Here is the situation on FRIDAY DECEMBER 1, 2023. (646 Day)
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has urged an expedited construction of fortifications in critical areas facing pressure from Russian forces, particularly in eastern Ukraine—a focal point of Moscow’s 21-month invasion. Zelenskiy made this call after visiting frontline positions in the northeast, emphasizing the need for heightened attention to sectors such as Avdiivka, Maryinka, and others in the Donetsk region, along with the Kupiansk sector and Kupiansk-Lyman line in the Kharkiv region. This message was conveyed during his nightly video address.
Hungary, as revealed by government minister Gergely Gulyas, has stated its non-support for any EU proposal to initiate talks on Ukraine’s potential membership in the bloc. Gulyas, the chief of staff to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, emphasized the prematurity of formal talks with Kyiv, expressing Hungary’s unwillingness to open discussions during the upcoming mid-December meeting of EU leaders.
In a strategic move, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) reportedly detonated explosives on a Siberian railway line used by Russia for military supplies. An anonymous Ukrainian source revealed that four explosive devices were set off overnight in the Buryatia region, near the Severomuysky Tunnel bordering Mongolia. While Russian sources acknowledged a train catching fire in the area, no mention was made of explosives.
Tragically, across eastern and southern Ukraine, six individuals lost their lives in a series of Russian attacks, with three more reported missing. In the Kherson region, Russian shelling claimed three lives in the village of Sadove. Simultaneous Russian strikes on three towns in the eastern Donetsk region resulted in two deaths and three individuals, including a child, trapped under rubble. Another evening attack in Toretsk claimed one life and injured two, according to the local prosecutor’s office.
White House national security spokesperson John Kirby disclosed ongoing collaboration between the US and Ukraine to prepare for an anticipated winter assault by Russia. This includes providing equipment and supplies to prevent the loss of heat and electricity, with the expectation that Russia will target Ukraine’s critical energy infrastructure.
Ukraine’s human rights commissioner, Dmytro Lubinets, accused Russia of refusing new exchanges of prisoners of war over the past three months. Despite Ukrainian initiatives and actions to secure the return of their defenders from captivity, Russian unwillingness has persisted, leaving Ukrainian prisoners stranded. Lubinets noted that Russian prisoners in Ukraine have expressed a desire to be exchanged, but the Russian side remains unresponsive.
There are reports of EU countries resisting certain aspects of the commission’s proposed sanctions on Russia. Notably, concerns have been raised about the “no Russia clause,” retaliatory financial limits, and sanctions on goods for personal use. Some member states argue that the proposed measures go too far and could negatively impact EU global trade, potentially undermining the intended goals.
President Zelenskiy engaged in phone conversations with three European leaders: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov. Zelenskiy expressed gratitude for the ongoing implementation of agreements and outlined new joint steps with the European leaders.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, addressing a meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), criticized the West, claiming it was jeopardizing the revival of the organization, which he argued was on the brink of collapse. Lavrov, speaking in Skopje, North Macedonia, at a meeting boycotted by Ukraine and some allies, asserted that the OSCE was becoming an appendage of NATO and the European Union.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen emphasized the importance of considering Ukraine’s military needs in shaping the future strategy of Europe’s defense industry. Speaking at the annual conference of the European Defense Agency, von der Leyen highlighted that a comprehensive strategy must incorporate Ukraine’s needs and industrial capacity.
Source: The guardian