Past 24 hours in the war zone
- According to Ukraine’s Joint Forces Operation Staff, Russian-led militants launched 3 attacks, namely near Shyrokyne, Mariinka and Krasnohorivka.
- 1 Ukrainian soldier was wounded
- Gunfire was directed at OSCE SMM drone. Russian-led militants deny OSCE SMM passage at Zolote, Luhansk Oblast.
- Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksiy Danilov and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland Zbigniew Rau had a meeting where they “coordinated positions on counteracting Russia’s aggressive actions against Ukraine, the threat of the launch of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, as well as on resolving the so-called migration crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border.”
- Biden administration reportedly considers how US could support insurgents in Ukraine if Putin invades, including man-portable air defense systems.
- “As for the number of troops… To date, what we see is 122,000 Russian troops located at 200 km and 143,500 at 400 km within this radius of our border,” said Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksiy Danilov
- The project to launch Ukrainian-language audio guides has already been implemented in 35 museums in 25 countries. With the goal of “development of a network of Ukrainian-language audio guides in the world’s leading historical and cultural institutions,” the project was launched by Ukraine’s president wife Olena Zelenska
- Ukrainian President Zelenskyy stressed that the Ukrainian side is ready to meet with Russia in any format with the participation of any international partners or face to face, but Russia’s readiness is needed.
- Following the lack of coal for Ukrainian power plants as reported earlier, two Ukrainian nuclear power plants, Zaporizhzhia and South Ukrainian, started generating electricity at the record highest capacity ever.
- Russian Gazprom says it will pay the highest dividents ever this year due to high gas prices. More than 50% of Gazprom is directly owned by Russian government. The very same Gazprom artificially inflated gas prices in Europe by halting gas transit through Ukraine and purchasing gas en masse within Europe.
Ukrainian and US governments refute Russian claims about alleged provocations in Donbas with the use of chemical weapons
On 21 December, during the meeting of the board of the Ministry of Defense in Moscow, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that US private military companies were preparing a provocation with “chemical components” in eastern Ukraine.
Today, on 22 December, the US Department of State said Kremlin statements are false and a provocation. In particular, Spokesperson for the United States Department of State Edward Price called on Russia “to stop using false, inflammatory rhetoric and take meaningful steps to de-escalate tensions to provide a positive atmosphere for discussions.”
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby also said that “these statements by Shoygu are fully false.”
“This is deliberate misinformation… There are no private military companies in Ukraine, including foreign ones. Except for those used by the Russian Federation in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine. The other statement about the alleged “delivery of reserves of an unidentified chemical component for provocations in the cities of Avdiivka and Lyman” is also untrue. The only threat to the peace and security of Ukrainian citizens and territories comes from Russian occupation forces,” said Leonid Matiukhin, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s Information Center.
Ukraine’s Spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign affairs Oleh Nikolenko added that by conducting such disinformation campaigns
“Russia continues to create information cover for possible further provocations of its troops in Ukrainian territory.”
Dutch Prosecutor demands life sentences for four MH17 suspects
The Netherland’s Public Prosecutor has recommended life sentences against three Russians and one Ukrainian on trial in absentia for their believed role in the downing of Malaysian airliner MH17. Although none of the men is suspected of actually launching the Russian BUK anti-aircraft missile, the prosecution contends that they played an essential role in the crime, and that no other punishment would be appropriate.
Naftogaz files complaint with European Commission over Gazprom “abusing dominant position” on European gas market
The Ukrainian state gas company Naftogaz filed on 22 December a competition law complaint with the European Commission against Russia’s Gazprom “abusing its dominant position” on the European gas market, calling on EU authorities to take immediate measures to normalize the situation.
Ukraine continues fortifying its border with Russia
Although border fortification works usually last before winter, this year active measures to strengthen the state border in vulnerable areas continue despite the snow and cold.
In particular, the construction of anti-tank and anti-transport ditches continues at the north-eastern Sumy Oblast with the use of special equipment. That’s according to the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine which shared photos and video.
Russia tries to obtain secret information about Ukraine’s air defense
A former official of one of the units of the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine was exposed as he was secretly gathering classified military information. The officers of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) seized from the wrongdoer illegally obtained materials on the organization of the Ukrainian air defense control system.
It is established that this former serviceman covertly collected state secrets at the workplace. The perpetrator illegally copied classified defense information through illegal interference in the unit’s automated information systems. The malefactor kept the secret materials obtained for Russian FSB curators at his place of residence. That’s according to the SBU press release, which Promote Ukraine cites.
