HERE IS THE SITUATION ON THUSDAY DECEMBER 7, 2023. (652 DAY)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy reassured the nation that Kyiv would triumph over Russia and secure a just peace. Walking through Kyiv on Armed Forces Day, he paid homage to fallen soldiers, emphasizing their collective resilience. Zelenskyy stated, “Despite the challenges, we will reach our borders, our people, and attain a peace that is not only fair but also free defying all odds.”
A recent drone attack by Russia targeted southern, central, and eastern Ukrainian regions, causing damage to both private and commercial structures, as well as critical infrastructure. Ukrainian air defenses successfully intercepted 41 out of 48 Iranian–made Shahed drones launched from Russia’s Kursk region and Crimea, the latter having been seized by Moscow in 2014.
Russian television aired footage claiming to show a US-built Bradley infantry fighting vehicle, part of a recent supply to Ukraine, immobilized and abandoned in Ukraine’s Luhansk region due to Russian fire. The broadcast suggested that the capture could allow Russian forces to identify vulnerabilities in the vehicle.
The leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) nations convened virtually to express solidarity with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. In a joint statement, they announced a united stance to impose a new ban on Russian diamonds. The ban will encompass non-industrial Russian diamonds starting from January, and those sold by third countries from March.
Participating in this commitment to address the ongoing situation, the G7 comprises Canada, the European Union, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Legislation proposing $106 billion in new security assistance for Ukraine and Israel encountered a roadblock in the US Senate. Republicans stalled the bill, linking their support to demands for stricter measures to control immigration along the US-Mexico border.
In a separate development, Illia Kyva, a former pro-Russian member of Ukraine’s parliament sentenced in absentia to 14 years for charges including treason and incitement to violence, was fatally shot near Moscow. News agencies, including Reuters and AFP, cited sources indicating that Kyva’s assailant was allegedly the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU).
Additionally, Oleg Popov, a deputy in the pro-Moscow regional parliament in Russian-occupied eastern Ukraine, met his demise in a car bombing. As of now, Ukraine has not provided an immediate comment on Popov’s reported death. These incidents highlight the intricate dynamics surrounding the region and its geopolitical challenges.
The United States has formally charged four soldiers affiliated with Russia with war crimes. The charges are based on their actions towards a US citizen who was abducted from his home in the village of Mylove in southern Ukraine in April 2022. The victim was held captive for 10 days. The Justice Department has accused the four individuals of subjecting the unnamed victim to physical assault, torture, and staging a mock execution.
The Kathmandu District Police Chief, Bhupendra Khatri, has reported the arrest of 10 individuals in connection with the illegal recruitment of young Nepalese men into the Russian army. This comes after Nepal officially requested Moscow to cease the recruitment of its citizens into the Russian military and urged the return of any Nepali soldiers serving in Ukraine, following the deaths of six citizens in the conflict.
The United Kingdom has announced 46 new measures targeting individuals and groups allegedly involved in Russia’s military supply chains. Sanctions extend to businesses operating in various countries, including China, Turkey, Serbia, the United Arab Emirates, and Uzbekistan, according to the British foreign ministry. In response, the Chinese embassy in London condemned the measures, vowing to counter any actions that undermine its interests.
Ukraine’s Defense Minister, Rustem Umerov, held discussions with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at the Pentagon, where Austin unveiled an additional $175 million aid package for Kyiv. The package includes High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), anti-armour systems, and high-speed anti-radiation missiles. This aid will be provided through presidential drawdown authority, accessing weapons from existing US stockpiles.
A closed-door joint US-Ukraine defense conference in Washington addressed the ongoing situation. Ukrainian President Zelenskyy informed delegates that Kyiv is increasing domestic military production, expressing Ukraine’s aspiration to become a security contributor to its neighbors once its own safety is assured.
During the conference, representatives from the US and Ukrainian governments inked an agreement aimed at intensifying co-production of weapons and sharing critical data. The focus areas of this collaboration encompass “air defense systems, repair and sustainment, and production of critical munitions,” as highlighted by Jason Israel, the White House National Security Council’s Director for Defense Policy and Strategy.
According to information obtained by Reuters from official documents, officials from the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense put forth a new list of US weapons deemed necessary for countering the Russian military. This comprehensive list includes advanced air defense systems, F-18 fighter jets, a variety of drones, as well as Apache and Blackhawk helicopters.
SOURCE: Al Jazeera