Ukraine updates: US Senate says no aid before year's end

The leaders of the US Senate said that Washington will not approve new aid for Ukraine before the year's end. Meanwhile, Ukraine has proposed mobilising 500,000 extra troops into the army

Despite the setback, Ukraine's military proposed mobilising 450,000-500,000 more Ukrainians into the armed forces (photo: DW)
Despite the setback, Ukraine's military proposed mobilising 450,000-500,000 more Ukrainians into the armed forces (photo: DW)


Russia launches air assault on Kyiv for fifth time in December

Russia late on Tuesday, 19 December launched its fifth air attack this month targeting the Ukrainian capital, with Ukraine's air defense systems destroying all weapons on approach to the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv's military said early on Wednesday, 20 December.

"According to preliminary information, there were no casualties or destruction in the capital," Serhiy Popko, head of Kyiv's military administration, said on the Telegram messaging app.

The full scale of the attack was not immediately clear and news agencies could not independently verify the reports. There was no immediate comment from Russia.

Ukraine could mobilise up to 500,000 into army, says Zelenskyy

Ukraine's President  Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Tuesday the military had proposed mobilizing 450,000-500,000 more Ukrainians into the armed forces in what would mark a dramatic step up in its defense against Russia's invasion.

The Ukrainian leader said in his end-of-year news conference it was a "highly sensitive" issue that the military and government were discussing before sending it to parliament.

Both sides are secretive about their number of casualties, but US officials estimate that hundreds of thousands have been killed and wounded.

Ukraine's troop numbers are not known, but it has said in the past it has around a million people under arms. Russia has been expanding its army during the war and said on Tuesday it planned to boost its ranks to 1.5 million service members.

"I said I would need more arguments to support this move. Because first of all, it's a question of people, secondly, it's a question of fairness, it's a question of defence capability, and it's a question of finances," Zelenskyy said.

US Senate leaders deny aid before year's end

The Democratic and Republican leaders of the US Senate said on Tuesday that Washington will not be able to approve new aid for Ukraine before year's end.

"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."

Despite the pledge to continue in the hope of breaking the deadlock in the new year, the two sides appear to be struggling to find a compromise.

"Challenging issues remain, but we are committed to addressing needs at the southern border and to helping allies and partners confront serious threats in Israel, Ukraine and the Indo-Pacific. The Senate will not let these national security challenges go unanswered." 

The announcement from Capitol Hill marked another setback for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, whose government has warned of the "dire need" for weapons ahead of winter.

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Published: 20 Dec 2023, 2:39 PM