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Russo-Ukrainian war, day 653: Russia launches first cruise missile attack on Ukraine in two months

Russia’s first massive air-launched missile attack in 72 days kills one, injured four.
Russo-Ukrainian war, day 653: Russia launches first cruise missile attack on Ukraine in two months

Exclusive

Armenia, Azerbaijan breakthrough signals end of Russia’s South Caucasus influence. Armenia and Azerbaijan’s milestone conciliatory announcement caught Russia flat-footed, threatening to end Moscow’s long-held influence as the key power broker in the strategic South Caucasus region.
How Ukraine aid became a hostage of the US border crisis. High-stakes negotiations in the US Senate center on Republicans using their leverage over a border crisis deal to threaten vital aid to Ukraine and imperil US security interests.
Is Moldova the next Ukraine? Nation battles Russian hybrid warfare amid EU bid. Bolstered by moderate victories in recent local elections, a defiant Moldova pushes towards EU integration despite an intensifying Russian hybrid warfare campaign aimed at derailing its Westward momentum.
COP28 shows growing rift between West’s green vision and Russian oil alliance. At the COP28 climate conference in Dubai, world leaders call for more to be done to reduce emissions and switch to renewables, while Russia is forming a camp around oil and gas dictatorships
Putin declares goal to reshape global order, funds major military surge. In his previous speeches, Putin laid bare his intention to destroy Ukraine. Unfortunately, he was not taken seriously
Inside Ukraine’s campaign to crush Russia with combat drones. Kyiv has gone into overdrive domestically producing reconnaissance, combat, and kamikaze drones to counter Russia’s assaults and gain aerial superiority, but with the invader’s overwhelming resources, competition remains tough

Military

Frontline report: Ukraine’s drone attacks thwart Russian advances in industrial zone south of Avdiivka. Near Donetsk’s Avdiivka, Russian forces’ efforts to breach Ukrainian fortifications are stymied by drone strikes and constant mortar fire, particularly in the industrial zone, resulting in a challenging situation for them.

ISW: Russia’s current losses in Ukraine mirror rate of new force generation. Russia’s recruitment efforts may not offset casualties, posing challenges to Russia’s military capacity in Ukraine, ISW says.

As of 08 Dec 2023, the approximate losses of weapons and military equipment of the Russian Armed Forces from the beginning of the invasion to the present day:

      • Personnel: 337220 (+990)
      • Tanks: 5626 (+8)
      • APV: 10508 (+26)
      • Artillery systems: 8057 (+12)
      • MLRS: 919
      • Anti-aircraft systems: 605
      • Aircraft: 324
      • Helicopters: 324
      • UAV: 6136 (+20)
      • Cruise missiles: 1571
      • Warships/boats: 22
      • Submarines: 1
      • Vehicles and fuel tanks: 10591 (+30)

Intelligence and technology

Minister: Ukraine to partner with US firms to produce 155mm shells domestically. Ukraine’s Minister of Strategic Industries noted that setting up 155mm shell production will take “at least two, maximum three years” given the technologies required.

UK intel: Air defense constraints impair tactical air operations for Russia and Ukraine. UK intelligence underscores Russia’s Su-24M loss to a Ukrainian SAM in the Black Sea, emphasizing air defense constraints on tactical air operations.

International

Bulgaria to send 100 armored vehicles to Ukraine, ignoring president’s veto. The Bulgarian parliament ratified an agreement to provide Ukraine with Soviet-era armored personnel carriers that have been stored in warehouses for decades.

No flags, no teams: Russians and Belarusians to join 2024 Olympic Games as neutral athletes. The International Olympic Committee declared that Russian and Belarusian athletes who have met the qualification criteria of the International Federations will be granted the opportunity to compete in the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris as Individual Neutral Athletes, without any national affiliation.

UK Foreign Secretary to US: Blocking Ukraine aid would be “Christmas present” to Putin. UK Foreign Secretary Cameron warns US Congress that blocking Ukraine aid is like a “Christmas present” for Putin and Xi Jinping.

Bulgaria to grant access to its skies for Ukraine’s F-16 training. Bulgaria is going to grant Ukraine airspace access for F-16 training, overcoming opposition. Plans include anti-aircraft systems deployment and infantry cooperation.

Humanitarian and social impact

Russia launches first Kh-101 cruise missile attack in two months, killing at least one. Russia’s first massive air-launched missile attack in months kills one, injured four in Dnipro’s Pavlohrad as Ukraine’s air defenders down 14 of 19 missiles. Meanwhile, Russian ballistic missiles injure two more civilians.

Putin announces bid for fifth presidential term. Vladimir Putin, who has been in power in Russia since 2000, announced that he will run for the presidency in 2024.

Ukraine passes anti-corruption laws to advance EU integration. The parliament of Ukraine passed laws that increase the staff and powers of the anti-corruption agencies and regulate the rights of national minorities, fulfilling three out of four conditions set by the European Commission for opening accession talks with Ukraine.

Finland frees Russian neo-Nazi militant involved in Ukraine war crimes. Finland’s Supreme Court denied Ukraine’s extradition request for Yan Petrovsky, a founding member of the Rusich neo-Nazi group that tortured and killed Ukrainian prisoners of war, and ordered his immediate release.

Polish PM-to-be Tusk vows to improve Poland-Ukraine relations, resolve border blockade. Donald Tusk, coalition leader of newly elected Polish parliament, seeks the Prime Minister post, highlighting his commitment to resolving Poland-Ukraine tensions, particularly the cargo blockade, and working toward stronger ties between the two countries.

New developments

WSJ: Ukraine’s counteroffensive plan hinges on 2025. The Wall Street Journal revealed that Ukraine is unlikely to launch another major counteroffensive against Russia until 2025.

Read our earlier daily review here.

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