We publish a summary of events concerning the situation around Ukraine as of 7 p.m., December 23.
There are plans to deploy naval bases of the Russian Navy for supply, emergency rescue services and ship repair in the ports of Berdyansk and Mariupol – Russian Defense Minister Shoigu.
Vladimir Putin has supported the idea of supplying water from the Don to residents of Donbass. The authorities are planning to build a special water pipeline in the DPR. This became known during a meeting between Denis Pushilin and the state leader, where plans to improve the water supply to the new region were discussed.
Sergey Shoigu has arrived in Izhevsk to check fulfillment of the state defense order. The Russian Defence Ministry said that the head of the ministry would inspect the Kalashnikov Concern’s production facilities.
The Russian Federation will prohibit the delivery of oil and oil products to countries that demand compliance with the price ceiling imposed by the West, and may reduce oil production by 500,000 to 700,000 barrels per day in early 2023. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Novak announced this on December 23 on the air of Russia 24 TV channel.
Peskov on the possibility of a personal meeting between Putin and Biden for talks on Ukraine, “There are no preliminary contacts on this matter. Of course, any conflict ends at the negotiating table, and this has been said repeatedly. Of course, it is primarily a question of ending a special military operation as soon as possible by achieving the goals that the Russian Federation has set for itself. We can state that there is significant progress towards demilitarization here. We have heard Zelensky’s statements about various steps, about the peace plan. But everything Zelensky has said before has been said without taking into account the current realities that have emerged to date and which cannot be ignored”.
On the territory of Belarus, the combat joint exercises of the units of the Belarusian and Russian Armed Forces continues.
Aleksandr Lukashenko will visit Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre, where the candidates from Belarus are being qualified for the space mission. Besides, the Belarusian leader will participate in the informal meeting of the CIS leaders to be held on December 26-27 in St. Petersburg.
“Zelensky should have known that Iran’s strategic patience with such baseless accusations has its limit,” said the Iranian Foreign Ministry.
Ukraine’s ambassador to the USA Oksana Markarova has published a brief explanation of how $45 billion dollars of US aid to Ukraine will be spent in the new year. This amount is included in the US federal budget, which was approved by the US Senate on Thursday. According to Markarova, the House of Representatives of Congress will vote for the budget on Friday, and by the end of Friday (i.e., by Saturday morning in Europe) it will be signed by the president.
The Ukraine Supplemental Security Act included in the budget provides:
– $28.4 billion in military aid;
– $13.37 billion in economic aid;
– $4.92 billion in humanitarian aid.
Military aid includes, among others, $9 billion to provide the Ukrainian army with everything it needs, from equipment to intelligence, $11.88 billion to replace equipment, weapons and ammunition transferred to Ukraine in the US own arsenals, and nearly $7 billion for the US European Command’s work related to Ukraine.
The drop in real production in Ukraine in the fourth quarter averages 70%, the deputy head of Zelenskyy’s office said. At the same time, Zelenskyy’s office noted that the drop in Ukraine’s GDP by the end of 2022 may exceed the 50 percent announced earlier by Prime Minister Shmygal.
In an interview with Interfax-Ukraine, Prime Minister Denis Shmygal said that Ukraine has started to roll out a network of gas-turbine and gas-piston mini-electric power plants. Gas turbine and gas piston power plants have small units and do not require much human intervention and maintenance. One power plant has an average capacity of 50 MW.
Ukrainian sources say that the Patriot air-defence battery, which the USA is going to deliver, will be deployed in Lviv. Its crews will consist of Polish servicemen, who have already received appropriate training. Such a decision will make it possible to deploy these systems very quickly, without waiting for Ukrainian operators to be trained.
At the same time, the USA will not risk their servicemen, of whom, according to the US media, more than 300 people have already been killed in Ukraine. The deployment of the battery in Lvov is dictated not by military necessity, but by the fact that, as the Americans believe, it will be located there in maximum safety on the territory of Ukraine.
The city of Borispol has been completely de-energized for several days now, with critical infrastructure running on generators, the deputy of Borispol district council Vladimir Manko said.
A monument to Pushkin was broken into pieces in Chernovtsy. The number of demolished monuments to the Russian poet in Ukraine, according to users in social networks, has reached 16.
Western countries and their supporters
Biden said he was ready to meet with Putin, if Russia showed a willingness to negotiate. “Our politics has gotten so angry, so mean, so partisan… And too often we see each other as enemies, not as neighbors,” the US president said in his Christmas address to the nation at the White House.
Russia is calling for peace talks only to buy time to prepare for a new offensive, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said. “Russia hopes to freeze the war to allow its forces to regroup, rearm and try to launch a new offensive,” Stoltenberg said.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said after Zelensky’s speech to the US Congress that Ukraine’s victory in the war was a victory for the United States. He wrote this on Twitter.
Training for the Ukrainian military to operate Patriot missile defense systems will begin in the near future. This was reported by CNN, citing a senior US Defence Department official.
The US Congress has voted for an amendment to transfer the proceeds from the seized assets of Russian oligarchs to the people of Ukraine.
Italian Foreign Ministry, “We are constantly making offers to Russia to negotiate, the Italian government is also reaching out to mediators like Turkey, like the Vatican, as well as China, to insist on working to convince the Russian leadership. But it is clear that we have to restore the status quo.”
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni called on the country’s citizens to turn off gas and electricity for one hour a day in solidarity with Ukraine.
French President Macron said that Ukraine’s accession to NATO was unlikely because Russia would perceive it as a confrontation. He said this in an interview with Le Monde newspaper, Le Figaro quoted him as saying.
Poland said it was lowering its military potential because of its aid to Ukraine. “Poland has transferred almost 40 percent of its military potential to Ukraine,” Polish officer Kups said.