Dispatches from Ukraine. Day 291.
As Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues and the war rages on, reliable sources of information are critical. Forbes gathers information and provides updates on the situation.
By Daria Dzysiuk.
Russian forces have shelled Nikopol district six times with MLRS ‘Grad’ and heavy artillery, said Valentyn Reznichenko, the Governor of Dnipropetrovsk region. Luckily, no casualties have been reported. Meanwhile, the Kherson region has been shelled 45 times throughout the night by Russian artillery, tanks and mortars, said Yaroslav Yanushevych, Kherson governor. The shelling killed two civilians and injured 5.
Over 1.5 million people in the Odesa region were left without electricity after Russia’s recent drone attacks on December 10, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukraine’s President, said in his daily video address to the nation. “Almost every day in different regions there are shelling, there are missile attacks, drone attacks. Due to losses in the system, everyone has to reduce the limits. Recovery is also very difficult. But still, our energy and utility crews are doing truly heroic things, restoring in weeks what would have required months of work,” Zelesnkyy added. By the end of the day energy workers managed to restore much of the damaged facilities leading to only 300,000 local people remaining without stable power supply.
On Saturday night residents of the temporarily occupied city of Melitopol, Zaporizhia region, heard 10 explosions near a local Christian church that was earlier turned into a leisure base by Russian forces, Ivan Fedorov, mayor of Melitopol, wrote. According to preliminary information, the explosions were part of a Ukrainian attack on the Russian leisure facility and 200 Russian troops were killed or injured. Those injured were transported to hospitals in Crimea as those in Melitopol are completely full, he added.
The Council of Europe has agreed on an €18 billion ($19 bln) aid package for Ukraine to support the country’s financial needs in 2023, the Council’s press center reported. The agreement was reached despite Hungary’s objection to it and is to be submitted to the European Parliament next week. The key objective of this package is “to provide short-term financial relief, financing Ukraine’s immediate needs, rehabilitation of critical infrastructure and initial support towards sustainable post-war reconstruction, with a view to supporting Ukraine on its path towards European integration.” Thus, the EU is preparing to lend €18 billion to Ukraine throughout 2023, with a 10-year grace period on the loan payback. “Ukraine can count on the EU,” said Zbyněk Stanjura, Minister of Finance of Czechia. “We will continue to support Ukraine, also financially, for as long as it takes. The legislation which we adopted today means that Ukraine can count on regular financial help from the EU throughout 2023.”
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The Ukrainian Center for Civil Liberties was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, alongside the Belarusian Viasna Human Rights Centre and the Russian Memorial human rights organization in Oslo, Norway. Oleksandra Matviichuk, Center for Civil Liberties Head, delivered a powerful speech in Ukrainian encouraging the world community to set up an international tribunal for Vladimir Putin and noting that Ukrainians want peace — but a fair one. “Peace is not established when a victim state lays its arms down. This is not a peace; this is an occupation. We found bodies of civilians on the streets and courtyards after the Bucha liberation. Those people had no arms at all,” she said. Meanwhile, the Office of the President of Ukraine criticized the Nobel Committee’s decision to nominate Russian and Belarusian representatives as they did not manage to properly organize strong anti-war movements in their countries.
Russia has suffered a spat of fires over the past week. The Altai factory that produces tires for military vehicles in Barnaul city caught on fire on December 9. Local firefighters fought for almost 5 hours to extinguish the fire that spread more than a thousand square meters in the factory. Later on during the same day a massive fire was reported in the ‘Mega Khimki’ shopping center on the outskirts of Moscow. The area of the fire spread 7,000 square meters. Moreover, on the night of December 10, a fire broke out in the two-story Lopukhins’ estate, which stands next to The Pushkin Museum in Moscow.