Russian forces are increasing their "strategic stockpile" of missiles in preparation for the coming year’s offensives as well as the winter attacks on Ukraine infrastructure and grid.
Is Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer setting the Senate on course for a failed vote this week on President Biden’s $106 billion request for Ukraine, Israel and border funding?
Russian forces launched a series of missile and drone strikes against Ukraine on the night of December 3 to 4. Ukrainian military sources reported that Russian forces launched 23 Shahed-131/136 from Cape Chauda in occupied Crimea and one Kh-59 cruise missile from occupied Kherson Oblast and stated that Ukrainian forces shot down 18 Shaheds and the Kh-59 missile. Ukrainian Air Force Spokesperson Colonel Yuriy Ihnat stated that the Russian military has increased its production of Shahed drones, which are likely to be the main systems that Russian forces will use to target Ukrainian energy infrastructure throughout winter 2023-2024. Ihnat also reported that Russian forces are increasing their "strategic stockpile" of missiles.
Austin acknowledges some in Congress have "reasonable questions" about supporting Ukraine that the US will answer.
He argues that what's happening in Ukraine matters not only for Ukraine but the whole world, as it concerns the rules-based international order 21/
Schumer blames the border demand as the "biggest holdup" to delivering new Ukraine defense funds. He says the decades-old partisan issue has been injected into the bipartisan Ukraine priorities 23/
A bipartisan Senate group hopes to marry Biden's $100 billion+ request for Ukraine and others with changes to asylum and parole policies. The asylum issue was the main sticking point in talks before Thanksgiving 24/
Republicans warn they won't approve more Ukraine aid without border provisions, believing the House won't pass a bill lacking such language. The December Senate vote deadline adds pressure for a deal. 25/
Schumer argues faltering US support for Ukraine would make autocrats like Putin happier and embolden Russia. This concerns not just European security but American security 26/
So, in summary, Ukraine appears to be ok, but any progress depends on the Western funding, which is victim to domestic politics. I hope it gets resolved soon.
These are historical events in the East of Europe. If Russia is stopped and the EU enlarged, the world will be better X
As winter approaches, and the front lines freeze into place, Ukraine’s most senior military officials acknowledge that the war has reached a stalemate.
This examination of the lead-up to Ukraine’s counteroffensive is based on interviews with more than 30 senior officials from Ukraine, the United States and European nations. It provides new insights and previously unreported details about America’s deep involvement in the military planning behind the counteroffensive and the factors that contributed to its disappointments. The second part of this two-part account examines how the battle unfolded on the ground over the summer and fall, and the widening fissures between Washington and Kyiv. Some of the officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive deliberations.
Key elements that shaped the counteroffensive and the initial outcome include:
● Ukrainian, U.S. and British military officers held eight major tabletop war games to build a campaign plan. But Washington miscalculated the extent to which Ukraine’s forces could be transformed into a Western-style fighting force in a short period — especially without giving Kyiv air power integral to modern militaries.
● U.S. and Ukrainian officials sharply disagreed at times over strategy, tactics and timing. The Pentagon wanted the assault to begin in mid-April to prevent Russia from continuing to strengthen its lines. The Ukrainians hesitated, insisting they weren’t ready without additional weapons and training.
● U.S. military officials were confident that a mechanized frontal attack on Russian lines was feasible with the troops and weapons that Ukraine had. The simulations concluded that Kyiv’s forces, in the best case, could reach the Sea of Azov and cut off Russian troops in the south in 60 to 90 days.
● The United States advocated a focused assault along that southern axis, but Ukraine’s leadership believed its forces had to attack at three distinct points along the 600-mile front, southward toward both Melitopol and Berdyansk on the Sea of Azov and east toward the embattled city of Bakhmut.
● The U.S. intelligence community had a more downbeat view than the U.S. military, assessing that the offensive had only a 50-50 chance of success given the stout, multilayered defenses Russia had built up over the winter and spring.
● Many in Ukraine and the West underestimated Russia’s ability to rebound from battlefield disasters and exploit its perennial strengths: manpower, mines and a willingness to sacrifice lives on a scale that few other countries can countenance.
● As the expected launch of the offensive approached, Ukrainian military officials feared they would suffer catastrophic losses — while American officials believed the toll would ultimately be higher without a decisive assault.
The year began with Western resolve at its peak, Ukrainian forces highly confident and President Volodymyr Zelensky predicting a decisive victory. But now, there is uncertainty on all fronts. Morale in Ukraine is waning. International attention has been diverted to the Middle East. Even among Ukraine’s supporters, there is growing political reluctance to contribute more to a precarious cause. At almost every point along the front, expectations and results have diverged as Ukraine has shifted to a slow-moving dismounted slog that has retaken only slivers of territory.
Ukraine's Western partners continue efforts to provide Ukraine with military and economic support. German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall announced on December 3 that it won a contract to provide Ukraine with €142 million worth of 155mm artillery rounds, which Germany will deliver to Ukraine in 2025. Rheinmetall stated that it will deliver around 40,000 rounds to Ukraine from a separate order in 2024. British outlet The Times highlighted Ukraine's use of British-provided Martlet lightweight missiles to deter a large-scale Russian Shahed drone strike on Kyiv City in late November 2023. The Times noted that the British Army trained Ukrainian operators on Martlet systems in the UK earlier this year. Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov additionally met with his Belgian counterpart, Ludivine Dedonder, on December 4 to further develop the bilateral Ukrainian-Belgian relationship, particularly in regard to building out Ukraine's defense industrial base with Belgian support. Head of the Ukrainian President's Office Andriy Yermak spoke with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan about the upcoming Ukrainian-American conference on arms production that will take place on December 6 and 7 in Washington, DC.
