Espreso. Global

Victorious news of 666th day of war: explosions in Donetsk and Crimea, over 350,000 killed Russian soldiers

21 December, 2023 Thursday

Finland approved another military aid package to Ukraine, a Russian equipment base was hit in Mariupol, and explosions were heard in Crimea

Switzerland allocates over USD 13 million to support Ukraine in winter

On December 20, the Swiss government announced that it would allocate additional winter aid to Ukraine in the amount of 11.8 million Swiss francs (USD 13.66 million).

This is stated in the press released published by the Swiss government portal. 

"Facing the severe challenges of an unforgiving winter, millions in Ukraine find themselves in dire need of assistance. In response, Switzerland's federal government is supporting the beleaguered Ukrainian population this winter too with targeted action and an additional CHF 11.8 million in aid," the statement says.

It is noted that the money will be sent to non-governmental organizations that provide vital winter assistance.

Ukrainian army kills over 350,000 Russian soldiers 

Ukrainian troops continue to steadfastly hold the line near Avdiivka, Donetsk region, and destroy the invading forces - 1,080 soldiers per day.

This was reported by the General Staff.

The total combat losses of Russia from February 24, 2022 to December 21, 2023 are estimated to be:

  • personnel - about 350,270 (+1080) people
  • tanks - 5,828(+14)
  • armored combat vehicles - 10,825 (+31)
  • artillery systems - 8,226 (+20)
  • MLRS - 932 (+4)
  • air defense systems - 611 (+0)
  • aircraft - 324 (+0)
  • helicopters - 324 (+0)
  • UAVs of operational and tactical level - 6,342 (+26)
  • cruise missiles - 1,613 (+1)
  • ships/boats - 22 (+0)
  • submarines - 1 (+0)
  • motor vehicles and tankers - 10,919 (+48)
  • special equipment - 1,208 (+5)

In Mariupol, a Russian equipment base was hit

In the evening of December 20, in the temporarily occupied Mariupol, Donetsk region, there was a hit to the place where Russians were storing ammunition and military equipment. There are wounded Russian troops

This was reported by the advisor to the mayor of Mariupol Petro Andriushchenko.

According to preliminary information, the attack took place on the territory of the former Cold Storage Facility. The Russian troops stored ammunition and military equipment there.

As a result, at least 10 soldiers were wounded and taken to hospital in serious condition.

Ukraine receives USD 950 million from Japan

Ukraine has received USD 950 million from Japan. The funds will be used to reimburse state budget expenditures in the field of recovery and social assistance.

This was reported by the press service of the Ministry of Finance.

The funding consists of the USD 52.4 million grant from Japan under the Housing Opportunities for People's Empowerment (HOPE) project and the USD 900 million loan from the Japanese government through the Investing in Social Protection for Improved Reach, Resilience and Efficiency (INSPIRE) project.

Defense Minister Umerov confident that Ukraine will liberate Crimea in 2024

He said this in an interview with German journalists, Bild reports.

"I am one hundred percent sure. This is our strategic goal," the minister said.

According to him, Russia is "on the dark side," and Putin's regime is condemned by the entire civilized world.

Umerov emphasized that he had no doubt about Ukraine's victory.

The university building, where the Russian military could have been based, catches fire in occupied Donetsk

“Novyny Donbasu” reports the incident.

"After shelling in central Donetsk, a fire erupted in the vicinity of the third building of Donetsk National Technical University, housing the military department and the founding site of the Sparta battalion," states the report.

The report suggests that Russian forces may still be present in the area.

Notably, this district has been repeatedly targeted since February 24, 2022.

Ukraine receives EUR 1.5 billion in macro-financial assistance from EU

This was reported by the Ukrainian Ministry of Finance.

The funds received under the Macro-Financial Assistance (MFA+) program are allocated to the priority needs of the state budget in the social and humanitarian spheres.

Ukraine receives this financing on preferential terms with a loan repayment period of 35 years. Interest and other related payments for servicing the loan will be compensated by the EU countries instead of Ukraine.

“In 2023, the European Union is the largest donor of direct budget support. EUR 18 billion covered more than 45% of the external financing needs for the current year. Predictability of financial assistance allowed us to cover urgent budget expenditures in a timely manner and in full. I am extremely grateful to my partners and colleagues from all EU institutions for our joint profound work,” said Minister of Finance of Ukraine Serhii Marchenko.

The minister added that Ukraine looks forward to continuing cooperation within the framework of the European Commission's initiative to launch the EUR 50 billion Ukraine Facility for 2024-2027.

Ukrainian parliament adopts bill on medical cannabis

MP Yaroslav Zheleznyak reports.

The draft law regulates the cannabis trade only in medical, industrial and scientific activities. The marijuana distribution for recreational use will continue to be subject to criminal liability. "Medicinal production will be strictly controlled at all stages. Only legal entities that obtain the appropriate license and GMP certificate will be able to grow under 24-hour video surveillance with access for the National Police. Each plant will be individually coded to track the movement of plants to the patient," Zheleznyak emphasized.

Medicinal cannabis-based drugs will be available only by electronic prescription. "The doctor will issue this prescription to the patient according to their condition, as is currently the case with morphine," the politician clarified.

The law will come into force six months after its publication, i.e. approximately in the second half of 2024.

Explosions heard in Kerch

On the afternoon of December 21, there were several explosions.

This was reported by a number of local Telegram channels, including Crimean Partisans.

According to public posts, at least 3-4 explosions were heard in the city.

"Explosions are heard in Kerch. Local residents report hearing the exits of the Russian air defense system, but also heard two loud explosions. Meanwhile, the Kerch bridge is blocked," the Telegram channel Crimea - the land of partisan glory reported

The Crimean Wind Telegram channel notes that a total of 4 explosions were heard. Local residents reported smoke in the area of Industrial Highway.

Finland approves EUR 100 million military aid package for Ukraine 

This was reported by the press service of the Republic's Ministry of Defense.

It is noted that this will be the 21st package of defense assistance. The amount is about 106 million euros.

"Finland is committed to supporting Ukraine in both the short and long term. The total value of the defense equipment packages we are supplying is currently €1.6 billion," said Defense Minister Antti Häkkänen. 

For operational reasons and to ensure the safe delivery of the aid, the Ministry of Defense refused to disclose the detailed content, delivery method or timing of the aid.

Photo taken in Ukraine wins UNICEF photo contest

This is stated in a message on the UNICEF website.

Polish photographer Patryk Jaracz, who has been documenting the events in Ukraine since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, captured the moment when children are playing against the background of smoke caused by the hit.

Photo: Patryk Jaracz

"Five-year-old Alina is practicing her cycling skills with her friends. A moment of serenity under the black clouds of doom in a meadow in the Rivne region of northwestern Ukraine. The night before, a drone set fire to an oil depot here," UNICEF said.

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