Ukraine News 22nd Dec: Wagner Purchases Weapons from North Korea and US

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine nears the 10-month mark in its progress, Ukrainian President Volodymyrzey called for more planes, tanks and money to defend the country in a speech before the joint houses of US Congress. It was Zelenskiy’s second foreign trip since Moscow invaded on February 24.

Wagner Purchases Weapons
Wagner Purchases Weapons. (Photo by Sergey BOBOK / AFP) (Photo by SERGEY BOBOK/AFP via Getty Images)

After his administration announced almost $2 billion of military aid to Ukraine, Joe Biden stated that he would continue to support the country “for as long it takes” and promised to deliver a Patriot missile battery to Ukraine to improve its air defences. Zelenskiy was on his way to Ukraine from the US when he met with Poland’s President.

John Kirby of the National Security Council stated that Russia’s Wagner Group had purchased weapons from North Korea to aiding its operations within Ukraine.

(Refer to RSAN from the Bloomberg Terminal.

Recent Developments

Wagner Purchases Weapons
Wagner Purchases Weapons (Photo by Gaelle Girbes/Getty Images)
  • Half-Day Dash Through Washington – Zelenskiy receives applause and aid
  •  Kremlin rejects BidenZelenskiy Talks with the US, Warns against Weapons
  •  Biden informs Zelenskiy of the US’s support for Ukraine “For as Long As It Takes.”
  •  Biden Says Ukraine’s Advanced Weapons Threatens US Alliances
  •  Putin Promises no Limit in Funds to Help Ensure Victory for the Army in Ukraine
  •  Russian Bonds are a trap for investors; Kazakh Buyers are a rescuer

At the Ground

According to Ukraine’s General staff, Ukrainian forces repelled 16 military attacks on settlements in the Donetsk/Luhansk regions. Russian troops launched six airstrikes and 15 missile attacks over the last day. These strikes included hitting civilian facilities in Zaporizhzhia and 64 artillery fires. Russia launched missiles and salvo weapons on Thursday afternoon to hit Donetsk’s towns of Chasiv Yar und Kramatorsk. Kyrylo Timoshenko, deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential Office, confirmed that at least one person died and, at the most, two were wounded.

(All times CET).

Putin Prepares Response to Price Cap (5.50 PM)

Wagner Purchases Weapons
U.S. medium range self-propelled anti-aircraft missiles MIM-23 Hawk ready to Launch

Russia’s president has told reporters that Monday or Tuesday, he will sign a decree regarding his nation’s responses to the US and EU’s oil price cap. He did not specify what preventative measures would be included in the rule but said it without further explanation.

Putin stated that Russia’s economic health would be fine with the cap as Russia currently sells its crude oil above the threshold level. However, he claimed that the measure would lead to the end of world energy.

Putin also suggested that Russia reconsider honouring Gazprom’s contract with its counterparts if the price cap violates them.

Wagner Group buys weapons from North Korea, US says (5:30 PM.)

Wagner Purchases Weapons
Russian S-200 Wega – very long range, medium-to-high altitude surface-to-air missile against blue sky

John Kirby of the National Security Council stated that Russia’s Wagner Group, which purchased weapons from North Korea, has been confirmed by the US.

Kirby stated Wagner, a private paramilitary unit linked to President Vladimir Putin’s regime, “has been forced to rely on the pariah states in order to allow its campaign therein Ukraine.” Kirby stated that the US would raise the issue at the UN Security Council.

Kirby said that the US would take additional actions against Wagner. He did not go into detail. The US Commerce Department has declared Wagner a Military End-User, restricting its access to US technology products.

Washington Thanked Zelenskiy for its ‘Determination and Help (5.36 PM.

Zelenskiy thanked President Joe Biden’s Congress for “determination in helping Ukraine win the war” as he returned to Kyiv following Wednesday’s trip to Washington.

“We are bringing into Ukraine, Donbas and Bakhmut the decisions that have been waiting for our defence forces,” Ukraine’s president stated.

G-7 Threatens Belarus Using New Sanctions (4.48 PM.)

Wagner Purchases Weapons
Wagner Purchases Weapons

Group of Seven foreign ministers threatened additional sanctions against Belarus for continuing to “enable Russia’s war on Ukraine.”

“The world’s most industrialized nations call on Belarusian authorities to stop supporting Russia’s war against aggression by allowing Kremlin force to use Belarusian land and by providing support for the Russian military,” German foreign minister Annalena Bayerbock stated in a statement released in her capacity as chairperson of a virtual G-7 foreign Ministers’ meeting.

Baerbock stated: “If the Belarusian authority more directly involves Belarus in Russia’s war, the G-7 imposes overwhelming additional costs to the regime.”

G-7 FinMins Pledge Continual Support for Ukraine (4.40 PM.)

The G-7 presidency was handed over to Japan by the Group of Seven finance ministers.

They also announced that $32.7 billion was provided in aid in 2022, and another $32 million is being prepared for 2023. The ministers appealed to the IMF (and Ukraine) to agree on a program as soon as possible in 2023.

