Ukraine strikes Russian warship in Crimea – National & International News – TUE 26Dec2023



Last night, Ukraine blew up a Russian ship in Crimea. Will this move any Ukraine skeptics in Congress?


Ukraine strikes Russian warship in Crimea

Last night, Ukraine’s armed forces targeted a large Russian landing ship docked at Russia’s naval base in Feodosia, Crimea. Videos of the explosion showed a huge ball of fire ballooning into the night sky. The explosion also set several buildings alight on shore, forcing their evacuation. Moscow confirmed today that the Novocherkassk, which is capable of carrying tanks and armored vehicles, had been damaged. However it is not clear from reports how extensive the damage was. Ukraine claims that the ship was “destroyed” and with typical bravado added that the Novocherkassk was now “part of the Russian underwater Black Sea fleet”. 

The strike on the Novocherkassk is only the most recent of many Ukrainian attacks on Russia’s fleet anchored in Crimea, and certainly one of the more spectacularly successful attacks by Ukraine in recent memory. It may serve to at least temporarily boost flagging morale within Ukraine and may present a powerful propaganda opportunity as Kyiv continues to lobby Washington for more military aid.

Ukraine’s war at home and abroad

In recent months, Ukraine has failed to retake any significant amount of territory from Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin continues amassing resources and shoring up foreign alliances in preparation for a long war. Meanwhile, an EU funding package for Ukraine recently stalled due to opposition from Hungary.

However, as support for funding and arming Ukraine has dropped in the US, Ukraine has had to dial back some of its military operations. If no more significant foreign aid is forthcoming, Ukraine’s ability to amount full-scale assaults against Russian positions will be hampered. Kyiv may step up its campaign of bombings and sabotage within Russia and adopt guerilla-style tactics against Russian-held positions in Ukraine. 

In addition to fast-depleting funds and military hardware, Ukraine is also facing a manpower problem. Many of Ukraine’s troops have been on the frontline since the war began in February 2022, a fact which has stirred growing discontent among the population. Tens of thousands of military-aged Ukrainian men have also fled the country or found other ways of avoiding conscription. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy recently said he wanted 450,000-500,000 more troops, but it’s unclear where or how he plans to get them.

Bitter pill for Biden

President Biden has asked Congress for a $60 billion tranche of funding for Ukraine. Most Democrats and a good many Republicans (including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell) support the plan. However, there is staunch opposition among some conservative Republicans. Questions have been raised about the effectiveness of Ukraine’s fighting force as well as numerous reports of corruption among Ukraine’s military establishment.

Republican are demanding steep concessions on border security in return for further support for Ukraine’s war effort. GOP demands include major curbs to asylum and incarcerating families at the border. Republicans also want asylum applicants to await their hearings outside the US, which can take years. While there is broad support among voters for a tougher immigration stance, adopting these measures could alienate Latino voters. Latinos are a key voting block for Biden, who is already losing other key voting blocks, including young people and Muslim Americans, due to his support for Israel’s ongoing massacre in Gaza

Negotiations for this bill will run well into January, at which point Republican primaries will begin, and Congress will once again be up against a deadline to avert a government shutdown.


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