The Ukrainian Helsinki Union on Human Rights reported that Russian authorities are currently struggling to encourage Russians to resettle in occupied Crimea due to the high intensity of hostilities near Crimea, however.
Russian forces conducted a series of missile and drone strikes against Ukraine on the night of December 7 to 8. The Ukrainian Air Force reported on December 8 that Russian forces launched seven Shahed-131/136 drones and six S-300 missiles on the night of December 7 to 8 and 19 Kh-101/Kh-555 cruise missiles against Kyiv Oblast and infrastructure facilities in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast on the morning of December 8. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces also launched an Iskander-M ballistic missile against an unspecified target. Ukrainian forces downed five Shahed drones and 14 Kh-101/Kh-555 cruise missiles. Ukrainian Kharkiv Oblast Head Oleh Synehubov reported that Russian S-300 missiles struck civilian infrastructure in Kharkiv City, Kharkiv Oblast, Kyiv City Military Administration Head Serhii Popko stated that the December 8 strike was the first Russian cruise missile strike launched from a Tu-95MC strategic bomber against Kyiv City since September 20, 2023 -- 79 days ago. Ukrainian Air Force Spokesperson Yuriy Ihnat stated that Russia has ”somewhat restored” its cruise missile stockpiles by not launching large-scale strikes during the fall months.
Ukraine’s partners continued to announce military and financial aid packages to Ukraine recently. Germany announced on December 7 that it delivered aid to Ukraine, including 1,750 155mm artillery shells, 10 reconnaissance drones, 70 grenade launchers, and 100,000 first aid kits. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida also pledged $4.5 billion to Ukraine, including $1 billion in humanitarian aid to support Ukraine’s recovery efforts and $3.5 billion to fund credit guarantees for World Bank loans to Ukraine.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his presidential bid for 2024 on December 8 in an obviously staged effort to seem that he was running at the request of Russian servicemen.
- Putin’s announcement of his presidential bid in a military setting indicates that his campaign may focus on Russia’s war in Ukraine more than ISW previously assessed, although the extent of this focus is unclear at this time.
- Russian forces conducted a series of missile and drone strikes against Ukraine on the night of December 7 to 8.
- Imprisoned ardent nationalist and former Russian officer Igor Girkin forecasted on December 7 that there will be “no agreement” between Russia and Ukraine to end the war and ”no freeze” of the frontlines in Ukraine, marking a notable shift from Girkin’s prior claims that the Russian military intended to “freeze the frontline” until after the Russian presidential elections.
- The Russian military has reportedly banned the use of civilian cars for military purposes likely as part of ongoing formalization efforts, sparking criticisms from Russian milbloggers.
- The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) is expanding its ability to guard Russian officials and entities abroad likely to better surveil Russian and international actors outside of Russian territory.
- Russian occupation officials continue efforts to artificially alter the demographic composition of occupied Ukraine.
- The Ukrainian Helsinki Union on Human Rights – a union composed of 26 human rights-focused nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) – reported on December 6 that Russian authorities have resettled up to 800,000 Russian citizens in occupied Crimea and forced around 100,000 Ukrainian citizens to leave Crimea since 2014. The Union reported that Russian authorities relied on policies such as preferential mortgage lending, relocation of Russian officials and their families, expulsion of Ukrainian citizens to mainland Ukraine, and ”encouragement” of Ukrainian citizens to move to Russia to free up residences in Crimea and encourage Russian citizens to resettle. The Union reported that Russian occupation authorities in other areas are implementing similar repopulation efforts. The Union reported that Russian authorities are currently struggling to encourage Russians to resettle in occupied Crimea due to the high intensity of hostilities near Crimea, however.
- Ukraine’s partners continued to announce military and financial aid packages to Ukraine recently.
- 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 made confirmed advances near Avdiivka and in western Zaporizhia Oblast.