Zelenskiy and the Polish President Are Meeting On The Way Back From America (4:0 PM)

Telegram revealed that Ukraine’s president met with Andrzej Daura, his Polish counterpart. Duda was on his return journey to Kyiv after Wednesday’s US meeting. Zelenskiy shared a video that showed him leaving a plane at Rzeszow with officials and sitting down later with Duda.

Zelenskiy added that, in addition to summarizing the “historical challenges” of the years, the pair also “discussed the future, bilateral relations as well as inter-international interactions in 2023.”

The latter later thanked Duda for “all that Poland does to protect Ukraine — the protection of Europe.”

Ukraine cuts 2022 GDP Forecast for Infrastructure Damage (2:30 PM).

Ukraine’s economic ministry expects a more severe decline in 2022 GDP as Russian attacks continue to devastate key infrastructure. Yulia Svyrydenko, Ukraine’s economy minister, spoke at a briefing.

The economy will shrink by 33.2% to 33% this year, contrasting with the ministry’s earlier forecast of a 32% decline. She stated that Ukraine may not be capable of regaining growth in 2023 if there are more Russian air raids.

Russia declares it has met 1,300 crucial targets (2.26 PM)

Wagner Purchases Weapons
Wagner Purchases Weapons. (Photo by Gaelle Girbes/Getty Images)

Interfax reports that Valery Gerasimov (Russian Armed Forces Chief) said that over 1,300 Ukrainian targets had been hit since the start of the war almost ten months ago.

He claimed that the Kremlin’s military has managed to stabilize Ukraine’s front line of 815 kilometres (506 miles) and will continue to focus on Donetsk.

IMF Says Ukraine May Require $57b in Foreign Fiscal Aid for 2023 (13:34).

The International Monetary Fund has stated in a joint statement with the Ukrainian government that Ukraine’s 2023 external fiscal demands will be at least $39.5 billion. It could even reach $57 trillion in the worst-case scenario.

The IMF expects Ukraine’s economy to contract by 40.4% in the fourth quarter and 33% in 2022.

Kremlin dismisses BidenZelenskiy talks in the US (12.20 PM).

The Kremlin disapproved of the US’s decision to send Volodymyr Zaleskiy as President of Ukraine to Washington. It warned Russia not to stop supplying weapons to Ukraine from its allies and the US.

Moscow observed Zelenskiy’s speech and meeting with President Joe Biden in Washington and did not see any sign of a “willingness” to listen, Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.

Russian Defense Minister speaks to soldiers at Front Line (12:30 PM).

Sergei Shoigu travelled to Ukraine to inspect troops.

It was Russia’s second visit to the front lines in less than a fortnight, after a long meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on December 16.

Shoigu was filmed looking at bunk beds on soldiers’ beds in a ministry video. Shoigu praised soldiers for heating their bunkers well and thanked them for their service.

Ukraine connects Ninth Nuclear Power Unit and Grid (12:09 PM.)

Ukraine connected its 9th nuclear unit to the grid, Energoatom (national nuclear regulator) stated on Telegram. It did not reveal the unit’s exact location. Just before a Russian drone assault, the unit was disconnected.

The agency reported that this increase in capacity would result in a rise in nominal energy output and that the country would soon have full energy output from all the units at the three nuclear power plants on its territory.

EU-Ukraine summit scheduled for February 3 at 11:20 AM.

According to Charles Michel, the European Council President, the gathering will occur in Brussels. A Ukrainian president has been invited.

Wagner Purchases Weapons
Wagner Purchases Weapons. (Photo by Dimitar DILKOFF / AFP) (Photo by DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP via Getty Images)

The EU’s 27 leaders will meet in the city next week to discuss the latest news regarding the war.

UK Says Belarusians’ Training Helps Plug a GAP (8 AM).

The UK defence ministry indicated that Belarusian military instructions could be used to train Russian reservists recently mobilized.

This is a significant role change for Russia. Russia had always considered Belarusian soldiers inferior to its. The ministry suggested that many Russian military instructors are either deployed in Ukraine themselves or have become casualties.”

Ukraine Aid Hung Up Over US Border Policy Dispute (6:18 AM)

Due to a dispute concerning US border security, US Congress plans to fast forward a package of $ 45 billion in aid for Ukraine.

As part of a $1.7 billion omnibus spending bill, the Senate was to vote on the assistance late in the evening. The plan was delayed because Democrats rejected Mike Lee’s Republican Senate proposal for Title 42, an amendment that would have extended the US southern border pandemic-era asylum restrictions.

Biden Reiterates Caution Concerning Advanced Weapons (12.34 AM.)

Biden claimed that Ukraine’s refusal to provide it with all of its advanced weaponry was justified by the fact that giving them longer-range missiles or other sophisticated gear would strain the US alliances in Europe.

Biden, Zelenskiy and Zelenskiy said they would give Ukraine material that was fundamentally more different from what is currently happening in Ukraine.

Read more: Investment: The flow of capital is expected to return to China as tech giants try to avoid U.S. delisting. Government offers policy support and claims the investment manager 2022.

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