Zelenskyy overseeing Patriot question, Bout in Ukraine, Saakishvili’s poor health

20 December 2022, 03:30 PM

Your slice of the top headlines in Ukraine. Daily. Tuesday, December 20th, 2022.

•   Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said he is personally overseeing the transfer of U.S. Patriot missile defense systems to Ukraine.

In an interview with French television channels TF1 and LCI on Dec. 18, asked about the weapons Ukraine needs partner countries to provide, he again underscored the country’s great need for anti-aircraft and anti-missile defenses. The Ukrainian president said he was in constant touch with U.S. President Joe Biden about the Patriot missile defense systems.

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•   Israeli leaders fear that they would be jeopardizing their security relationship with Russia if they were to help Ukraine.

That’s the position of Israeli ambassador to Kyiv Michael Brodsky, speaking to the Washington Post in a recent interview. According to Brodsky, most Ukrainian Jews understand Israel is in a “tough position.” “No government in Israel is going to jeopardize this interest for anybody else, including the Ukrainians,” he said.

•   Russian forces have enough missiles for two or three massive attacks on Ukraine’s territory.

According to an assessment by Ukraine’s secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleksiy Danilov, if they do decide to launch these attacks, they will completely be out of missiles. The official added that Iranian suicide drones used by Russia against Ukraine are no longer useful since the Ukrainian military has already learned how to shoot them down.

•   It may take a while to restore power to affected households following the latest mass missile strike.

Ukrainian grid operator Ukrenergo confirmed that a number of drones made it past Ukrainian defenses and struck critical infrastructure facilities, particularly in Kyiv. However, it insisted that the overall situation was under control. “The power grid is maintaining a stable frequency of 50 Hz, we’re working synchronously with the European continental network,” Ukrenergo said.

•   The United Kingdom confirmed it had sent Brimstone 2 precision-guided missiles to Ukraine.

Brimstone 2 is a modernized version of the original Brimstone missile. The new missile has an improved millimeter wave (MMV) seeker technology, a more modular design and improvements to airframe and software. If launched from air, the missile has a range of about 60 km – from the ground, about 12 km.

•   Convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout has been spotted on Ukrainian soil, in territory currently occupied by the Luhansk puppet authority.

Bout, who was recently freed from U.S. custody in a prisoner exchange with Russia, joined Russia’s Liberal-Democratic Party following his return to Russia, and reportedly visited the occupied Ukrainian region to celebrate the opening of an LDPR party branch there. The LDPR is considered to be a far-right ‘loyal opposition’ organization subservient to the whims of dictator Vladimir Putin.

•   All of Ukraine’s power plants, save for the occupied Zaporizhzhya station, are functioning within planned parameters.

Ukrenergo stated that the plants had reached their planned output levels as of Dec. 18, though the grid overall remains heavily damaged and unable to cope with spiking demand caused by winter temperature shifts. Urgent emergency repair work on distribution networks and at power plants is in process across all Ukraine. However, the harsh winter weather conditions make the tasks more difficult.

•   Kyiv has installed a ‘tree of invincibility’ in a central square, instead of the traditional Christmas tree.

This year’s tree is artificial and will be decorated with garlands that can be powered from a generator, city mayor Vitaliy Klitschko revealed. Additionally, the lights will be on at specific intervals. The area around the tree, usually the site of an expansive Christmas market, will instead serve as an ad-hoc ‘invincibility point’, featuring charging stations and mobile internet.

•   Ukraine’s central bank has analyzed the impact of Ukrainian evacuees on the EU’s economy.

Some of the most pertinent points from the study include: Ukrainians spend $2 billion a month abroad, resulting in notable increases in GDP for some EU countries, such as Poland, manufacturing output boosts of over 2% in Estonia, Poland, and Czechia, and an increase in the EU labor force by 1.3 million people.

•   The day’s long read: Imprisoned Saakashvili, loved by some Georgians, hated by others, faces grim future

NV looks into what the future holds for the once-powerful Georgian ex-president, and how he’s seen by both the current Georgian authorities, and his own people.

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•   Don’t miss: What is happening on the border with Belarus near the Rivne Nuclear Power Plant

Head of broadcasting at Voice of America, Myroslava Gongadze traveled herself to the Belarusian border to observe the security situation there, and shares her thoughts on the possible threat to Ukraine’s nuclear power stations.

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