Ukraine Daily Summary - Monday, December 18

Russian air defense downs its own Su-25 jet -- Intelligence confirms incursion into Russia’s Belgorod Oblast -- 2,150 trucks still stuck on Poland's border -- Russia loads new intercontinental ballistic missile into silo in Kaluga Oblast -- and more

Monday, December 18

Russia’s war against Ukraine

Local residents stand among debris outside a house destroyed as a result of a drone attack in Tayirove, Odesa Oblast, on Dec. 17, 2023. (Anatolii Stepanov / AFP via Getty Images)

Military Intelligence confirms incursion into Russia’s Belgorod Oblast. Military skirmishes were reported near Russia’s Terebreno village on the border with Ukraine, Ukraine’s Main Directorate of Intelligence wrote on Dec. 17.

Security Service launches investigation after recording device found in Zaluzhnyi’s new office. The Security Service of Ukraine has issued a statement confirming the discovery of a recording device in a location potentially used by Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi. According to Ukrainska Pravda, the device was uncovered during a routine inspection of new premises intended for use by the commander-in-chief.

General Staff: 928 mines neutralized in 3 oblasts over past week. The State Special Transport Service’s demining units neutralized 650 mines in Kharkiv Oblast, 169 in Kherson Oblast, and 109 in Mykolaiv Oblast, the General Staff reported.

2,150 trucks still stuck on Poland’s border. Border Guard Service spokesman Andrii Demchenko told the media that blockades continue at three crossing points, with the biggest queues at Shehyni-Medyka.

Council member who detonated grenades in government building charged with terrorism, detained without bail. A local council member, alleged to be Serhii Batryn, was charged with terrorism and was ruled to be kept in pre-trial detention without bail. On Dec. 15, he allegedly detonated three grenades inside a crowded room in a local government building in the western Zakarpattia Oblast, killing one and injuring 22.

Your contribution helps keep the Kyiv Independent going. Become a member today.

Zelensky: European Commission to analyze Ukrainian legislation. In his evening address, President Volodymyr Zelensky said the European Commission will soon begin assessing Ukrainian legislation for compliance with EU laws. The screening will be the first step in Ukraine’s soon-to-start accession talks with the EU.

Air Force: Russian air defense downs its own Su-25 jet. “I can confidently say that it wasn’t Ukrainian air defense,” Air Force Commander Mykola Oleshchuk said on Dec. 17.

Putin: Russia has no reason or interest to fight with NATO directly. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Dec. 17 denied that he has designs to attack any NATO country, reacting to the speech of U.S. President Joe Biden earlier this month.

Putin: New NATO member Finland didn’t have problems before, but now it will. Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Finland is “now going to have problems” because it joined NATO, on the same morning that he claimed not to be interested in fighting any NATO members.

Russia loads new intercontinental ballistic missile into silo in Kaluga Oblast. The RS-24 Yars missile system carries multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRV), enabling it to deliver several nuclear warheads to different targets.

Read our exclusives

Ukraine war latest: Military says Russia committing more reserves in attempt to capture Kupiansk

Ground Forces Commander Oleksandr Syrskyi reported on Dec. 11 that Russian forces are trying to capture the village of Synkivka in Kharkiv Oblast, hoping to pave the way for the blockade of nearby Kupiansk.

Photo: Stringer/Anadolu via Getty Images

Learn more

Human cost of war

Prosecutor General: Russian forces shell Sumy Oblast, killing 1. A woman was killed in her home when Russian forces shelled the border of Sumy Oblast on Dec. 17, the Prosecutor General’s Office reported.

Russian forces attack Kherson Oblast, killing 1, injuring 6. An 81-year-old man was killed in the latest Russian attack on the city of Kherson, regional authorities reported on Dec. 17.

General Staff: Russia has lost 346,070 troops in Ukraine. This includes 1,250 casualties in the past 24 hours.

International response

Senator: Congress ‘not anywhere close’ to deal on Ukraine aid. “We’re not anywhere close to a deal. It’ll go into next year,” Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said on Dec. 17.

IMF chief: Ukraine’s economy depends on continued aid. Ukraine’s economy could likely withstand a funding delay of “a couple of months,” but a longer gap would put the nation’s path to economic recovery at serious risk, IMF Director Kristalina Georgieva said.

In other news

North Korea launches second missile, firing long-range weapon into sea. North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) into the Sea of Japan on Dec. 18, less than 24 hours after launching a short-range missile, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported.

Want to get the news faster? Follow our website:

Today’s Ukraine Daily was brought to you by Teah Pelechaty, Kate Tsurkan, Igor Kossov, Oleksiy Sorokin, and Abbey Fenbert.

If you’re enjoying this newsletter, consider joining our membership program. Start supporting independent journalism today.