Putin: There will be peace only when Russia achieves its goals
Russian dictator Vladimir Putin stated during a news conference on Dec. 14 that the war against Ukraine will only end when Moscow achieves its goals of "denazification" and "demilitarization" of Ukraine. Putin's assertions echo Kremlin propaganda falsely accusing Ukraine of being led by Nazis. When asked about the possibility of a new wave of mobilization, Putin claimed it is unnecessary at the moment but asserted that Russia has enough manpower to increase its military size to 500,000 by the year's end. Despite suffering heavy losses, Putin expressed optimism about the war's future course, highlighting delays in Western aid for Ukraine. However, he failed to acknowledge the significant challenges posed by bipartisan opposition in the U.S. Congress and Hungary's obstruction of a $54 billion EU funding package. The comments underscore the Kremlin's uncompromising stance and raise concerns about the protracted nature of the conflict.
Russia allocating $11 billion per year to 'integrate' occupied territories
During a press conference on Dec. 14, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin announced that Moscow will allocate 1 trillion rubles ($11 billion) annually from 2024 for the "development" and "integration" of the occupied territories in Ukraine into Russia. This move follows Putin's September 2023 announcement of the annexation of parts of Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, Luhansk, and Kherson oblasts. Putin emphasized reconstruction efforts in occupied areas, highlighting projects in the city of Mariupol in Donetsk Oblast. He also mentioned sister-city relations and claimed that the occupied territories "contributed" 170 billion rubles ($1.9 billion) to the Russian federal budget in 2023. These developments indicate Russia's consolidation of control over the seized territories and raise concerns about ongoing aggression and exploitation.
Explosions in Kyiv, Khmelnytskyi Oblast in Russian missile attack on Ukraine
On December 14, Russia launched several long-range missiles at Ukraine, resulting in explosions heard in Khmelnytskyi Oblast and Kyiv. The Ukrainian Air Force issued warnings, and air raid alerts were triggered. Russian MiG-31 fighter jets, capable of carrying the Kinzhal air-launched ballistic missile, were reportedly involved. Multiple air raid alerts and missile launches raised concerns about escalating hostilities. The Kinzhal missile poses a significant challenge to Ukraine's air defense capabilities, as it requires advanced systems like the U.S.-built Patriot, of which Ukraine has limited deployment. The situation underscores the ongoing threat and complexity of the conflict.
74% of Ukrainians against territorial concessions
According to a poll conducted by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) on December 14, three-quarters of Ukrainians are against any territorial concessions in exchange for peace with Russia. The survey found that 77% of respondents would not support territorial concessions under any circumstances, while 19% were ready for such concessions. The poll also revealed regional differences, with respondents in the south and east of Ukraine, closer to the front line, showing slightly lower rates of opposition to territorial concessions (67%). Additionally, the survey highlighted that 93% of those completely against concessions believe sufficient help from the West would lead to Ukraine's success.