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Mass shooting in Prague, new EU financial aid package for Ukraine, cannabis legalization - Thursday brief

Mass shooting in Prague, new EU financial aid package for Ukraine, cannabis legalization - Thursday brief Photo: Collage by RBC-Ukraine

December 21, in the center of Prague, Czechia, a shooting occurred, resulting in numerous casualties. And Ukraine received the final tranche from the European Union's macrofinancial aid package of 18 billion euros.

More details about what happened on Thursday, December 21, read below.

Russia's war against Ukraine: Rundown

Shooting in the center of Prague, resulting in death of 15

In the center of Prague, a shooting occurred, resulting in 15 people dead. Among the victims, there are no Ukrainians. In the capital of Czechia, Prague, on December 21, a man carried out a shooting at a university in the city center. Initially, it was reported that there were 10 casualties, but later in the evening, local law enforcement clarified that the shooter killed at least 15 people and injured a minimum of 24 individuals. According to the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Oleh Nikolenko, in a comment to RBC-Ukraine, based on information from the Czech police, as of Thursday evening, there are no Ukrainians among the victims.

According to the chief of the Czech police, Martin Vondrášek, the attacker committed suicide when law enforcement officers fired at him. Czech media reported that the shooter could be a 24-year-old student from the local university's Faculty of Philosophy David Kozak.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy has already responded to the incident. The head of state wrote on his account that he was deeply shocked by the news of the tragic events in Prague and expressed condolences to the families of the deceased.

Ukraine receives final tranche from the EU's macrofinancial aid package of €18 bln

The European Commission transferred the last tranche of 1.5 billion euros to Ukraine, as announced by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. Kyiv received 18 billion euros through long-term concessional loans in 2023.

She emphasized the importance of reaching an agreement to continue providing Ukraine with the support it needs for recovery and reforms.

Ukrainian parliament legalizes medical cannabis

On December 21, the Verkhovna Rada, voted for the legalization of medical cannabis in the country, allowing the use of medicines based on hemp, their production, and scientific research. In total, 248 deputies voted "for."

Now, after approval, it will take six months for the law to take effect. The government is given six months to develop all subordinate acts and orders for this law to come into force.

NASA determines how many tons of crops Russia could have stolen in the occupied territories of Ukraine

According to NASA analysts, this year, on the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine by Russian invaders, approximately 6.4 million tons of wheat and almost 1.5 million tons of sunflower seeds were harvested.

NASA Harvest research also shows that in 2023, around 7% of Ukraine's agricultural lands were neglected, primarily along the front line.

U.S. discussing the use of Russian assets for Ukraine with partners - NYT

The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden has initiated urgent negotiations with allies regarding the use of Russian assets to aid Ukraine.

According to officials, discussions on this matter between finance ministers, representatives of central banks, diplomats, and lawyers have intensified in recent weeks. The Biden administration insists that the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, and Japan develop a strategy by February 24, the second anniversary of the invasion.