Ukraine Daily Summary - Sunday, December 24

How Russia’s succession problem makes its future uncertain -- Western allies must rearm in response to Russian aggression -- Russia confirms use of prohibited chemical weapons in Kherson Oblast -- Russia may attempt to attack Europe next winter, European intelligence source says -- and more

Sunday, December 24

Russia’s war against Ukraine

Passengers walk along a platform decorated with a Christmas tree at a subway station in Kharkiv on Dec. 22, 2023. (Sergey Bobok/AFP via Getty Images)

Explosion destroys Lviv home, likely killing 3, injuring at least 4. An explosion at a Lviv home has likely killed three people and injured at least four, Lviv Mayor Andrii Sadovyi reported on Dec. 23.

Polish Foreign Minister: Western allies must rearm in response to Russian aggression. Poland’s new Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski has urged western allies to further develop plans for long-term military production amid Russia’s onslaught of aggression in Europe, the Polish Foreign Minister said in an interview with The Guardian on Dec. 23.

Media: Estonia ready to help mobilize Ukrainian citizens if needed. Estonian Interior Minister Lauri Laanemets said Estonia is prepared to aid in mobilizing Ukrainian citizens if requested by Ukraine, according to the Estonian paper Postimees.

Polish farmers to suspend blockade of border on Dec. 24, truckers won’t. Polish farmers will suspend protests at the Shehyni-Medyka border checkpoint starting Dec. 24, said Michal Kolodziejczak, Polish deputy minister of agriculture. However, Reuters reported that truckers will continue blockades at three crossings and will allow fewer trucks to pass than earlier.

Official: Over 4,000 trucks waiting in line at Polish border to enter Ukraine. As the blockade by Polish truckers continues, over 4,000 trucks are waiting in line to enter Ukraine from Poland, Border Guard Service spokesman Andrii Demchenko said on national television on Dec. 23.

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NYT: Putin open to ceasefire if Russia keeps occupied territories. Putin’s sought ceasefire would mean Russia would keep the territories it illegally occupies in Ukraine, where the population is subject to abductions and summary executions. Ukraine laid out its 10-point “peace formula” in November 2022. One of the key points as a precondition for starting peace talks is the full withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukrainian territory.

Umerov: Defense Ministry mulls sending military summons online. The Defense Ministry is considering sending military summons online for Ukrainians both at home and abroad, Defense Minister Rustem Umerov told Suspilne.

Explosions rock Kherson, causing multiple fires. Multiple fires burned in several residential neighborhoods in Kherson after “mass strike” by Russian forces in the early evening on Dec. 23, the head of the city’s military administration announced on Telegram.

Bild: Russia may attempt to attack Europe next winter, European intelligence source says. European intelligence suggests that Russia may launch an attack on Europe during the winter of 2024-2025 if the United States finds itself “without a leader” following the 2024 U.S. presidential election, the German tabloid Bild reported on Dec. 23, citing an anonymous European intelligence source.

ISW: Russia confirms use of prohibited chemical weapons in Kherson Oblast. The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) claims that Russian naval infantry units have confirmed they are using prohibited chemical weapons in the village of Krynky, located 30 kilometers northeast of Kherson, the ISW said in their latest assessment on Dec. 23.

Opinions and insights

Opinion: How Russia’s succession problem makes its future uncertain

In 2023, several domestic developments in Russia, such as the summer mercenary mutiny by Yegveny Prigozhin or the autumn antisemitic riots in Makhachkala, indicated growing regime fragility. These and an accumulation of foreign policy challenges have renewed discussion of what happens to Putin’s system of rule after the current president leaves his post, for whatever reason.

Illustration: Mladen Antonov/AFP via Getty Images

Learn more

Ukrainian Christmas: Traditions and hope in the midst of war

Ukrainian Christmas: Traditions and hope in the midst of war

Human cost of war

Russian drone attack kills 1 in Kherson Oblast. A Russian drone attack killed a 69-year-old in the village of Stanislav in Kherson Oblast on Dec. 23, Governor Oleksandr Prokudin reported.

Russian attack on Dnipropetrovsk Oblast injures man. Russian forces attacked Dnipropetrovsk Oblast’s Nikopol district with artillery and kamikaze drones on Dec. 23, Governor Serhii Lysak reported. A man was hospitalized.

Russian attack in Donetsk Oblast injures 5. Russian forces attacked Kurakhove in Donetsk Oblast on Dec. 23, injuring five people, the Prosecutor General’s Office reported. Five men, aged 35, 49, 50, and 56, who were working at the time of the attack, suffered injuries of varying degrees.

General Staff: Russia has lost 352,390 troops in Ukraine. Russia has lost 352,390 troops in Ukraine since the beginning of its full-scale invasion on Feb. 24, 2022, the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported on Dec. 23.

International response

Taiwan establishes $1 million fund to support Ukrainian refugees in Poland. Taiwan, together with the Alliance of Polish Metropolises, has established a $1 million fund to support Ukrainian refugees in Poland, the Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Dec. 23.

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