 drones

05:57 , Maira Butt

President Zelensky confirmed 18 drones were destroyed by mobile firing groups in a video message on Monday.

“I thank everyone who trains the warriors of such groups and who works to provide them with everything they need.

“Last night the mobile firing groups in Mykolaiv, Kherson, Ivano-Frankivsk and Kirovorhad regions worked well.”

He also added: “The International Maritime Organization’s Assembly adopted a resolution today in support of our efforts in the Black Sea, Ukraine’s success in restoring freedom of navigation, and the work of our new grain corridor. Ukraine’s export corridor has surpassed seven million tons of cargo.

“This is very significant for our economy, and not only ports and agrarians, but also many other sectors. Millions of jobs in Ukraine are dependent on exports that our state can guarantee. And I am grateful to everyone all across the world who is assisting Ukraine with this.

“The IMO will be among those who support our efforts, and a decision has been made to evaluate the level of technical assistance required to ensure the normal functioning of the maritime corridor.”

Polish minister speaks with truck drivers at Ukraine border

04:55 , Maira Butt

Polish minister for infrasructure, Alvin Gajadhur, was seen speaking with protesting truck drivers on Monday.

Polish drivers have been blocking the crossings between Ukraine and Poland since 6 November as they demand that the EU reinstate a system whereby Ukrainian companies need permits to operate in the bloc and the same for European truckers to enter Ukraine.

They have been joined by Polish farmers, and also Slovakian truckers. They complain that their Ukrainian peers offer cheaper prices for their services and also transport goods within the EU, rather than just between the bloc and Ukraine.

Mr Gajadhur announced that he would submit a draft proposal to the Council of Ministers, in a bid to resolve the dispute.

In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Poland’s Ministry of Infrastructure said:

“The regulations will increase the effectiveness of control, and the assumptions are consistent with the demands of the social side.”

Poland’s minister of infrastructure visited striking truckers at the border of Poland and Ukraine (AFP via Getty Images)
Poland’s minister of infrastructure visited striking truckers at the border of Poland and Ukraine (AFP via Getty Images)
The transport blockade has been going on for nearly a month (AFP via Getty Images)
The transport blockade has been going on for nearly a month (AFP via Getty Images)

Biden administration warns House and Senate impasse will ‘kneecap’ Ukraine

03:51 , Maira Butt

The Biden administration on Monday sent Congress an urgent warning about the need to approve tens of billions of dollars in military and economic assistance to Ukraine, saying Kyiv’s war effort to defend itself from Russia’s invasion may grind to a halt without it.

In a letter to House and Senate leaders and released publicly, Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young warned the U.S. will run out of funding to send weapons and assistance to Ukraine by the end of the year, saying that would “kneecap“ Ukraine on the battlefield.

She added that the U.S. already has run out of money that it has used to prop up Ukraine‘s economy, and “if Ukraine‘s economy collapses, they will not be able to keep fighting, full stop.”

“We are out of money — and nearly out of time,” she wrote.

Biden administration warns impasse could ‘kneecap’ Ukraine amid concerns of resources running out (REUTERS)
Biden administration warns impasse could ‘kneecap’ Ukraine amid concerns of resources running out (REUTERS)

Three including 8-year-old girl confirmed dead in Russian attack

02:59 , Maira Butt

The death toll from a Russian attack on the town of Novohrodivka has risen to three, after rescuers retrieved the body of an eight-year-old girl on Monday.

Authorities were still looking for the girl’s parents but suspected they may be under the rubble after the attack on a residential building, according to Reuters.

“As of the morning, the girl’s body was recovered from the rubble. The child’s parents, who are probably still under the rubble, were not found,” Oleksandr Shevchenko, the head of local administration, said on Telegram.

Governor confirms Russian officer killed while deployed in Ukraine

01:51 , Maira Butt

In a rare admission, Russian officials have acknowledged the deaths of a number of high-ranking servicemen in the war with Ukraine.

According to Barron’s, Voronezh governor Alexander Gusev said on Telegram: “A piercing pain. Major General Vladimir Zavadsky, deputy commander of the 14th Army Corps of the Northern Fleet, died in the line of duty in a special operation zone.”

Gusev called Zavadsky “a courageous officer, a real general and a worthy man,” but did not specify the circumstances of his death.

In case you missed it: Putin orders Russian military to increase troop numbers by 170,000

01:03 , Maira Butt

Shweta Sharma reports:

Russian president Vladimir Putin has ordered a significant boost in the country’s military, increasing the troop numbers by nearly 170,000 to reach a total of 1.32 million as the Kremlin’s full-scale invasion enters its 22nd month.

Mr Putin signed the decree on Friday in response to “the aggressive activities of the Nato bloc” and its special military operation in Ukraine, as stated by the Kremlin.

“In accordance with the decree of Russian president signed on November 29, 2023, the maximum size of the armed forces of the Russian Federation has been increased by 170,000 military personnel to 1,320,000 military personnel,” the defence ministry said.

It has expanded the Russian forces to approximately 2.2 million, including 1.32 million troops.

The decree came into effect immediately.

Read the full piece here.

