HERE IS THE SITUATION ON MONDAY DECEMBER 19, 2023. (664 DAY)
Ukraine’s Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief, Valerii Zaluzhnyi, updated that the front line situation, which he had earlier suggested might be at a stalemate, has evolved. However, he refrained from disclosing details about upcoming counteroffensive operations. In response to inquiries, he emphasized the confidentiality inherent to wartime strategy, stating, “This is a war. I can’t reveal our plans; otherwise, it turns into a spectacle rather than a genuine conflict,” as reported by Ukraine’s RBC media.
Brigadier General Oleksandr Tarnavskyi, a seasoned army leader with experience in counteroffensives against the Russians, spoke to Reuters about challenges faced by front-line troops. He highlighted shortages in artillery shells, specifically mentioning deficits in Soviet-era 122mm and 152mm ammunition. Due to a lack of foreign assistance, some military operations had to be curtailed.
Zaluzhnyi expressed discontent with the president’s decision to dismiss regional military draft office chiefs, terming them as seasoned professionals. He argued against their removal, stating, “These were experts who knew their job, and now they are no longer part of the system,” as reported by Interfax Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had ousted these officials in August as part of an anti-corruption initiative
President Zelenskyy stated that the European Union’s new sanctions against Moscow would significantly diminish Russia’s capacity to fund its invasion of Ukraine. In response, Russia’s diplomatic mission to the EU contended that these latest measures indicated the failure of prior efforts. The 12th package of sanctions involves a prohibition on Russian-origin diamonds, additional restrictions on imports and exports, and an enhancement of regulations to address loopholes and prevent the circumvention of sanctions, according to the EU.
The Russian government recently designated the well-known writer Grigory Chkhartishvili, using his pen name Boris Akunin, as a “terrorist and extremist” in response to his criticism of the invasion of Ukraine. Akunin, aged 67, is renowned for his historical detective novels and has long been a vocal critic of President Vladimir Putin.
In the United States, President Joe Biden announced plans for another military aid package for Ukraine this month, emphasizing that additional assistance would necessitate approval from Congress. The Alphen Group, comprising over 40 former top US and NATO diplomats and defense officials, urged the US Congress to endorse new aid for Ukraine. They cautioned that a failure for Ukraine would not only be disastrous for the country but also pose a threat to the security of the US and its allies. Earlier in the month, Republicans had blocked an emergency spending bill containing billions of dollars in aid for Ukraine, citing a need for stricter measures to control immigration at the US-Mexico border.
Denmark has allocated 1.8 billion Danish crowns ($264 million) to support a Swedish initiative aimed at donating CV90 armored combat vehicles to Ukraine, as announced by the Danish Defense Ministry.