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Russo-Ukrainian war, day 660: EU to find “operational solution” for Ukraine aid amid Hungary’s veto

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has pledged to find an “operational solution” for routing funding to Ukraine, circumventing Hungary’s veto. This comes as fighting persists along the entire frontline, with Russia focusing on capturing the devastated towns of Avdiivka and Marinka

Military

Frontline report: Russia shifts focus from Avdiivka to multi-directional assault in Ukraine’s east. Russian strategic change in Ukraine: transition from the focus on Avdiivka to multi-direction assaults in eastern Ukraine, while a leaked US report unveils significant Russian casualties.

Lithuania delivers several million rounds of ammunition to Ukraine. Ukrainian forces received crucial support from Lithuania, including several million rounds of ammunition and thousands of munitions for man-portable, short-range anti-tank grenade launchers.

Leopard 2 tanks heading back to frontlines following repairs in Lithuania. Lithuania has completed repairs on Leopard 2 tanks damaged in Ukrainian battlefields and is preparing to send the armored vehicles back to the front, the Lithuanian Defense Ministry announced.

Reuters: Ukraine plans to start chip manufacturing amid Russian war. A new plan presented by Ukraine’s Digital Transformation Minister Mykhailo Fedorov and his deputy, Valeria Ionan, proposed state support for the creation of a chipmaking industry and building up artificial intelligence, according to Reuters.

As of 15 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: 343890 (+1090)
      • Tanks: 5706 (+14)
      • APV: 10654 (+38)
      • Artillery systems: 8099 (+11)
      • MLRS: 920
      • Anti-aircraft systems: 605
      • Aircraft: 324
      • Helicopters: 324
      • UAV: 6226 (+20)
      • Cruise missiles : 1608 (+2)
      • Warships/boats: 22
      • Submarines: 1
      • Vehicles and fuel tanks: 10699 (+24)

Intelligence and technology

UK intel: Russia crawls west through Marinka but breakthrough improbable. Fighting continues in destroyed Marinka town near Donetsk as Russia reduces Ukrainian control to secure highways, advance towards Kurakhove but significant advance in area still highly unlikely, per UK intelligence.

International

Dutch aid for Ukraine reaches €2.6 billion. Over two months, the Netherlands allocates €550 million in military aid to Ukraine, totaling their support to €2.6 billion, strengthening resistance against Russian aggression.

Ukraine invites Türkiye to join maritime coalition. “We are grateful to Türkiye for supporting Ukraine from the first day of the full-scale invasion in ensuring the Black Sea’s security. We invite Türkiye to join the Maritime Coalition,” Umerov stated.

EU plans alternative Ukraine aid strategy amid Hungary’s veto. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen pledges an “operational solution” for Ukraine’s aid, circumventing Hungary’s veto of the EU’s €50 billion support plan.

Reuters: US Senate to vote on Ukraine funding, border security next week. US Senate postpones its holiday break to focus on a vital Ukraine aid vote, dependent on further House support.

Japan expands sanctions over Russia’s war in Ukraine. In response to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, Japan has expanded sanctions, targeting additional firms and entities, including export bans beyond Russia and its ally Belarus.

Orbán vetoes EU’s €50 bn Ukraine aid after EU open door to Ukraine’s membership. Hungary’s PM Orbán vetoed the €50 bn aid for Ukraine. European Council’s President Charles Michel intends to gather EU leaders for another vote next month to secure funding.

Reuters: US treasury officials to visit Europe to discuss Russian oil price cap enforcement. US Treasury representatives are set to hold talks with government officials and business leaders in Brussels and London.

New developments

Slovak truckers end protest at border crossing with Ukraine. Ukraine’s board guard said that the movement of trucks at the border with Slovakia is “gradually resuming for an indefinite period.”

Ukraine dismantles hi-tech contraband ring that used drones for smuggling cigarettes and monitoring border patrols. Ukrainian border guards successfully apprehended a smuggling group from Volyn that employed drones for contraband smuggling and border patrol surveillance.

Local official detonates grenades in government building, one dead, at least 26 injured. A member of the Keretsky village council in Zakarpattia Oblast detonated two grenades inside a local government building.

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