Ukraine-Russia war – live: Zelensky in last-ditch plea for US aid to Biden as Moscow fires missiles on Kyiv

By Isaac M December 12, 2023

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

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky will make a last-ditch push to try to get more US weapons and aid for his country during a meeting with Joe Biden at the White House.

Congress has blocked tens of billions in fresh funding in a spat over the number of asylum seekers and migrants crossing the southern US border, a bugbear for Republicans.

The White House has said current funding will run out at the end of the month and so there is now a race against time before legislators soon leave for their end-of-year break.

It comes as Moscow attacked Ukraine with eight long-range ballistic missiles as four people were wounded by debris after air defences shot down the incoming salvo, officials said.

The strike at around 4am on Tuesday marked the first major attack on Kyiv in recent months using ballistic missiles, which travel faster than drones and cruise missiles and are harder to shoot down.

Four people were hurt by shards of shattered glass in the Darnitskyi district, in southeastern Kyiv, and needed medical assistance, the national police said in a statement.


Ukrainian commanders not about to be dismissed, defence minister says

Ukrainian Defence Minister Rustem Umerov rejected any notion on Tuesday that two of the country’s top military commanders were about to be dismissed.

“On this matter, there is no such question,” Umerov told a news conference alongside his Latvian counterpart. “On this matter, I am always open and if the question is ever raised, I will say something immediately. There are no such issues.”

At issue at the news conference was the future of Commander in Chief Valery Zaluzhnyi and Joint Forces Commander Serhiy Nayev.

The possibility of change in Ukraine‘s top military ranks has been raised several times since relations cooled between President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Zaluzhnyi over the commander’s view of the conduct of the 21-month-old war against Russia.

Zaluzhnyi, in a published essay last month, said the war was entering a phase of attrition similar to World War One battles.

The president disagreed with any notion that the war was subject to a stalemate, though he has acknowledged that a counteroffensive launched in the east and south in June has moved more slowly than had been hoped.

Umerov, appointed in September, made a similar denial last month that changes in Ukraine‘s command were under consideration.

In his latest comments, Umerov said rotations of positions were a normal part of military operations “but there are no such issues, however much our enemies want to knock us off stride”.

“Everyone is subject to change, absolutely everyone,” he told reporters. “We will do everything necessary for our victory, but for today, there is no such issue.”

Ukrainian defence minister Rustem Umerov (L) alongside Valery Zaluzhny during a meeting with Lloyd Austin


Lydia Patrick12 December 2023 21:00


Biden tells Ukraine’s Zelensky: ‘Don’t give up hope’

U.S. President Joe Biden told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy not to give up hope in his country’s fight against Russia’s invasion, saying the U.S. Congress should fund additional aid.

Biden also announced $200 million in separate military assistance for the country.

( (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool))

Lydia Patrick12 December 2023 20:15


Top US Senate Republican says Ukraine aid deal ‘practically impossible’ before Christmas

U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday it would be “practically impossible” for Congress to pass a supplemental funding package including aid for Ukraine before Christmas.

McConnell told reporters that a deal will not happen until President Joe Biden and Republicans reach agreement with Republicans, who want to link funding for Ukraine to new border security measures.

Lydia Patrick12 December 2023 20:02


Zelensky visits Capitol Hill and the White House with US aid for Ukraine at risk of collapse

His country’s future at stake, Ukrainian President Volodymyr used inspirational words, resolve and a nod to Christmas in appealing Tuesday to leaders in Congress for U.S. aid for his fighters in the war with Russia.

But as he arrived next at the White House, additional American support was in grave doubt.Zelensky’s visit to Washington came at a grim time, much changed from the hero’s welcome he received last year.

President Joe Biden’s request for an additional $110 billion U.S. aid package for Ukraine, Israel and other national security needs is at serious risk of collapse in Congress as Republicans are insisting on linking it to strict U.S.-Mexico border security changes that Democrats decry.

