Overview:

  • Domestic production of combat-ready UAVs set at 1M for next year
  • US Senate pushes Ukraine aid negotiations to January
  • Zelensky says his Army is looking for a half-million good men
  • Air Force shoots down missile over Dnipropetrovsk region
  • Small Russian advances reported near Avdiivka
  • Moscow’s troops also retake positions outside Donetsk city

AFU leadership proposes mobilization of 500K, lowering conscription age

President Volodymyr Zelensky said Tuesday that his military leadership had proposed mobilizing “450,000 to 500,000 people” but that he “needed more arguments to support this idea,” the AFP reported. Military officials told the AFP that the Ukrainian military is struggling to find new recruits.

Some Ukrainians who enlisted at the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion are still in combat, while volunteers to replace those killed or wounded are increasingly hard to find, the news agency said.

Zelensky said that any such mobilization was “very sensitive” and asked the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) to start the new recruitment after the holidays and do it in a “fair way.” Mobilizing women has been ruled out, he said, but it is possible that Ukraine could lower the conscription age for men from 27 to 25. 

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The President noted that roughly six Ukrainian taxpayers were needed to finance one soldier.

“How do we find three million more taxpayers from January on?” Zelensky asked.

US Senate pushes Ukraine vote to after the holiday break

Both aisles of the US Senate announced on Tuesday that any vote about aid to Ukraine will need to be pushed to next year, as Republicans and Democrats still need time to negotiate the former’s demands on radical US immigration policy change as part of any deal to further defend Ukraine against the Russian invasion.

Ukraine Says Still Fighting on Dnipro River Left Bank
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Ukraine Says Still Fighting on Dnipro River Left Bank

Ukraine's military spokesman Dmytro Lykhoviy said on state TV that Ukrainian forces are active on the left bank of the Dnipro, with main positions in Krynky heavily damaged by enemy fire.

“As negotiators work through remaining issues, it is our hope that their efforts will allow the Senate to take swift action... early in the new year,” Democrat Chuck Schumer and Republican Mitch McConnell said in a joint statement.

“In the time remaining this year, Senate and Administration negotiators will continue to work in good faith toward finalizing their agreement.”

Zelensky promises a million domestically made UAVs next year for defense effort

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President Zelensky also said on Tuesday that, next year, Ukraine would produce domestically about one million drones, weapons that have changed the face of modern warfare, military observers of the two-year Russian invasion have noted.

“We will produce one million drones next year,” Zelensky said. “Our soldiers will receive Ukraine-made drones in their brigades.”

AFU officials told AFP their forces need about 100,000 to 120,000 UAVs per month.

Air Force intercepts incoming missile over Dnipropetrovsk

State news agency Ukrinform relayed on Tuesday that Serhii Lysak, the military administrative head of the Dnipropetrovsk region, said on Telegram that the “Air Command East shot down an enemy missile over the Dnipro district.”

Local media reported earlier that an explosion was heard in the region during an air raid alert. On Monday, a similar Russian missile was destroyed over the Kryvyi Rih district.

Operations: Luhansk and Donetsk regions

Moscow’s forces made a marginal gain this week northeast of Kupyansk, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported. Geolocated footage published on Monday indicates that Russian forces marginally advanced north of Synkivka (northeast of Kupyansk).

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Additional geolocated footage posted on Monday shows that Russian forces made a marginal gain just north of Pervomaiske (about 10 km southwest of Avdiivka) and footage posted on Tuesday indicates that Russian forces have also marginally advanced in the quarry area southwest of the AFU stronghold.

Russian military bloggers claimed that the Kremlin’s forces achieved tactical successes southwest of Avdiivka and are trying to push Ukrainian forces out of positions in the city’s coke and chemical plant. The bloggers also posited that Russian forces are advancing on the northern flank of Avdiivka near Stepove.

Russian forces recently made marginal advances southwest of the regional capital of Donetsk. Geolocated footage posted on Tuesday seems to show that Russian forces have made a small gain along Tsentralna Street on the eastern outskirts of Novomykhailivka (10 km southwest of Donetsk City).

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