- Russia continues to reckon with the economic ramifications of labor shortages partially resulting from the war in Ukraine.
- Ukraine's Western partners continue efforts to provide Ukraine with military and economic support.
- Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko discussed deepening Belarusian-Chinese relations with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, China on December 4.
- Kremlin-backed United Russia State Duma deputies and Federation Council senators proposed a bill to introduce criminal punishments for leaking personal data, likely as part of ongoing efforts to control the Russian information space ahead of the March 2024 Russian presidential elections.
- The Kremlin likely continues efforts to insert itself into power vacuums in several African countries as Wagner Group elements continue to operate in the Central African Republic (CAR).
- Voronezh Oblast Governor Alexander Gusev confirmed on December 4 the death of Russian 14th Army Corps Deputy Commander Major General Vladimir Zavadsky in Ukraine.
- Russian forces conducted offensive operations along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, near Avdiivka, west and southwest of Donetsk City, in the Donetsk-Zaporizhia Oblast border area, and in western Zaporizhia Oblast and advanced in some areas on December 4.
- Select Russian Duma deputies appear to be at odds over the issue of extending Russian conscript service.
- Russian Presidential Administration Head for Domestic Policy Andrei Yarin reportedly visited occupied Ukraine as part of ongoing efforts to legitimize Russian authority over occupied Ukraine ahead of the March 2024 Russian presidential election.
Russian Subordinate Main Effort #1 – Luhansk Oblast (Russian objective: Capture the remainder of Luhansk Oblast and push westward into eastern Kharkiv Oblast and northern Donetsk Oblast)
Russian forces conducted offensive operations along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line but did not make any confirmed gains on December 4. Russian sources claimed on December 3 and 4 that Russian forces advanced near Synkivka (8km northeast of Kupyansk) and controlled about half of the settlement. ISW has not observed visual confirmation of significant Russian advances in Synkivka, however.
Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces conducted offensive operations along the Kupaynsk-Svatove-Kreminna line but did not make any claimed or confirmed advances on December 4. The Russian MoD claimed that Ukrainian forces unsuccessfully attacked near Synkivka in the Kupyansk direction and near Torske, Yampolivka (17km west of Kreminna), and Dibrova (7km southwest of Kreminna) in the Lyman direction. Russian sources claimed on December 3 and 4 that Ukrainian forces unsuccessfully attacked in the Serebryanske forest area.
Russian Subordinate Main Effort #2 – Donetsk Oblast (Russian objective: Capture the entirety of Donetsk Oblast, the claimed territory of Russia’s proxies in Donbas)
Russian forces continued offensive operations in the Bakhmut direction on December 4 and reportedly advanced on Bakhmut's northwestern flank. Several Russian milbloggers claimed that Russian forces captured a plant nursery north of Bakhmut, likely referring to the tree nursery area near Bohdanivka (about 6km northwest of Bakhmut). ... Russian sources amplified footage of various Donetsk People's Republic (DNR), Luhansk People's Republic (LNR), and airborne (VDV) elements fighting on the outskirts of Bakhmut. The Ukrainian General Staff reported unsuccessful Russian attacks near Bohdanivka, Ivanivske, Klishchiivka, and Andriivka. The Ukrainian General Staff also reiterated that Ukrainian forces continued assault actions on the southern flank of Bakhmut.
Russian forces continued offensive operations in the Avdiivka direction on December 4 and made confirmed advances. Geolocated footage published on December 4 shows that Russian forces advanced near the reservoir area directly north of Avdiivka. Additional geolocated footage published on December 4 shows that Russian forces have advanced within Stepove (5km northwest of Avdiivka).... Russian sources amplified footage reportedly showing elements of the "Kozma Minin" Nizhny Novgorod-based volunteer tank battalion operating in the Avdiivka industrial zone. The Ukrainian General Staff reported unsuccessful Russian offensive operations east of Novokalynove (10km northwest of Avdiivka) and Novobakhmutivka (10km northeast of Avdiivka) and near Avdiivka itself, Stepove, Sieverne (5km west of Avdiivka), and Pervomaiske (10km southwest of Avdiivka). Ukrainian forces recently counterattacked near Avdiivka and have regained lost positions as of December 1. Geolocated footage posted on December 4 shows Ukrainian forces assaulting Russian positions in a tree line south of Stepove on or around December 1.
Share of top 15 global arm imports between 2018 - 2022:
*according to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
- India - 11%.
- Saudi Arabia - 10%.
- Qatar - 6%
- Australia - 5%
- China - 5%
- Egypt - 5%
- South Korea - 4%
- Pakistan - 4%
- Japan - 4%
- USA - 3%
- UAE - 3%
- Kuwait - 2%
- UK - 2%
- Ukraine - 2%
- Norway - 2%
Rest of World: 34%