- Udmurt Republic Head Alexander Brechalov announced on December 7 that the region formed and will soon deploy four new units to fight in Ukraine.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated on December 8 that Russia is trying to destroy Ukrainian children’s connection to Ukraine and that swift intervention is necessary to maintain this connection during a speech at the first meeting of the International Coalition for the Return of Ukrainian Children.
Russian occupation officials continue efforts to artificially alter the demographic composition of occupied Ukraine.
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 continued offensive operations along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line on December 8 and reportedly made unconfirmed advances. … The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces repelled Russian attacks in the Kupyansk direction near Synkivka and Ivanivka (20km southwest of Kupyansk) and in the Lyman direction near Spirne (25km south of Kreminna) and Terny (17km west of Kreminna). Ukrainian Ground Forces Command Spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Volodymyr Fityo stated that Russian forces are also attacking near Vesele (31km south of Kreminna). Ukrainian military observer Kostyantyn Mashovets stated that Russian forces intensified offensive operations in the Lyman direction. Mashovets stated that elements of the Russian 283rd Motorized Rifle Regiment (144th Motorized Rifle Division, 20th Combined Arms Army, Western Military District) unsuccessfully attacked east of Terny; elements of the 228th Motorized Rifle Regiment (90th Guards Tank Division, Central Military District) unsuccessfully attacked between Dibrova (6km southwest of Kreminna) and Kuzmyne (3km southwest of Kreminna); and elements of the 7th Motorized Rifle Brigade (2nd Luhansk People’s Republic [LNR] Army Corps) unsuccessfully attacked Bilohorivka from the southeast.
Russian Subordinate Main Effort #2 – Donetsk Oblast (Russian objective: Capture the entirety of Donetsk Oblast, the claimed territory of Russia’s proxies in Donbas)
Ukrainian forces conducted offensive operations near Bakhmut but did not make any claimed or confirmed advances on December 8. The Ukrainian General Stuff reported on December 8 that Ukrainian forces continued assault operations south of Bakhmut. The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) claimed that Ukrainian forces unsuccessfully attacked in the Bakhmut direction near Klishchiivka (7km southwest of Bakhmut) on December 8.
Russian forces conducted offensive operations near Bakhmut but did not make any confirmed advances on December 8. ... The Ukrainian General Staff reported on December 8 that Russian forces unsuccessfully attacked near Bohdanivka, Ivanivske, Klishchiivka, and Andriivka (10km southwest of Bakhmut).
Russian forces conducted offensive operations near Avdiivka and made a confirmed advance on December 8. Geolocated footage published on December 8 indicates that Russian forces advanced to the sewage treatment plant south of Krasnohorivka (5km northwest of Avdiivka). Russian sources claimed on December 7 and 8 that Russian forces advanced towards Novokalynove (13km northeast of Avdiivka), to the outskirts of the Avdiivka Coke Plant northwest of Avdiivka, and in the industrial zone southeast of Avdiivka. … The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces unsuccessfully attacked east of Novobakhmutivka (9km northwest of Avdiivka); south of Tonenke (5km west of Avdiivka); and near Stepove, Avdiivka, and Pervomaiske (10km southwest of Avdiivka). Russian sources claimed on December 7 and 8 that Russian forces also attacked north of the Avdiivka Coke Plant and near Ocheretyne (15km northwest of Avdiivka), Novokalynove, Sieverne (6km west of Avdiivka, and the industrial zone. ...A Russian source claimed that difficult weather conditions have slowed the tempo of both Russian and Ukrainian operations near Avdiivka. Ukrainian Tavriisk Group of Forces Spokesperson Colonel Oleksandr Shtupun stated that there are more than 40,000 Russian troops fighting in the Avdiivka direction and that Russian forces are redeploying reserves from Storm-Z units and mobilized personnel who lack training and provisions to the area in order to make up for losses.
