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Old 12-05-2023, 08:07 AM
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Post US citizen found dead in deportation center in Russia

US citizen found dead in deportation center in Russia
By: Ukrinform broadcasting

Photo link:

A 56-year-old US citizen, Ernest Mitchell, who was waiting for deportation from Russia, was found dead in the center for temporary detention of foreigners in the village of Novoukrainskii, in the Gulkevichi district, in the Krasnodar Territory.
This was reported by Radio Svoboda, Ukrinform reported.

According to Russian media, Mitchell was detained on November 17 in Sochi on the grounds that his health insurance policy was not valid in Russia. The Sochi City Court sentenced him to a fine of three thousand rubles and expulsion from Russia, although Mitchell explained that the insurance company had assured him that the policy was valid worldwide. Other media outlets cite sources saying that Mitchell allegedly tried to travel to self-proclaimed Abkhazia with 'undeclared funds'.

The US citizen was sent to a temporary detention center for foreigners in Novoukrainskii before being deported. Later, his body with cuts to veins and arteries on his arms, legs and neck was found in a restroom, the media reported.

In Russian publics, the cause of Mitchell's death is called suicide. There is no confirmation of this information yet.

As reported, in the fall, the US State Department issued a recommendation for all American citizens calling for increased caution while abroad.

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Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to the head of the Ukrainian President's Office, has said that any alternative to military aid to Ukraine is the preservation of the fascist regime of the Russian Federation.
He reported this on the X social media platform (formerly Twitter), Ukrinform reports.

"The real alternative to 'military assistance to Ukraine' is much darker and more ominous than discussions about chess moves. It concerns the preservation of the totally aggressive and exemplary fascist regime of the Russian Federation, which has transformed its domestic market entirely into a labor militaristic camp to achieve one single goal: amassing resources and capabilities for subsequent military invasions and the destruction of the contemporary global 'treaty-based' consensus," Podolyak wrote.

According to him, any discussion about the necessity of continuing military assistance to Ukraine must invariably be based on the sole (catastrophic) alternative - a "frozen conflict."

And this "frozen" state, Podolyak said, is not in some abstract realm of "political expediency," but against the backdrop of a large-scale massacre of civilians, a major war, an enormous number of unequivocal war crimes and crimes against humanity, demonstrative and shocking genocidal practices carried out by Russians in the occupied territories, and the persisting insane desire of the Russian Federation to obliterate Ukraine's agency.

On December 4, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan urged Congress to support the White House's request for additional funding for Ukraine, warning that refusing to vote in favor would help the Russian Federation.

In the morning, the Russian army fired several times at Kherson from the temporarily occupied left bank, hitting one of the medical institutions, and two doctors were lightly injured.

The writer: Roman Mrochko, the head of the Kherson City Military Administration, said this on Telegram, Ukrinform reported.

"In the morning, the Russian army fired several times at Kherson from the temporarily occupied left bank. The city center was under heavy enemy fire," the statement reads.

"In addition, one of the medical institutions in Kherson was hit," the head of the City Military Administration said.

He also clarified that two doctors sustained light injuries as a result of an enemy shell hitting the medical facility. They were provided with the necessary medical aid on the spot.

Mrochko confirmed that two people were killed and one person was injured as a result of one of the strikes. One more person injured during another shelling of the city center is currently hospitalized.

As reported, a 48-year-old man and a woman were killed in the center of Kherson this morning as a result of hostile shelling, and a pre-trial investigation has been launched. It is currently known that a 59-year-old resident of the city was seriously injured and taken to the hospital. Everyone was on the street at the time of the enemy attack.

Another photo link & comment:

In recent weeks, Russian troops have been slowly advancing through the ruins of Marinka, resuming their offensive in the Donetsk region.

This was reported by the British Ministry of Defense on X, citing intelligence data, Ukrinform reported.

Russia now likely controls most of the built-up area. However, Ukrainian forces remain in control of pockets of territory on the western edge of the town.

