Ukraine Monitor Articles
The Defense Department on December 27, 2023, announced a security assistance package for Ukraine valued at up to $250 million. The package includes air defense capabilities, artillery and antitank weapons, and medical equipment.
Ukrainian Orthodox Christians attended services as the country for the first time celebrated Christmas on December 25, after the government changed the date from January 7, when most Orthodox believers celebrate. Shifting the date from January 7 to December 25 is seen as another symbol of breaking away from Moscow, signifying the nation’s intent for lasting cultural ties with the West.
Russia launched the biggest air attack on Ukraine since the beginning of the full-scale invasion on the morning of December 29, 2023, with 110 missiles fired. Despite numerous shoot-downs, the scale of the attack overwhelmed Ukrainian air defense, resulting in considerable damage and casualties across the country.
At 2:50 AM on December 26, Ukraine carried out an airstrike in Crimea that destroyed a Russian Navy tank landing ship. The Novocherkassk (142) / BDK-46 (Project 775) is a large landing ship from the NATO reporting name Ropucha-class. The attack was carried out by cruise missiles Storm Shadow / SCALP-EG, launched from two Su-24M/MR reconnaissance aircraft.
As 2024 approaches, the anticipation of the arrival of the first F-16 multirole fighters grows. The Kyiv government believes that Western jets will aid in securing air superiority and boosting morale, particularly following the setback of an unsuccessful counteroffensive.
In late December, Ukraine’s parliament approved the legalization of medical cannabis as the nation responds to the growing ranks of war veterans requiring treatment for injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.
On Wednesday, December 7, Republicans in the Senate voted to block an emergency spending bill that would have provided assistance to Ukraine, Israel, and other measures relevant to security. This represents another chapter in the deepening American domestic divide, a factor that could ultimately shape the fate of Ukraine.
European Union leaders agreed on December 14 to start accession talks with EU candidates Ukraine and Moldova while granting formal candidate status to Georgia. Despite that, Viktor Orban, the Hungarian prime minister, opposed Brussels’ proposal to provide €50 billion from EU coffers to Kyiv.
The protracted war consumes vast human and material resources that influence the military and political successes of both warring parties. While in Ukraine much of wartime logistics are influenced by external factors, in Russia domestic resources usually prevail. Among all the factors of waging war, none is as fundamental as the trained human resource manifested on the front in the form of conscripts.
In early November, the European Commission recommended opening EU accession negotiations with Ukraine once it meets final conditions. The decision was taken by the bloc as the Commission released its long-awaited annual enlargement report. For the first time, the European Union recommended opening EU membership negotiations with a country formally being at war.
The October escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is part of a series of crises characteristic of the 2020s. At the same time, there is a phenomenon typical of democratic societies, which is a focus on one event that attracts worldwide attention. Therefore, the protracted war in Ukraine becomes a side issue in the stream of information inundating public opinion from the conflicted Middle East.
Ukraine’s parliament voted overwhelmingly (267-15) on Thursday, October 19 to advance legislation seen as effectively banning the Ukrainian Orthodox Church over its ties to Moscow. The bill requires further voting before it gets finalized and reaches the desk of President Volodymyr Zelensky. Ukraine’s efforts to ban all Moscow-linked religious affiliation is yet another chapter in the historical split between the Orthodox churches in the two countries that generates thus political tensions.
Ukraine does not intend to extend the Russian gas transit contract after it expires at the end of 2024, according to Oleksiy Chernyshov, chairman of the state-owned oil and gas company Naftogaz. Consequently, Ukraine will stop transit once the deal expires. Ukraine continues to transit Russian gas only to support its European colleagues who need this volume of gas, Chernyshov said. In response, Russia said the Ukrainian intention not to extend the contract past 2024 could run a major risk to both Kyiv and the European Union. A sudden halt to the remaining gas flows through Ukraine to Europe would be disruptive and raise gas prices in the affected countries and beyond, according to sources in Russia.
Georgia has sided with Moscow since Russia invaded Ukraine last year. State authorities obstructed Georgian volunteers in Ukraine and criticized Ukrainian support for the imprisoned former president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili. In addition, Georgia boosted trade ties with Russia while opening borders to Russian citizens. State authorities also seek to begin impeachment proceedings against the country’s president, Salome Zourabichvili. A story of an alleged coup masterminded by Ukrainian sources to overthrow the Georgian government is also in line with this narrative.