Zelensky: ‘Our goal is to protect and strengthen our independence'

Monday 4 December 2023 23:51 , Maira Butt

Amid concerns around funding and ongoing instability in the Middle East, Ukraine’s President Zelensky took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to reiterate his mission in the ongoing conflict against Russia.

He said: “Our goal is to protect and strengthen our independence, to safeguard our people, and to restore a normal, decent life to the maximum extent possible.

“I am grateful to everyone who is fighting and working for this.”

In pictures: The latest on Ukraine

Monday 4 December 2023 22:51 , Maira Butt

Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young said that the Defense and State departments are at the stage where they have almost exhausted all available US funds for Kyiv (REUTERS)
Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young said that the Defense and State departments are at the stage where they have almost exhausted all available US funds for Kyiv (REUTERS)
Zelensky thanked his ‘friends’ in the international community as he defence agreements with partners continued to be implemented. (UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SER)
Zelensky thanked his ‘friends’ in the international community as he defence agreements with partners continued to be implemented. (UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SER)
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said a vote against funding for Ukraine would ‘hurt demoracy and help dictators’ (EPA)
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said a vote against funding for Ukraine would ‘hurt demoracy and help dictators’ (EPA)

Zelensky is turning into an autocrat, says Kyiv mayor Klitschko

Monday 4 December 2023 21:51 , Maira Butt

Tom Watling reports:

Volodymyr Zelensky is becoming increasingly autocratic and is pushing Ukraine to a point at which it will no longer be any different from Russia, Vitali Klitschko has claimed.

It is unprecedented critism of the Ukrainian president since Russia’s invasion almost two years ago and comes as Kyiv’s counteroffensive against the forces of Vladimir Putin has . Mr Klitschko, the former heavyweight boxing champion turned mayor of Kyiv, told the Swiss media outlet 20 Minuten: “People [are beginning to] see who’s effective and who’s not. And there were and still are a lot of expectations. Zelensky is paying for mistakes he has made.”

“At some point we will no longer be any different from Russia, where everything depends on the whim of one man,” Mr Klitschko told German magazine Der Spiegel, in another interview.”

Read the full piece here.

Zelensky: 'We have received critical air defense missiles and new air defense systems’

Monday 4 December 2023 21:15 , Maira Butt

President Zelensky has confirmed important defense agreements continue to be implemented amid concerns about a clawback in funding from supporters in the international community. He thanked Ukraine’s “friends”.

In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, he said:

“Important defense agreements with our partners continue to be implemented. We have received both critical air defense missiles and new air defense systems. I thank our friends.

“Our efforts to boost domestic defense production are bearing fruit. We have reached the level of six “Bohdana” artillery systems per month for the first time. And we can already see ways to further increase capacity.

“Our grain corridor keeps working and has reached the 7 million ton mark.

“I also received intelligence data and frontline briefings on defensive operations in the Bakhmut and Avdiivka directions, as well as active operations in the south.

“Kherson. Following another barbaric Russian strike, emergency services and regional and city military administrations are assisting victims and providing aid. Our defense forces are realizing a plan to deprive the enemy of the possibility and willingness to terrorize the city.”

White House Security Adviser: A vote against funding will hurt Ukraine and help Russia

Monday 4 December 2023 20:51 , Maira Butt

White House national security adviser, Jake Sullivan has warned that a vote against supplemental funding for Ukraine will only hurt Ukraine and help Russia.

He urged congress to “act now” on Ukraine.

At a press conference on Monday he said: “I believe that any member of congress who does not support funding for Ukraine is voting for an outcome that will make it easier for Putin to prevail.

“A vote against supporting Ukraine is a vote to imorove Putin’s position. That is an inescapable reality.

“It will hurt Ukraine and help Russia. It will hurt democracy and help dictators.”

At a press briefing, Sullivan said a vote against Ukraine was a vote “to improve Putin’s strategic position
At a press briefing, Sullivan said a vote against Ukraine was a vote “to improve Putin’s strategic position

Poland warns Nato has three years to prepare for attack by Russia

Monday 4 December 2023 20:16 , Maira Butt

As the White House runs out of money to support Ukraine, Poland warns Russia could attack the West in less than 36 months.

New fears of Russian escalation across Europe have emerged after a German think tank said Western countries must prepare for a direct attack from Russia.

In a statement the German Council on Foreign Relations wrote: “With its imperial ambitions, Russia represents the greatest and most ­urgent threat to Nato countries.

“Once intensive fighting will have ended in Ukraine, the regime in Moscow may need as little as six to ten years to reconstitute its armed forces.

“Within that timeframe, Germany and Nato must enable their armed forces to deter and, if necessary, fight against Russia. Only then will they be in a position to reduce the risk of another war breaking out in Europe.”

But, the head of Poland’s national security agency estimated that Russia could attack Nato countries within three years in an interview with Nasz Dziennik.

Read the full piece here.

In case you missed it: Russia accused of killing unarmed and surrendering Ukrainian prisoners of war

Monday 4 December 2023 19:51 , Maira Butt

Arpan Rai reports:

Ukraine has accused Russia of committing a war crime by executing two unarmed Ukrainian soldiers who had already surrendered, and said an investigation has been launched into the killings.

The Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office said it had launched a probe into a video purporting to show the incident, saying it took place near an observation post outside Stepove village in Donetsk.

The video shows a Ukrainian soldier crawling out of a foxhole as six Russian soldiers wait for him outside. He is seen holding his hands up and then lying on the ground. Within seconds, another Ukrainian soldier stumbles out of the dugout and lies down. The Russian soldiers then fire upon the two unarmed Ukrainians.

“The video shows a group of people in Russian uniforms shooting, at point-blank range, two unarmed servicemen in the uniform of the Armed Forces of Ukraine who were surrendering,” the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office said.

“The killing of prisoners of war is a gross violation of the Geneva Conventions and is classified as a serious international crime,” it said.

Read the full piece here.

The more Western allies will support Ukraine the faster the war will end, says Nato chief

Monday 4 December 2023 19:23 , Maira Butt

Arpan Rai reports:

Ukraine’s Western allies must keep up their support for the country through a difficult winter to come in its war with Russia, Nato’s secretary general Jens Stoltenberg has said.

Mr Stoltenberg admitted Ukraine’s long-awaited counteroffensive this summer had failed to make significant territorial gains, but described Russia’s failure to capture any more major cities as a “strategic defeat” for Vladimir Putin’s invading forces.

“Wars develop in phases. We have to support Ukraine in both good and bad times. We should also be prepared for bad news,” the Nato chief said in an interview with German broadcaster ARD.

Mr Stoltenberg said Ukraine was fighting a war unlike any in history, and hailed the country’s efforts on the battlefield that have frustrated Russia’s advance. “These are big victories even though they have not been able to move the frontline,” he said.

The Nato chief warned that a victory for Putin would not only be a tragedy for Ukraine but also present a danger for the alliance. “The more we support Ukraine, the faster the war will end,” he said.

Read the full piece here.

Hungary’s Prime Minister demands Ukraine’s EU membership be taken off the agenda at a bloc summit

Monday 4 December 2023 18:51 , Maira Butt

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban demanded on Monday that Ukraine’s membership in the European Union, along with billions in European funding, be taken off the agenda at a summit of the bloc’s leaders next week.

In a letter to European Council President, Charles Michel, who will chair the summit in Brussels on 14-15 December, Orban insisted that a “strategic discussion” is needed first about Ukraine‘s European future and warned that forcing a decision could destroy EU unity.

“I respectfully urge you not to invite the European Council to decide on these matters in December as the obvious lack of consensus would inevitably lead to failure,” Orban wrote in the letter, dated 4 December and seen by The Associated Press.EU leaders, he wrote, “must avoid this counterproductive scenario for the sake of unity, our most important asset.”

Prime Minister Orban insisted that a “strategic discussion” take place first (REUTERS)
Prime Minister Orban insisted that a “strategic discussion” take place first (REUTERS)

Putin declines pressing mock ‘nuclear button’ as re-election bid nears

Monday 4 December 2023 18:20 , Maira Butt

President Vladimir Putin was shown a simulation of the “nuclear button” but declined to press it on Monday as he toured a vast exhibition of Russian achievements in what some suggested was a warm-up for an imminent re-election campaign.

Putin was given an explanation of a Soviet nuclear bomb design and shown a mock control panel for launching a nuclear test, before observing images of a blast and mushroom cloud through a viewing window.

Since the start of the Ukraine war, Putin has frequently affirmed the capabilities of Russia’s nuclear arsenal, saying anyone who tried to launch a nuclear attack against it would be wiped from the face of the earth.

This month, he is expected to confirm that he will run for another six-year term in March.

He was shown with a group of schoolchildren writing a message on a giant whiteboard about his hopes for their future, and selecting from among wishes that children had pinned to a Christmas tree in the hope he could make them come true.

President Putin declined to press a mock nuclear button in a visit to a school (EPA)
President Putin declined to press a mock nuclear button in a visit to a school (EPA)

NATO has three years to prepare for a Russian attack, says Poland

Monday 4 December 2023 17:43 , Maira Butt

The head of Poland’s national security agency has estimated that Russia could attack NATO countries within three years.

The minister suggested that an attack could come from NATO’s eastern flank which includes countries such as Poland, Estonia, Romania and Lithuania. He estimated they had three years to prepare for a confrontation.

In an interview with Nasz Dziennik, Jacek Siewiera, head of the National Security Bureau responded to a report by the think tank, Germany Foreign Policy Association.

While the think tank estimated that Western countries have 5 to 9 years left to prepare to repel an attack from Moscow, the Secretary of State at the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland said that Germany analysts were too optimistic.

“If we want to avoid war, NATO countries on the eastern flank should adopt a shorter, 3-year time horizon to prepare for confrontation.

“This is the time when a potential must be created on the eastern flank that would be a clear signal deterring aggression,” he said. “Therefore, it is necessary to further increase the number of Polish troops.”

Putin blames Nord Stream blasts for disruption of Russia-Germany relations, hopes Moscow-London relations will improve

Monday 4 December 2023 17:20 , Maira Butt

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that cooperation between Moscow and Berlin had been disrupted by blasts in September 2022 affecting Nord Stream pipelines that had pumped Russian gas to Germany under the Baltic Sea.