Marinka has been on the front line since 2014. With a pre-war population of 9000, it is comprehensively ruined - drone footage suggests that the vast majority of buildings have been reduced to rubble.

Russia's renewed efforts against Marinka are part of Russia's autumn offensive which is prioritising extending Russia's control over the remaining parts of the Donetsk Oblast - highly likely still one of the Kremlin's core war aims.

As reported, the Ukrainian Defense Forces eliminated about 333,840 Russian invaders from February 24, 2022, to December 5, 2023, 1,030 of them in the last day.

As a result of the blockade of the Ukrainian-Polish border, exports through these checkpoints decreased by 40%, and the state budget of Ukraine lost UAH 9.3 billion due to a shortfall in customs payments.
This was stated by Danylo Hetmantsev, chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Finance, Taxation and Customs Policy, on the air of the United News telethon, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

"Undoubtedly, this is a powerful blow to our economy and our exports... We have a 40% reduction in exports through the relevant land crossing points. We have a statement from carriers about losses of €400 million in the first two weeks of this blockade alone... As for the budget, based on the results of November, we can clearly determine that the budget lost ₴9.3 billion from the shortfall in customs payments. This is a huge amount of money that the army has not received and which we desperately need today," the MP said.

According to him, today there is a 19% shortfall in the customs plan, although there was an overfulfillment in October.

"The governments of these countries (where carriers block the border - ed.) should not wait until the situation becomes critical. They must realize that this situation is hurting them. By weakening Ukraine, they are strengthening our common enemy and causing the latter to hit their own economies harder. Given that the blockade is being carried out by marginal political forces that do not represent the majority in these countries, I am convinced that against this background, we should not play politics, but rather implement the European law that allows free movement of vehicles across the EU," the head of the parliamentary committee emphasized.

As Ukrinform reported, on November 6, Polish carriers began a blockade of truck traffic near the three largest checkpoints on the border with Ukraine: Korczowa-Krakivets, Hrebenne-Rava-Ruska, and Dorohusk-Yahodyn. Among the main demands is the return of the practice of permits for Ukrainian carriers, which was abolished by the agreement with the EU until June 30, 2024. The protesters want the agreement to be terminated and the permit regime to be restored from January 1.

On November 23, Polish farmers joined the protest and began blocking truck traffic at the Medyka-Shehyni checkpoint near Przemysl to express their demands.

On December 1, at 16:05, the Union of Slovak Carriers began blocking truck traffic through the Vyšné Nemecké checkpoint on the border with Ukraine.

As of the morning of December 5, truck traffic through Vyšné Nemecké was unblocked.

The United States supports the voice and power of Ukrainian civil society as a partner in implementing the essential reforms that help Ukraine move toward European integration.
U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink said this in her speech at the opening of the 12th Annual Civil Society Development Forum "May the Strength Be With Us," according to an Ukrinform correspondent.

"Today, Ukraine finds itself at a point of inflection, a moment of transformation. From the endemic corruption of the past, you are moving toward a more transparent, more equitable and European future. We know that civil society will play an essential role in shaping that transformation and creating the future that you are demanding," Brink said.

She noted that these demands are not new - ten years ago, Ukrainians gathered on the Maidan and peacefully gave voice to those aspirations.

"They called for an end to corruption, an end to abuse of power, an end to the influence of oligarchs. The Revolution of Dignity would not have begun and could not have been successful without the hard work of Ukrainian civil society. Voices from across the country demanded a better future, and these voices have prevailed," the ambassador said.

Brink noted that now Ukrainians are fighting another difficult war in the context of Russia's full-scale invasion. She added that civil society remains a vital force for transparent and equitable recovery and the essential reforms that will see Ukraine move toward European integration.

"Civil society and government each have a role - neither can succeed without the other. As a critical part of any democracy, civil society provides an important source of information for citizens and for government. You hold the government accountable for results. You advocate for smart policies. You add to government efforts to deliver services and fill critical gaps," she said.

