Ukraine Daily Summary - Thursday, December 21

Russia using low-quality, defective North Korean shells -- Ukrainian hackers hit Russian utility company -- Tankers carrying 5 million barrels of Russian oil fail to reach India -- German Prosecutor General wants to confiscate over $780 million in Russian funds -- and more

Thursday, December 21

Russia’s war against Ukraine

A young Ukrainian servicemember, wearing a tattoo depicting the Ukrainian state coat of arms, in Kyiv on Dec. 20, 2023. (Sergei Supinsky / AFP via Getty Images)

Minister: Ukraine already produced 50,000 FPV drones in December. FPV drones are cheap to manufacture and can be precisely flown into targets. They have the capability of destroying much more expensive military equipment.

Military: Russia moves up to 2 km near Avdiivka in 2 months, loses 20,000 soldiers. Russian forces advanced between one and half and two kilometers in some areas of the Avdiivka sector at the cost of around 20,000 killed and wounded in the past two months, Oleksandr Shtupun, the spokesman for the Tavria group of forces, said on Dec. 20.

Media: Ukrainian hackers hit Russian utility company. The Ukrainian Blackjack hacker group launched a cyber attack against Rosvodokanal, a Russian water utility company, Ukrainska Pravda reported on Dec. 20, citing undisclosed law enforcement sources.

Ukraine, 10 partner countries launch new cybersecurity mechanism. Ukraine and 10 partner countries established on Dec. 20 the Tallinn mechanism on cybersecurity to help protect Ukraine against cyber threats.

Poll: Majority of Ukrainians would disapprove of Zaluzhnyi’s resignation. An overwhelming majority (72%) of Ukrainians would disapprove of the resignation of Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi, and only 8% believe that there are serious disagreements between him and President Volodymyr Zelensky, a poll by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) released on Dec. 20 found.

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SBU puts Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman on wanted list. The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) added Russian-Israeli business tycoon Mikhail Fridman to Ukraine’s wanted list, according to the Interior Ministry’s website.

Bloomberg: Tankers carrying 5 million barrels of Russian oil fail to reach India. Six vessels carrying almost 5 million barrels of Russian oil failed to reach their destinations in India, some idling kilometers off the coast for weeks without providing a reason, Bloomberg reported on Dec. 20.

General Staff: Russia using low-quality, defective North Korean shells. In particular, the General Staff said that this appeared to be happening with Russian troops in the Dnipro Group under the command of Colonel General Mikhail Teplinsky, operating in the south of Ukraine.

Former TV journalist bids to challenge Putin in Russian presidential election.

Yekaterina Duntsova, 40, a local politician in Tver Oblast and mother of three, has publicly supported peace in Ukraine, though she refrains from using the term “war” in her remarks to journalists.

Putin holds ‘private’ talks with Kazakhstan’s ex-president. Russian leader Vladimir Putin held “absolutely private” talks with the former president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov confirmed on Dec. 20.

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Ukraine war latest: Russia advances up to 2 kilometers near Avdiivka in 2 months; 4 children injured in Kherson

Russian troops launched a mass attack against Kherson overnight on Dec. 20, hitting the southern city with drones and multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS), Governor Oleksandr Prokudin reported.

Photo: Ozge Elif Kizil/Anadolu via Getty Images

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Dutch minister: ‘If you don’t stop Russia now, they’ll go further. It’s not just Ukraine’

Dutch Foreign Trade Minister Geoffrey van Leeuwen sat down with the Kyiv Independent to talk about how to make sure that Kyiv withstands Russia’s aggression in the long-run.

Photo: Olena Zashko / The Kyiv Independent

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Human cost of war

Russian attacks in Kherson Oblast injure 16, including 4 children. Russia attacked the oblast 82 times, using artillery, mortars, drones, aircraft, tanks, and multiple-launch rocket systems.

General Staff: Russia has lost 349,190 troops in Ukraine. This number includes 890 casualties Russian forces suffered just over the past day.

International response

German Prosecutor General wants to confiscate over $780 million in Russian funds. If the plan comes to fruition, it would mark a change in Germany’s position toward Russian assets it holds, as currently Germany has only frozen funds belonging to sanctioned individuals and companies.

White House hopes Ukraine aid bill will pass in January. The White House hopes that Congress will pass a funding request containing $61 billion for Ukraine in January to maintain support for Kyiv amid Russia’s invasion, U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said on Dec. 20.

US announces new sanctions to tighten Russian oil price cap. The U.S. Treasury Department announced on Dec. 20 new sanctions targeting companies shipping Russian oil, building upon earlier measures to tighten the $60-per-barrel price cap.

Ukraine receives over $160 million in EU grants for recovery efforts. “Grant funding will support priority measures in the restoration of critical infrastructure damaged by Russian aggression, namely transport, communal facilities and services, social infrastructure, and residential areas,” Finance Minister Serhii Marchenko commented.

EU launches €20 million program to fund Ukrainian startups. Under the current call, Ukrainian tech startups can apply for grants of €10,000 to put towards consultancy services that will help them upgrade their business model or growth strategy.

Moldova bolsters air defenses with French radar system. Produced by the French company Thales, the GM 200 can monitor aircraft from a distance of up to 250 kilometers.

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