Accepting the credentials of more than 20 new ambassadors, including those of Germany and Britain, at a ceremony in the Kremlin, Putin also said he hoped that relations between Moscow and London would improve.

Russia’s relations with Western countries are at their lowest level since the depths of the Cold War following Putin’s decision in February 2022 to send tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine, prompting sweeping Western economic sanctions.

Russia has blamed the United States, Britain, and Ukraine for the pipeline blasts. They all denied any involvement.

Brazilian President on Ukraine: No country has the right to invade any other

Monday 4 December 2023 16:51 , Maira Butt

Brazil’s President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, has reaffirmed his stance on the Ukraine-Russia conflict saying “no country has the right to invade any other” and has urged peace in the region.

He previously met with President Zelensky in September to discuss potential solutions to achieve a peaceful end to the war in Ukraine.

President Lula urged peace (EPA)
President Lula urged peace (EPA)

EU envoys to start debating Ukraine membership

Monday 4 December 2023 16:15 , Maira Butt

Diplomatic envoys of the European Union’s 27 member countries will meet on Tuesday to start debating a sensitive proposal to launch membership talks with Ukraine, officials and diplomats have said.

The meeting marks the start of preparations for a summit of the bloc’s leaders to take place on 14-15 December that will decide EU integration prospects for Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Bosnia and others.

Specifically, the Tuesday meeting will start debating a draft agreement of the leaders’ summit. EU diplomats and officials said the first draft prepared for discussion was bound to change.

The initial draft reads: “The European Council decides to open accession negotiations with Ukraine and with Moldova.”

For Georgia, it said the country would get EU candidate status “on the understanding” that Tbilisi implements outstanding conditions.

For Bosnia, the initial draft stated the bloc was “ready to open EU accession negotiations... once the necessary degree of compliance with the membership criteria is achieved.”

European Commission President von der Leyen and Ukraine’s President Zelenskiy walk after a joint press conference in Kyiv earlier this year (REUTERS)
European Commission President von der Leyen and Ukraine’s President Zelenskiy walk after a joint press conference in Kyiv earlier this year (REUTERS)

US is running out of money for Ukraine and that could hinder fight against Russia, White House warns

Monday 4 December 2023 15:42 , Tom Watling

The Biden administration on Monday sent Congress an urgent warning about the need to approve tens of billions of dollars in military and economic assistance to Ukraine, saying Kyiv’s war effort to defend itself from Russia’s invasion may grind to a halt without it.

In a letter to House and Senate leaders and released publicly, Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young warned the US will run out of funding to send weapons and assistance to Ukraine by the end of the year, saying that would “kneecap” Ukraine on the battlefield.

She added that the US has already run out of money that it has used to prop up Ukraine‘s economy, and “if Ukraine‘s economy collapses, they will not be able to keep fighting, full stop.”“We are out of money — and nearly out of time,” she wrote.

Mr Biden has sought a nearly $106 billion aid package for Ukraine, Israel and other needs, but it has faced a difficult reception on Capitol Hill, where there is growing skepticism about the magnitude of assistance for Ukraine and where even Republicans supportive of the funding are insisting on US-Mexico border policy changes to halt the flow of migrants as a condition for the assistance.

Western analysts have told The Independent that “a lot of Ukrianians will die” if US funding to Ukraine abruptly stops.

Max Bergmann, director of the Europe, Russia and Asia programme at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank, said there was “no way to sugarcoat how bad it would be if the House doesn’t pass aid to Ukraine”.

“If US security assistance stops,” he said, “a lot of Ukrainians will die and their ability to fight on will be severely compromised.”

US President Joe Biden signs a guest book during his meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
US President Joe Biden signs a guest book during his meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Ukraine changing war tactics, says presidential aide

Monday 4 December 2023 15:00 , Tom Watling

Ukraine is changing its war tactics, moving to defence in some areas and continuing offensive operations in others, a senior Ukrainian official has said.

Presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said in a post on the X social media platform that the government was focused now on increasing domestic arms production and speeding up talks with partners to boost military supplies.

“Undoubtedly, the winter and the analysis of our own and the enemy’s resource capabilities require adjustments in tactics,” he wrote.

“On the frontline and in the cities, we are already moving to a different tactic of warfare - effective defense in certain areas, continuation of offensive operations in other areas, special strategic operations on the Crimean peninsula and in the Black Sea waters, and significantly reformatted missile defense of critical infrastructure.”

Nato must be ‘prepared for bad news’ in Ukraine, says Stoltenberg

Monday 4 December 2023 14:00 , Tom Watling

Ukraine’s Western allies must keep up their support for the country through a difficult winter to come in its war with Russia, Nato’s secretary general Jens Stoltenberg has said.

Mr Stoltenberg admitted Ukraine’s long-awaited counteroffensive this summer had failed to make significant territorial gains, but described Russia’s failure to capture any more major cities as a “strategic defeat” for Vladimir Putin’s invading forces.

“Wars develop in phases. We have to support Ukraine in both good and bad times. We should also be prepared for bad news,” the Nato chief said in an interview with German broadcaster ARD.

