As the war enters its 656th day, these are the main developments.
Here is the situation on Monday, December 11, 2023.
- One civilian was killed and another wounded after Russian forces dropped an explosive from a drone on the town of Beryslav in the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson. Prosecutors opened a war crimes investigation into the incident, which took place on Saturday morning. Both victims had been walking on the street at the time of the attack, authorities said.
Politics and diplomacy
- US President Joe Biden will meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday at the White House where the two will discuss the “urgent needs” facing Ukraine. The meeting comes as Biden tries to reach an agreement with the United States Congress that would provide military aid for Ukraine and Israel. Zelenskyy is also expected to meet senators and hold private talks with House of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson.
- Zelenskyy spoke briefly with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban while attending the inauguration of Argentinian President Javier Milei, according to a video published on the Argentinian Senate’s YouTube channel. Orban’s press chief Bertalan Havasi confirmed the encounter but did not say whether Orban would continue to oppose Ukraine’s entry into the European Union.
- Ukraine strongly condemned Russian plans to hold presidential elections next March in occupied areas of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhia and Kherson, which Moscow annexed in 2022, declaring the polls “null and void” and promising to prosecute any observers sent to monitor them.
- Dmytro Lubinets, Ukraine’s human rights ombudsman, voiced hope that a coalition of countries formed to facilitate the return of Ukrainian children taken illegally to Russia by Moscow will work out a faster mechanism to bring them home. Some 19,000 children are still believed to be in Russia or separated from their families in Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine.
- Matviy Bidnyi, Ukraine’s minister of youth and sport, said the country must consider whether participating in the 2024 Olympics is in the nation’s interests after the International Olympic Committee announced athletes from Belarus and Russia would be able to compete as “neutrals” without flags, emblems or anthems.
- Municipal workers in Kyiv dismantled a statue of Mykola Shchors, a Soviet field commander during the Russian Civil War, as part of an ongoing campaign to remove all Soviet-era monuments.
- Bulgaria’s parliament approved the provision of additional military aid, including portable anti-aircraft missile systems and surface-to-air missiles, to Ukraine. The state-run BTA news agency said 147 lawmakers in the 240-seat chamber voted in favour of the plan. Ukraine will have to repair the weapons before they can be deployed, or use them for spare parts.