#UKRAINERUSSIAWAR. Aid for Ukraine stopped in the US Senate. Putin: no mobilization needed: 617 thousand men are at the front. Attacks on Odessa and Kherson. Russian advance at Adviiska

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The U.S. Senate passed a defense policy bill that provides $300 million to assist Ukraine’s security in both fiscal 2024 and fiscal 2025. The Senate approved the bill on Wednesday, December 13 of the annual compromise defense policy bill by an overwhelming vote of 87-13, made the final vote in the House, then the bill will “head” to the White House for the president’s signature.

Pentagon Inspector General Robert Storch, currently responsible for aid to Ukraine, becomes the special inspector general in charge of overseeing aid to Kiev. Contrary to Ukrainian expectations, the speaker refused to extend the work of the US House of Representatives to reach an agreement on financial issues

House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Republican, refused to extend the work of both houses of Congress by a week to approve additional funding before Christmas.

NATO has increased the joint military budget for 2024. The military budget is expected to increase by 12% to €2.03 billion in 2024. The civilian budget is expected to increase by 18% to just over €438 million.

The NATO Civil Budget provides funding for personnel, operational and program costs for NATO Headquarters and its international staff. The military budget covers the operational costs of NATO’s headquarters, missions and command structure operations worldwide. The third main element of NATO co-financing is the NATO Security Investment Programme, which covers major civil works and investments in the command and control system. The maximum limit of the program for 2024 is 1.3 billion euros, which is 30% more than in 2023.

German Chancellor Scholz said: “The war in Ukraine remains the main challenge to European security. Ukraine has already liberated half of the territory occupied by Russia and Russia has lost control of the Black Sea. I will put pressure on Brussels to maintain a stable support for Ukraine in the coming years; intends to strengthen Ukraine’s defense capabilities so that Russia will never dare to attack it again.”

Alex Soros made a generous donation of $1 million to the Elena Zelensky Foundation

The take-off of F-16 fighter jets from airbases in Poland, Romania and Slovakia will be considered as participation of these countries in the conflict in Ukraine. This was stated by the head of the delegation of the Russian Foreign Ministry at the Vienna negotiations on military security and arms control, Konstantin Gavrilov: “We strongly warn that the use of combat aircraft from the territory of these NATO member countries (Poland , Romania and Slovakia) will be considered by Moscow as their participation in the conflict in Ukraine and will force Russia to take retaliatory measures,” Gavrilov warned.

According to the diplomat, the United States and its satellites no longer hide “the aggressive nature of their policy behind formulations on the exclusively defensive orientation of military doctrines” and continue to generate threats to the security of Russia’s western borders.

On December 14, the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, held his annual conference on the work of his government in 2023. Among the statements regarding operations in Ukraine: “From the beginning of the offensive until December 13, 747 tanks were destroyed armed forces and 2,000 combat vehicles of the Ukrainian armed forces (…) 244 thousand mobilized are in the area of the Northern Military District, 41 thousand have been demobilized (…) As of 13 December, 486 thousand contract soldiers were recruited, 1,500 people arrive per day (…) Today there is no need for mobilization (…) Our front line is over 2000 kilometers. Our group in the war zone is 617 thousand people.”

And again he said: “There will be peace when we achieve our goals, but they will not change. Answering the question about the current conflict in Ukraine, the Russian president once again recalled that “the objectives of the special operation are the denazification, demilitarization and neutral status of Ukraine”.

“From the point of view of denazification, during the negotiation process, which had a certain stage after the preparation of a draft of a possible agreement, which Kiev officials recently talked about, in general, they did not agree on the fact that a sort of denazification was necessary and it was said that “there is no growth in fascist sentiments, but how could well not to be, when the Nazi Bandera is elevated to the rank of national hero and the head of the Kiev administration gives a standing ovation to an SS soldier, isn’t this a manifestation of Nazism?”, Putin said.

“The (Russian) federal budget provides for more than 3 trillion rubles for the new regions. This money will also be used to help individuals enter the economic and social life of Russia. Twinning relationships have been established between our regions and the new entities. This year, new regions have paid 170 billion rubles to the federal budget: this indicates that their economies are recovering and returning to normality.”

And now a look at the front line. 

Starting from 10:00 in the morning of December 14th, an air alert was issued across the whole of Ukraine. During the night, however, a massive attack by Ukrainian drones was repelled not only in the Moscow region, but also in the Kaluga region. In total, 9 Ukrainian UAVs were destroyed and intercepted by air defense systems in both regions. The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces explained on the 13th evening the failure of Kiev’s air defense by saying that the Russians launched anti-aircraft guided missiles of the S-400 air defense system and Iskander cruise missiles against Kiev. The Turks believe that the success of the night attack on Kiev is partly due to yesterday’s cyber attack, which also hit military infrastructure.

Battle for Adviiska: North of the village of Stepovoye, Russian troops advanced along the forest 870 meters long and up to 340 m deep. Some units settled in the eastern part of the village. Apparently, Russian assaults will cover Stepovoye from north to west.

To the west and south-west of the Industrial Zone (south), Russian units continue assault operations in the direction of Kolosova Street, raking the remains of the Vinogradniki tourist village and a sand quarry. In Marinka Russian fighters occupied the southern part of the city.

Bachmut Directorate (Artemovsk). Russian fighters are advancing in the Bogdanovka area. Meanwhile, fighting at high altitude continues in Kleshchiivka.

Zaporozhzhie Directorate. In the Orichiv sector the Russians attacked in the Rabotino area and from Novofedorovka. On the Vremevsky ledge there are no changes, the fighting is ongoing.

Explosions occurred in the Odessa region and in the Ukrainian area of the Kherson region. Monitoring channels report that after the noise of domestic UAVs, explosions were heard in several cities of the Odessa region: Kiliya, Reni and Izmail. Furthermore, a Russian missile reached Snegirevka in the Kiev-controlled part of the Kherson region.

Near Krynki, in the direction of Kherson, the fighting was somewhat routine. Ukrainian formations have also transferred personnel, who are systematically knocked out of action by artillery and aviation.

According to other sources, the Russian army struck port infrastructure in the Odessa region: a hit fell on Ukrainian warehouses. At night, Russian soldiers struck Ukrainian infrastructure in the Izmail district of the Odessa region. Therefore, UAVs hit port facilities especially warehouses.

Graziella Giangiulio 

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