This is not the first such case. Less than a month ago, on 24 November 2021, SBU detained a Ukrainian serviceman in Vinnytsia Oblast who was illegally collecting information about Ukrainian air defense.
Ukraine’s demonopolization agency fines ex-president Poroshenko-linked companies $10.3 million
On 21 December, the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine (AMKU) ruled to fine a group of three companies owned by the ROSHEN Confectionery Corporation, associated with the country’s former President, MP Petro Poroshenko, 284 million hryvnias ($10.3 million),
The timing of the AMKU’s decision raises questions about a persecution campaign by Ukraine’s leadership against its major political rival as it was made only a day after Ukraine’s acting prosecutor-general had charged the ex-president with high treason and aiding terrorism. MP Poroshenko rejects the charges. The fined companies link the fine to a “politically motivated attack” on Poroshenko.
FSB detains 106 “neo-Nazis” from organization that has no evidence of existing
On 13 December, the Russian FSB reported on detaining 106 Ukrainian “neo-Nazis” from the terrorist group “Maniacs. Cult of killers” (MKU), in 37 regions of Russia.
Since the beginning of 2021, the FSB has reported on several large-scale security operations for the arrest of around 60 MKU’s members.
There’s a caveat, though. Nobody can find evidence of the MKU’s existence – except the FSB.
NATO raises readiness of its Response Force
For the first time, NATO is responding to the deployment of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border with specific measures, increasing operational readiness of its 40,000-strong Response Force. That’s according to Germany’s Welt citing its sources, Ukrinform reports.
According to the move, NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), known as NATO Response Force, should be ready for deployment in the crisis zone within five days instead of the standard seven. Other units such as special forces or logistics, have also been put on high alert, and in the event of a crisis, their deployment term has been reduced.
According to the newspaper, the decision was made last week by the North Atlantic Council, which represents all member states.
According to Meduza investigation, several Russian private military organizations recruit mercenaries for “operations in Ukraine”
According to the investigation, around ten private organizations, few of which can be directly linked to the Russian government, have intensified their recruitment campaigns of mercenaries. The organizations say mercenaries will be deployed for operations in Ukraine, to be undisclosed at the “time x”. At the same time, many candidates quit the process after notified they will be deployed not “somewhere to Africa” but “there [to Ukraine].”
Head of Ukrainian parliament to appeal to other countries for the recognition of Holodomor as Genocide
Head of Ukrainian Parliament Ruslan Stefanchuk initiates an appeal to the speakers of the parliaments around the world with a request to recognize the Holodomor as the genocide of the Ukrainian people, Ukrinform reports.
“Next year we will mark the 90th anniversary of the Holodomor. In this regard, I personally … in January next year will appeal to the speakers of the parliaments around the world to recognize the Holodomor as the genocide of the Ukrainian people. And your support and the correct presentation of this initiative, taking into account the specifics of each state, is crucial to its success,” Stefanchuk told diplomats at the conference “Diplomacy 30. Strategy of Strong State”
Iran continues to sabotage investigation regarding PS 752 passenger flight shooting down
Two years after the Ukrainian passenger flight PS 752 was shot down over Iran, the Iran government continues to ignore Ukraine’s requests for international legal assistance. Iranian side again violated the agreements reached during the third round of interstate talks, which took place in June 2021. In particular, the promise to provide Ukrainian prosecutors with an opportunity to get acquainted with the materials of the Iranian criminal case, which has already been sent to court, has not been fulfilled.
“The names and positions of the accused and the illegal actions incriminated against each of them are carefully concealed,” deputy Prosecutor General Maksym Yajubovskyi said.
Crimean Tatar told “here you have no rights” before FSB electric shock torture
Four days after Nariman Ametov was taken from his home in handcuffs and with a bag over his head, the young Crimean Tatar father has publicly spoken of the torture he endured during the following hours. While impossible to independently verify the allegations, they correspond to those of others seized in similar circumstances, as well as to the methods already demonstrated by the FSB in fabricating a ‘terrorism plot’ to imprison renowned Crimean Tatar Mejlis leader Nariman Dzhelyal.
Ukrainian film about the war in Donbas Bad Roads will be available on HBO services. The film tells five stories of residents of Donbas on both sides of the frontline in Ukraine’s East. It is also available at the Ukrainian platform Takflix: