Source: Institute for the Study of War
UPDATE 1416 GMT:
The commissioner for human rights in the Ukraine Parliament, Dmytro Lubinets, says the number of Ukrainian children “forcibly deported” to Russia could be in the hundreds of thousands.
Lubinets said authorities have established the identity of more than 13,000 children who have deported. He added:
We do not know the exact number but, according to our data, we can assume that hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian children were forcibly deported.
The commissioner spoke of his visit to a site in southern Ukraine where children were detained and mistreated.
After the liberation of areas of Kherson region, I personally visited Kherson city, and we saw a torture chamber there, where, according to the testimony of people who had been held there, there was a separate cell for children.
That’s what it was called: “children’s room”. It was no different from other cells, it was in a very cold and damp basement.
UPDATE 1304 GMT:
In their latest attacks, Russian forces have shelled liberated areas of the Kherson region in southern Ukraine 61 times.
The shelling killed two people and injuring two others, said Governor Yaroslav Yanushevych: “The invaders attacked peaceful settlements of the region with artillery, MLRS [multiple launched rockets], mortars and tanks”.
About half the attacks were on Kherson city, striking residential blocks, educational institutions, and private houses.
UPDATE 1214 GMT:
An opposition councillor in St. Petersburg has asked prosecutors to investigate Vladimir Putin for using the word “war” to describe his invasion of Ukraine.
Nikita Yuferev said the reference breaks the Kremlin’s prohibition, threatening legal punishments, on any reference other than “special military operation” for the invasion.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Putin said that Russia does not seek “to spin this flywheel of a military conflict, but on the contrary, to end this war”.
Yurefew said he knew his legal challenge would not succeed, but “it’s important for me to do this to draw attention to the contradiction and the injustice of these laws that [Putin] adopts and signs but which he himself doesn’t observe”.
UPDATE 1143 GMT:
The Netherlands is supporting Ukraine with up to €2.5 billion ($2.65 billion) in military and financial aid in 2023.
The funds are earmarked for military assistance, recovery of critical infrastructure, and investigations into possible war crimes.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy tweeted about his conversation with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte:
Had a conversation with 🇳🇱 PM @MinPres. Thanked for the decision to allocate €2.5 billion to help 🇺🇦 in the fight against the aggressor. We appreciate 🇳🇱 support! We keep working together to increase defense capability, energy stability & restore critical infrastructure.
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) December 23, 2022
UPDATE 0800 GMT:
North Korea has denied that it is supplying weapons to Russia, bolstering Moscow’s failing invasion of Ukraine.
The Foreign Ministry said the “gossip and speculation” is “groundless” and complained that the US is providing military assistance to Kyiv.
Japan’s Tokyo Shimbun reported that North Korea had shipped munitions, including artillery shells, to Russia via train through their border in November. Additional shipments were expected in the coming weeks.
“The Japanese media’s false report that the DPRK offered munitions to Russia is the most absurd red herring, which is not worth any comment or interpretation,” said the North Korean Foreign Ministry.
US officials told reporters on Thursday that North Korea made an initial arms delivery to the Russian mercentary Wagner Group.
They said the amount of arms will not change the battlefield situation in Ukraine, but they are “concerned that North Korea is planning to deliver more military equipment to Wagner”.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: The US Senate has approved a $1.7 trillion Federal Government budget which includes $44.9 billion in financial aid for Ukraine.
The legislators voted 68-29 for the budget, which had been held up because of Republicans seeking amendments over immigration and the southern US border. The package now goes to the House for confirmation.
US and international media have been playing up the objections of some Republicans to the ongoing support of Ukraine. House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, seeking election as Speaker in January, has been proclaiming that there is no “blank check” for Kyiv.
The US financial aid is part of international support to ensure that Ukraine can cover the costs of providing public services — estimated at $5 billion per month — in addition to recovery and reconstruction from Russian attacks.
The Biden Administration has also authorized about $24 billion in military assistance during Vladimir Putin’s invasion. On Wednesday, amid Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s visit to Washington, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced $1.85 billion of aid.
For the first time, the assistance includes the advanced Patriot air defense system. The Zelenskiy Government says the system is essential amid Russia’s waves of missile and drone strikes since October 10, seeking to destroy energy infrastructure and hitting other civilian sites.
Another budget amendment, unananimously approved by senators, allows the confiscation of the frozen assets of Russian businessmen and their delivery to Ukraine.
Rep. Tom Malinowski, a sponsor of the amendement, tweeted, “We have accepted what common sense and justice demand: Putin’s aides must pay for the restoration of the country he is trying to destroy.”
Congress Passes War Crimes Act
Congress also gave final approval on Thursday to the Justice for Victims of War Crimes Act, expandning the US Government’s power to prosecute international war crimes suspects who are in the country.
The act was advanced by a bipartisan group of senator. It allows the suspects to be tried in a federal court regardless of the nationality of the victim or the perpetrator, or the location of the crime. It brings the US legal code in line with international law.
Currently, federal law allows prosecutions for war crimes only if the offense was committed in the US, or if the victim or perpetrator is an American national or service member. Non-Americans who commit war crimes against other non-Americans overseas, and then enter the US, have generally been sheltered from prosecution.
Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said, “By passing this vital legislation, we are sending a clear message to Vladimir Putin: Perpetrators committing unspeakable war crimes, such as those unfolding before our very eyes in Ukraine, must be held to account.”