Christmas Eve Kherson strike, Engels explosion, $45 billion in Ukraine aid from US

27 December 2022, 03:25 PM

Your slice of the top headlines in Ukraine. Daily. Tuesday, December 27th, 2022.

●     Russian invasion forces struck the center of Kherson with artillery on Christmas Eve.

The strike killed 11 people and wounded 64 – 18 of whom are in critical condition, regional governor Yaroslav Yanushevych said. It took rescuers 40 minutes to extinguish fires that broke out due to the attack. Civil infrastructure was damaged as a result of the blast and the subsequent blaze, including residential buildings, administrative buildings, and motor vehicles.

Video of day

●     The Ukrainian government has urged residents of Kherson to evacuate due to the constant strikes.

●     The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation confirmed that an explosion occurred at the Engels military airbase near the city of Saratov.

While the true extent of the damage is unknown, Russian authorities have confirmed that the explosion resulted in a 120-meter wide fire, and that it killed at least three people. The Engels airfield is a major Russian military airbase located approximately 700km from the Ukrainian border. Russian forces often use bomber aircraft stationed at the airfield for mass strikes on Ukraine.

●     The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the 2023 omnibus federal spending bill, which includes $45 bill in aid for Ukraine.

A breakdown of spending includes $772.5 billion in civilian federal spending and $858 billion for defense funding, as well as $45 billion in military, economic, and humanitarian aid to Ukraine and NATO allies (up from $38 billion the Biden administration asked for), as well as about $40 billion in disaster relief. House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy has criticized the bill and previously argued that in the next Congress, the Republicans wouldn’t give Ukraine “a blank check.”

●     Volodymyr Sivkovych, an official who served in the government of disgraced president Viktor Yanukovych, has been indicted by a Ukrainian court.

Sivkovych is accused of issuing an illegal order for the forcible dispersal of Euromaidan protesters, Ukraine’s State Bureau of Investigations (DBR) further claims that Sivkovych, a former KGB officer, has been working to further Russian interests for decades. “Employees of the DBR established that the former USSR KGB officer went to work for the state authorities of Ukraine on the instructions of his supervisors,” the DBR said.

●     Russia is planning to raise tax rates for citizens who have fled abroad.

According to Russian parliamentary spokesperson Vyacheslav Volodin, this is because the Russian government considers citizens who have left Russia during its full-scale invasion of Ukraine to have “betrayed their country, family and friends.” He added that “…it is correct to cancel preferences for those who left the Russian Federation and introduce an increased tax rate for them.”

●     Biden invited Zelenskyy to DC not only for a personal meeting, but to strengthen his position against Republican attacks, political scientist Andrey Piontkovsky claims.

“He needed this speech in Congress by Zelenskyy before the recent Congress elections took effect — before there is a Republican majority,” Piontkovsky said. “The attacks of the Trumpist wing of the Republican Party on Biden’s policy regarding aid to Ukraine have intensified. In this regard, of course, Zelenskyy’s speech made a great impression. We saw him interrupted by standing ovations countless times, and that helped Biden strengthen his position against attacks from conservative Republicans,” the political scientist added.

●     The day’s long read: Why Orthodox and Catholic Christmases are celebrated on different dates

NV explains why the two Christian traditions mark their holy day on differing dates, and whether Ukraine will move to celebrate Christmas on Dec. 25 instead of Jan. 7.

●     Don’t miss: Famous Ukrainians reveal when their families celebrate Christmas

NV asked a number of famous Ukrainians for their opinion on their matter, and on what date their families will celebrate the holiday.

●     A bonus: Unexpected failure of Russian hackers and Ukraine’s ascendant IT expertise

Russia’s vaunted cyberwarfare capabilities have shown themselves to be less than effective – much like the rest of their supposed war machine. NV looks into the state of the digital plane during the current war, and how Ukraine has adapted both offensively and defensively against Russian cyberattacks.

 

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