This Week in the Russia-Ukraine War (December 8)

A snapshot of recent news from sources around the world on the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.

NLAW (Next Generation Light Anti-Tank Weapon) has proven highly effective in Ukraine. Image – Saab


Political Developments

“Ukraine does not want to depend only on partners. Ukraine aims to and really can become a donor of security for all our neighbors once it can guarantee its own safety.” – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy

At the U.S.-Ukraine conference hosted in Washington this week, President Zelenskiy underscored Ukraine’s importance to its Western security partners, hoping to drum up industrial partnerships to rebuild the Ukrainian defense industry.

Arms production didn’t hit production targets in 2022 despite booming demand. Labor woes, rising costs, and Ukraine’s war compounded supply chain issues, leaving Western arms makers scrambling.

Polish trucker protests on the border with Ukraine are holding up the transfer of volunteer military aid to Ukraine, Reuters reported this week, citing industry sources. The protests, which began last month, center on Ukrainian truckers’ permit-free access to the European Union, the media outlet reported.

Military Assistance to Ukraine

Ukraine is seeking U.S.-made THAAD air-defense systems, F/A-18 fighter jets, AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, and UH-60 Black Hawks, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing Ukrainian MoD documents presented to the U.S. this week in Washington. The Ukrainian list also includes C-17 and C-130 transport aircraft, as well as MQ-9B drones.

Rheinmetall received a contract worth 142 million euros ($153.7 million) to supply Ukraine with 155mm artillery shells. The ammunition will be produced by the company’s new Spanish subsidiary, Rheinmetall Expal Munitions. The rounds will be delivered in 2025.

The German company also plans to begin armored vehicle production in Ukraine next year, Chief Executive Armin Papperger told a German magazine. “After the contract is signed, we want to have finished the first (Fuchs) within six-seven months, and the first Lynx within 12-13 months,” he said, referencing the Fuchs armored personnel carrier and Lynx infantry fighting vehicle.

Localization of military production has been one of the Ukrainian government’s key wartime objectives. However, Ukraine’s defense industry has encountered challenges in building partnerships with Western firms, Reuters reported this week.

The White House sent a letter to Congress warning that the U.S. will run out of military assistance funding for Ukraine by the end of the year if lawmakers don’t pass a supplemental funding request. The supplemental is stalled in part due to disagreements about domestic border security that Republicans want included in any Ukraine aid bill.

On Tuesday, Speaker Mike Johnson issued a letter in response, stating “supplemental Ukraine funding is dependent upon enactment of transformative change to our nation’s border security laws.”

Despite the lack of a new supplemental, the U.S. has some funding remaining for continued donations. The Pentagon Wednesday announced a new $175 million security assistance package for Ukraine, representing the fifty-second drawdown of U.S. equipment. The aid package includes air defense missiles, artillery rockets and regular artillery arounds, anti-radiation and anti-tank missiles, small arms ammunition, logistics vehicles, and other equipment.

The U.S. is completing delivery of VAMPIRE counter-unmanned air systems this month as part of a Department of Defense aid package. The system uses Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) rockets to take out aerial threats. The Navy will soon deliver the first APKWS outfitted with proximity fuze warheads.

The U.K. has delivered Martlet missiles to Ukraine, to aid Ukrainian troops in shooting down incoming Russian drones.

South Korea was one of the largest ammunition suppliers to Ukraine in 2023, The Washington Post reported this week. The shells were provided indirectly, as South Korean law prohibits delivering arms to ongoing conflicts. Seoul delivered more artillery shells to Ukraine in 2023 than all of Europe combined, according to the report.

Battlefield Updates

Ukrainian military officials stationed in Avdiivka warned on Monday that Russia is increasing its operations around the destroyed town, which sits close to Donetsk. AFP quoted Vitaliy Barabash, the head of Avdiivka’s military administration, as saying, “The current third wave of enemy assaults differs from the previous two in that they have conditionally opened two new directions. The launching of new directions proves that the enemy has been given a command to capture the city at any cost.”

Ukraine has the capability to produce six 155mm 2S22 Bohdana self-propelled howitzers per month, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a statement posted on his Telegram page.

The Ukrainian government says its air defense forces intercepted 10 Russian drones during a recent attack.  The Ukrainian Air Force said Russia launched 17 attack drones and six S-300 anti-aircraft guided missiles towards the Donetsk and Kherson regions.

Russia launched a major attack on the southern, central, and eastern Ukrainian regions overnight using a large number of drones.  This attack took place on December 6.  Ukraine says its shot down 41 of 48 Russian attack drones launched.

Russia continues its campaign against Ukrainian cities and infrastructure.  The attack involved 48 Iranian-made drones.  Moscow is reportedly stockpiling drones and missiles for future attacks.




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