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Odesa separate mechanized brigade of the Land Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine participates in military drills in Mykolaiv Oblast in the summer of 2019. (mil.gov.ua)
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Editor’s Note: The following is the Dec. 27 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

Sanctions against Russia. President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen told French publication Le Journal du Dimanche that new sanctions against Russia “are ready” and will be put in place if Russia escalates its aggression towards Ukraine. These will be sanctions “with massive consequences.”

NATO-Russia council. Dpa international reported that NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg plans to hold the NATO-Russia council summit on Jan. 12, citing anonymous sources in the alliance. Moscow hasn’t yet committed to the date.

Pentagon intelligence on Russia. The Pentagon is planning to provide Ukraine with real-time battlefield intelligence to help the country respond to a possible Russian invasion, senior U.S. officials told the New York Times. The support “is sure to raise the ire of Russia,” the story says.

Russia’s attack via the Sea of Azov. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told the Washington Post that in case of war, the Azov will be heavily used by Russia “to put pressure on our southern cities on the Azov shore.” In a comment for the same story, Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, said Ukraine would counter invasion attempts through the sea with an arsenal of Neptune anti-ship missiles.

Russian truck convoys in Donbas. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Monitoring Mission to Ukraine has reported that it observed convoys of trucks with Russian Federation license plates in the areas of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts controlled by Russian-led militants on Dec. 23.

Soldier in critical condition after ceasefire violations. Russian-controlled militants opened fire on the Ukrainian military in the Donbas violating the recently reaffirmed ceasefire agreement on Dec. 26. One Ukrainian soldier was injured and transferred to a hospital and is in critical condition.

Ukraine’s resistance to invasion. Ex-Defense Minister Andriy Zahorodniuk told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that in case of Russia’s invasion, Ukraine will generate so much resistance that it will make it impossible for the Kremlin to succeed. “A huge number of people are ready to take up arms or in some other way help the army or the resistance movement and territorial defense to defend Ukraine,” he said.

US senators support Ukraine. Two U.S. senators called on the West to stand by Ukraine in a Washington Post op-ed. The U.S. “must continue to build an international coalition of partners in Europe and elsewhere who see (Russia’s) threat with clear eyes,” they write.

Pope and Ukraine. Pope Francis mentioned Ukraine in his Christmas Urbi et Orbi address. In an apparent reference to Russia’s looming invasion, he said he was praying to God to “prevent fresh outbreaks of a long-festering conflict.”

Covid-19 in Ukraine

Covid revaccination. Ukraine’s Health Ministry is planning to revaccinate Ukrainians one year after their first Covid-19 vaccination, according to Ihor Kuzin, deputy health minister.

Revaccination concerns a full two-dose course, not booster doses. The government earlier said that it was planning to start offering them in January or February. However, in the latest interview Kuzin didn’t specify when or whether booster doses will be offered. Meanwhile, 2,022 Ukrainians have received the third dose of vaccine, which isn’t exactly the same as a booster dose.

Vaccine production. In February, Ukraine will start production of CoronaVac, a Chinese Covid-19 vaccine. It will be the first Covid-19 vaccine produced in Ukraine. Meanwhile, two teams of Ukrainian scientists have been working on a vaccine.

In other news

Nova Poshta’s new airline. Nova Poshta, the biggest private postal and courier company in Ukraine, has announced that its cargo airline will start operating in April 2022. Supernova Airlines will start with two planes and fly from Kyiv Boryspil Airport and Lviv Airport.

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