HERE IS THE SITUATION ON SUNDAY DECEMBER 24, 2023. (669 DAY)
On Saturday, waves of Russian shelling and drone attacks hit the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson, resulting in one fatality and seven injuries, according to regional officials. Additionally, Russian forces targeted a power station near the frontlines in eastern Ukraine, injuring five workers and causing a power outage in the town of Kurakhovo.
Starting this Monday, many Ukrainians will celebrate Christmas Day on December 25 for the first time, following a government decision to change the date from the Orthodox Church observance of January 7, seen as a deliberate distancing from Russia. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy signed a law acknowledging Ukrainians’ desire to uphold their own traditions and holidays, allowing them to break away from the Russian heritage of celebrating Christmas on January 7. Despite the dominance of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine until recently, the shift reflects a desire for independence.
Former TV journalist Yekaterina Duntsova has announced her intention to challenge her disqualification from the upcoming Russian presidential election in the supreme court. She deems the decision unjustified and undemocratic.
Poland’s new foreign minister, Radosław Sikorski, has urged European countries to enhance long-term plans for military production. Following his first foreign visit to Ukraine, Sikorski emphasized the importance of industrial capacities in determining the outcome of wars, underscoring the need for increased focus on military production.
President Joe Biden signed an executive order blacklisting financial institutions supporting the Russian military-industrial complex, denying them access to the American financial system. This move reinforces sanctions against banks involved in supporting Russia’s military activities.
Estonia is considering the extradition of fighting-age Ukrainian men residing in the country to join the war effort in Ukraine due to a shortage of soldiers. Estonia stands ready to support Ukraine by conscripting Ukrainian men abroad for military service, according to ERR, Estonia’s public broadcaster.
The Communist Party of Russia, the second-largest party in parliament, has nominated 75-year-old Nikolai Kharitonov as its candidate for the upcoming presidential polls. Kharitonov previously secured just under 14% of the national vote when he contested against Putin in 2004.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the assassination of Wagner mercenary army chief Yevgeny Prigozhin was approved by a close ally of Vladimir Putin, based on conversations with Western intelligence officials and a former Russian intelligence officer.
Protesting Polish truckers have lifted their blockade of the key border crossing, Shehyni-Medyka, between Poland and Ukraine, as announced by Kyiv’s economy minister Yulia Svyrydenko, marking a significant improvement.
Both Ukrainian and Russian troops are facing “exceptional levels of rat and mice infestation” in certain frontline sectors, according to UK intelligence. The Ministry of Defense attributes the rise in rodent populations to milder temperatures and an abundance of food in recent months.