Ukraine downed 10 drones, 10 missiles launched by Russia overnight

Ukrainian forces successfully downed 10 Shahed "kamikaze" drones and 10 ballistic missiles launched by Russia overnight, as reported by the Air Force on December 13. The drones, launched from occupied Crimea, were intercepted over Odesa Oblast. The ballistic missiles, fired against Kyiv at approximately 3 a.m. local time, were all destroyed. However, the attack caused injuries to at least 45 people in Kyiv's Dniprovskyi district, and falling missile fragments led to fires in private residences and damage to a hospital. Emergency crews are actively working to address the damage, including repairs to the water supply network in the affected area.

53 injured in Russian attack on Kyiv

During the early hours of December 13, a Russian missile attack on Kyiv resulted in 53 people being injured, according to Mayor Vitali Klitschko's official Telegram channel. Among those injured, at least 20 individuals were taken to the hospital, including two children, while 33 civilians received treatment on-site. Ukraine's Air Force reported the successful interception of all 10 ballistic missiles targeting Kyiv, as well as 10 Shahed drones. The missile attack caused damage in various districts of Kyiv, including the Dniprovskyi district, where a high-rise building's facade was damaged, and fires broke out on balconies and cars. Rescue efforts were undertaken, and a hospital building was also reported to have sustained damage.

 Polish border crossing unblocked, transit resumes

The Dorohusk-Yahodyn crossing on the Polish-Ukrainian border has reportedly reopened after being blocked by a broken-down truck, according to Polish police. This crossing, along with three others, had been blocked by Polish truckers since early November in protest of the EU's liberalization of transit rules for Ukrainian truckers. While Ukraine's Infrastructure Minister announced that the blockade at Dorohusk-Yahodyn had been lifted on December 11, it was reportedly blocked again by a truck parked across the highway, claiming it had broken down. After clearing the blockage, trucks can resume transit through the border, although long queues are expected.

Without aid, we'll have to fight as in first days of Russia's invasion – Zelenskyy

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has emphasized the importance of international support for Ukraine in the face of the Russian occupation. He highlighted the difficult situation Ukraine faced in the early days of the full-scale war, stating that the country was initially alone and almost occupied. Zelenskyy acknowledged the challenges of fighting without external assistance but emphasized the determination to defend the country. He noted that while Ukraine managed to resist in the early days, the ongoing conflict requires a strong defense, including support in terms of aircraft and artillery. Zelenskyy stressed the significance of global unity and assistance to ensure Ukraine's ability to withstand the aggression.

Zelensky trip to DC ends in disappointment as further aid remains at risk

President Volodymyr Zelensky's recent diplomatic efforts during his visit to the U.S. on Dec. 11-12 faced substantial obstacles, particularly in the U.S. Senate, hindering the passage of a crucial $61 billion aid bill for Ukraine on Dec. 6. Senate Republicans, concerned about domestic issues such as border security and immigration policy, blocked the proposed financial assistance despite Zelensky's meetings with key Republican leaders.

The singular positive outcome from Zelensky's visit was the announcement by President Joe Biden of an additional $200 million in military aid. However, this falls significantly short of the originally proposed $61 billion aid package, signaling potential challenges in sustaining comprehensive support for Ukraine.

The waning commitment from the U.S. administration was evident in Biden's adjusted rhetoric during the joint press conference with Zelensky on Dec. 12. Biden refrained from making steadfast promises, stating, "will continue to supply Ukraine with critical weapons and equipment as long as we can." This nuanced language marked a departure from previous assurances that the U.S. would stand with Ukraine for "as long as it takes."

Zelensky's attempts to secure unequivocal support encountered a political landscape increasingly polarized along partisan lines. The reluctance to prioritize aid for Ukraine over domestic issues, particularly in the context of immigration reform and border security, showcased the intricate political dynamics at play. This partisan impasse is exacerbated by the approaching presidential primary, intensifying political pressures and potentially shaping the narrative around U.S. support for Ukraine.

In this landscape, the overarching commitment to Ukraine expressed by President Biden, which was initially positioned as a cornerstone of his first-term achievements, faces a precarious path forward. The divergent perspectives within the U.S. political spectrum, coupled with Republican resistance and competing domestic priorities, contribute to a complex and uncertain outlook for sustained U.S. support for Ukraine.