Prisoner swap deal, Washington considers monitoring fate of military aid to Ukraine and Kremlin: Christmas truce not discussed | News
US newspaper Politico reported that the administration of President Joe Biden is facing difficulties in monitoring the fate of financial and military aid provided to Ukraine, amid increasing calls for tighter controls over money and arms, while the Kremlin announced today, Wednesday, that there is currently the truce in Ukraine on the occasion of Christmas and New Year is not discussed.
This coincides with the Ukrainian presidency’s announcement of the release of 64 Ukrainians and one American as part of a prisoner exchange between Kiev and Moscow, and with Ukrainian air defense forces shooting down suicide marchers in the latest Russian attack on the capital city of Kyiv.
US officials also said Washington was finalizing plans to supply Ukraine with Patriot air defense missiles.
Politico – citing a State Department cable – indicated that US officials are using all available technologies to track billions of dollars delivered to Ukraine.
He also reported that Washington plans to use the US company to implement a three-year initiative to help with censorship efforts.
According to unofficial statistics, the US has provided Ukraine with more than 48 billion euros in financial and military aid since the beginning of the war with Russia.
There is no truce
Today, Wednesday, the Kremlin rejected any announcement that there would be any truce currently being discussed in Ukraine over Christmas and New Year.
“Neither side has submitted any proposal, this issue is not on the agenda,” Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
On the other hand, the Ukrainian presidency announced today, Wednesday, the release of 64 Ukrainians and one American in the exchange of prisoners between Kiev and Moscow.
Andriy Yermak, the director of the office of the Ukrainian president, said on Telegram that “64 soldiers of the Ukrainian armed forces, who fought in the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, are returning to their homeland”, noting that one American, the Swede Murikizy, “has also been released”. in process.
According to Russian news agency TASS, Muriquizi was arrested last June in eastern Ukraine before being convicted in early August of “participating in pro-Ukrainian and anti-Russian demonstrations” and “inciting ethnic hatred” in Kherson (south of the country).
In a related context, the Kremlin said that the possibility of joining Chernihiv and Odesa regions to Russia depends on the choice and decisions of the citizens.
In press statements, Peskov said that the main task of the Russian side is to protect the residents of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.
And Ukrainian authorities confirmed the shooting down of a swarm of marchers targeting Kyiv this morning, Wednesday, in the latest attack launched by Moscow, which is seeking to systematically eliminate energy facilities.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky praised the effectiveness of Ukrainian air defense, noting that all 13 Iranian-made Shahed drones were shot down.
“The terrorists started in the morning with 13 witnesses,” he said in a video clip, referring to the marches’ mines, adding that “according to preliminary information, our air defense system shot down all 13.” “I’m proud,” he said, reminding residents to be alert when the sirens sound, as they did Wednesday morning, just before they marched.
On the other hand, US officials have said that Washington is finalizing plans to supply Ukraine with Patriot air defense missiles.
The officials added that Washington could announce that these missiles will be sent to Ukraine this week, provided that the Ukrainians are trained to use them at a US military base in Germany.
They explained that the Pentagon’s plan to send the missiles still needs the approval of the Secretary of Defense before it can be sent to President Biden for his signature.
The Russian side promised to respond to the delivery of Patriot missiles to Ukraine, as Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy head of Russia’s National Security Council, said that if NATO supplied what he described as fanatics in Kiev with Patriot systems with elements of the alliance’s forces, they would immediately become a legitimate target of Russian force.
On the ground, the head of the military and regional administration in the Luhansk region (east of the country), Sergej Gaidi, said that Ukrainian forces have regained control of 13 villages and towns in the region, expecting more progress at the beginning of the year.
In the south, Ukrainian authorities in Kherson announced the death of one civilian and the wounding of others in Russian bombing of the province.
The Ukrainian General Staff also announced that Russian soldiers were killed in Luhansk (in the east of the country) and dozens of others were wounded in the fighting for Zaporozhye.
Authorities said their forces destroyed the headquarters of the Russian headquarters in Melitobel and Russian positions.
On the other hand, the pro-Russian local authorities in Donetsk announced that 5 people were killed during the past hours in the Ukrainian bombing of areas in the province.
Since Wednesday morning, the Donetsk axes have witnessed an intense exchange of artillery shells between Russian and Ukrainian forces.
The leader of the Donetsk separatists described the bombardment of Donetsk in recent days as the most severe, adding that Ukrainian forces carry out regular strikes every day that are more than twice as large.