Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and US President Joe Biden in the White House, Washington D.C., December 12, 2023 (BBC)

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EA on Times Radio: Ukraine’s Zelenskiy in US as Putin “Disappears” Navalny

Tuesday’s Coverage: Zelenskiy in Washington as Republicans Join Russia in Threatening Kyiv

Map: Institute for the Study of War


The European Union, hoping to lift Hungary’s blockade of a €50 billion fund for Ukraine and of the opening of accession talks with Kyiv, has agreed to release up to €10.2 billion in EU support money to Hungary’s Orbán Government.

The money is about a third of the total amount suspended over a series of concerns about Budapest violating rights and the rule of law.

The European Commission said Hungary has fulfilled a set of judiciary reforms.

After a thorough assessment, and several exchanges with the Hungarian Government, the Commission considers that Hungary has taken the measures it committed to take in order for the Commission to consider that the horizontal enabling condition on the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights is fulfilled in what concerns judicial independence.

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, a long-time ally of Vladimir Putin, has maintained that he will veto the funding for Ukraine. The establishment of the fund, due to be resolved this week at an EU summit, requires unanimous support.

Hungarian civil society activists and some European legislators criticized the release of the support money to Budapest.

The civil society groups said the Government has not fully met the criteria for judicial independence A coalition of four political groups in the European Parliament, including the centre-right European People’s Party and the Socialists and Democrats bloc – expressed concern in a letter to Commission head Ursula von der Leyen.

Iratxe García Pérez, the head of the Socialists and Democrats group, posted:

Finnish MEP Petri Sarvamaa, the European People’s Party spokesperson for budget issues, derided the “catastrophical decision”.

How can the commission evaluate something that is yet to exist?

As the members to the national judicial council have not even been named, there is no way of knowing its impact on the rule of law situation in Hungary.

It really seems like Orbán’s blackmailing has succeeded.

The Commission maintained that it “will closely and continuously monitor” Hungary’s judicial measures: “If, at any point in time, the Commission considers that this horizontal enabling condition is no longer fulfilled, it may again decide to block funding.”

Ahead of the summit and the Commission announcement, European Council President Charles Michel met Orbán.

The Hungarian Prime Minister posted afterwards: “Our position is clear: we do not support Ukraine’s fast Union accession!”

Orbán has said that the EU should instead have a “strategic relationship” with Kyiv.


At the summit of Nordic leaders, alongside Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Denmark Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said she will present a $1.08 billion Ukraine support package to Parliament.

The aid will include ammunition, tanks, and drones.


Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is now in Norway, amid a Nordic summit of Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Finnish, and Icelandic leaders.

“Norway will continue to support Ukraine’s fight to defend itself. We are providing targeted, long-term support to assist Ukraine in its battle for freedom and democracy,” Norway Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said in a statement. “Ukraine’s efforts are important to safeguarding freedom and security here in Norway as well.

Støre announced further support of 3 billion crowns ($275 million) to Ukraine, part of authorized funding of 75 billion crowns over five years.


Alongside Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in the White House, US President Joe Biden announced the release of another $200 million in military assistance already approved by Congress.

Administration officials have said that only about 3% of the budget authorization remains, as Republican legislators block a further $61.4 billion in potential assistance.


Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says air defenses shot down all 10 ballistic missiles fired by Russia on Kyiv about 3 a.m.

However, Kyiv Mayor Vitalii Klitschko said at least 53 people had been injured. Twenty were hospitalized, including two children, and the others treated at the site.

An apartment building and a children’s hospital were damaged.

Russia also fired 10 Iranian-made attack drones from occupied Crimea. All were intercepted, said the Ukraine Air Force, most over the Odesa region in the south of the country. Two people were wounded.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy thanked rescue services “helping the victims of the fallen debris”. He noted “powerful new agreements”, including his agreement with US President Joe Biden on Tuesday to step up the number of air defense systems.

The terrorist state demonstrated how critical this decision is.

Each additional system and missile is vital for Ukraine, our cities, and our people. They are saving lives.

Russia has proven once again that it is a heinous country that fires missiles at night, trying to hit residential areas, kindergartens, and energy facilities during the winter.

Zelenskiy pledged, “There will be a response. Certainly.”

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and US counterpart Joe Biden have declared solidarity against Russia’s invasion after a White House meeting — but Republican legislators are maintaining their blockade of aid to Kyiv.

At a joint press conference on Tuesday, Biden praised Zelenskiy for “an enormous victory already” in defeating Vladimir Putin’s attempt to conquer Ukraine. The country was “standing strong” against the invasion and would prevail “unless we walk away”.

Zelenskiy explained that Ukraine is fighting for “our freedom and yours”: “When freedom is strong in one country, it is strong everywhere.” He said discussions were about how to “increase our strength for next year”, including airpower.

He also spoke of progress towards Ukraine’s membership of the European Union as part of sending “a strong signal of unity to the aggressor”.

“History Will Judge Republicans Harshly”

The meeting took place in the shadow of the blockade of further assistance to Ukraine by hard-right Republicans and Trumpists. The obstruction has been compounded this month by the blackmail, promoted by the GOP leadership as well as the extremists, demanding that a priority be put on draconian border measures.

The Biden Administration is seeking budget authorization of $61.4 billion for Ukraine as part of a $106 billion package which also includes assistance for Israel, Taiwan, and the Asia-Pacific region.

After a “good” 1-to-1, 30-minute talk with Zelenskiy, Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson insisted that an undefined “border catastrophe” must first be addressed.

From the very beginning, when I was handed the gavel, we needed clarity on what we’re doing in Ukraine and how we’ll have proper oversight of the spending of precious taxpayer dollars, and we needed a transformative change at the border. Thus far we’ve gotten neither.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, speaking on the floor of the chamber after Zelenskiy met senators for almost 90 minutes, maintained, “I’ve been a staunch supporter of Ukraine’s fight to take back its land, liberate its people and restore its support, restore its sovereignty since the beginning of Russia’s invasion, way back in 2014.”

But he also held aid hostage to adoption of border restrictions.

We know the threats we face are intertwined — that Russia and China and North Korea work together to undermine America and the West. We know that our border, just like Ukraine’s borders and Israel’s and Taiwan’s, must be inviolable.

At the joint press conference, Biden said, “It’s stunning that we’ve got to this point”:

Russia and loyalists in Moscow celebrated when Republicans voted to block Ukraine to aid last week. The host of a Kremlin-run show literally said, and I quote, “Well done, Republicans. That’s good for us.”

If you’re being celebrated by Russia propagandists, it might be time to rethink what you’re doing. History…will judge harshly.

Zelenskiy avoided the topic in his meetings with legislators, focusing on Ukraine’s security needs and its steps to deal with corruption. Asked at the press conference about the Republican obstruction, he said, “[I got this signal….They were positive but we know that we have two separate worlds and particular goals.”

He continued, “We will see, but until now we’ve always been trusting of our strategic partner, the United States.”

Talking to reporters after Zelenskiy’s “very powerful” statements in his meeting with senators, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said:

It is not a time for one side to demand maximalist fringe policies that they know are unrealistic and then say “our way or the highway”.

If Republican colleagues want in agreement on the border, they must meet us at the middle. They need to show us they are serious.

Schumer noted, “If he gets the help he needs, he will win. If we lose, Putin wins, and this is very, very dangerous for the United States.”