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Ukraine Daily: Dec. 28

December 28, 2021 8:42 amby TheKyivIndependent
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Elements of the Russian 41st Combined Arms Army, including hundreds of tanks, self-propelled artillery and other military equipment are deployed in a training area located near Yelnya, Russia, approximately 160 miles north of the Russian–Ukrainian border, on Nov. 9, 2021. (Maxar Technologies)

Editor’s Note: The following is the Dec. 28 edition of the Kyiv Independent’s newsletter, Ukraine Daily. If you would like to receive news about Ukraine in your mailbox six days a week subscribe here.

Russia’s war against Ukraine

Russia will meet with US to discuss Ukraine on Jan. 11. Delegations of both nations will discuss “security guarantees” amid the ongoing tensions on the Ukrainian-Russian border on Jan. 11, according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. The meeting will take place one day before the planned NATO-Russia council summit.

Kyiv says it will create territorial defense headquarters. Kyiv Major Vitaliy Klitschko said that the city authorities will establish the headquarters to ensure the capital’s security in the event of an all-out military invasion by Russia. However, the Ministry of Defense said that local administrations have no authority to create such formations, arguing that they must be set up by the military. Territorial defense units may help train the population for resistance, spread information, defend the population and critical infrastructure, among other things.

Russia moved 600,000 people to Crimea. According to National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov, over 600,000 Russians have moved to Crimea since the Kremlin illegally occupied the Ukrainian peninsula in 2014. The relocations are part of a broader Russian effort to influence the region, Danilov said.

Ukrainian political prisoner in occupied Donbas in critical condition. Ombudsman Ludmila Denisova said that Ukrainian Yevhen Stavtsev imprisoned by Russian-led militants in Donetsk Oblast is in critical condition after being subjected to torture. Stavtsev was kidnapped in 2017 and sentenced to 14 years in prison for espionage and terrorism in a sham trial in 2019, Denisova said.

Two soldiers injured after ceasefire violations. On Dec. 27, Russian-controlled militants opened fire on the Ukrainian military in the Donbas, violating the recently reaffirmed ceasefire agreement. Two Ukrainian soldiers were transferred to a hospital with injuries and are in critical condition.

Borrell says EU must support Ukraine against Russian pressure. High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell called on the EU “to continue to back Ukraine and Moldova in resisting the pressure from Russia” in his end of year review.

British troops ready to evacuate from Ukraine if Russia invades. British commanders have made plans to pull their troops out of Ukraine if Russia invades, U.K. tabloid Daily Express reported. More than 100 British troops are training Ukraine's Armed Forces as part of a military aid package.

Ukraine builds barbed wire fence on Russian border. The country has reportedly constructed a 100-kilometer-long barbed wire fence that starts along the eastern Kharkiv Oblast and runs to Luhansk Oblast, which is partially occupied by Russia. The barrier is incapable of stopping heavy equipment, but may help win time, according to Luhansk Border Detachment spokesperson.

UN delivers 28 tons of humanitarian aid into occupied Donbas. The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights delivered the aid into occupied Luhansk Oblast through the Schastia checkpoint crossing on Dec. 27, according to the State Border Guard Service. The aid included building materials, medical goods and computer equipment. Residents of Russian-occupied territories remain blocked from traveling through the crossing.

National

Zelensky’s party wants to create disciplinary committee. President Volodymyr Zelensky’s ruling Servant of the People party wants to create a disciplinary committee to keep national and local deputies in line, new party leader Olena Shulyak said. Starting in February, the committee would be able to strip lawmakers of their office in the event they are involved in a scandal or commit a significant violation. Since the Servant of the People faction was formed, many of its members have rebelled and refused to vote for the bills supported by the party and Zelensky personally.

Ukrainians buy 100,000 rail tickets using vaccination bounty. Ukrainians have bought over 100,000 rail tickets using the government’s Hr 1,000 payment they received for being fully vaccinated, according to monopoly state railway operator Ukrzaliznytsia. Passengers have spent a total of Hr 42 million on these tickets. The government has so far paid Hr 3 billion under the program. Ukrainians can spend the money on books, films, theaters, fitness and domestic travel tickets.

Business

Russia continues to avoid sending gas to Western Europe. The Yamal-Europe pipeline that usually delivers gas has been sending it back to Poland for six days in a row, at an hourly volume of 1.2 million kilowatt-hours, Reuters reported. Russia has been accused of trying to pressure Europe by artificially limiting gas supplies, causing prices to soar. Russia has denied the accusations and its President Vladimir Putin has accused Germany of reselling Russian gas to Poland and Ukraine, blaming it for the price increase on Dec. 23.

Culture

Label of Kyiv’s techno club named among the best in 2021. Standard Deviation made it onto the list of best record labels in 2021 compiled by Mixmag. This label of Kyiv’s famous unnamed techno club located on Kyrylivska Street was recognized along with 20 other music companies from all around the world as “the labels that kept us going, both at home and on the dancefloor.”

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