Displaying items by tag: Ukraine
Hungary's ruling party, Fidesz, has submitted a resolution opposing Ukraine's accession talks with the European Union (EU). Fidesz, led by Prime Minister Viktor Orban, cited concerns about the treatment of ethnic Hungarians in Ukraine, particularly regarding language rights and education. The resolution calls for a halt to Ukraine's EU accession process until these issues are resolved. Hungary has been critical of Ukraine's policies towards its Hungarian minority for years, and this move adds to the ongoing tensions between the two countries. Ukraine has been seeking closer ties with the EU, but Hungary's opposition could complicate those efforts. On 7 December, Volodymyr Zelensky’s chief of staff called for a meeting between Orban and Zelensky, in an attempt to resolve the problem before next week’s meeting of EU states.
On 5 December Volodymyr Zelensky called off a high-profile video briefing with US lawmakers amid an impasse over future funding for the country. This came after a top Ukrainian official warned they might lose the war against Russia if more US military aid is not approved. Despite a push by the White House, Congress is still not close to a deal on a compromise spending package that would help fund the war effort. Mike Johnson, the Republican Speaker, said, ‘The Administration has failed to substantively address any of my conference's legitimate concerns about the lack of a clear strategy in Ukraine, a path to resolving the conflict, or a plan for adequately ensuring accountability for aid provided by American taxpayers.’ This setback comes as fighting on the frontlines appears to have more or less reached a stalemate. Ukraine's much-anticipated counter-offensive in the south appears to have slowed down, and they are struggling to maintain a foothold they had established on the east bank of the Dnipro river.
NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg has warned against underestimating Russia's determination to continue the war. The EU has delivered 300,000 of its promised 1 million shells to Ukraine, with calls for closer alignment of Ukrainian and NATO arms production. Ukraine reported killing five high-ranking Russian officials in an air strike, and claimed that Russian casualties have reached 327,580. Ukrainian air defences successfully intercepted 21 Iranian-made Shahed drones heading towards a region where an airbase is located. Meanwhile, Russia escalated attacks in the Donetsk region, intensifying artillery fire, airstrikes, and ground infantry attacks. British intelligence indicated the potential use of 500kg cluster bombs. Russia also claimed control of the village of Khromove, near the city of Bakhmut.
In an unexpected virtual appearance at the G20 summit, Vladimir Putin called on world leaders to ‘stop the tragedy’ of the war with Ukraine but bizarrely ignored his own role in starting the conflict. In February 2022, after weeks of growing aggression near the Ukrainian border, the Russian president ordered his forces into Ukraine. He claimed it was important to ‘demilitarise’ the country and made baseless neo-Nazi allegations about the Ukrainian government to justify the invasion. Ukraine has only agreed to peace negotiations if Russia agrees to hand back all of the land which it has illegally annexed since 2014 - including the Crimea peninsula, which Putin claims now belongs to Russia. He also broke international law by illegally annexing four other regions in eastern Ukraine in September 2022. In his G20 appearance, Putin also tried to deflect attention from the war by focusing on the conflict between Israel and Hamas, for which he has tried to position himself as a potential mediator.
Since the start of the war in Ukraine, almost 20,000 men have sought to escape being drafted, with some taking perilous routes like swimming across dangerous rivers. Also, over 20,000 men were apprehended by Ukrainian authorities while attempting to flee. Following the Russian invasion, men aged 18-60 were prohibited from leaving the country, but numerous individuals still manage to escape. Many of them flee to reunite with family abroad, pursue education, or seek employment opportunities. Of those caught attempting to escape, most tried to cross the border by walking or swimming, while 6,800 used fraudulent paperwork to claim fabricated exemptions. The 40,000-plus number of men who have fled or tried to flee could represent a significant proportion of the men Ukraine needs to replenish its army. In August, US officials estimated the Ukrainian military death toll to be up to 70,000 - although Kyiv won't give a figure. There are more than 800,000 in the Ukrainian armed forces.
