Yesterday’s live coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here.
For links to individual updates click on the timestamps.
For the latest summary of evidence surrounding the shooting down of flight MH17 see our separate article: How We Know Russia Shot Down MH17.
- READ OUR SPECIAL REPORT: An Invasion By Any Other Name: The Kremlinâs Dirty War in Ukraine
US Vice President Joe Biden is in Kiev where he is attempting to reassure the Ukrainian government that the US supports it. Interfax-Ukraine reports that Biden told Kiev Mayor Vitaly Klitschko that despite other global challenges Ukraine remains a focus of attention for the United States:
“The vice president of the United States noted that only more efficient, tangible and faster reforms can be a prerequisite for the successful development of Ukraine. In particular, the reform of the judicial system,” Klitschko said about the meeting, the press service of Kyiv City State Administration reported.
According to the mayor, the international community are ready to help and support Ukraine, but “the democratic world wants to see the dynamics of real changes.”
The US embassy in Kiev has provided this readout of the meeting between Kiev’s famous mayor and the Vice President:
Vice President Joe Biden met today with Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klychko to discuss bilateral relations, economic and governance reforms, and the conflict with Russia in the Donbas. The Vice President underscored the U.S. commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Vice President also congratulated the Mayor on adopting important police, transparency, and procurement reforms in Kyiv and noted the importance of continuing anti-corruption efforts nationwide. Lastly, the two leaders agreed on the importance of maintaining sanctions on Russia until the Minsk agreements are implemented in full and the Ukrainian side of the international border is returned to Ukrainian government control.
Biden met with other top officials and civil society leaders today, and most importantly Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. At the meeting, Biden promised $190 million in new financial aid with a focus on the implementation of reforms. RFE/RL reports:
“Ukraine is on the cusp — what happens in the next year is likely to determine the fate of the country for generations,” he said.
Biden also reiterated that the United States will never accept Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in March 2014.
Even more aid was also discussed, according to Hromadske:
RFE/RL reports that
many are highly anticipating a speech scheduled to be given by Biden in
front of Parliament tomorrow, December 8. Today Biden is scheduled to
meet with Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.
Joe Biden and US Ambassador to Kiev Geoffrey Pyatt both visited a
memorial to the “Heavenly Hundred,” the protesters killed during 2014’s
The Ukrainian military reports that Russian-backed fighters have stepped up their attacks in the Donetsk and Gorlovka areas, using both 120 and 82 mm mortars.
Colonel Andriy Lysenko, military spokesman for the Presidential Administration, told reporters at a briefing today that eight Ukrainian soldiers were wounded yesterday.
This morning the ATO Press Centre claimed that Russian-backed forces had conducted 51 attacks between 18:00 yesterday and 6:00 today.
According to the report, Russian-backed fighters fired 82 mm mortars towards Novgorodskoye, Verkhnetoretskoye, Krasnogorovka, Zhovtoye and Ukrainian positions near Sokolniki.
Grenade launchers, heavy machine guns and small arms were used in attacks on Avdeyevka, Opytnoye, Verkhnetoretskoye, Krasnogorovka, Marinka and Peski, all in the Donetsk area. To the north and east of Gorlovka, the same weapons were used in attacks on Zaytsevo, Leninskoye, Mayorsk and Luganskoye.
In the Lugansk region, in addition to the attack near Sokolniki, there was a grenade launcher attack on Zolotoye.
Konstantin Mashovets, a military analyst with Information Resistance, wrote on his Facebook page today that there were reports of an intense battle between Ukrainian and Russian-backed fighters on the front line between Donetsk and Gorlovka, near the occupied village of Krasny Partizan.
The Ukrainian military claimed that the increase in attacks was aimed at eliciting return fire from Ukrainian troops so as to derail the next meeting of the trilateral Contact Group in Minsk, due to start tomorrow.
It should also be noted that US Vice President Joe Biden is visiting Kiev today, having flown in early this morning:
Meanwhile the pro-separatist Donetsk News Agency reported, citing “a source in the security structures of the [self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic] DNR,” that Ukrainian troops had fired 94 artillery, tank and mortar rounds overnight, striking the northern outskirts of Donetsk.
Today there were further reports of fighting on social media:
Translation: Shells are falling near the airport. Seems so far, like 82 mm.
— Pierre Vaux