Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy with International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, Washington DC, December 11, 2023

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

Monday’s Coverage: Zelenskiy Meets Latin America’s Leaders in Argentina

Map: Institute for the Study of War


US intelligence assesses that Russia has suffered 315,000 casualties in its 21-1/2 month invasion of Ukraine — 87% of the 360,000 active-duty ground troops it had in February 2022.

The analysts conclude that despite the heavy losses of men and equipment, Vladimir Putin is determined to put in more personnel and weapons.

Russia has increasingly used mercenaries and released convicts for “human wave” assaults, particularly in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine. It is drawing upon Soviet-era stockpiles of older equipment.

The assessment concludes that Putin’s invasion has “sharply set back 15 years of Russian effort to modernize its ground force”.

Of 3,500 tanks available, Russia has lost 2,200. Of 13,600 infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers, 4,400 have been destroyed.

As of late November, Russia lost over a quarter of its pre-invasion stockpiles of ground forces equipment.

This has reduced the complexity and scale of Russian offensive operations, which have failed to make major gains in Ukraine since early 2022.


The US Treasury has imposed sanctions on more than 250 individuals and entities for enabling Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

More than 150 are involved with Russia’s military-industrial base, and more than 100 are cited for sanctions evasion and bolstering Russia’s future energy production and export capacity.

Those sanctioned are in Turkey, the UAE, China, and Russia.


Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has had a series of productive discussions with US members of Congress today — but hard-right Republicans are still maintaining their blockade of aid to Ukraine.

Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson, who had a 1-to-1, 30-minute meeting with Zelenskiy, said their session was “good”. However, he maintained the blackmail that draconian border measures against asylum seekers, refugees, and migrants must take priority.

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. Our Ukrainian friends’ cause is just, and if the West continues to stand with them, they can win.”

But he too indicated that aid was dependent upon the adoption of the 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.

He said that he is “going to work to get it done as long as it takes”.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, previously a firm backer of aid to Kyiv, followed McConnell’s lead: “I told President Zelensky my number one obligation is to secure my country as well as help yours, and I feel like my country’s border policies are an immediate threat to the safety of the American people.”

While saying that Zelenskiy kept the discussion at “a high level”, Sen. Markwayne Mullin demanded that aid to Ukraine be tied to the draconian border policies.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, whose measure supporting the Biden Administration’s request for budget authorization of $61.4 billion for Ukraine was blocked by the Republicans last week, said Zelenskiy was “very powerful” in the meeting.

Schumer said Zelensky “outlined in great detail” what Ukraine needs, including airpower to cut Russia’s land bridge to occupied Crimea.

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

Other senators said Zelenskiy addressed the issue of corruption, effectively setting out “substantial reforms” implemented by Kyiv. The President did not mention the Republican blockade over the US border issue.

Schumer said Democrats are willing to reach an accord with Republicans on border security, but the House-passed bill is not an option.

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.


Ukraine has lost 18% of its scientists during Russia’s invasion, according to a study by Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne.

More than one-third of Ukraine’s population, estimated at 44 million in 2021, has been displaced. There are 6.3 million recorded Ukrainian refugees.

Prof. Gaetan de Rassenfosse, the study’s lead academic, said, “Of the scientists who stay in Ukraine, if still alive, about 15% have left research, and others have little time to devote to research given the circumstances of war.”

The research found 23.5% of scientists still living in Ukraine have lost access to critical input for their research, and 20.8 percent cannot get to their institution. Research capacity and time is down 20%.

The results are based on responses from about 2,500 Ukrainian scientists in autumn 2022.


Kyivstar, Ukraine’s largest mobile network operator, was targeted in a cyber-attack on Tuesday morning that temporarily knocked out its cellular and internet signal.

Ukraine’s State security agency SBU said, “One of the versions that [we are] currently investigating is that the Russian special services may be behind this hacker attack.”

Kyivstar said it is working to repair the outage and cooperating with law enforcement agencies.

CEO Oleksandr Komarov added on national TV:

[The attack] significantly damaged the infrastructure and limited access. We could not counter it at the virtual level, so we shut down Kyivstar physically to limit the enemy’s access.

The co-founder of Monobank, a major Ukrainian payment system, said it is under a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, but everything is “under control”.


Poland’s new Prime Minister Donald Tusk, in his initial speech to Parliament, has said:

We also need to speak with one voice about Ukraine. This must also unite us. The attack on Ukraine is an attack on all of us.

We will demand full mobilization of the west to help Ukraine. I can no longer listen to politicians who talk about being tired of the situation in Ukraine.

They tell President Zelenskiy that they are tired of the situation. I will demand help for Ukraine from day one.

Tusk’s centrist coalition government, which won the largest number of seats in the October 15 election, replaces the right-wing administration of the Law and Justice Party.

See also Why Poland’s Elections Were So Important


The whereabouts of leading Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny, sentenced to more than 30 years, are still unknown.

Navalny did not show up at a court hearing by video link on Tuesday. A supporter posted that an employee at Navalny’s prison said he “left their [penal] colony”, but did not know where he was transferred.

Navalny’s colleagues said on Monday that he had been removed from the colony where he was sent in mid-2022. They had been preparing for an expected transfer to a “special regime” colony, which has the harshest conditions in Russia’s system.

US national security spokesman John Kirby called for Navalny’s immediate release: “He should never have been jailed in the first place”. The European Union’s foreign policy head, Josep Borrell, tweeted:

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov complained about “meddling” in Russia’s domestic affairs.


The latest Russian attacks on the Kherson region in southern Ukraine have killed one person and injured six.

A dormitory and administrative buildings were damaged as 597 shells were fired in 24 hours.

Nine of 15 drones were reportedly downed.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is in Washington on Tuesday, meeting US counterpart Joe Biden, as Republican legislators threaten further American aid of Kyiv’s resistance against the 21 1/2-month Russian invasion.

Zelenskiy will also sit down with members of Congress today, including a 1-to-1 meeting with Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson.

Since October, a faction of hard-right Republicans and Trumpists have held up the Biden Administration’s request for budget authorization of $61.4 billion for Ukraine, part of a $106 billion package which also includes assistance for Ukraine, Taiwan, and the Asia-Pacific region.

They have been bolstered by Senate Republicans who are refusing to support aid unless priority is given to draconian measures against asylum seekers, refugees, and migrants.

See also Ukraine War, Day 652: Senate Republicans Block Further US Aid to Kyiv

After talks with Latin American leaders in Argentina on Sunday, Zelenskiy started his Washington visit yesterday with a speech at the National Defense University.

Wearing his trademark army style green sweatshirt, emblazoned with “I’m Ukrainian”, he thanked the US Government and military leadership for the support already provided to Ukraine. Then he emphasized the danger of Vladimir Putin’s Russia to Europe and the democratic world.

“Putin must be defeated,” he emphasized. “You can count on Ukraine and we hope just as much to be able to count on you.”

He referred to the Republican blockade in Congress, “If there’s anyone inspired by unresolved issues on Capitol Hill, it’s just Putin and his sick clique. They see their dreams come true when they see delays.”

The President met with leaders of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank about economic and financial support, and with business representatives and analysts.

The IMF announced another $900 million tranche for support of Kyiv’s budget, under its Extended Fund Facility for Ukraine. Talks with the World Bank considered the use of frozen Russian assets and reinstatement of mortgage lending.

Zelenskiy also spoke with executives from the defense industry, including about the creation of a European hub for manufacture of missile and artillery systems, armor, equipment, and ammunition.