HERE IS THE SITUATION ON SATURDAY DECEMBER 9, 2023. (654 DAY)
The Kremlin dismissed the notion that Russia would engage in peace talks with Ukraine on Kyiv’s terms in 2024, deeming it unrealistic. This response followed a media report suggesting Washington’s desire for such negotiations. Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesperson, labeled the idea as “absolutely unrealistic.”
In a recent incident, Russia launched a series of cruise missiles at Ukraine, resulting in one fatality and six injuries. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy cautioned about potential Moscow attacks on energy infrastructure during the winter. Ukrainian air defenses successfully intercepted 14 out of 19 missiles fired by Russia in a morning airstrike, including those targeting Kyiv.
Vladimir Putin confirmed his candidacy for the March 2024 presidential election, bringing the long-time Russian leader one step closer to a fifth term. This announcement, widely anticipated, aligns with Putin’s spokesperson’s earlier statement predicting his reelection with over 90% of the vote.
The Ukrainian parliament has given its approval to four essential bills required to initiate talks for Ukraine’s accession to the European Union. This includes legislation addressing the rights of national minorities, a crucial demand from Hungary, which has been opposing Ukraine’s EU aspirations. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has officially signed all the bills into law, expressing the expectation that Ukraine’s efforts will be acknowledged by EU leaders, and corresponding promises to Ukraine will be fulfilled. Zelenskiy highlighted that Ukraine has fulfilled all expectations by adopting EU recommendations.
As the EU leaders approach their year-end summit in Brussels on December 14 and 15, a senior official emphasized the “existential” importance of financial aid to Ukraine. They assured that the EU will honor its commitments, despite Hungary’s threat to veto a proposal for granting €50 billion in budget aid to Kyiv through 2027.
The EU’s executive is set to approve a legal proposal next week concerning the use of funds from Russian assets frozen under sanctions. However, doubts in France, Germany, and Belgium suggest that Ukraine may not receive the money soon. The draft law is anticipated on December 12, just two days before the final summit of the EU’s 27 national leaders. This summit will determine substantial budgetary and military aid for Kyiv, as well as progress in Ukraine’s bid for EU membership.
In preparation for the upcoming summit, President Zelenskiy has emphasized Kyiv’s need for increased air defenses and stressed the importance of EU unity. During a call with Estonia’s Prime Minister, Kaja Kallas, they discussed the significance of maintaining EU political and financial support for Ukraine, especially in light of the expected decisions during the European Council summit to open accession negotiations and provide €50 billion in support.
Ukraine’s Ministry of Agriculture has revised its 2023 grain harvest forecast to 59.7 million tones, citing a “record grain yield.” The total grain and oilseed harvest are projected to reach 81.3 million tones, according to the ministry’s statement.
SOURCE: the guardian.