Poisoning of Ukraine Spy Chief’s Wife

  • Ukraine Spy Chief Lt. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov’s wife, Marianna Budanova, is being treated for heavy metals poisoning.  Earlier in the year, it was reported that Budanov had survived 10 assassination attempts by the Russian state security service. (NBC News; see also Politico, AP News

Russian Military Moves

  • Early on Saturday, 25 November, Russian drones began attacking Kyiv in what was reported to be Russia’s largest drone attack of the war.  The attack wounded five people and damaged buildings across the city. (NBC News; see also Politico)
  • Russian forces eased attacks on Avdiivka, with unofficial reports suggesting that Russian forces had failed to capture the town of Maryinka. (Reuters)
  • Russian missiles targeted eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region, killing at least two people and burying families under rubble. (AP News)
missile attack

Ukrainian Military Moves

  • Ukraine launched one of its largest drone attacks on the Moscow-annexed Crimean Peninsula.  Efforts on the part of both Ukraine and Russia come “as both sides are keen to show they are not deadlocked as the fighting approaches 2024,” and with winter weather coming in, each side is eager to make gains to assist with future advances. (AP News via NBC)
  • Ukraine’s security service blew up railway connections between Russia and China, deep within enemy territory.  A senior Ukrainian official said, “This is the only serious railway connection between the Russian Federation and China.  And currently, this route, which Russia uses, including for military supplies, is paralyzed.” (Politico; see also AP News, Euractiv)
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for quicker construction of fortifications in key sectors in frontline areas, with the greatest attention paid to “Avdiivka, Maryinka, and other sectors in the Donetsk region.” (Euractiv)

At Least Five Assassination Attempts on Zelenskyy

  • Zelenskyy said he’s faced at least five Russian assassination attempts, comparing them to bouts of COVID.  He said, “The first one is very interesting when it is the first time, and after that, it is just like COVID.  First of all, people don’t know what to do with it and it’s looking very scary.  And then after that, it is just intelligence sharing with you detail that one more group came to Ukraine to [attempt] this.” (NBC News)
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskiy
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskiy

Grain from Ukraine

  • Ukraine held its second “Grain from Ukraine” summit on 25 November, signaling that “while Russia’s war against Ukraine exacerbates the global food crisis, Ukraine is a reliable partner and can ensure global food security.”  Ukraine can continue to provide grain to those in need with the support from its international allies and partners. (European Policy Center)

Russia Boosting Number of Military Troops

  • For the second time in 15 months, Russia is increasing the number of troops in its military. The Russian defense ministry said that the increase was due to the war in Ukraine and NATO’s expansion. The increase sees the total number of Russian military personnel rising to 2.2 million, with 1.3 million troops. (Politico)

Germany’s Distraction

  • The Commission reported that domestic issues in Germany were inhibiting the EU’s budget talks.  After a constitutional court verdict called Germany’s decision to fund its green transition with €60 billion of unused debt from COVID-19 unconstitutional, Germany is now leading a group of countries that want the Commission to finance its new priorities. Governments are calling on the EU to decrease the Commission’s request for an extra €66 billion by at least 20%.  Extra EU finances are meant to support Kyiv, including through €17 billion in grants and €33 billion in non-budget low-interest loans. (Politico)

Difficulties in Sending EU Aid to Ukraine

  • Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said that small EU countries would find it difficult to help Ukraine without support from the European Peace Facility.  Opposition from Hungary puts the funding scheme in limbo. (Politico)  
  • Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that Ukraine’s EU membership does not align with Hungary’s national interests, proposing instead a “strategic partnership” with Ukraine ahead of accession talks.  His comments come as the EU braces for a tough summit battle over EU budget revision, which includes €50 billion in new aid for Kyiv. (Euractiv)
  • President of the European Council Charles Michel visited Orbán in an attempt to ease rising tensions as Orbán threatens to block aid to Ukraine and stop Ukraine’s bid to join the EU. (Euractiv)

Truck Protests on Ukrainian Border

  • A blockade of more than 3,000 Polish truckers that began on 6 November has turned into chaos.  Ukrainian trucks are being blocked from crossing the Polish border, with more than 3,000 trucks now stuck at four border crossings, waiting as long as three weeks, and with at least one driver dying while being trapped.  The blockade is a crisis for Kyiv’s relations with Europe, giving “a bitter foretaste of the impending challenges of integrating Ukraine, with its huge farming sector and cheap but well-educated workers, into the EU’s common market.” (Politico
  • The blockade is causing disruption to Ukraine’s overall imports and may cost Kyiv one percentage point of GDP growth. (Euractiv)
  • Slovak truckers planned to join Polish truckers in their blockade as of 1 December. (Euractiv)

NATO Commitments to Aid Ukraine

  • NATO’s foreign ministers agreed to increase support for Ukraine on a range of security issues, attempting to show solidarity despite distractions from the war between Israel and Hamas.  NATO allies said they would “remain steadfast in their commitment to further step up political and practical support to Ukraine” and would “continue their support for as long as it takes.” (Politico
  • Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that NATO allies do not have war fatigue and remain committed to supporting Ukraine after meeting with NATO counterparts in Brussels. (AP News)

Tension Between Zelenskyy and Military Command are “Russian Propaganda”

  • Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament Ruslan Stefanchuk said that rumours of conflict between Zelenskyy and Ukrainian military leadership were “Russian propaganda” spread from “Russian channels,” saying that “there has never been a single case of tension between the political and military leadership.” (Politico

Blackout at Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant

  • Ukraine’s Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant lost power after its last line to Ukrainian-controlled territory was disrupted, but it has since been repaired.  The plant is no longer generating power, but it still needs electricity to cool one of its reactors, which has not yet been fully shut down.  A statement from Ukraine’s energy ministry said, “This is the eighth blackout which has occurred at the (plant) and could have led to nuclear catastrophe.” (Reuters)
Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant

North Macedonia OSCE Meeting

  • Top diplomats from more than 50 countries arrived in North Macedonia for an Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe meeting.  Foreign ministers of Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania did not attend the talks due to the attendance of Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov. (AP News)

Conflict Between Poroshenko and Zelenskyy

  • A conflict between former president of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and Zelenskyy came to light after Ukrainian authorities stopped Poroshenko from visiting the United States. (Euractiv; see also France24, Euronews)

Ukraine Labels Belgian Gas Operator “International Sponsor of War”

  • Ukraine labeled Belgian gas operator Fluxys an “international sponsor of war,” citing its dealings with Russian producers of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). (Brussels Times)

Seat on Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

  • Russia lost its seat on the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.  Four countries were competing for three seats on the OPCW executive council for the period of 2024-2026.  Competing against Ukraine, Poland, and Lithuania, Russia gained the fewest votes. (EU Observer)

Author: Sophie Adams-Smith, Media Analyst, Promote Ukraine

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