Know your Vatnik - Victor Orban
Exposing the shady dealings with a Moscow based bank-cum-spy centre, investigated in March this year by VSquare, Direkt36, ICJK and Investigace Context: This is about Euroclear and the #Moscow based The #InternationalInvestmentBank#Euroclear is an organization based in Belgium that processes and settles securities transactions on European stock exchanges, but also acts as a central repository for large financial institutions.
After Russia invaded Ukraine, Euroclear froze tens of billions of dollars worth of securities owned by Russian individuals. The International Investment Bank had a wide-ranging and well-functioning international network, the KGB frequently used it as a cover organisation.
Founded in 1970 to create a possible alternative to the World Bank or the European Investment Bank for the Socialist bloc, the Moscow-based IIB went dormant with the collapse of the Soviet Union. It was revived in 2012 to support the expansion of Russia’s financial interests. Nikolay Kosov, a financier and former diplomat from a family of high-ranking #KGB operatives, was tapped for the job as chairman.
However, the IIB remained a rather small institution with a paid-in capital of €424.87 million euros as of January 2022, a few weeks before Russia’s invasion. Hungary embraced the establishment of the KGB infiltrated bank - some points to consider: Other shareholders besides Russia and Hungary – which re-joined the bank in 2015 – included Cuba, Mongolia, Vietnam, as well as the countries that announced cutting ties with the IIB in February last year: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Romania, and Slovakia.
On 14 March 2019, a Hungarian law on moving the headquarters of the Moscow-based International Investment Bank (IIB) to Budapest came into force. In its current form, the law could create serious security problems for not only Hungary but every member of the European Union and NATO Hungary’s draft law provides the IIB with a wide range of immunities and exemptions.
Under the legislation, neither the bank nor its transactions or operations are subject to financial or regulatory oversight. Meanwhile, the law also permits the bank to provide investment, banking, leasing, and other financial services. This allows the #IIB to handle the assets and deposits of even Hungarian state companies, and provide loans to pro-government oligarchs, without official oversight.
Under the law, people operating from the IIB headquarters building will be covered by diplomatic immunity. Indeed, the law explicitly stipulates that the IIB “may establish any regulations necessary for the exercise of its functions therein” in the building. In other words, the Hungarian authorities will have no right to enter the building or perform any official duties there, unless the bank waives its immunity.
Similarly, the bank’s governors will have diplomatic immunity, while its chairperson and directors will be eligible for numerous benefits, including full tax exemption. Many such perks are available to high-ranking personnel at other multilateral investment banks, but IIB staff will receive several exceptional forms of protection.
The law stipulates that the Hungarian government is obliged to facilitate the entry, residence, and freedom of movement of all IIB leaders, employees, advisers, and experts, as well as their dependent relatives and all guests of the bank. The Hungarian authorities have no right to approve such activities, only an obligation to provide these people with appropriate documentation.
Russia announced in April 2023 that the bank will relocate its headquarters from Hungary back to Russia after Hungary announced it was withdrawing from the IIB, which happened after the bank was sanctioned. #Hungary formally withdrew its officials from the bank on 19 October 2023 after the bank had been relocated.
It’s not just Russia's defence industry working against us – it’s also the defence industries of Iran, China, North Korea, Belarus. There is an axis of evil fighting us. And the assistance from our Western partners will decrease. So now I see no other way out than for the president to take personal control of the development of military technology in this country.
There’s the Staff of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief, where he brings the military and political leadership together. And there should be an Engineering Staff like this, where engineers from the country's leading companies will report to him every few weeks on their results and on key areas.
Unwitting American actors and others appear to have been asked, likely via video message platforms such as Cameo, to send a message to someone called “Vladimir”, pleading with him to seek help for substance abuse. The videos were then modified to include emojis, links and sometimes the logos of media outlets and circulated through social media channels to advance longstanding false Russian claims that the Ukrainian leader struggles with substance abuse. The Microsoft Threat Analysis Center has observed seven such videos since late July 2023, featuring personalities such as Priscilla Presley, musician Shavo Odadjian and actors Elijah Wood, Dean Norris, Kate Flannery, and John McGinley.