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

Thursday’s Coverage: Sweden Aid, Including Surveillance Planes, for Kyiv

Map: Institute for the Study of War


Ukraine and Sweden have confirmed a security cooperation agreement.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson signed the agreement in Stockholm.

The agreement is Ukraine’s 15th with a partner and the fourth in the past week with Zelenskiy also visiting Spain, Belgium, and Portugal to sign the pacts.

Zelenskiy said at a joint press conference:


The Ukrainian military says it struck the port of Kavkaz in Krasnodar in southwest Russia, hitting the ferry crossing and the oil terminal.

“This infrastructure was used by the enemy for logistics and supply of the army….We continue to destroy Russian military equipment and infrastructure. Ukraine will win!” posted the Defense Ministry.


A spokesperson has confirmed the shift in the German Government’s position, allowing Ukraine to use weapons to defend itself against Russian attacks in the border area of the Kharkiv region.

Defense Minister Boris Pistorius announced the latest €500 million of military aid to Ukraine, bringing Germany’s contribution during the Russian invasion to around €28 billion.

Speaking in Odesa at a meeting with Ukrainian counterpart Rustem Umerov, Pistorius said, “We will continue to support you in this defensive battle.”

The aid includes a “large number” of medium-range Iris-T SLM anti-aircraft missiles as well as a number of shorter range SLS missiles; drones for both reconnaissance and fighting on the Black Sea; urgently-needed spare parts for artillery systems already delivered by Germany; and replacement engines for Leopard battle tanks.


At lest 5 civilians were slain and 25 injured overnight in Russia’s latest strikes on the Kharkiv region in northeast Ukraine.

The victims were in an apartment block struck by ballistic missiles.


In an interview conducted hours before the US partially lifted a ban on use of its weapons inside Russia, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy criticized the hesitancy of partners to supply vital assistance.

The attitude to time is completely different. We feel this price more painfully than in the partner countries, because no one in their families has died. And thank God for that. But you don’t know what war is until it comes to your home, to your street. To a friend of yours, someone you studied with, or someone you knew, or someone you loved.

Sometimes, to understand the price that we are paying, you don’t need just a political will, but also a deeper understanding of the consequences. You have to understand that a day of contemplating, day of decision-making, day of dialogues…takes people’s lives….

You say time is money. For us, time is our life.

Zelenskiy expressed his frustration to The Guardian:

[I]…see the murderers, terrorists, who are killing us from the Russian side. I think sometimes they are just laughing at this situation. It’s like going hunting for them. Hunting for people. They understand that we can see them, but we cannot reach them.

But the President said he maintains hope:

I’m not in despair at all….I don’t feel like we are on a sinking ship which is going to the bottom. We are not shouting “save us”.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Lifting a long-standing ban, President Joe Biden has approved Ukraine’s use of US-supplied weapons in strikes inside Russia — but only for a limited and specific purpose.

A US official confirmed on Thursday that Biden lifted the restriction because Russia’s 3-week cross-border offensive into the Kharkiv region in northeast Ukraine.

The President recently directed his team to ensure that Ukraine is able to use US-supplied weapons for counter-fire purposes in the Kharkiv region so Ukraine can hit back against Russian forces that are attacking them or preparing to attack them.

However, the ban is being maintained on ATACMS missiles, finally delivered by the US to Kyiv in the past month, with a range of 300 km (186 miles).

“Our policy with respect to prohibiting the use of ATACMS or long-range strikes inside of Russia has not changed,” the official said.

Until last month, the Administration had barred the supply of the longer-range ATACMS, providing those with a limit of 180 km (119 miles) so Russian territory could not be struck.

The 300-km ATACMS were included in authorization of $60.8 billion of military aid, approved by Congress in April after a 6 1/2-month blockade by Trumpists and hard-right Republicans. But the Administration declared that the weapons could only be used on Russia-occupied areas such as Crimea.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, amid a visit to Kyiv last week, proposed the removal of the restriction because of the Russian ground and aerial assault on Kharkiv.

See also Ukraine War, Day 820: Biden Administration Debates Permission For Kyiv To Use US Weapons Inside Russia

That position was bolstered by the calls of allies. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday, “I believe the time has come to consider [these] restrictions, not least in light of the development in the war, the evolution into a war which now is actually taking place along the borders.”

In a joint appearance in Germany, French President Emmanuel Macron supported the counter-attacks against Russia’s daily aerial assaults. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, modifying his position, expressed agreement — provided Ukraine abided by conditions set by the suppliers of the missiles.