EU to provide €18bn in donor aid; Zelensky warns of fresh wave of attacks

EU to provide €18bn in donor aid; Zelensky warns of fresh wave of attacks
From left: German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, French President Emmanuel Macron, French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen attend a conference in solidarity with the Ukrainian people in Paris, France, 13 December 2022. On screen is Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Teresa Suarez / Pool)

European Union nations reached a preliminary agreement to clear the way for Ukraine to receive aid from the bloc worth €18bn while French President Emmanuel Macron announced a commitment of €1bn of donations from a delegation of about 70 governments and international bodies to help the country through the winter.

Funds to the value of  €18-billion from the European Union will go towards fixing energy infrastructure, transport, health, water and food supplies in Ukraine, French President Emmanuel Macron said after hosting an international donors’ conference in Paris.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky joined remotely. He warned late on Monday that a respite in Russian aerial assaults was probably an indication that Moscow was preparing a fresh wave of attacks.

Key developments

On the ground

Russian forces were focusing on offensive operations on the Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiyivka and Zaporizhzhia axes, Ukraine’s General Staff said in a regular update. A bridge near the Russia-occupied city of Melitopol was damaged in an explosion on Monday, according to local authorities. Russia continued shelling the southern city of Kherson, according to the Ukrainian military.

Ukraine fears Russia may restore full offensive capability by February

Russia is seeking to go back on the offensive by February, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in an online briefing, citing the scale of Moscow’s military conscription and troop movements.

Russia “still wants to conquer all of Ukraine”, Kuleba said.

To prevent that from happening, Ukraine must strike Russian targets in occupied areas to destroy its military infrastructure and urgently needs more 155-mm calibre howitzers and cannons.




UK sanctions Russians, Iranians after Ukraine strikes

The UK government announced sanctions targeting Russian commanders, Iranian businessmen and officials involved in the production and supply of drones to the Kremlin, according to a statement.

Nestlé launches new production site in Ukraine 

Nestlé plans a new production site in the town of Smolyhiv in the northwestern Volyn region, the company said in a statement. It will invest 40 million Swiss francs ($42.7-million) in a noodle production facility that will employ 1,500 people.

Russia ties can be renewed after the war, says Scholz 

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said it’s important that Russian citizens realise that economic ties with the West can be expanded again once the war ends, though he cautioned that this likely won’t happen anytime soon.

“One thing is clear: at present, the relations we had are being scaled back, scaled back and scaled back,” Scholz said late on Monday in a speech in Berlin.

“But a Russia that ends the war, and citizens in Russia who want a different future for themselves, also need the chance that in another time it will be possible to start economic cooperation again,” he added. “Only: that is not now.”

Meloni vows to send more arms to Ukraine as war drags on

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said Italy would continue to support Ukraine militarily, since there were no signs Russia’s invasion of the country would ease any time soon.

“The possibility of a ceasefire seems very limited, and while we support efforts in that direction, in the meantime we need to continue to fully support Ukraine,” Meloni told Rome legislators ahead of an EU summit this week, the first she will attend as prime minister.

Ukraine needs €1.5bn for urgent energy fixes

Ukraine needs some €1.5-billion for urgent repairs to its energy system, which has been battered by Russian attacks — as well as energy equipment and electricity from the EU worth €800-million, Zelensky said in a video address to a conference in Paris.

“This is significant, but significantly less than the cost of a blackout in Ukraine,” Zelensky said. About 12 million people, in Kyiv and in almost all regions of the country, were cut off from the electricity supply, according to Zelensky. “This is a typical situation for us. Every day we expect Russian strikes that can increase the number of outages.”

Eight ships with food leave Odesa 

Eight ships carrying 238,600 tonnes of agriculture products — part of the Black Sea Grain Initiative — left Odesa ports for Asia and Europe, the Ukrainian Infrastructure Ministry said on Telegram. Another 23 ships are currently in Odesa ports and are being loaded with 690,000 tonnes of food.




Ukraine ‘fires rocket at Russian town of Klintsy’

Ukrainian forces fired a rocket at the town of Klintsy in Russia, RIA Novosti news agency reported, citing local authorities.

Klintsy is strategically situated 40km from both Belarus and Russia near a key supply route for Russian troops in Belarus. The Ukrainian side hasn’t commented on the reports.

Belarus begins snap military check

President Alexander Lukashenko ordered a snap check of his armed forces’ military readiness, the country’s Defence Ministry said on Telegram.

Measures will involve organising pontoon bridges over the Neman and Berezina rivers, as well as the movement of troops via main roads in unspecified locations, limiting public traffic. The military checkup is happening amid a renewed Russian military buildup in the country, which borders Ukraine.

All nuclear units controlled by Ukraine back in operation

All nine units at nuclear power plants located on the territory controlled by Ukraine are now back in operation, the Energy Ministry said.

The country’s energy system was hit in eight massive missile and drone attacks over the past few months that damaged almost half of the nation’s energy facilities. Ukraine now operates three nuclear power plants. DM


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