Ukraine prepared to begin transporting trucks stuck at Polish border by train

Ukraine's state-owned railway, Ukrzaliznytsia, is gearing up to transport 23 trucks by train that have been stranded at the Polish border due to an ongoing protest and blockade by Polish truckers, as reported by Interfax-Ukraine on December 7. Valerii Tkachov, Deputy Director of Commercial Work at Ukrzaliznytsia, shared these details.

In early November, Polish truckers initiated protests and blockades at border crossings with Ukraine, alleging that a significant number of Ukrainian drivers entering Poland were transporting goods from Poland to other countries, undercutting local businesses unable to match the lower prices offered by Ukrainian counterparts.

Despite denials from Ukrainian officials and industry representatives, Ukrainian trucks have faced extended lines and wait times stretching for days at the border. Slovak truckers have also joined the protest, intermittently blocking border crossings between Slovakia and Ukraine.

In response to the blockade, Ukrzaliznytsia is considering transporting the stranded trucks by train, potentially providing a workaround as negotiations have so far failed to reach a lasting resolution. Tkachov mentioned that the initial trainload of 23 trucks would serve as a test run to assess the feasibility of expanding train transport.

"If this test train goes smoothly, we will launch it on a larger scale," Tkachov stated. Additionally, he highlighted ongoing collaboration between Ukrainian and Polish customs officials to address technical and potential fuel-related issues in the trucks' tanks.

Russian occupation authorities in Nova Kakhovka announce 'evacuation' of civilians

The Moscow-backed, illegitimate authorities in Kherson Oblast's Nova Kakhovka have declared a so-called voluntary evacuation of residents on December 13.

The occupation administration stated on Telegram that the evacuation is necessary because the settlements in the Nova Kakhovka district fall within the 15-kilometer combat zone on the east bank of the Dnipro River.

This announcement coincides with Ukraine's ongoing military operations on the river's occupied east bank, where Ukrainian forces have inflicted significant losses on Russian troops—approximately 3,500 soldiers, as reported by the Ukrainian Marines.

Since February, Ukraine's military has been conducting cross-river raids into the occupied part of Kherson Oblast, with intensified attacks noted in August. In July, the U.K. Defense Ministry revealed that Ukrainian forces were maintaining a beachhead near the Antonivsky Bridge, connecting Ukraine-controlled and Russian-held sections of Kherson Oblast.

Kherson and other regional settlements on the river's west bank were liberated by Ukraine's Armed Forces in the fall 2022 counteroffensive. Russian forces were pushed to the east bank, from where they continue to fire at the liberated territories.

The Russian-installed proxies in the occupied regions have been carrying out forced evacuation campaigns as part of their strategy to depopulate Ukrainian territory and coerce residents into accepting Russian passports. Simultaneously, occupying authorities have obstructed evacuation efforts from areas flooded after the destruction of the Kakhovka Dam in Kherson Oblast.

Russian attacks in Kherson Oblast wound 3, cause ammonia leak at factory

On December 7, Russian attacks in Kherson Oblast resulted in three people being wounded and caused a minor ammonia leak at a factory in Kherson, which local authorities reported as under control.

Following Ukraine's fall 2022 counteroffensive, Kherson and other regional settlements west of the Dnipro River were liberated by Ukraine's Armed Forces. Russian forces were pushed east of the river, where they continue to launch attacks on the liberated territories, leading to frequent civilian casualties.

Roman Mrochko, head of Kherson's city military administration, explained that the Russian attacks damaged the connection to a refrigeration unit at an industrial food factory, leading to an ammonia leak. Ammonia exposure can result in various injuries, including fatalities. Mrochko assured the public that despite rumors on social media, the leak was minor and under control, with no threat to Kherson residents.

In another incident in Kherson Oblast, Russian forces attacked the town of Tiahynka on the Dnipro River, approximately 44 kilometers northwest of Kherson. Governor Oleksandr Prokudin reported that a 67-year-old individual was seriously wounded, and three others—a 63-year-old woman and two men aged 53 and 37—sustained moderate injuries in the attack.

"There will be more weapons": Ukraine and US sign memorandum on joint production

Ukraine and the United States have officially signed a Memorandum at the Defence Industries Conference in Washington, outlining collaboration in the defense industry and the exchange of technical data. According to Andrii Yermak, Head of the President's Office, the memorandum focuses on localizing the defense industry in Ukraine.

Yermak explained that the agreement entails the construction of production facilities in Ukraine, aimed at providing the Armed Forces with essential weapons, including air defense systems, critical ammunition production, and repair and maintenance capabilities. The collaboration involves the US Department of Defense and industrial partners sharing technical data to facilitate the implementation of specific projects, particularly those dedicated to upgrading outdated air defense systems through the integration of Western munitions.

In the words of Yermak, "The document provides that Ukraine will receive the capabilities necessary for success on the battlefield in the short term and, in the long term, will contribute to economic recovery and the strengthening of defense capabilities."

Ukraine's Defense Minister Rustem Umierov expressed enthusiasm on Facebook, announcing, "There will be more weapons! Ukraine and the US have signed a memorandum on joint production and exchange of technical data," in response to the positive outcomes of the Defence Industry Conference DFNC1: US Edition.