As the war enters its 651st day, these are the main developments.
Here is the situation as of Wednesday, December 6, 2023.
- Russia targeted an aid center, a medical center and residential buildings in southern and eastern regions of Ukraine, killing three people and injuring at least 11, officials said. The International Rescue Committee confirmed that an overnight missile attack hit its humanitarian center, “I am Kherson”, destroying stockpiles of aid.
- Ukraine’s military said it shot down 10 of 17 attack drones launched overnight by Russia. The governor of Ukraine’s western Lviv region said three drones hit an unspecified infrastructure target, but caused little damage. In the Kharkiv region in the east, authorities said drones hit private homes and residential buildings in at least two different settlements.
- Russia’s defense ministry said its air defense systems had destroyed or intercepted a total of 41 drones launched by Ukraine. Twenty-six were destroyed on Russian territory, and 15 in the Sea of Azov and the Crimean Peninsula, the ministry said in a statement. It doesn’t say if there was any damage.
- Ukraine said the drones hit several “important military facilities in Crimea” including radar systems and an anti-aircraft missile control system. A Ukrainian defense source with knowledge of the operations of the SBU military intelligence services told the AFP news agency that the attacks were a “result of a special SBU operation”. Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
- Russia has confirmed that Major-General Vladimir Zavadsky, the deputy commander of Russia’s 14th Army Corps, was killed “at a combat post” in Ukraine.
Politics and diplomacy
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy canceled plans for a video-link appeal for new aid to US lawmakers as some Republicans tried to link such support to immigration policy in US.
- Zelenskyy’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, told a US think tank that postponing US aid for Kyiv would create a “big risk” for Ukraine to lose the war with Russia.
- Six Ukrainian children will be returned to their families in Ukraine from Russia under a deal brokered by Qatar, and are on their way home via Moscow. Kyiv has accused Russia of taking about 20,000 Ukrainian children to Russia or Russian-occupied territory without the consent of their families or guardians.
- The US, meanwhile, announced sanctions against Dzmitry Shautsou, the head of the Belarus Red Cross, accusing him of conspiring to deport Ukrainian children to Russia. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has suspended the Belarus Red Cross for failing to remove Shautsou.
- Russia rejected a “substantial” proposal for the release of businessman and former Marine Paul Whelan as well as journalist Evan Gershkovich, according to US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller. Miller declined to elaborate on the proposal, which he said was offered in “recent weeks”. Whelan is serving 16 years in prison for spying, while Wall Street Journal reporter Gershkovich was arrested in March and charged with espionage. Both men denied the allegations.
- Dutch Foreign Minister Hanke Bruins Slot sought to assure Ukraine of continued support from the Netherlands during an unannounced trip to Kyiv following the election victory of Geert Wilders, whose far-right party wants to end the arms delivery to Ukraine. “Count on our support. Your fight is our fight. Your security is our security,” said the foreign minister during a joint press conference with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba.
- Washington imposed new sanctions related to Russia, targeting a defense procurement network consisting of nine entities and five individuals based in Russia, Belgium, Cyprus, Sweden, Hong Kong and the Netherlands.
- Ukraine says it is investigating alleged corruption in arms purchases but says there has been no “misuse” of Western weapons sent to the country to fight Russian aggression. “There are many processes related to the purchase of weapons,” said Oleksandr Klymenko, the head of the anticorruption prosecution office. He added that these included contracts worth “from 10 to 100 million euros”, but said he would not disclose details.