Good morning from Kyiv, where the snow continues to fall as we head closer and closer to Christmas. There have been no air raid alarms in the capital since Sunday but, as President Zelensky himself notes (see below), there’s no room for complacency.
What’s happening today?
The big event today is actually happening in France, which is hosting an international conference designed to raise material and money to repair Ukraine's damaged infrastructure, as well as underlining Paris' ongoing support for Kyiv's fight against Russia.
It comes amid renewed requests from Ukraine for more weapons to support its fight against the Russian invasion and more aid to fix the country’s battered energy infrastructure.
It also comes after some rather controversial comments from French President Emmanuel Macron, who earlier this month said that Russia is to be offered “security guarantees” at the end of the war, drawing criticism from some Ukrainian and eastern European politicians.
You can read more about this story here.
Elsewhere, U.S. officials have shed more light on the perilous state of Russia’s armed forces, asserting that they are likely turning to older, less reliable artillery and rocket ammunition as newer stocks run low.
Speaking to journalists on Monday evening, they said the Kremlin is being forced to “increasingly use ammunition in what we would consider degraded conditions”.
“In other words, you load the ammunition and you cross your fingers and hope it's going to fire, or when it lands that it's going to explode.”
You can read more about that story here.
What was in Volodymyr Zelensky’s latest message?
President Zelensky braced the country for yet more Russian attacks on the country’s energy infrastructure, saying in his daily address on Monday evening that “the absence of massive missile strikes only means that the enemy is preparing for them and can strike at any time.”
He added: “Although it is obvious that even without light we know well where to shoot and what to liberate, Russia still hopes for blackouts. This is the last hope of terrorists.
“So as long as they have missiles - and Russia still has them - please take seriously all warnings from the Ukrainian military command, from our Air Force and air alarms.”
What’s the latest military situation?
The Dec. 13 British Ministry of Defense (MoD) update focused not on the military situation but Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annual end-of-year press conference – or lack of it as it’s been cancelled this year.
“This will be the first time in 10 years that Putin has not held the annual event, while the usual public phone-in also did not take place this year,” the MoD notes.
“Although questions are almost certainly usually vetted in advance, the cancellation is likely due to increasing concerns about the prevalence of anti-war feeling in Russia.
“Kremlin officials are almost certainly extremely sensitive about the possibility that any event attended by Putin could be hijacked by unsanctioned discussion about the ‘special military operation’.”
The Institute for the Study of War’s Dec. 12 daily assessment covers a multitude of topics, most notably:
The cost of the Russian war in Ukraine will likely continue to undermine Putin’s geopolitical campaigns worldwide;
· Russian forces are continuing to shape and consolidate their force composition in eastern Ukraine to bolster defenses against ongoing Ukrainian counteroffensives;
· The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) officially denied rumors that Russian Chief of the General Staff Army General Valery Gerasimov has been or soon will be replaced.
And that’s it for today’s Morning Memo.
Kyiv Post will bring you the latest news throughout the day and we’ll be back with another edition tomorrow.
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