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Russo-Ukrainian war, day 657. Ukraine and Russia exchange cyber attacks

Ukraine says it wiped out Russian tax data as Russia disabled Ukraine’s number one mobile operator. Zelenskyy’s in-house appearance fails to sway US Republicans on Ukraine aid

Exclusives

From Anschluss to Invasion: Putin follows Hitler’s playbook. Despite the lessons of appeasing Hitler before WWII, world leaders have again failed to deter authoritarian aggression from Russia
Why Russia fights like ISIS and how to de-Putinize liberated kids. Security scholar Omar Ashour explains how Russian tactics in Ukraine parallel terrorist extremist strategies and examines deradicalization models to reintegrate youth subjected to Kremlin disinformation.

Military

Pro-Ukrainian partisans infiltrate base of Russian assault regiment in occupied Crimea. Atesh says they collected information on Mi-8 helicopters Russians use to evacuate the wounded and transmitted it to the Ukrainian Army

ISW: Russia makes marginal gains along two axes. Russians expand control towards Kupiansk in the north as well as near Avdiivka near Donetsk. Ukraine continues offensives in Kherson Oblast

NYT: US, Ukrainian military leaders work on new frontline strategy for 2024. The US enhances its military advisory role in Ukraine with the deployment of Lt. Gen. Antonio A. Aguto Jr. to Kyiv, aiming to “work more directly with the country’s military leadership.”

Reuters: Russia lost 87% of initial troops in Ukraine war, US intel says. The invasion of Ukraine has cost Russia 315,000 casualties, setting back its military modernization by 18 years, a US intelligence report says

As of 13 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: 341500 (+850)
      • Tanks: 5682 (+18)
      • APV: 10594 (+15)
      • Artillery systems: 8076 (+3)
      • MLRS: 919
      • Anti-aircraft systems: 605
      • Aircraft: 324
      • Helicopters: 324
      • UAV: 6173 (+10)
      • Cruise missiles : 1596
      • Warships/boats: 22
      • Submarines: 1
      • Vehicles and fuel tanks: 10662 (+12)

Intelligence and technology

Zelenskyy meets with leaders of US defense companies. President Zelensky met with US defense industry leaders during his US visit, focusing on a European defense hub in Ukraine, military production, and investment from American partners.

UK Intel: Russia struggles with nighttime combat. Russia’s military seldom prepared for night fighting, instead staging “daylight events to impress visiting senior officers meanwhile, Ukrainian soldiers move by night with night vision

International

Biden announces $ 200 mn additional aid package for Ukraine. The help is provided via the Presidential Drawdown mechanism that doesn’t need Congressional approval. However, $61 bn of Ukraine aid hangs in the balance

Reuters: Poland’s Tusk says he will call on West to continue help Ukraine. On 12 December, Poland’s newly appointed prime minister, Donald Tusk, said his country would demand the full mobilization of the West to help Ukraine, as per Reuters.

Humanitarian and social impact

Ukraine downs 9/15 explosive drones, two missiles during Russia’s latest air attack. Russian forces launch 15 Iranian-made explosive drones from occupied Crimea, Ukrainian Air Force counters, destroying nine amid foggy weather.

Zelenskyy fails to sway Republicans on Ukraine aid. Despite warm public rhetoric, top Republicans made it clear that illegal migration is their top priority as an urgent aid package is blocked in Congress

IMF approves third USD 900 million tranche for Ukraine. The International Monetary Fund’s Board of Directors allocated a $900 million tranche for Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

New developments

Ukraine’s top mobile and bank companies suffer hacker attack. It is unclear when Kyivstar, Ukraine’s largest mobile operator, will fully restore services, as the attack partially destroyed the company’s IT infrastructure

Ukraine says it wiped out Russian tax data in cyber offensive. Experts say restoring Russia’s tax system could take at least a month after Ukraine’s reported hack

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