Nato must be ‘prepared for bad news’ in Ukraine, says Stoltenberg

First empty lorries pass through new Ukraine crossing at Polish border

Monday 4 December 2023 13:02 , Tom Watling

The first 30 empty lorries drove through a newly opened Uhryniv-Dolhobychuv crossing on the Ukrainian-Polish border, which Kyiv hopes will offer relief as Polish driver protests blocked other land corridors, Ukraine‘s border service said on Monday.

Those protests, over what Polish truckers see as unfair competition from their Ukrainian peers, started on Nov. 6, with four border crossings now under blockade.

Polish hauliers’ main demand is to stop Ukrainian truckers having permit-free access to the European Union, something that Kyiv and Brussels say is impossible.

Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Monday that Warsaw would “strongly and unequivocally” demand that the European Union restore permits for Ukrainian truckers.

He was speaking to reporters ahead of an EU ministers’ meeting in Brussels set for Monday.

Poland, Slovakia and Hungary said their delegations would inform the EU about the impact of the EU-Ukraine agreement to remove permits on the road freight sector.

The permits were abolished after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year. Polish drivers have been joined by Polish farmers, and later also Slovakian truckers.

Trucks stand in a queue at the Polish-Ukrainian border in Hrebenne, southeastern Poland (EPA)
Trucks stand in a queue at the Polish-Ukrainian border in Hrebenne, southeastern Poland (EPA)

Death toll in Russian strike on eastern town rises to three, Ukraine says

Monday 4 December 2023 11:47 , Tom Watling

Rescuers on Monday retrieved the body of an 8-year-old girl, five days after a Russian missile strike on Ukraine‘s eastern town of Novohrodivka, Ukrainian authorities said, bringing the total death toll to three.

On Nov. 29, Russia fired six missiles on three settlements in the eastern Donetsk region, injuring ten people, according to authorities. In Novohrodivka, a missile damaged a residential building, killing two, they said.

Authorities said they were still looking for the girl’s parents.

“As of the morning, the girl’s body was recovered from the rubble. The child’s parents, who are probably still under the rubble, were not found,” Oleksandr Shevchenko, the head of local administration, said on the Telegram messaging app.

The Ukrainian Interior Ministry said rescuers continued working at the site. It shared a blurred image of a child’s body on the ground covered in building debris.

Moscow has denied deliberately targeting civilians although many have been killed in frequent Russian air strikes across Ukraine.

White House warns US is running out of money for Ukraine war

Monday 4 December 2023 10:45 , Tom Watling

The White House has issued a grave warning to Congress that if it fails to pass legislation by the end of the year to continue funding Ukraine’s defence, then Russia will be more likely to win the nearly two-year-old war.

In a letter to House Speaker Mike Johnson, Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda said that the Defense and State departments are at the stage where they have almost exhausted all available US funds for Kyiv — approximately $111bn — leaving recent assistance packages smaller and smaller.

“I want to be clear: without congressional action, by the end of the year we will run out of resources to procure more weapons and equipment for Ukraine and to provide equipment from US military stocks,” she said.

White House warns US is running out of money for Ukraine war

Deputy commander of Russia's 14th Army Corps killed in Ukraine - regional governor

Monday 4 December 2023 10:16 , Tom Watling

Major General Vladimir Zavadsky, deputy commander of Russia’s 14th Army Corps, has been killed in Ukraine, the governor of Russia’s Voronezh region, Alexander Gusev, said on his Telegram channel on Monday.

Details of Zavadsky’s death have not been released, though Ukrainian outlets on Telegram have claimed that he stepped on a mine on 28 November.

Major General Vladimir Zavadsky was killed in Ukraine, according to Russian sources (Telegram)
Major General Vladimir Zavadsky was killed in Ukraine, according to Russian sources (Telegram)

Ukraine attacks oil depot in Luhansk with drones -RIA

Monday 4 December 2023 09:35 , Tom Watling

Ukraine's forces attacked an oil depot in Russia-controlled Luhansk last night using combat drones, Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported on Monday, citing Russian-installed authorities in the Ukrainian region.

A fire that broke out after the attack has been extinguished and there was no information about casualties, RIA reported.

A fuel tank in occupied Luhansk, eastern Ukraine, is seen on fire overnight after an alleged UAV strike (Telegram)
A fuel tank in occupied Luhansk, eastern Ukraine, is seen on fire overnight after an alleged UAV strike (Telegram)

What's happening this morning in Ukraine?

Monday 4 December 2023 09:00 , Tom Watling

A winter storm has been declared in far western Ukraine, on the border with Poland, Slovakia and Hungary.  Heavy snowfall has threatened to shut down roads and civilians have been warned against unnecessary travel.

On the frontline, dropping temperatures and foggy conditions appear to have also impaired both sides’ ability to conduct aerial reconnaissance and mechanised assaults, which are attacks using tanks and armoured personnel carriers (APCs).

The Ukrainian head of the Avdiivka military administration, Vitaliy Barabash, said on Sunday that they believed Russian forces were waiting the weather out before resuming heavy assaults on the eastern Ukrainian city.

Nonetheless, fighting continues. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said there was “intense fighting” in multiple eastern cities and towns.

Overnight, Russia launched 23 drones and a cruise missile, according to the Ukrainian air force. They said in a statement this morning that they had destroyed 18 of the drones.

Meanwhile, at least three people were killed on Sunday as a result of Russian shelling in eastern and southern Ukraine, including a 69-year-old woman.

Below are some of the latest photos from Ukraine.

A woman and a child walk along the bank of the Uzh river during heavy snowfall in far western Ukraine (REUTERS)
A woman and a child walk along the bank of the Uzh river during heavy snowfall in far western Ukraine (REUTERS)
An ecological investigator collects soil in the area that was flooded following the Kakhovka dam explosion, for a war crime investigation into allegations of Russian ecocide (AFP via Getty Images)
An ecological investigator collects soil in the area that was flooded following the Kakhovka dam explosion, for a war crime investigation into allegations of Russian ecocide (AFP via Getty Images)
Debris is scattered inside an apartment after shelling in a residential block in Kherson that killed at least one and wounded seven others (via REUTERS)
Debris is scattered inside an apartment after shelling in a residential block in Kherson that killed at least one and wounded seven others (via REUTERS)

Russia launches 23 drones, cruise missiles overnight on Ukraine - Ukraine's Air Force

Monday 4 December 2023 08:02 , Tom Watling

Russia launched 23 drones and a cruise missile overnight on Ukraine, Ukraine‘s air force said on Monday, adding that its air defence systems destroyed the missile and 18 of the drones before they reached their targets.

Anti-aircraft defense was deployed in at least 9 regions of Ukraine, the air force said on the Telegram messaging app.

The air force did not provide details on what happened to the drones that were not destroyed or whether there was any damage in result of the attack.

People remove shards of glass from broken windows of a building housing a beauty salon following recent shelling in  Donetsk (REUTERS)
People remove shards of glass from broken windows of a building housing a beauty salon following recent shelling in Donetsk (REUTERS)

Russia accused of killing unarmed and surrendering Ukrainian prisoners of war

Monday 4 December 2023 07:32 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Ukraine has accused Russia of committing a war crime by executing two unarmed Ukrainian soldiers who had already surrendered, and said an investigation has been launched into the killings.

The Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office said it had launched a probe into a video purporting to show the incident, saying it took place near an observation post outside Stepove village in Donetsk.

The video shows a Ukrainian soldier crawling out of a foxhole as six Russian soldiers wait for him outside. He is seen holding his hands up and then lying on the ground. Within seconds, another Ukrainian soldier stumbles out of the dugout and lies down. The Russian soldiers then fire upon the two unarmed Ukrainians.

Russia accused of killing unarmed and surrendering Ukrainian POWs

Ukraine says it is repelling Russian attacks across six fronts as Zelensky orders more fortifications

Monday 4 December 2023 06:00 , Alexander Butler

Missile attacks and ground clashes between Russian and Ukrainian forces surged on Thursday, according to the Ukrainian military, as Russian troops launched offensives but failed to move forward on as many as six fronts.

A total of 73 combat skirmishes took place across the war’s frontline in the past 24 hours, an update from Ukraine’s General Staff of the Armed Forces on Thursday read, a day after Russia launched more than 100 attacks to recapture its lost positions in eastern Ukraine’s Robotyne.

These included 43 airstrikes and 34 attacks from multiple-launch rocket systems. Russian forces also used seven Iranian Shahed drones to target Ukrainian personnel, weapons and military equipment.

Ukraine repelling Russian attacks across six fronts as Zelensky seeks fortifications

Officials walk out as Russia’s Sergei Lavrov speaks at European security meeting

Monday 4 December 2023 05:00 , Alexander Butler

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov came face-to-face with Western critics while attending international security talks on Thursday, amid European protests that Vladimir Putin’s top diplomat was invited to the summit while he wages war against Ukraine.

Some European officials present in North Macedonia walked out as the Russian minister addressed a session for foreign ministers of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation of Europe (OSCE), videos of the event showed.

A number of foreign ministers refused to attend the event over Russia’s involvement, including those of Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Officials walk out as Russia’s Sergei Lavrov speaks at security meeting

Putin won’t consider stopping Ukraine war until after US election, says Biden official

Monday 4 December 2023 04:00 , Alexander Butler

Vladimir Putin will not consider ending his invasion of Ukraine until he knows the result of the 2024 US presidential election, a senior official from the Joe Biden administration has said.

Experts have said Russia appears content to grind down Ukraine’s resolve in the conflict rather than risk losing yet more troops in an all-out assault, and that wearing down the patience of Kyiv’s Western allies appears to be a key part of that strategy.

Since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion, the Biden administation has dedicated over $60bn in aid to Ukraine, with a significant portion exceeding the $43bn budget allocated for military assistance.

Further funding is being held up by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, with Democrats outraged by the latest GOP efforts to tie Ukraine aid to a crackdown on immigration to the US.

Putin won’t consider stopping Ukraine war until after US election – official

Finland closes last crossing point with Russia, sealing off entire border as tensions rise

Monday 4 December 2023 03:00 , Alexander Butler

Nato member Finland on Wednesday closed its last remaining border crossing with Russia after the government decided to seal the entire border with its eastern neighbor amid rising political tensions.