On 8 November Ukraine said that a Russian missile had struck a civilian ship while it was moored in a port in the Black Sea region of Odessa, killing a pilot and injuring four others. The missile hit the ship’s superstructure, which includes the command cabin. The ship was travelling under the Liberian flag, and the three wounded crew members were citizens of the Philippines. If confirmed, the attack would be the first time that Russian forces have hit a civilian vessel sailing near the Odessa region since Moscow pulled out of a UN-brokered deal in July which allowed Ukraine to export its grain through the Black Sea. In another incident, on 3 November, Russia targeted a military medals ceremony, killing at least a dozen men. The Ukrainian army has been criticised for organising an event involving so many soldiers in such a public and old-fashioned way. See
On 1 November, Russia unleashed a barrage on 118 Ukrainian towns and villages within 24 hours, marking the highest number of settlements hit in a single day this year, according to Ukrainian interior minister Ihor Klymenko. The attacks, targeting ten of Ukraine's 27 regions, resulted in casualties and fatalities. Many of the affected areas were near the front lines in eastern and southern Ukraine. Russia has been concentrating its military efforts on Avdiivka, a strategically vital town in the Donetsk region, causing significant damage. Ukraine has repelled multiple attacks in the area, and Russia has increased attacks on other towns and areas away from the front lines. Amid concerns about Western fatigue with the war, Volodymyr Zelensky has emphasised the need for advanced weaponry and unity among allies. Ukraine's chief military commander warned that the war is entering a positional stage, favouring Moscow's ability to rebuild its military power. Russia continues to have superior weaponry and ammunition. The situation has prompted the USA to seek approval for a $106 billion package to support Ukraine and Israel.
In the 85th week of the war, Russia is trying to freeze Kyiv’s four-month-old counteroffensive which has succeeded in wresting back half the territory captured earlier this year and depriving Russia of control of the western Black Sea. On 6 October Russian forces resumed an offensive effort against the city of Kupyansk: they are also attempting to capture Avdiivka, an eastern city which they have surrounded to the north and south. These tactical operations aimed to stop what has been a slow but steady Ukrainian advance, ahead of the Russian presidential elections. Despite these attacks, Ukraine seems to be pressing on with the counteroffensive. Meanwhile, two Ukrainian brothers have been accused of responsibility for organising the Russian missile strike on a shop and café in the village of Hroza, also on 6 October, which killed 55 civilians out of a population of 350: see
Ukrainian forces have reportedly achieved success in villages near Bakhmut, a key town previously seized by Russian forces. According to Ilia Yevlash, spokesperson for Ukraine's forces in the east, Russian troops fired on Ukrainian soldiers 580 times and used aircraft four times. Ukrainian troops have made significant progress, with defenders continuing to repel the enemy under heavy fire. The spokesperson claimed that 141 Russian troops were killed and several pieces of artillery equipment destroyed. Ukrainian forces in the south are reportedly preparing to advance towards the Sea of Azov, prompting Russian forces to bring in reserves. Volodymyr Zelenskiy commended the successes in his recent address, noting damage to Russian logistics and headquarters. Additionally, Ukraine has conducted attacks inside Russia and Russian-occupied Crimea. The counteroffensive operations launched in early June have resulted in gains in eastern and southern regions, despite the challenging conditions of heavily mined and destroyed areas.
One of Ukraine's staunchest allies, Poland, has said it will no longer supply weapons to its neighbour, as a diplomatic dispute over grain escalates. The dispute began after the Russian invasion forced Ukraine to find alternative overland routes, which led to large quantities of grain ending up in central Europe. Consequently, the EU temporarily banned imports of grain into five countries to protect local farmers, who feared Ukrainian grain was driving down prices. The ban ended on 15 September, but Hungary, Slovakia and Poland decided to keep on implementing it. Remarks by President Zelenskiy at the UN, that it was alarming how some of Ukraine's friends were ‘making a thriller from grain’, have been denounced by Warsaw as unjustified. Prime minister Mateus Morawiecki was adamant Poland was helping Ukraine defeat the ‘Russian barbarian’ by maintaining a military hub, but he said he would not agree to Poland's markets being destabilised by grain imports. Ukraine has filed lawsuits with the World Trade Organisation against the three countries over the bans, which it says are a violation of international obligations.