A quick overview of the Russia-Ukraine conflict: the latest updates on day 659

EU leaders gear up for confrontation with Hungary concerning Ukrainian membership talks; over 50 individuals injured in Russian missile assault on Kyiv
In an apparent display of power, Russia launched a large-scale missile attack on Kyiv early Wednesday, immediately following a meeting between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and his US counterpart Joe Biden in Washington. While Ukraine’s air defenses successfully intercepted all ten Russian missiles aimed at the capital, at least 53 people were wounded by falling debris.
EU leaders are preparing for a high-stakes summit on Ukraine, as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán threatens to block the initiation of EU membership talks and €50 billion ($54 billion) in financial aid for Kyiv. If EU leaders give their approval, Kyiv will be able to claim a significant geopolitical victory just as the Biden administration grapples with getting a Ukraine aid package through the US congress.
Prior to the summit on Thursday, Zelenskiy stated that Orban had no grounds to hinder Ukraine’s EU membership. “I was very straightforward… He has no reason to block Ukrainian membership in the EU. I asked him to provide me with one reason… I am still awaiting a response,” Zelenskiy said regarding his brief encounter with Orban in Argentina on Sunday.
Zelenskiy’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, also urged EU countries to recognize that Ukraine has “much to offer” the bloc. “In terms of values and ideology, Ukraine is an undeniable part of Europe – which is precisely why Russia attacked us… Without Ukraine, the ‘Europe’ puzzle cannot be completed,” he stated.
Upon arriving at the summit in Brussels, Poland’s new Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, declared that “apathy regarding Ukraine” was “unacceptable.” Poland’s previous government had become embroiled in a dispute with Ukraine over grain exports, but the new Foreign Minister, Radoslaw Sikorski, also emphasized that supporting Ukraine would be a “priority” for the new administration.
During previously unannounced talks in Oslo, the five Nordic nations informed Zelenskiy that they would support his country “for as long as it takes” in its effort to drive out Russian forces. Together, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland have provided Ukraine with 11 billion euros worth of assistance since Russia’s invasion in February 2022 and are prepared to continue offering substantial military, economic, and humanitarian support, as stated in a joint statement by the five nations.
Denmark’s government is set to present a new support package for Ukraine worth 1 billion euros ($1.08 billion) to parliament on Thursday, announced Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen at a press conference in Oslo with the Nordic leaders and Zelenskiy.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to hold his annual end-of-year press conference on December 14. The event will include a call-in session known as the “direct line,” during which Russians can seek advice from Putin. “On December 14, Vladimir Putin will provide an overview of the year’s results. It will be a combined format of the direct line and the president’s final press conference,” stated Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov to reporters on Thursday.
Kyivstar, Ukraine’s leading mobile phone operator, has begun restoring voice services to certain clients one day after its networks were crippled by a major cyber-attack, according to Kyivstar CEO Oleksandr Komarov. Data and other services will follow soon. Komarov informed Reuters that the company, which serves over half of Ukraine’s population, suffered “enormous” damage during Tuesday’s attack and termed it “the largest cyber-attack on telco infrastructure in the world.”
A hacking group believed by Kyiv to be linked to Russian military intelligence has claimed responsibility for the cyber-attack. A group of activist hackers, or “hacktivists,” known as Solntsepyok, stated in a post on the Telegram messaging app that they carried out the cyber-attack, with published screenshots appearing to demonstrate their access to Kyivstar’s servers.

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