Ukraine-Russia war – live: Putin’s forces unleash new offensive as UK sends fresh weapons to Kyiv

By Isaac M December 11, 2023

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

Russia is launching a “massive assault action” on a key town in eastern Ukraine in what appears to be a renewed offensive, with 610 artillery shellings reported over the past day.

Military spokesperson Oleksandr Stupun told Ukrainian TV that “fierce battles continue” in Avdiivka, a town in Donetsk Oblast known for its coking plant.

“The enemy launched massive assault actions with the support of armoured vehicles in Avdiivka and Mariinka directions,” he said.

Earlier, the British Ministry of Defence said up to 40 percent of all combat engagements across the 600-mile frontline were happening in or around Avdiivka.

Serhiy Zhuykov, a Ukrainian section chief who recently rotated out of the town, told The Independent over the weekend that he had witnessed “many, many Russian attacks”.

It comes as the UK announced in tandem with the Norwegian ministry of defence a new Maritime Capability Coalition that will involve the supply of nearly four dozen amphibious vehicles and vessels to Kyiv.

Two mine-clearing vessels, 23 raiding crafts and 20 amphibious vehicles are included in the package.


Ukraine soldier says situation in Avdiivka is ‘very difficult’

A Ukrainian soldier has described to The Independent the “very difficult” situation facing those fighting in Avdiivka, a small town in eastern Ukraine that has become the flashpoint of the frontline.

Serhiy Zhuykov, a Ukrainian section chief and sniper currently stationed nearby to the town, said: “We try to stay but there are many, many Russian attacks on our army. It is difficult, very difficult.”

A British Ministry of Defence update from this morning suggested that as much as 40 percent of combat engagements across the frontline at the moment are occurring near Avdiivka.

Ukrainian military soldiers fire from the MT-12 or 2A29 gun ‘Rapira’ is a Soviet smoothbore 100-mm anti-tank gun on December 7, 2023 in Avdiivka

(Getty Images)

Tom Watling11 December 2023 10:14


Why so many of Nepal’s Gurkhas end up fighting for Russia in Ukraine

Nearly 200 Nepalese nationals are serving as mercenaries in the Russian army – but it’s not only a phenomenon benefitting the Kremlin’s military recruitment, as Namita Singh explains:

Afew months ago, a Ukrainian official posted a video of a man who had been captured while fighting for Russia. The man was neither trained by Russia nor a resident of that country, and he had no direct stake in the Ukraine war. Yet he had flown over 4,000km to serve in “one of the Russian Airborne Forces brigade”, the video said.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain11 December 2023 21:00


Zelensky, in Washington, urges Congress not to play into Putin’s hands

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told a U.S. military audience on Monday that he hoped he can still count on the United States and urged Congress not play into Russian President Vladimir Putin’s hands, as he started a critical visit to Washington to shore up security assistance.

“We won’t give up. We know what to do and you can count on Ukraine. And we hope just as much to be able to count on you,” Zelensky said in an address to the National Defense University.

U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration has warned Congress that a failure to renew military assistance to Ukraine could tip the nearly two-year-old war in Russia‘s favor, creating national security threats for the West.

Zelensky, in an oblique reference to disputes in Congress over allocating aid, said it was “crucial that politics … not betray the soldiers.”

“Let me be frank with you, friends. If there’s anyone inspired by unresolved issues on Capital Hill, it’s just Putin and his sick clique,” Zelensky added.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain11 December 2023 20:00


On Ukraine’s frontline, Kyiv’s troops know US funding is vital to keep them alive

Delays in receiving shells and other weapons because of a political spat in Washington will only benefit Vladimir Putin and Russia, writes Askold Krushelnycky:

Speaking to soldiers on the frontline in the south and the east of Ukraine, two of the major theatres of battle, they have been calling for more ammunition and weapons for months. European weapons manufacturers suggest that Ukraine may need up to 1.5 million artillery shells a year. This requires money and time, two things that Kyiv believes it doesn’t have enough of.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain11 December 2023 19:45


EU seeks to raise 15 billion euros for Ukraine from Russia’s frozen assets – FT

The European Union will propose on Tuesday to ringfence profits generated from Russia‘s frozen assets in the EU, aiming to eventually collect up to 15 billion euros ($16.14 billion) for Ukraine‘s benefit, the Financial Times reported on Monday.

“It’s important to look at how we can use Russian immobilised assets and proceeds from those immobilised assets to support Ukraine,” European Commission Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis told the FT.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain11 December 2023 19:22


Who is Russian army chief Valery Gerasimov? The country’s top soldier turned Putin’s fall guy

His clenched hands hung by his sides, like a schoolboy waiting for the headmaster. It was 19 October 2023. The Russian chief of the general staff, Mr Putin’s top soldier, had been appointed the operational commander of the invasion of Ukraine in January.

It was a move akin to the owner of a football club appointing the manager as his captain on the field. Since 2012, when he was appointed chief of the Russian military, his job had been big-picture strategy; from January 2023, he had needed to be engaged in day-to-day tactics as well.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain11 December 2023 18:45


IMF chief Georgieva to meet with Ukraine’s Zelenskiy on Monday

International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Kristalina Georgieva will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Washington on Monday, an IMF spokesperson said, as the fund’s executive board prepared to release more funds from the country’s $15.6 billion loan program.

An IMF spokesperson confirmed Georgieva’s meeting with Zelenskiy, but gave no time for that meeting or the meeting where the IMF board will review Kyiv’s progress on a four-year Extended Fund Facility loan approved earlier this year.

The IMF last month announced a staff-level agreement with Ukraine on updated economic and financial policies, paving the way for a $900 million disbursement, once it is finalized by the board.

At the time, the IMF said the Ukrainian economy continued to show “remarkable resilience” despite Russia‘s invasion in February 2022, with recent developments pointing to a stronger-than-expected economic recovery in 2023 and continued growth in 2024.

Zelenskiy is also scheduled to meet with U.S. President Joe Biden and top congressional officials while in Washington as he seeks to shore up support for continued U.S. security assistance to help Kyiv continue its fight against Russia‘s invasion.

Ukraine has received more than $68.5 billion in budgetary support since the war started, finance ministry data shows.

Its government expects a budget deficit of about $43 billion in 2024 and plans to cover it with domestic borrowing and financial aid from its Western partners. But Ukrainian officials are growing worried about the certainty of financing, and some analysts predict Western aid could start diminishing next year.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain11 December 2023 18:15


Navalny’s team says he has vanished in Russia’s prison system

Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny has been removed from the penal colony where he had been imprisoned since the middle of last year and his current whereabouts are unknown, his allies said on Monday.

Navalny aides have been preparing for his expected transfer to a “special regime” colony, the harshest grade in Russia‘s prison system, after he was sentenced in August to an additional 19 years in prison on top of 11-1/2 years he was already serving.

The process of moving prisoners by rail across Russia‘s vast territory can take weeks, with lawyers and family unable to obtain information about their location and well-being until they reach their destination. It was unclear if Navalny was already in transit to a new prison.

Navalny’s spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said staff at the IK-6 facility in Melekhovo, 235 km (145 miles) east of Moscow, had told his lawyer waiting outside that the opposition leader was no longer among its inmates.

“Where they have taken him, they refuse to say,” she said on social media platform X.

The United States said it was deeply concerned.

(REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina/File Photo)

Maryam Zakir-Hussain11 December 2023 17:46


White House: Seeing increased missile, drone attacks by Russians in Ukraine

Russia is increasing its missile and drone attacks on civilian infrastructure in Ukraine and the White House expects Moscow to target energy facilities as winter approaches, national security spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Monday.

Kirby said U.S. President Joe Biden, who will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy at the White House on Tuesday, would continue to make the case for Congress to approve more aid for Ukraine.

He said Washington also expected to announce additional military aid for Ukraine before the end of the month.

“We don’t have too many more weeks left in this year to be able to provide security assistance, so I would fully expect that you’re going to see us announce additional security assistance before the end of the month.” he told reporters aboard Air Force One.

White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said Biden and top White House officials were in close and frequent touch with lawmakers about the urgency of approving about $50 billion in new security assistance for Ukraine.

“Our own national security is at stake in Ukraine. Putin has indicated that if he is successful there, he has designs on other Eastern European countries who are members of NATO, and who we are obligated to defend,” Bates told reporters.

“It would be infinitely more expensive in every way not to act on this supplemental” funding, he said.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain11 December 2023 17:15


Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny declared missing days after Putin announces presidential bid

His lawyers said they have not been able to contact him since last Tuesday and that his whereabouts are now unknown.

Tom Watling11 December 2023 15:40


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