“The fight we’re in is a fight for freedom,” Zelensky repeatedly said in the meetings, according to lawmakers.

Flanked by Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Zelensky entered a private meeting with senators with a public bipartisan show of support and to some applause.

But more than an hour later few senators’ minds appeared changed.Schumer called it a “very powerful” meeting, but gave no update on stalled negotiations.

Next Zelensky visited the House leaders, including privately with new Speaker Mike Johnson, whose hard-right Republicans have been the most resistance to any deal. Johnson insisted afterward: “We do want to do the right thing here.

”The White House said the time was right for Zelensky’s trip to Washington as Biden pushes lawmakers approve the aid package before the year-end holidays.

A top spokesman said the U.S. can’t let Ukraine aid lapse, especially as the Israel-Hamas war takes attention, and that the president was willing to make compromises with Republicans.

“This additional funding will absolutely help Ukraine claw back even more of their territory and kick the Russians right out of Ukraine,” said the White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby on NBC.

Hakeem Jeffries pictured with Volodymyr Zelensky


Lydia Patrick12 December 2023 19:13


Hackers attack Ukraine’s biggest mobile operator

Ukraine’s biggest mobile network operator, Kyivstar, has said it was the victim of a powerful hacker attack this morning.

The company said it was working to repair the outage and was cooperating with law enforcement bodies.

“Today, a technical failure occurred in our network, as a result of which communication and Internet access services may be unavailable to part of our subscriber base,” the operator said in a statement on Facebook.

Alexander Butler12 December 2023 18:00


Moldova can join EU without Transnistria, EU ambassador says

Moldova could be able to join the EU without the contested region of Transnistria, the Kyiv Independent quotes the EU’s ambassador to Moldova, Janis Mazeiks, as saying.

Speaking on the NordNews channel, Mr Mazeiks is reported to have said: “We wouldn’t see it fair if [Moldova] is taken hostage by the solution to this quite complex problem.”

Transnistria is a breakaway region in eastern Moldova, which is politically, economically and militarily supported by Moscow.

Alexander Butler12 December 2023 17:00


Russia and Iran ‘working on major new agreement’

Russia will speed up work on a “major new interstate agreement” with Iran, the Kremlin has said.

In a statement this morning, Russia said the two countries’ foreign ministers agreed in a phone call on Monday to speed up work on the agreement, which was at “a high stage of readiness”.

The ministry provided no details on the planned agreement, which comes amid strengthening trade, political and other ties between Moscow and Tehran in the face of Western economic sanctions.

Alexander Butler12 December 2023 16:00


Finland will reopen two border crossings with Russia

Finland will reopen one border crossing in the south of the country and one in the east, the Finnish prime minister Petteri Orpo said.

It comes after the Finnish government closed its borders to Russia after accusing the Kremlin of deliberately sending refugees to destabilise the country.

Alexander Butler12 December 2023 15:00


Russian troops suffer shortage of night vision technology, MoD says

Russian troops are “highly likely” to struggle fighting at night due to an ongoing shortage of night vision goggles, the UK ministry of defence said.

“Russian forces are highly likely to continue to struggle when fighting at night. Numerous reports from combatants have highlighted this trend since the start of the war.

“In late November 2023, a social media user claiming to be a Russian soldier serving in Kherson highlighted the shortage of night vision goggles and low-light cameras for uncrewed aerial vehicles,” it said on X.

Alexander Butler12 December 2023 14:00


US concern over Alexei Navalny ‘unacceptable meddling’, Kremlin says

US concern over the condition of jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is unacceptable meddling in Russia’s domestic affairs, the Kremlin said.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said he was unaware of the whereabouts of Navalny, who has been moved from his penal colony to an undisclosed location.

It comes after the White House national security spokesperson John Kirby called for the immediate release of Navalny, saying “he should never have been jailed in the first place”.

Jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny

(Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Alexander Butler12 December 2023 13:00


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