At the same time, she noted that with this great power also comes responsibility, especially in the context of an external battle and an external enemy that Ukraine faces.

"Your professionalism is important. It means holding to the highest standards to create the change you advocate and the future you want. The Ukrainian people have a clear vision for its future. We have heard you loud and clear - a strong democracy, rule of law, integration into Europe, joining NATO. I am here today to affirm that the United States proudly supports the voice and power of Ukrainian civil society. […] This is a partner that is always in our interests, our collective interests, one that is strong, one that is democratic and one that is free," Brink said, addressing the forum participants.

Finnish Defense Minister Antti Hakkanen has said that Finland plans to start producing artillery ammunition for Ukraine.
That's according to Yle, Ukrinform reports.

"We have completed negotiations on how Finland will increase the production of heavy ammunition to send them to Ukraine. This decision will be made soon," he said in an interview with the Finnish newspaper Iltalehti.

Hakkanen expressed hope that the issue would be resolved before Christmas.

The funds for the production of ammunition will increase to tens of millions of euros, the report said.

Earlier reports said that the Finnish government had tabled in parliament a draft supplement to the budget for 2024, which includes, among other things, proposals regarding support for Ukraine.

ruck traffic through the Vyšné Nemecké checkpoint, adjacent to the Ukrainian checkpoint Uzhhorod, has been unblocked.
The State Border Guard Service of Ukraine reported this, Ukrinform saw.

"According to the information received by Ukrainian border guards from representatives of the Border Police of the Slovak Republic, at 22:00, the actions of the protesters who blocked the movement of trucks through the Vyšné Nemecké checkpoint, adjacent to the Ukrainian checkpoint Uzhhorod, ended in Slovakia," the statement reads.

Currently, the registration of cargo vehicles is carried out in accordance with the established procedure.

The State Border Guard Service also noted that due to the complicated traffic on the Polish border, the number of trucks on the border with Slovakia has increased, which choose this direction to cross the border with Ukraine.

Thus, as of the morning of December 5, 625 trucks were queuing in Slovakia to cross into Ukraine.

As Ukrinform reported, on December 1, at 16:05, the Union of Slovak Carriers began blocking truck traffic through the Vyšné Nemecké checkpoint on the border with Ukraine.

Over the past week, the combat teams of the Army of Drones project have hit 132 Russian military equipment units.

The relevant statement was made by Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister for Innovation, Education, Science and Technology Development - Digital Transformation Minister Mykhailo Fedorov on Telegram, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

[Stats] According to the infographics posted by Fedorov, Ukraine’s drone operators struck eight Russian tanks, 30 armored fighting vehicles, 32 guns, four self-propelled howitzers, 46 trucks and special purpose vehicles.

Additionally, the Ukrainian military hit 55 enemy strongpoints and eliminated 32 Russian mercenaries.

A reminder that the Army of Drones project was initiated by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Digital Transformation Ministry. It is a comprehensive program, providing for the systemic purchase of drones, their maintenance, and training courses for relevant professionals.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov and Belgian Defense Minister Ludivine Dedonder have met and discussed the supply of F-16 fighter aircraft to Ukraine, as well as pilot training efforts.
The relevant statement was made by the Ukrainian Defense Ministry on Facebook, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

According to the ministry, the Belgian side has confirmed its intent to send the F-16 fighter aircraft to Ukraine in 2025.

“We highly appreciate your steadfast support and comprehensive involvement in the process of strengthening the defense capabilities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” Umerov said in the course of the meeting.

Ukraine’s defense chief emphasized that it is necessary to start establishing the supply chains of ammunition, spare parts and equipment required by the F-16 fighter aircraft.

A reminder that earlier Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov and Belgian Defense Minister Ludivine Dedonder spoke about the plans to develop bilateral partnership, including strengthening the Ukrainian-Belgian defense industry cooperation.
Personal note: This is quite a long post but points out current activity and
military actions.

O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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