Ukraine Daily Summary - Friday, December 15

Defense Ministry wins five cases of international arbitration against foreign suppliers -- Putin flaunts alleged military successes, claims Russia is doing great -- Russian paratroopers suffer heavy losses in Kherson Oblast -- German drone manufacturer to open R&D center in Ukraine -- and more

Friday, December 15

Russia’s war against Ukraine

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during the press conference on Nov. 21, 2023 in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Viktor Kovalchuk/Getty Images)

European Council agrees to open accession talks with Ukraine, Moldova. The European Council has agreed to open accession talks with Ukraine and Moldova, European Council President Charles Michel announced on Dec. 14.

Zelensky speaks with Moldovan, Georgian counterparts following EU decision. President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke with Moldovan President Maia Sandu and Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili on Dec. 14. Zelensky said he congratulated Sandu, calling the EU’s decision a “joint victory.”

US Senate to vote on Ukraine aid package next week. The U.S. Senate will reconvene next week to vote on a proposed Ukraine-Israel aid package, delaying the Senate’s scheduled holiday recess, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced on Dec. 14.

Kyiv protesters demand higher city budget expenditures for military. Activists held demonstrations at the Kyiv city administration on Dec. 14, asking for a higher budget for military needs instead of repairs and infrastructure in the city.

Politico: Zelensky not invited to EU summit to avoid antagonizing Orban. President Volodymyr Zelensky has not been invited to the EU Council Summit in Brussels due to fears that his presence “could antagonize” Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Politico reported on Dec. 14, citing unnamed EU diplomats.

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Poll: 74% of Ukrainians against territorial concessions. Three-quarters of Ukrainians are against any territorial concessions in exchange for peace with Russia, according to a poll published by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) on Dec. 14.

Border Guard Service: Truck traffic across Slovak border partially resumes. Trucks were able to pass through the Uzhhorod-Vysne Nemecke border crossing as of Dec. 14, albeit at a slower pace of around 3-4 per hour. As of 6 a.m. local time, the border guard service said that 24 trucks have been cleared by Slovak border controls and another 28 were registered for departure from Ukraine.

Donetsk resident charged over allegedly fighting for Russia in Mariupol, elsewhere. A Donetsk resident was charged with treason over voluntarily fighting for Russian forces, namely in Mariupol and Volnovakha in Donetsk Oblast, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) reported on Dec. 14.

Defense Ministry wins five cases of international arbitration against foreign suppliers. Over the last three months, Ukraine won five disputes with foreign suppliers of military equipment worth over Hr 900 million ($24.3 million), the Defense Ministry reported on Dec. 14.

Law enforcement searches Spanish property owned by former Odesa military enlistment officer. The former head of Odesa’s military enlistment office, Yevhen Borysov is accused of illegally enriching himself by more than Hr 188 million ($5 million) through his official position.

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Ukraine war latest: Zelensky visits US military base in Germany

President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in Germany on Dec. 14, paying a visit to the headquarters of the U.S. Army Command in Europe and Africa, located in the German city of Wiesbaden.

Photo: Volodymyr Zelensky/X

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Putin flaunts alleged military successes, claims Russia is doing great

Russian President Vladimir Putin took four hours on Dec. 14 to boast about Russia’s alleged economic and military achievements.

Photo: Contributor/Getty Images

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Human cost of war

Russian missile attack kills elderly woman in Kherson Oblast. As a result of the attack, a house and neighboring buildings were destroyed in the town of Myroliubivka, about 32 kilometers away northwest of the city of Kherson. The body of an elderly woman was found among the rubble of the house.

UK Defense Ministry: Russian paratroopers suffer heavy losses in Kherson Oblast. Russia’s newly-formed 104th Guards Airborne Division likely suffered “exceptionally heavy losses” during its combat debut near Kherson Oblast’s village of Krynky, the U.K. Defense Ministry said in its Dec. 14 report.

Honoring Ukrainian soldiers killed by Russia’s war

Honoring Ukrainian soldiers killed by Russia’s war

International response

Hungary blocks 50-billion-euro EU aid for Ukraine. Hungary has obstructed the European Union’s endorsement of a financial assistance package for Ukraine consisting of 50 billion euros ($55 billion), following EU leaders’ formal approval to commence accession negotiations with Ukraine, marking a significant milestone for Kyiv in its efforts to strengthen support from its allies.

EU agrees to 12th sanctions package against Russia. European Union countries have agreed to a 12th sanctions package against Russia, moving to ban the import of Russian diamonds among other measures, the European Council announced in a statement on Dec. 14.

Finland to shut border crossings with Russia, day after reopening. U.S. congressmembers are scheduled to leave Washington, D.C. on Dec. 14 for a three-week holiday break, with no deal in sight.

German drone manufacturer to open R&D center in Ukraine. German drone manufacturer Quantum Systems will open a research and development center in Ukraine, tech news outlet DOU reported on Dec. 14. Quantum Systems is the company behind advanced Vector reconnaissance drones, 152 of which have already been provided to Ukraine.

Orban doesn’t block accession talks, still says ‘EU membership of Ukraine is a bad decision.’ An EU source told the Kyiv Independent that “PM Orban was momentarily absent from the room in a pre-agreed and constructive manner.”

Estonia to send $88 million in military aid to Ukraine. Estonia’s Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur said he hopes that this package would prompt other allies to boost their support for Kyiv as worries about hesitation grow.

Romanian Defense Ministry: Downed Russian drone found on Romanian territory. Russian Drone fragments and debris have been found on Romanian territory on numerous occasions, prompting Romania to install anti-drone systems, bunkers, and other security measures in the area.

Australia announces $126 million expansion of training program for Ukrainian troops. The program, called Operation Kudu, is managed by the Australian Defense Forces and entails the deployment of Australian servicemen to multinational training missions in the U.K. for Ukrainian soldiers.

Tusk holds first phone call with Zelensky since becoming Polish PM. The Polish parliament elected Donald Tusk as the prime minister on Dec. 11, ending the eight-year rule of the conservative Law and Justice party (PiS). He was sworn in as prime minister on Dec. 13.

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