Fire fighting after rocket attack in Donetsk region (December 6)
Photo: SERGEI ILNITSKY / EPA
What has happened in the past few hours
Following the alleged Ukrainian drone strikes on military bases in Russia, the US government has said it did not "encourage" or "enable" Kyiv to attack Russia.
Foreign Minister Antony Blinken said on Tuesday: "We have neither encouraged nor enabled the Ukrainians to attack inside Russia." However, it is important to understand "what the Ukrainians experience every day as a result of the ongoing Russian aggression".
According to Russian sources, three people were killed and two planes damaged in the drone strikes on three bases in central Russia on Monday.
Kyiv has not yet commented on this.
A US State Department spokesman also did not explicitly attribute the attacks to Ukraine.
However, experts assume that Kyiv could have entered Russian airspace with simple Soviet-era drones – and not with the billions of dollars in military aid from its western allies.
"We are providing Ukraine with what it needs on its sovereign territory - on Ukrainian soil - to act against the Russian aggressors," said ministry spokesman Ned Price.
He declined to comment on a Wall Street Journal report that the US had modified the US Himar missile launcher systems supplied to Ukraine so that they could no longer be fired into Russia.
US President Joe Biden has publicly stated that he does not support longer-range missiles for Ukraine, fearing an escalation that could put his country in direct conflict with Russia.
Himars missile launchers can fire multiple precision-guided missiles simultaneously at targets up to 80 kilometers away.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy assured Washington in June before delivery that the Himars would not be used to attack targets in Russia.
That says Kyiv
During a visit near the front, Zelenskyy thanked the soldiers for defending their country under the most difficult conditions.
During his stay in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donetsk, he also gave awards to the soldiers who were deployed in the "most dangerous and responsible" places.
Zelenskyj explained this in a video that he published on Telegram after his return to Kyiv on Tuesday.
He was also in the Kharkiv region and met doctors there treating wounded fighters.
Earlier in the day, Zelenskyj showed up at the entrance to the city of Sloviansk in the Donetsk region in sub-zero temperatures.
Sloviansk is around 35 kilometers from the front.
Around nine and a half months after the Russian invasion, Selenskyj traveled to the particularly hard-fought east of his country to mark the day of the Ukrainian armed forces.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal has called for further support in the face of Russian rocket attacks on the energy supply.
"We need two things to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe and a new large wave of refugees," Schmyhal told the newspapers of the Funke media group.
“First of all, these are modern air defense and anti-missile systems that Western countries, including Germany, have at their disposal.
The second concerns equipment and resources for restoring damaged power plants.” Russia damaged around half of all power plants in Ukraine.
Developments in Moscow
According to diplomats, Russia has again ordered hundreds of drones and ballistic missiles from Iran.
"We know that Iran is planning to significantly increase its deliveries of unmanned missiles and missiles to Russia," circles at the United Nations in New York told the dpa news agency.
Moscow wants to counteract the acute shortage of military supplies.
There are several hundred projectiles and hundreds of drones.
According to consistent reports, Iran had already sent drones to Russia in August, which can be used, for example, to attack military objects such as radar systems and artillery.
A few weeks later, Russian forces repeatedly attacked targets in Ukraine with Iranian Shahed 136 kamikaze drones, which crashed at high speed and caused extensive damage.
The EU states then imposed additional sanctions on Iran, which is already subject to a number of punitive measures.
At first it was not clear how exactly Russia could show its appreciation for the war aid given to the leadership in Tehran.
According to diplomatic circles, it is less about money and more about military cooperation.
The influential regional power Iran, with which another international nuclear agreement is becoming increasingly unlikely, has recently continued to upgrade its nuclear power.
The Ukrainian President expressed the assumption that the nuclear power Russia could help Iran in its nuclear program in return for the weapons.
According to Zelenskyj, the Russian army is also instructed by Iranians when using the drones.
A resolution passed by the UN Security Council after the nuclear deal with Iran in 2015 bans Iran from such arms deals.
The United States, Britain, France and Germany called for a United Nations investigation into Iranian-armed attacks in Ukraine in October.
The leaders in Moscow and Tehran officially deny that Iranian drones are being used in Ukraine.
The US House of Representatives and Senate have agreed on a proposed $858 billion defense budget for 2023.
The new National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) includes, among other things, $800 million in support for Ukraine.
The sum is $500 million more than President Joe Biden proposed earlier this year.
The bill also boosts the Pacific Deterrence Initiative with $11.5 billion in new investment.
It also approves the Taiwan Enhanced Resilience Act of 2022, a law to increase security cooperation with Taiwan with spending of up to $10 billion over five years.
Poland now wants to accept the Patriot air defense systems offered by Germany.
Federal Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) and her Polish colleague had "agreed in principle," said a spokesman for the Federal Defense Ministry on Tuesday evening.
"Details such as conceivable locations for stationing and the necessary infrastructure are now being discussed at the technical level." The plan is to send an investigation team to Poland immediately.
Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said on Twitter that work was underway to station the Patriots on Polish territory and put them under the Polish command system.
After a missile hit Poland's border area with Ukraine in mid-November, Germany offered to support NATO partner Poland with the Patriot missile defense system.
However, Warsaw suggested handing over the Patriot battery to Ukraine.
Poland caught the federal government by surprise with this move.
Defense Minister Lambrecht then called for a discussion at NATO level.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said it was Germany's "national decision" whether or not to deliver the system to Ukraine.
Despite an urgent appeal from the United Nations, Lithuania has begun dismantling a significant Soviet-era monument in response to Russia's war of aggression.
"This is a happy day, a happy moment," Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Simasius said Tuesday after visiting the memorial at Antakalnis Cemetery.
Out of solidarity with Kyiv, Lithuania decided to remove the monument, which shows six sculptures of Soviet soldiers.
The memorial is to be completely dismantled by the beginning of next week.
In September, the United Nations urged the EU and NATO member not to dismantle the monument for the time being.
First, a dispute between the government and critics of the dismantling should be settled.
Five Lithuanian residents had appealed to the UN Human Rights Committee, arguing that the monument's removal violated "their national minority rights."
The Russian minority in Latvia makes up about five percent of the 2.8 million inhabitants.
Mayor Simasius replied to the UN criticism of the demolition that the United Nations was "not an institution that could dictate to Lithuania or Vilnius whether a totalitarian symbol should remain in place".