Republican US House Speaker Mike Johnson (C) with a Ukrainian delegation, including Defense Minister Rustem Umerov (R) and Presidential Chief of Staff Andriy Yermak (2nd from R), Washington D.C., December 6, 2023
Map: Institute for the Study of War
UPDATE 1155 GMT:
The Human Rights Commissioner of Ukraine’s Parliament, Dmytro Lubinets, says the officially confirmed number of Ukrainian children deported by Russia is more than 19,540.
Through Qatari mediation, six juveniles were returned to Ukraine this year, but Lubinets reminded the international human rights conference “Freedom or Fear” in Kyiv:
If we return one child every day, it will take us 55 years. And this is against the background of the Russian Federation continuing to deport more and more groups of Ukrainian children from our state every day. Unfortunately, we do not have many tools to return all Ukrainian deported children.
In March, the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for Vladimir Putin and Russia’s Commissioner for “Children’s Rights”, Maria Lvova-Belova, over the deportations.
UPDATE 1031 GMT:
A Russian court of appeals has quashed the two-year prison sentence of Alexei Moskalyov, imposed over his teenage daughter Maria’s anti-war drawings and his online posts criticizing Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
On Wednesday, the court in Saratov in southwest Russia sent the case for retrial.
Moskalyov was sentenced in April for “repeatedly discrediting Russia’s armed forces”. He was placed in punitive solitary confinement multiple times for “violations of the penitentiary’s internal regulations”.
Maria Moskalyova, 13, had drawn a picture in which a woman with a Ukrainian flag protects a child from missiles with her body. The school principal contacted the police, and a search was carried out in the Moskalovs’ apartment.
After Moskalov’s arrest, Maria was first sent to an orphanage, and then to her mother, who had not lived with her family for years.
UPDATE 0857 GMT:
Russia recorded $11.3 billion in revenue from crude oil and petroleum products in October, its highest return since May 2022.
The October income made up 31% of Government revenues for the month.
In December 2022, the G7 and the European introduced a $60 per barrel price cap on Russian crude oil transported by sea. The measure reduced Russian revenues in January 2023.
Since then, Russia has bypassed the cap by relying on a “shadow fleet” of aging oil tankers with obscure ownership and insurance from unknown or non-Western sources. Russian domestic ships and the “shadow fleet” transferred more than 70% of Moscow’s oil cargoes in the first nine months of 2023.
On Wednesday, in one of his rare trips outside Russia during his invasion of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin met UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in bilateral meetings in the UAE.
UPDATE 0815 GMT:
Japan has pledged $4.5 billion to Ukraine for post-war reconstruction.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced the commitment during Wednesday’s virtual G7 summit.
The G7 leaders agreed to ban the import of diamonds from Russia, the world’s largest producer, from January 1. Phased restrictions on Russian diamonds processed in third countries will begin March 1.
Our commitment remains to restrict exports of all items critical to Russia’s military and industrial base, including those used on the battlefield, and we call on third parties to take equivalent action.
Moscow earned about $4 billion from the diamond trade last year.
Canada announced a ban earlier in the day “in coordination with its G7 partners”. The European Union is expected to include a ban in its upcoming 12th package of sanctions on Moscow.
UPDATE 0759 GMT:
Ukraine air defenses downed 15 of 18 Iran-made attack drones launched by Russian forces overnight.
A truck driver was killed when a warehouse facility, a silo, and trucks were hit in the Odesa region in southern Ukraine. Five people were injured.
The Shahed drones were fired from Cape Chauda in occupied Crimea, targeting Odesa and the Khmelnytskyi region in the west.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: As expected, Senate Republicans have blocked further US aid to Ukraine against Russia’s 21 1/2-month invasion.
The Senate voted 51-49 against a bill supporting the Biden Administration’s request for $106 billion in budget authorization, including $61.4 billion for Ukraine; assistance for Israel, Taiwan, and allies in the Asia-Pacific region; and funds for border security.
Sixty votes were required for the cloture motion cutting off debate and advancing the measure. All Republicans voted No. All Democrats voted Yes; however, indepdendent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont objected because of the aid to Israel.
