Ukraine Daily Summary - Sunday, December 17

Italian company makes sure Russian war machine has the steel it needs -- Is Ukraine ready for long war? -- Hungary to veto Bulgaria's Schengen bid unless it cancels Russian gas transit tax -- Russia committing more reserves in attempt to capture Kupiansk -- and more

Sunday, December 17

Russia’s war against Ukraine

The aftermath of Russian attacks against the Nikopol district on Dec. 16, 2023. (Governor Serhii Lysak/Telegram)

Third driver reportedly dies at blocked Polish-Ukrainian border. The third driver died at the Polish-Ukrainian border amid the ongoing blockade by Polish protesters, Suspilne reported on Dec. 16, citing Volodymyr Balin, the vice-president of the Association of International Carriers of Ukraine.

Zelensky: Ukraine downs 104 of 112 Shahed drones launched by Russia this week. “Every destroyed (Shahed) means saved lives and saved infrastructure. I thank all the soldiers of our mobile fire groups, pilots, engineers of the Air Force, and air defense troops. Well done!” President Volodymyr Zelensky said.

Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria to sign treaty on Black Sea mine clearance in January. Turkey, Romania, and Bulgaria plan to sign an agreement on joint clearance of mines in the Black Sea in January, Turkish Defense Minister Yasar Guler said on Dec. 16, Reuters reported.

Defense minister urges local authorities to contribute to mobilization. Umerov made the announcement during a meeting of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities chaired by President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Minister: Ukraine, Romania solve 20-year-old dispute over Danube-Black Sea canal. Ukraine and Romania resolved a protracted conflict over the construction of the Deepwater Navigation Route Danube-Black Sea, in which Bucharest accused Kyiv of violating environmental standards, Ukraine’s Environment Minister Ruslan Strilets announced on Dec. 16.

Your contribution helps keep the Kyiv Independent going. Become a member today.

Hungary to veto Bulgaria’s Schengen bid unless it cancels Russian gas transit tax. Hungary threatens to veto Bulgaria’s entry into the EU’s passport-free Schengen Zone if Sofia does not scrap its transit tax on Russian gas, Reuters reported on Dec. 16, citing Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto.

Three Ukrainian children returned from Russia, occupied territories. A boy born in 2008 and a girl born in 2011 were brought from Kherson Oblast and are now with their mother. Another boy, born in 2011, was taken by his father to Russia against his will but has been reunited with his mother in Georgia

Putin officially nominated as presidential candidate in 2024 election. The group of celebrities who nominated Putin includes pro-Kremlin pop singer Yaroslav Dronov, also known as Shaman; Tatyana Navka, an actress and the wife of Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov, and Jeffrey Monson, a U.S.-born boxer who has become a pro-Kremlin regional lawmaker in Russia.

Military: Russia committing more reserves in attempt to capture Kupiansk. Russia is aiming to capture Kupiansk in Kharkiv Oblast due to its importance as a logistical hub for a potential offensive westwards, Volodymyr Fito, the head of the Army’s public relations service, said on air on Dec. 16.

Read our exclusives

Investigation: Italian company makes sure Russian war machine has the steel it needs

After Russia seized Crimea and unleashed the war in the Donbas in 2014, the Italian Danieli Group grew to become a major player in the Russian steel industry, the engine of Putin’s war machine.

Learn more

Human cost of war

Russia shells 11 communities in Sumy Oblast, injuring 1. Russian forces shelled 11 communities along the Sumy Oblast border on Dec. 16, injuring one civilian, the Sumy Oblast military administration reported.

Russian attacks against Dnipropetrovsk Oblast injure 3. Russian artillery and drone attacks against Dnipropetrovsk Oblast’s Nikopol district on Dec. 16 injured three men, Governor Serhii Lysak reported.

General Staff: Russia has lost 344,820 troops in Ukraine. This number includes 930 casualties Russian forces suffered just over the past day.

This Week in Ukraine Ep. 38 – Is Ukraine ready for long war?

Why Ukraine hasn’t prepared defensive lines | This Week in Ukraine Ep. 38

International response

Media: Austria backs EU sanctions package after Raiffeisen suspended from war sponsor list. Austria supported the EU’s 12th sanction package against Russia after Ukraine suspended the inclusion of the Raiffeisen Bank in the war sponsors list, Reuters reported on Dec. 16, citing an EU diplomat.

Lithuania hands over munitions to Ukraine in latest aid delivery. “We hear Ukraine’s urgent requests and continue to provide assistance in accordance with the stated needs. We actively encourage our allies to do the same,” Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas said.

Telegraph: London mayor refused Klitschko’s request to send scrap cars to Ukraine. London Mayor Sadiq Khan rejected a proposal to send cars handed over to the city authorities to Ukraine, since the plan would not benefit Londoners from an “economic, social, and environmental perspective,” the Telegraph reported on Dec. 15.

Financial Times: G7 steps up efforts to confiscate Russian assets for Ukraine.

The decision could be made in the next few months, a U.S. source told the Financial Times. The G7 leaders may discuss the issue in February 2024, close to the two-year anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, according to the newspaper.

German defense minister: Europe needs to guarantee security without relying on US. Pistorious noted that Europe may have to replace U.S. aid to Ukraine if Washington fails to approve new funding.

Want to get the news faster? Follow our website:

Today’s Ukraine Daily was brought to you by Francis Farrell, Elsa Court, Oleg Sukhov, Dominic Culverwell, Martin Fornusek, Olga Rudenko, and Rachel Amran.

If you’re enjoying this newsletter, consider joining our membership program. Start supporting independent journalism today.