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Russo-Ukrainian war, day 666: Western companies supply spare parts for Russian tanks, investigation reveals

The Insider’s investigation exposes a global supply chain supporting Russia’s military enterprises. “20 Days in Mariupol,” a documentary film by photojournalist and filmmaker Mstyslav Chernov, has been shortlisted for the Oscars Awards.

Military

Frontline report: Russia brings well-equipped troops and tanks to Bakhmut. Russia has doubled its troop levels to 80,000 in the area around Bakhmut. This is twice as many as Russians had allocated for the Avdiivka, where the most intense fighting is happening.

Ukraine downs 34/35 explosive drones in Russian night attack. Ukraine experiences another massive “kamikaze” drone assault from Russia, utilizing 35 Shahed drones. The country’s air defenders downed 34 drones. There are no casualties reported.

Ukrainian forces fend off 29 Russian attacks East of Dnipro River, says General Staff. In the last 24 hours, there were 89 battles between Ukrainian defenders and invading Russian forces along the frontline.

As of 21 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: 350270 (+1080)
      • Tanks: 5828 (+14)
      • APV: 10825 (+31)
      • Artillery systems: 8226 (+20)
      • MLRS: 932 (+4)
      • Anti-aircraft systems: 611
      • Aircraft: 324
      • Helicopters: 324
      • UAV: 6342 (+26)
      • Cruise missiles : 1613 (+1)
      • Warships/boats: 22
      • Submarines: 1
      • Vehicles and fuel tanks: 10919 (+48)

Intelligence and technology

Upgraded Russian guided bombs suggest ongoing access to foreign electronics. Conflict Armament Research analysis uncovers upgraded electronics in Russian guided bombs, manufactured in July 2023 and deliberately stripped of identifying marks, likely to protect suppliers from sanctions circumvention allegations.

Insider: Western companies supply spare parts for Russian tanks. The Insider’s investigation exposes a global supply chain supporting Russia’s military enterprises.

Ukraine to assemble German Vector drones and produce spare parts for them. Ukrainian forces operate hundreds of Vector drones, which get improvements based on the combat use experience.

International

Switzerland announces $13 million in winter aid for Ukraine. Swiss support includes contributions to the UN’s Ukraine Humanitarian Fund winter aid program and repairs to energy infrastructure.

Germany allocates additional € 88,5 mn for Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. The allocated funds will bolster Ukraine’s resilience against Russia’s airstrikes on energy infrastructure, financing repairs, spare parts, and key equipment such as transformers and generators.

Finland approves € 106 million aid package for Ukraine. This 21st package from Finland since Russia’s full-scale invasion brings the total value of Finnish military aid to around 1.6 billion euros.

Ukraine receives $ 950 mn from Japan for recovery and social protection. Ukraine secures $952.4 million from Japan for recovery and social support, encompassing a $52.4 million grant and a $900 million loan.

Canadian Roshel delivers 1000th armored vehicle to aid Ukraine defense. The armored, high-tech vehicles provide protection and mobility to Ukrainian forces using them for troop transport, medical evacuations, aid delivery.

Humanitarian and social impact

Russian air strikes hit coal mines in Toretsk, killing three, injuring six. Russian forces launched airstrikes on two coal mines in Toretsk, Donetsk Oblast, resulting in casualties and significant damage to the infrastructure.

Ukraine seeks to recruit expatriate men for military duty in 2024. Ukraine’s Defense Minister, Rustem Umerov, urges Ukrainian men residing in foreign countries, aged 25 to 60, to enlist in the military in 2024. Sanctions are being discussed for those who refuse.

Slovakia to block Ukraine’s NATO membership, says PM Fico. Robert Fico believes that Ukraine’s NATO membership could lead to a third world war.

Duda: Ukraine in NATO, EU vital for Poland’s security. According to the Polish President, Ukraine joining NATO would move the Alliance’s eastern flank away from Poland.

Ukrainian Parliament legalizes medical cannabis. Ukraine’s parliament adopts draft law No. 7457, legalizing medical cannabis, while retaining penalties for recreational distribution. Production will be closely monitored, with electronic prescriptions for medical use.

New developments

Oscar shortlist includes Ukrainian documentary “20 Days in Mariupol”.“20 Days in Mariupol,” a documentary film by photojournalist and filmmaker Mstyslav Chernov, has been shortlisted for the Oscars Awards in the Documentary Feature Film and International Feature Film categories.

Ukrainian hackers target Russia’s water supply company. The Ukrainian Blackjack hacker group launched a cyberattack against Rosvodokanal, Russia’s largest private water supply company, as “revenge for the attack on Kyivstar.”

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