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Fighting for Maryinka and World Bank's assistance to Ukraine: Monday brief

Fighting for Maryinka and World Bank's assistance to Ukraine: Monday brief Photo: Collage by RBC-Ukraine

Yesterday, December 25, 2023, the Armed Forces of Ukraine denied the Russian fake about the capture of Maryinka (Donetsk region). And Ukraine received $1.34 billion from the World Bank.

RBC-Ukraine gathered the main news for December 26.

Russia's war against Ukraine

Armed Forces: Shoigu's claim on taking Maryinka fake. Town 'completely destroyed', battle goes on

Ukrainian military continues the battle for Maryinka in the Donetsk region, says Colonel Olexander Shtupun, the spokesperson for the Joint Press Center of the Tavria Defense Forces, during a telethon broadcast.

According to Shtupun, the Russians have not yet occupied the city.

"The battles for Maryinka are ongoing, and currently, our military is within the administrative boundaries of Maryinka, but the city is completely destroyed. It is incorrect to talk about the complete capture of Maryinka," he emphasized.

Minister of Defense of Russia, Sergey Shoigu, held a meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin and briefed him on the situation on the front.

In particular, he reported that Russian assault units allegedly completely captured Maryinka in the Donetsk region, which is located 5 kilometers from Donetsk.

Ukraine receives $1.34 bn from the World Bank: Funds designation

The Ukrainian state budget has received $1.34 billion as the sixth additional funding within the World Bank's Public Expenditures for Administrative Capacity Endurance (PEACE) in Ukraine project, according to the Ministry of Finance's press service.

"The funds will be used to partially compensate for non-security and defense-related expenditures of the Ukrainian State Budget, including old-age social payments and payments to employees of the State Emergency Service (SES)," the Ministry of Finance stated.

The financing consists of a $1.086 billion loan from the World Bank, which came through the Advancing Needed Credit Enhancement for Ukraine (ADVANCE Ukraine) Trust Fund under the guarantee of the government of Japan.

The sixth additional funding for the PEACE in Ukraine project also includes a grant component:

  • $190 million from Norway through the Ukraine Relief, Recovery, Reconstruction, and Reform Trust Fund (URTF);
  • $50 million from the United States government;
  • $20 million from the Swiss government.

With or without Hungary: EU to approve €50 bln for Ukraine, says MFA

European Union countries will approve the decision to allocate €50 billion to Ukraine, even in the face of a potential veto from Hungary, says the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, in an interview broadcast during a telethon.

He noted that the decision to allocate €50 billion to Ukraine has been postponed to the beginning of 2024 not because of Hungary's veto. Thus, the 26 EU states wanted to give Budapest time to reach an agreement on joining the allocation of funds because "the EU does not want a situation where decisions are constantly made without one country."

"The decision that Ukraine will receive this money will be made. The question remains: whether all 27 countries - all EU members, including Hungary - will do it together, and Hungary has been given a month for additional negotiations, or these funds will be allocated by 26 EU countries without Hungary," the minister clarified.

Zelenskyy warns Russian pilots: Ukrainian air defense grows stronger

Every Russian pilot must make a clear choice for themselves whether to continue participating in the war, as the Ukrainian air defense will only grow stronger, according to a statement by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

"Yesterday, on Christmas Eve, our warriors shot down nearly 30 Shaheds, several missiles, and two more Russian military aircraft. All in one evening! In total, five Su aircraft were shot down in the week before Christmas. And this is really impressive," the statement reads.

The President has noted that everyone contributing to such results in our Air Force, including our anti-aircraft gunners, mobile fire groups, air defense units, and Ground Forces, is simply outstanding. He thanked them for this achievement.

European main priority is to keep Russia away from borders, Czech MFA states

Europe needs to keep Russia as far away from its borders as possible. And to do that, it is necessary to continue supporting Ukraine, states the Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Jan Lipavský in an interview with CTK.

"We must remember that in Ukraine, we are containing Russia's imperial expansion, which threatens the Central European region and the Baltic countries," the minister notes.

According to him, assistance to Ukraine—be it military, humanitarian, financial, political, or moral—is in favor of European security.

"If Ukraine falls, we will face Russia closer—literally at the EU's borders, very close to Czechia, and we should not allow this," the Foreign Minister emphasizes.

Lipavský believes that it's necessary to explain to the populations of European countries why it's crucial to continue aiding Ukraine in its war against Russia.

The official also predicts that EU leaders will eventually agree on providing €50 billion to Ukraine at the extraordinary summit scheduled for February 1.

Poland blocks 3 border crossings with Ukraine: Over 3400 trucks stuck

As of Monday morning, three truck crossing points remain blocked at the Polish-Ukrainian border, according to the spokesperson of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine, Andriy Demchenko, during a national telethon broadcast.

"At the moment, there are three blocked directions. Yesterday, after 9 a.m., Shehyni was unblocked, fortunately, because this direction had been blocked since November 27. In the past day, we noticed that the number of vehicles crossing the border has significantly increased. However, three directions remain blocked - Yahodyn-Dorohusk, Krakivets-Korchova, Rava-Ruska-Grebenne,'" Demchenko explained.

He noted that some movement of freight vehicles still occurs through the Krakivets checkpoint, but Yahodyn-Dorohusk is almost entirely blocked. Despite a capacity of 1,500 vehicles per day, currently, less than 150 vehicles pass through there.

Russian propagandist from Russia Today poisoned

Former director of the Russian television channel Russia Today, Anton Kuznetsov-Krasovsky, has been poisoned. This is the same propagandist who called for drowning Ukrainian children, according to RBC-Ukraine's sources in the security services.

According to the source, the former head of the Russian-language department of the pro-Kremlin channel Russia Today, Anton Kuznetsov-Krasovsky, ended up in the hospital.

According to the source, the propagandist was "poisoned." However, the interlocutor did not specify who could be behind the poisoning of Krasovsky.