Ukraine-Russia – live: Kyiv’s troops ‘smell a Russian offensive coming’ amid fierce fighting in east

By Isaac M December 5, 2023

Kyiv suffers ‘largest ever’ drone attack by Russia leaving ‘five wounded’

A Ukrainian soldier on the frontline has said he can “smell a Russian offensive coming” as local commanders reported a significant increase in hostile shelling in the east.

Dmytro Verbych, a soldier who took part in the main attack in the counteroffensive earlier this year, admitted his men were “exhausted” and “had lost the initiative”.

“We have a difficult winter and spring ahead, which smells like a Russian offensive,” he wrote in a local Ukrainian publication focused on the war. “The situation is truly ‘unfortunate’.”

Ukrainian commanders in the eastern Donetsk region reported on Monday a “significant increase in Russian shelling” in Avdiivka, a key town on the frontline.

Geolocated footage showed Russian forces had made gains in the north of Adviivka. There has been fierce fighting around the town for months as Ukraine looks to defend the area.

It comes as a Qatari official said they had brokered the return of six Ukrainian children from Russia. Tens of thousands of Ukrainian children have been taken by Russian authorities from occupied territories, prompting the International Criminal Court to class the Russian children ombudsman, as well as Vlaidmir Putin, as war criminals engaged in genocide.

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Russia presses attacks on devastated Avdiivka in eastern Ukraine

Russian forces intensified attacks on Monday on the pulverised town of Avdiivka, Ukrainian officials said, as Moscow’s military presses its slow advance through eastern Ukraine.

The town is just 12 miles north of the Russian-held city of Donetsk, part of the eastern Donbas region which Russia‘s military has been fighting to control since failing to take Kyiv at the start of its February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

The Institute for the Study of War wrote that Russia had made confirmed gains in the area.

They wrote in their overnight assessment: “Geolocated footage published on December 4 shows that Russian forces advanced near the reservoir area directly north of Avdiivka. Additional geolocated footage published on December 4 shows that Russian forces have advanced within Stepove (5km northwest of Avdiivka).”

Ukrainian officials acknowledge that not a single building remains intact in the town. Fighting has also raged around two other nearby towns, Maryinka and Bakhmut.

“Yesterday and today, we have seen a significant increase in artillery shelling … and a great many instances of mortar shelling,” Vitaliy Barabash, head of Avdiivka’s military administration, told national television.

“There has also been an increase in assault actions. They are probably waiting for better weather to use some of their equipment again as they did previously, but on a larger scale.”

Avdiivka was seized for a time in 2014 by Russian-financed separatists, but retaken by Ukrainian troops who put major fortifications in place.

Ukrainian soldiers are seen in a tank as Russia and Ukraine war continues in the direction of Avdiivka

(Anadolu via Getty Images)

Tom Watling5 December 2023 08:30

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Ukraine sees ‘big risk’ of losing war if US Congress postpones vital aid

“If the help which (is) now debating in Congress will be just postponed…it gives the big risk that we can be in the same position to which we’re located now,” he said, addressing the audience in English.

“And of course, it makes this very high possibility impossible to continually liberate and give the big risk to lose this war.”

White House officials said on Monday that the United States was running out of time and money to help Ukraine fight its war against Russia but they were hopeful they could still get a significant package approved.

Maira Butt5 December 2023 18:46

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David Cameron: UK could do more to help Ukraine

The UK’s defence industries could do more to produce weapon stocks in order to help arm Ukraine according to Lord David Cameron.

As he responded to Lord Robertson in his first questions in the House of Lords, the foreign secretary said: “I think the one area where we can do more is in trying to mobilise the British defence industries to produce the stocks that are needed rather than simply running down stocks.

“We can also work with European allies. Sometimes if they are reluctant to give support they may be able to backfill some of our capabilities and we can give more.

“I am absolutely clear, the military support is essential. That is what is helping Ukraine to succeed.”

Lord Cameron said more could be done to help Ukraine in the House of Lords on Tuesday

(PRU/AFP via Getty Images)

Maira Butt5 December 2023 18:00

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US issues fresh Russia-related sanctions targeting Belarus

The United States imposed fresh Russia-related sanctions on Tuesday, targeting a defense procurement network consisting of people and entities in Belgium, Sweden and Hong Kong, among other places, as Washington cracks down on Moscow’s evasion of Western sanctions.

“The United States and our allies remain focused on disrupting any attempts by Russia or its trusted agents to gain access to the critical inputs and technologies necessary to support Moscow’s defense industry and facilitate its brutal war in Ukraine,” Treasury’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said in the statement.

The US Treasury Department separately imposed sanctions on 11 entities and seven people in a move it said was aimed at increasing the pressure on Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko over what it called his suppression of democratic civil society, corrupt financial enrichment of his family and complicity in Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Maira Butt5 December 2023 17:15

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Russia confirms death of seventh major general since invasion of Ukraine

The Russian official called Zavadsky a “much-decorated officer” and a former tank commander, adding that his death was a heavy loss that caused “transfixing pain”. He did not give any further details of how the death occurred.

Tom Watling5 December 2023 16:03

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Live: David Cameron takes first questions on Ukraine from peers in the House of Lords

Tom Watling5 December 2023 15:29

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UK’s Cameron, China’s Yi discussed intention to have ‘constructive relationship’

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron said he had spoken to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Tuesday and the pair had discussed their “intention to have a constructive relationship”.

“The UK will continue to engage with China where it furthers our interests,” Cameron said in a post on X, adding that they had also discussed the situation in Israel and Gaza, and the war in Ukraine.

David Cameron said he had spoken to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Tuesday

(Getty Images)

Tom Watling5 December 2023 15:00

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Nepal calls on Russia not to deploy its Gurkhas in Ukraine war

Nepal has called on Russia to stop sending its Gurkha soldiers to fight on the frontline in Ukraine after a series of losses sparked anger back home.

“The government of Nepal has requested the Russian government to immediately return their bodies and pay compensation to their families,” the foreign ministry said late on Monday.

Tom Watling5 December 2023 14:29

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Hungary’s Orban to meet Macron ahead of EU summit

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban will meet French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Thursday, his press chief has said, ahead of a European Union summit at which talks on Ukraine‘s joining the bloc and financial aid for Kyiv will meet resistance from the populist Hungarian leader.

Mr Orban on Monday demanded that the leaders’ summit avoid taking any decision on giving Ukraine the green light for membership talks and deciding a budget plan that includes 50 billion euros ($54 billion) in economic support for Kyiv.

Mr Orban, who has maintained ties with Moscow even as the EU has imposed sanctions against Russia over its war in Ukraine, is at odds with the EU’s executive body on his stance.

Any decision on accession talks requires the unanimous support of EU leaders.

Prime Minister Orban insisted that a ‘strategic discussion’ take place first to avoid ‘unity for unity’s sake’

(REUTERS)

Tom Watling5 December 2023 14:02

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White House warns US is running out of money for Ukraine war

In a letter to House Speaker Mike Johnson, Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda said that the Defense and State departments are at the stage where they have almost exhausted all available US funds for Kyiv — approximately $111bn — leaving recent assistance packages smaller and smaller.

“I want to be clear: without congressional action, by the end of the year we will run out of resources to procure more weapons and equipment for Ukraine and to provide equipment from US military stocks,” she said.

Tom Watling5 December 2023 13:28

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