Ukraine’s air force said Tuesday it destroyed a landing ship in Crimea that was part of Russia’s Black Sea fleet and suspected of carrying Iranian-made drones.
In a Telegram post, the Ukrainian air force identified the ship as the Novocherkask and said cruise missiles hit it in the Fedosia region.
Ukraine’s Air Force Commander Mykola Oleshchuk shared a video on Telegram showing a massive explosion in Feodosia in Crimea.
“And the fleet in Russia is getting smaller and smaller,” Oleshchuk said.
Ukraine’s military also reported Tuesday downing 13 of 19 drones that Russia used in attacks overnight. It said the drones were destroyed in the Odesa, Kherson, Mykolaiv and Khmelnytskyi regions.
Russia claimed Monday that its forces had captured the strategic town of Maryinka in eastern Ukraine, but Kyiv disputed the claim, reporting that its troops had repelled three “unsuccessful attacks” near the ruined and nearly deserted community.
“It’s not correct to talk about seizing Maryinka,” Ukrainian military spokesman Oleksandr Shtupun told Ukrainian TV following claims made by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu during a televised meeting with President Vladimir Putin.
“The fighting for Maryinka continues,” Shtupun said. “Currently, our servicemen are within the administrative borders of Maryinka, but the city has been completely destroyed,” he added.
Maryinka is a relatively small town — with a prewar population under 10,000 — but, according to British intelligence, the Russian military has been seeking to capture it in order to advance further west and better protect occupied Donetsk city.
Ukraine also said Monday it had received $1.34 billion in financing, mostly through the World Bank — funds that will be partially used to compensate social programs for monies lost to security and defense financial needs.
The Finance Ministry said the package consisted of a $1.086 billion loan from the World Bank, a $190 million grant from Norway, $50 million from the United States, and $20 million from Switzerland.
“International financial assistance is a significant contribution to maintaining the financial and economic stability of Ukraine and allows us to ensure priority social expenditures during the war,” Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko said.
“Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, the governments of Japan, the United States, Norway, and Switzerland have repeatedly demonstrated their unwavering support and solidarity to Ukraine,” he added.
Late Monday, the text of a draft law posted on the website of Ukraine’s parliament proposed lowering the age of those who can be mobilized for combat duty to 25 from 27.
The draft text detailed which Ukrainian citizens would be subject to enrollment for military registration of conscripts and said it would apply to those “who have reached the age of 25.”
President Zelenskyy told his end-of-year news conference on Dec. 19 that the military had proposed mobilizing 450,000-500,000 more Ukrainians, but that it was a “highly sensitive” issue that the military and government would discuss before deciding whether to send the proposal to parliament.
Zelenskyy, who has yet to back the proposal publicly, said on Dec. 19 that he wanted to hear more arguments for mobilizing additional people. “This is a very serious number,” he said.
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