The decision to close the entire 1,340-kilometer (830-mile) border was made by the Cabinet of Prime Minister Petteri Orpo on Tuesday over concerns that Moscow is using migrants to wage “hybrid warfare” to destabilize the Nordic country following its entry into Nato.

The Raja-Jooseppi crossing point in Finland’s Arctic Lapland region, located some 250 kilometers (155 miles) from the northern Russian city of Murmansk, was closed at 2pm Wednesday, according to the checkpoint’s normal November schedule.

Finland closes last crossing point with Russia

The director of Russia's Mariinsky Theatre, Valery Gergiev, is also put in charge of the Bolshoi

Monday 4 December 2023 02:00 , Alexander Butler

The Russian government on Friday named Valery Gergiev, the renowned director of the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, to also lead Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre.

Gergiev is replacing Vladimir Urin at the Bolshoi. Urin announced Thursday that he was stepping down after a decade, but didn’t explain the reason behind his move.

Some Russian media said the departure of 76-year-old Urin was related to health issues. Others speculated it was linked to a letter calling for an end to Moscow’s military action in Ukraine that he and some other prominent cultural figures signed after the Kremlin sent troops across the border in February 2022.

The director of Russia's Mariinsky Theatre, Valery Gergiev, is also put in charge of the Bolshoi

Senior Russian general ‘killed by one of Putin’s own landmines’ in Ukraine

Monday 4 December 2023 01:00 , Alexander Butler

Russia may have lost as many as six high-ranking officers in Ukraine in just one week following reports a senior general was killed by a landmine placed by his own side.

Major general Vladimir Zavadsky, 45, the deputy commander of the 14th Army Corps, died in occupied Ukraine on Tuesday, reported pro-Kremlin newspaper Lenta.

The elite military academy where Zavadsky studied, the Moscow Higher Combined Arms Command School, also announced his death in a social media post, although that has now been deleted.

Senior Russian general ‘killed by one of Putin’s own landmines’ in Ukraine

Putin urges Russian women to have ‘eight or more’ children amid soaring deaths in his Ukraine war

Monday 4 December 2023 00:00 , Alexander Butler

Vladimir Putin has urged Russian women to have eight or more children and make large families “the norm” amid soaring numbers of casualties in his war against Ukraine.

Russia’s birth rate has been steadily falling since the 90’s and the country has suffered more than 300,000 casualties since the start of the Ukraine conflict, according to data maintained by Kyiv.

In a speech via video link at the World Russian People’s Council in Moscow on Tuesday, Mr Putin said boosting the Russian population will be “our goal for the coming decades”.

Putin asks Russian women to have ‘eight or more’ children amid deaths in his war

Police raid Moscow gay bars after a Supreme Court ruling labeled LGBTQ+ movement 'extremist'

Sunday 3 December 2023 23:00 , Alexander Butler

Russian security forces raided gay clubs and bars across Moscow Friday night, less than 48 hours after the country’s top court banned what it called the “global LGBTQ+ movement” as an extremist organization.

Police searched venues across the Russian capital, including a nightclub, a male sauna, and a bar that hosted LGBTQ+ parties, under the pretext of a drug raid, local media reported.

Eyewitnesses told journalists that clubgoers’ documents were checked and photographed by the security services. They also said that managers had been able to warn patrons before police arrived.

Police raid Moscow gay bars after a Supreme Court ruling labeled LGBTQ+ movement 'extremist'

Schoolboy’s hilarious reaction to Zelensky walking into classroom

Sunday 3 December 2023 22:00 , Alexander Butler

A video of a schoolboy’s hilarious reaction to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky walking into his classroom has gone viral.

Footage from the president’s office shows Zelensky going from classroom to classroom to interact with students, accompanied by the mayor of Kharkiv, Ihor Terekhov.

As Zelensky enters the boy’s classroom, the stunned student stares wide-eyed at the president, immediately raising his hands to his head in apparent amazement.

The underground classrooms were opened in September inside the University metro station to protect the students from ongoing Russian attacks.

Schoolboy’s hilarious reaction to Zelensky walking into classroom

Russia has lost 332,040 troops in Ukraine

Sunday 3 December 2023 21:00 , Alexander Butler

Russia has lost 332,040 troops in Ukraine since the beginning of its full-scale invasion on Feb. 24, 2022, the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said.

This number includes 930 casualties Russian forces suffered over the past day.

The military also said Russia has lost 5,575 tanks, 10,396 armored fighting vehicles, 10,432 vehicles and fuel tanks, 7,949 artillery systems, 913 multiple launch rocket systems, 602 air defense systems, 323 airplanes, 324 helicopters, 5,995 drones, 22 ships and boats, and one submarine.

Over 7,000 Russian troops lost in one week, Kyiv claims

Sunday 3 December 2023 20:00 , Alexander Butler

Ukraine’s First Deputy Defense Minister Oleksandr Pavliuk has claims Russia has lost 7,210 troops over the last week.

Posting on Telegram, he added that the Russians had lost 534 units of weapons and military equipment.

