Ukraine-Russia war – live: Hungary blocks £43bn EU funding for Kyiv as Putin admits heavy troop losses

By Isaac M December 15, 2023

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

Vladimir Putin’s forces are using Ukrainian prisoners of war as human shields to advance on enemy positions, according to a US think tank.

The Institute for the Study of War said footage showed Russian soldiers covering themselves behind Ukrainian POWs as they advance on Ukrainian positions near Robotyne.

The prisoners in the video appear unarmed, while the Russian soldiers force them forward at gunpoint, according to the ISW.

It comes as Vladimir Putin inadvertently admitted that more than 300,000 Russian soldiers have died or been heavily wounded in the ongoing war.

The figures are in stark contrast to the last death toll offered by the Kremlin, which suggested less than 6,000 troops in Ukraine had been killed.

Meanwhile, Hungary blocked a massive £43bn EU aid package for Ukraine just hours after an agreement was reached to start Kyiv’s membership talks with the bloc.

Leaders of 26 EU countries endorsed the plan, which would support Kyiv’s budget between 2024 and 2027, but Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban was against the decision, which requires unanimous approval of all 27 EU member states.

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Putin’s forces use ‘Ukrainian soldiers as human shields’

Vladimir Putin’s forces are using Ukrainian prisoners of war as human shields to advance on enemy positions, according to a US think tank.

The Institute for the Study of War said footage showed Russian soldiers covering themselves behind Ukrainian POWs as they advance on Ukrainian positions near Robotyne.

The prisoners in the video appear unarmed, while the Russian soldiers force them forward at gunpoint, according to the ISW.

Alexander Butler15 December 2023 12:16

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US welcomes decision to begin negotiations on Ukraine joining EU

The EU’s decision to begin negotiations on the accession of Ukraine and Moldova is a “powerful affirmation” of their respective “European future” and a “historic moment” for Europe, State Department spokesperson

“We welcome the European Council vote on EU enlargement and congratulate Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina on a historic step toward their EU aspirations. T

“The United States strongly supports enlargement and prospective candidates on their EU paths,” Matthew Miller said on X.

Alexander Butler15 December 2023 12:00

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US warned of confrontation between Russia and NATO if it lets Putin win in Ukraine

The United States could pay a “much higher cost” than most people imagine if they allow Russia to win in Ukraine, a US think tank warned.

The Institute for the Study of War said the US would have to deploy “a sizable portion of its ground forces” and “a large number of stealth aircraft” to Eastern Europe to guarantee security if Russian won in Ukraine.

“The entire undertaking will cost a fortune, and the cost will last as long as the Russian threat continues—potentially indefinitely,” the ISW said

“Helping Ukraine keep the lines where they are through continuous Western military support is far more advantageous and cheaper for the United States than allowing Ukraine to lose.”

Alexander Butler15 December 2023 11:49

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Ramaswamy says eastern Ukrainians don’t mind Russian occupation

Republican presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy has claimed that Ukrainians in the eastern part of the country do not mind Russian occupation.

The biotech CEO told a CNN town hall in Iowa that he would give Russia some concessions to end its unprovoked attack on Ukraine.

Mr Ramaswamy told the audience of GOP voters he was confident he could get Vladimir Putin to accept his peace plan, which would involve Russia cutting itself off from China militarily.

Alexander Butler15 December 2023 11:00

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Progressives warn Biden about using immigrants as a ‘bargaining chip’ for Ukraine

And just like that, the first year of the 118th Congress came to a close. With no aid to Ukraine on the horizon, no aid to Israel, no potential breakthrough negotiations on spending bills and no aid to Gaza, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives rewarded itself by leaving for the holidays, The Independent’s Washington correspondent Eric Garcia writes.

Alexander Butler15 December 2023 10:00

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Hungary blocks £43bn EU funding for Ukraine hours after Kyiv membership talks agreement

Hungary has blocked a massive £43bn EU aid package for Ukraine just hours after an agreement was reached to start membership talks with Kyiv.

The country’s prime minister Viktor Orban said he had vetoed the extra money for Ukraine and would come back to the issue next year after “proper preparation”.

Leaders of 26 EU countries endorsed the plan, which would support Kyiv’s budget between 2024 and 2027, but Mr Orban was against the decision, which requires unanimous approval of all 27 EU member states.

Mr Orban announced the veto on social media. He wrote on X: “Summary of the nightshift: veto for the extra money to Ukraine. We will come back to the issue next year in the #EUCO after proper preparation.”

Alexander Butler15 December 2023 09:35

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Alexei Navalny’s whereabouts still unknown, ally says

Officials from Russia’s prison authority told a court on Friday that jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny was no longer in the penal colony where he had been serving his sentence but they did not explain where he had gone, an ally said.

Lawyer Vyacheslav Gimadi wrote on the X social network that it has been 10 days since those close to the politician lost track of his whereabouts.

Another Navalny ally, Kira Yarmysh, cited the authorities as saying Navalny had left the penal colony on 11 December. Mr Navalny is a high-profile critic of Putin, and has been imprisoned since 2022.

Alexander Butler15 December 2023 09:00

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Ukraine’s air force shoots down 14 Russian drones overnight

Ukraine’s air force says it has shot down 14 drones fired by Russia overnight.

“All 14 enemy drones were shot down by mobile fire groups of the Air Force and Defence Forces of Ukraine within Mykolaiv, Kherson, Khmelnytskyi and Poltava regions,” the air force wrote on the Telegram app.

Alexander Butler15 December 2023 07:48

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Spanish prime minister says EU green light to Ukraine membership is ‘historic’ day

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Thursday the EU decision to give the green light to Ukraine membership was a ‘historic day’.

“Today is a historic day for Europe,” Sanchez posted on the social media X.

“I would like to congratulate Ukraine and Moldova on the decision of the European Council to start negotiations for their accession to the EU.”

“We also welcome the recognition of Georgia’s candidate status and the progress of Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez arrives for a European Council in Brussels

(EPA)

Sam Rkaina15 December 2023 07:00

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‘Three Kinzhals launched from three fighter jets’

The Air Force said on the Telegram messaging app that Russian forces used three Kinzhals launched from three fighter jets in Russia’s central Tula region, and that its anti-aircraft missile unit shot down one of the missiles in the Kyiv region.

“Of course, we do not comment on the consequences of hits/non-hits by enemy missiles in the Khmelnytskyi region,” it added.

Local authorities said earlier that emergency services were working at the two crash sites, but no injuries or damage were recorded.

Overnight, Russia launched 42 drones and 6 missiles at Ukraine, with 11 people injured and buildings and warehouses damaged by falling debris. The Ukrainian military said it destroyed 41 drones.

Sam Rkaina15 December 2023 05:00

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