Here is the situation on Wednesday, December 6, 2023.
- Russia targeted an aid centre, a medical centre and residential buildings in Ukraine’s southern and eastern regions, killing three people and injuring at least 11, officials said. The International Rescue Committee confirmed an overnight missile attack hit its humanitarian centre, “I am Kherson”, destroying stockpiles of aid.
- Ukraine’s military said it shot down 10 out of 17 attack drones launched overnight by Russia. The governor of Ukraine’s western Lviv region said three drones had struck an unspecified infrastructure target, but there was minimal 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 defence ministry said its air defence systems destroyed or intercepted a total of 41 Ukraine-launched drones. Twenty-six were destroyed over Russian territory, and 15 over the Sea of Azov and the Crimean Peninsula, the ministry said in a statement. It did not say whether 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 defence source with knowledge of the operations of the SBU military intelligence services told the AFP news agency the attacks were a “result of a special SBU operation”. Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
- Russia confirmed that Major-General Vladimir Zavadsky, the deputy commander of Russia’s 14th Army Corps, had been killed “at a combat post” in Ukraine.
Politics and diplomacy
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy cancelled plans for a video-link appeal for new aid to lawmakers in the United States as some Republicans attempt to link such support to US immigration policy.
- Zelenskyy’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, told a US think tank that the postponement of US assistance for Kyiv would create a “big risk” of Ukraine losing the war with Russia.
- Six Ukrainian children will be returned to their immediate 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 being complicit in the deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has suspended the Belarus Red Cross for failing to sack Shautsou.
- Russia rejected a “substantial” proposal for the release of businessman and former Marine Paul Whelan as well as journalist Evan Gershkovich, according to the US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller. Miller declined to go into detail on the proposal, which he said had been offered in “recent weeks”. Whelan is serving a 16-year jail term for spying, while Wall Street Journal reporter Gershkovich was arrested in March and accused of espionage. Both men deny the charges.
- Dutch Foreign Minister Hanke Bruins Slot sought to reassure 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 stop weapons deliveries to Ukraine. “Be assured of our support. Your fight is our fight. Your security is our security,” the foreign minister said during a joint press conference with her Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba.
- Washington imposed new Russia-related sanctions, targeting a defence procurement network consisting of nine entities and five people based in Russia, Belgium, Cyprus, Sweden, Hong Kong and the Netherlands.
- Ukraine said it was investigating alleged corruption in arms procurement but said there was no “misuse” of the Western weapons sent to the country to fight the Russian invasion. “There are several proceedings related to arms procurement,” said Oleksandr Klymenko, the head of the anticorruption prosecutor’s office. He added that these included contracts amounting “from 10 to 100 millions of euros”, but said he could not disclose details.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies