Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy greets European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Kyiv, November 4, 2023

Friday’s Coverage: Russia Using North Korean Ballistic Missiles — US Officials

Map: Institute for the Study of War


Archpriest Alexei Uminsky has reportedly been removed from his position as rector at a Russian Orthodox church because of statements about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The independent Russian outlet TV Rain said Uminsky, who served at the Church of the Life-Giving Trinity, was dismissed after an interview with the former editor-in-chief of Ekho Moskvy, Alexei Venediktov, posted on YouTube in November.


The latest Russian attacks on the Kherson region in southern Ukraine have killed a 35-year-old man.

Governor Oleksandr Prokudin said the Russians struck an agricultural enterprise. A 60-year-old resident was injured.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: The European Union is preparing alternatives to €50 billion in economic, financial, and military aid to Ukraine, held up by Hungarian Prime Minister and Vladimir Putin’s long-time ally Viktor Orbán.

European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen confirmed the work on “operational solutions” if the long-term funding, in the EU’s budget through 2027, falls through.

The Council will hold a summit on February 1 to discuss the funding measure, vetoed by Orbán last month. The EU was able to overcome the Hungarian’s objections to authorize negotiations for Ukraine’s accession to the bloc.

See also Ukraine War, Day 660: EU To Begin Accession Talks with Kyiv But Hungary Blocks €50 Billion Fund

At a joint press conference with Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, Von der Leyen said unanimous agreement is still being sought “but of course we have to prepare for other options”.

She did not disclose details of the alternatives.

Ukraine received 1.5 billion euros in the final installment of the EU’s Macro-Financial Assistance package on December 21. Von der Leyen noted:

Important to know is we have just released before Christmas the last tranche of our 18-billion-euro support package for Ukraine for 2023, so this will help Ukraine finance their needs for the beginning of this year.

This gives us a little bit of leeway, but of course we have to work as hard and as fast as possible to deliver.

Belgium’s De Croo acknowledged, “The aim is to come to an agreement with 27 countries, and we’ve had, over the past three years, other moments where there were doubts”; however, he said he believed that member states would be able to reach consensus.

Von der Leyen emphasized the importance of the matter, referring to Russia’s record-setting missile and drone strikes in the past 10 days.

We all witnessed Russia’s recent brutal airstrikes on civilian targets in Ukraine, and after the historic decision to launch accession negotiations with Ukraine, we must urgently move forward on stabilizing our financial aid to the country.