Ukrainian military thanks UK for Challenger tanks

Sunday 3 December 2023 19:00 , Alexander Butler

The Ukrainian military has thanked the UK for providing Challenger 2 tanks which have helped repel Russian attacks on the country.

“Today, we want to thank our British partners. The UK was the first European country to send weapons to the Ukrainian army to repel russian aggression.

“And we are also grateful for one of the best modern tanks Challenger 2. The Challenger 2 became an effective weapon in professional hands of Ukrainian warriors.

“The spectacular combination of technology and talent helps to liberate our land from occupiers,” it said on X.

Watch: Ukraine claims it destroys Russian armoured vehicles

Sunday 3 December 2023 18:00 , Alexander Butler

The Ukrainian millitary has shared footage which it claims shows its 14th Separate Regiment destroying Russian armored vehicles, a tank repair base and a truck.

“Professional and effective work of our warriors from the 14th Separate Regiment. As a result, occupier’s armored vehicles, a tank repair base and a truck were destroyed,” it said.

At least two dead in Kherson after shelling

Sunday 3 December 2023 17:00 , Alexander Butler

Ukraine said at least two people were killed and four injured by Russian shelling in the Kherson region Sunday, while air defences downed 10 Russian drones overnight.

Kherson was recaptured by Ukrainian forces in November 2022 but has since faced relentless shelling by Russian forces from the opposite bank of the adjoining Dnipro river.

Officials said a 78-year-old man was killed Sunday morning when the village of Sadove was bombarded, while a woman in Kherson city was killed by shelling in a street.

Hundreds of settlements without power

Sunday 3 December 2023 16:00 , Alexander Butler

Over 500 settlements in a dozen Ukrainian regions experienced power outages due to bad weather, and over 400 more lost power due to Russian attacks and equipment disturbances, the Ukrainian energy ministry said.

In Lviv Oblast, 41,000 households in 388 settlements were left without power due to weather. Up to 422 settlements have been without power due to hostilities and technological disturbances, the ministry said.

Ease up of offensive on Avdiivka shows Russian's "running out of steam"

Sunday 3 December 2023 15:00 , Alexander Butler

Ukraine has claimed the ease up of Russia’s offensive on the eastern Ukrainian town of Avdiivka shows its military is “running out of steam”.

“Over the past 24 hours, the number of ground attacks has decreased,” Vitaliy Barabash, the head of the city’s military administration, said.

“There are fewer and fewer Russian people willing to go on assaults voluntarily, and there are more and more refuseniks,” Mr Barabash said.

He explained that difficult “weather conditions”, “large losses in both Russian and manpower” meant the Russian army was “running out of steam”.

Ukraine to open crossing for lorries on Monday to unblock Polish border

Sunday 3 December 2023 14:00 , Alexander Butler

Ukraine and Poland will open an additional border crossing for empty trucks on Monday in order to open up a much-needed route for Kyiv, with some crossings blocked by weeks of protests by Polish drivers, Ukrainian authorities said on Sunday.

Those protests, over what Polish truckers see as unfair competition from their Ukrainian peers, started on 6 November, with four border crossings now under blockade.

Polish hauliers’ main demand is to stop Ukrainian truckers having permit-free access to the EU, something that Kyiv and Brussels say is impossible.

“The opening of Uhryniv is the first point on the list of measures implemented to unblock the border, reduce queues and increase the capacity of the Ukrainian-Polish border,” the border service said.

Ukraine said last week it had agreed some measures with Poland that could ease the pressure at the blockaded border crossings, but that they had not discussed the main demands of the protests.

Elderly man killed in Russian strikes, Kyiv claims

Sunday 3 December 2023 13:30 , Alexander Butler

An elderly man was killed during Russian shelling of Ukraine’s southern region of Kherson on Sunday, regional officials said.

“The occupants attacked the Sadove village. One of the hits was to a private garage, where a 78-year-old man was at the time. He died on the spot from the explosive injury,” the Kherson military administration said on the Telegram messaging app.

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

Soviet war memorials ‘destroyed’ in Eastern Europe

Sunday 3 December 2023 13:00 , Alexander Butler

Soviet war memorials are being destroyed in some Eastern European countries, Russia has claimed.

“Regrettably, memorials dedicated to Soviet liberator soldiers are presently being destroyed in some Eastern European countries as part of a campaign to falsify history,” Russia’s foreign ministry said.

“The Russian Foreign Ministry brings these outrageous facts to public attention and actively works to preserve and restore these memorials. The memory of those who sacrificed their lives for our future remains immortal.”

It comes as Russia celebrates the Day of the Unknown Soldier, a day established to remember fallen soldiers in Russia and abroad.

Ukrainian parliament’s chairman accuses Russia of war crimes

Sunday 3 December 2023 12:19 , Alexander Butler

The chairman of the Ukrainian parliament has shared a still of a video which is said to show Russian soldiers executing two prisoners of war.

Ruslan Stefanchuk said: “This is another crime committed by russian terrorists. Violation of the rules of war. The killing of unarmed soldiers.

“Russia has once again proved that it is a terrorist country for which there are no laws and norms of international law.”