While the measure was largely symbolic — all appropriations bills must be initiated in the House — support for the proposal would have sent a notable signal to the lower Chamber, where hard-right Republicans and Trumpists have blocked any further aid to Ukraine since September.
Sad night for the Senate and America:
Republicans blocked funding for Ukraine, Israel, humanitarian aid for civilians in Gaza, funding for the Indo-Pacific
If Republicans don't get serious about a national security package, Putin's going to walk right through Ukraine and Europe
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) December 6, 2023
During the Russian invasion, Congress has allocated $111 billion to assist Ukraine, including $67 billion in military procurement funding, $27 billion for economic and civil assistance, and $10 billion for humanitarian aid.
However, Budget Director Young wrote Congressional leaders on Monday that all of the aid except about 3% of military funding has been spent.
I want to be clear: without congressional action, by the end of the year we will run out of resources to procure more weapons and equipment for Ukraine and to provide equipment from U.S. military stocks. There is no magical pot of funding available to meet this moment. We are out of money and nearly out of time.
Hours before the vote, US President Joe Biden said, “Make no mistake: Today’s vote’s going to be long remembered, and history is going to judge harshly those who turned their backs on freedom’s cause.” He noted that Republicans are “willing to literally kneecap Ukraine on the battlefield and damage our national security in the process”.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Ukraine’s “ability to advance and their ability to defend will be substantially constrained” by the Republican blockade.
He observed that Vladimir Putin of Russia has “been quite public and vocal about his notion that if military aid from the United States ceases, it will mean that Russia will defeat Ukraine”.
The defeat of the proposal was ensured on Tuesday when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who had ensured bipartisan support for aid to Kyiv, reversed his position. He said priority must be given to draconian border measures, punishing asylum seekers and migrants.
McConnell tried to shift blame to Democrats on Wednesday, maintaining the blackmail over Ukraine assistance, by falsely portraying the US of having “open borders”.
Apparently some of our colleagues would rather let Russia trample a sovereign nation in Europe than do what it takes to enforce America’s own sovereign borders. They’re convinced open borders are worth jeopardizing security around the world.
Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii responded, “You can’t say ‘I’m for Ukraine, but only if I get this wholly unrelated policy enacted.’ You can’t be for stopping Putin from taking over a country by force and then vote against providing Ukraine the resources to do just that.”
Pentagon Promises Support Through Winter
The Pentagon says it will continue to support Ukraine through the winter with the remaining $4.8 billion of authority for weapons from US stocks.
The State Department announced another $175 million package, including additional ammunition for HIMARS rocket systems, air defense munitions, artillery ammunition, and other military equipment.
The Administration also showed its support through a meeting between National Security Advisor Sullivan and Ukraine’s senior officials: Defense Minister Rustem Umerov, Presidential Chief of Staff Andriy Yermak, and Chairman of Parliament Ruslan Stefanchuk.
Along with the Verkhovna Rada 🇺🇦 Speaker @r_stefanchuk and the Minister of Defense 🇺🇦 @rustem_umerov met with the National Security Advisor to the President 🇺🇸 @JakeSullivan46.
The meeting was also attended by Ambassador 🇺🇦 to 🇺🇸 @OMarkarova and my advisor Daria Zarivna. pic.twitter.com/vPZQCAoqW9
— Andriy Yermak (@AndriyYermak) December 6, 2023
The Ukrainian officials met several Republican senators and leading House members, including Speaker Johnson, in separate sessions. Despite the GOP’s No vote over aid, Yermak “thanked the senators for the support of Ukraine by the Congress, which is highly appreciated in our country”.
However, Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, the chair of the Appropriations Committee, warned, “The clock is ticking. Aid for our allies in Ukraine has run dry and the whole world is now watching to see if the US is now capable of standing by all its allies in times of need.”
Kyiv’s latest request includes air defense systems, F-16 and F-18 Hornet fighter jets, drones, and Apache and Blackhawk helicopters.
Ukraine is also requesting further supply of Abrams heavy battle tanks, 155-millimeter artillery, and long-range ATACMS missiles.