G-7 countries pledge of help for the Ukraine….
EU pledges of help for the Ukraine….
Putin cancel’s his annual presser…..
Iran send’s more drones to Russia…..
Russia is advancing in one place…..the Ukrainian city of Bahkmut….
Here’s what we know:
President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine addressed a virtual G7 meeting where leaders discussed the details of a donor system to aid reconstruction. Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, will skip his annual December news conference.
The G7 nations agree to set up a donor platform to funnel money to Ukraine.
The E.U.’s foreign ministers agreed to give Ukraine 2 billion euros in military aid.
The E.U. imposes fresh sanctions on Iranians over supplying drones to Russia.
Putin won’t hold a news conference that has been a December tradition.
Ukraine says it struck a hotel where members of Russia’s Wagner security force had gathered.
Kyiv’s gyms remain havens for reassuring routines, even in darkness…..
Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.
- WNBA star Brittney Griner is undergoing medical evaluations at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio after Russian authorities released her from a Moscow jail last week in a prisoner exchange with the United States. Roger D. Carstens, the Biden administration’s hostage affairs envoy, described Griner as healthy and full of energy in an interview with CNN on Sunday.
- The White House will engage with Russia this week on efforts to free Paul Whelan, a former Marine who is serving 16 years in a Russian prison, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Monday. Members of the Biden administration virtually met with Elizabeth Whelan, Paul Whelan’s sister, earlier Monday. “The conversations with Paul Whelan’s family have been substantive,” Sullivan said. “We are bound and determined to ensure that we work through a successful method of securing Paul Whelan’s release at the earliest possible opportunity.”
- Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who was swapped by the United States for Griner, joined an ultranationalist political party just days after returning to Russia. The Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) confirmed Bout’s membership Monday, posting a video to Telegram that showed him standing on a stage next to party leader Leonid Slutsky.
- The European Council approved 18 billion euros ($18.9 billion) in financial assistance for Ukraine for 2023. In a statement Monday, the council said the assistance will provide short-term financial relief, finance Ukraine’s immediate needs and rehabilitate critical infrastructure.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin will not hold his traditional end-of-year news conference, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday, the first time he will skip the event in at least a decade. The conference is infamous among reporters in Moscow for lasting several hours. It is one of the rare occasions when journalists from outside the Kremlin pool can question Putin directly.
- Russian forces are making slow, incremental gains in their fight to take the Ukrainian city of Bahkmut, a senior U.S. military official said Monday, as intense fighting there continues. “The Ukrainians continue to hold the line,” the military official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity under ground rules set by the Pentagon.
- Western military experts say Russia is firing larger batches of missiles at Ukraine, which risks depleting Kyiv’s stockpiles of interceptor missiles. Dara Massicot, a senior policy researcher at Rand Corp., wrote in a Twitter thread that Russia is trying to “confuse and overwhelm Ukrainian air defenses.”
- Russian forces are also launching an increasing number of “dud” artillery shells in Ukraine, as they rely more frequently on older ammunition after months of fighting, the U.S. military official said. The trend has become evident as Ukrainians more frequently find unexploded ordnance, the official said. Nearly 10 months into its invasion, Russia has burned through a large number of its munitions, prompting it to look to outside nations, such as Iran, for more, the official said.
- Moscow-backed officials accused Ukrainian forces of using U.S.-supplied HIMARS rockets to attack the Russian-occupied city of Melitopol over the weekend. Kyiv has not claimed responsibility for the strike. Ivan Fedorov, the exiled Ukrainian mayor of Melitopol, said the attack hit a church seized by Russian troops for use as a base several months ago….