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The European Union and Ukraine will soon establish a plan for negotiations on Kyiv's potential membership in the EU.
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The European Union and Ukraine will soon establish a plan for negotiations on Kyiv’s potential membership in the EU.

Ukraine and the European Commission will soon evaluate progress Kyiv has made in aligning its legislation with that of the European Union and will create a framework for EU accession talks expected next year, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address Sunday.

Zelenskyy stated that in the near future, the European Commission and his team will commence the official evaluation of Ukrainian laws to ensure they align with EU laws, also known as the screening process.

Last month, the European Commission announced that Ukraine had completed four out of seven requirements for joining the EU, such as employing anti-corruption personnel, preparing the legal system for significant changes, and bringing media laws in line with EU regulations.

The commission announced that it will reevaluate Ukraine’s advancement in March, as part of a lengthy and intricate process towards joining the EU. Katarina Mathernova, the EU’s ambassador to Ukraine, has referred to this journey as arduous.

During a two-day summit, the 27 member states of the EU made a surprise decision to begin membership negotiations with Ukraine. One leader, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, chose to abstain from voting, citing his disagreement with what he deemed a “poor decision.” He had previously stated that Ukraine had failed to meet three specific requirements.

View the corresponding coverage from journalist Arash Arabasadi.

Orban had promised for several weeks to prevent progress in the negotiations. The remaining 26 members voted to proceed with the accession negotiations after Orban conceded to exiting the room. Russia commended Hungary, known as Moscow’s strongest ally in the EU, for opposing the talks.

Hungary later blocked a $54 billion EU aid package for Ukraine in Kyiv’s defensive war

The EU is anticipated to address the matter concerning Russia in an urgent meeting at the beginning of the upcoming year.

Ukraine’s Air Force reported that Russia used an Iskander ballistic missile, a cruise missile, and attack drones in separate airstrikes overnight on Sunday.

According to the messaging app Telegram, the air force of Ukraine successfully took down a cruise missile and 20 attack drones with their air defense systems. The Iskander missile failed to reach its intended target, although no further information was given.

Reuters was unable to confirm the report on its own. The number of drones launched by Russia and the impact of the attack on potential damage or casualties remain unclear.

Unfortunately, the governor of the Odesa region in southern Ukraine shared that a civilian was killed by debris from a crashed drone on Sunday.

According to Governor Oleh Kiper on the Telegram messaging app, nine drones made by Iran were taken down by air defense systems in Odesa. This marks the third air attack by Russia in the region within the last week.


Casualties suffered by Russia in Ukraine:

According to The Kyiv Independent, Russia has incurred a loss of approximately 350,000 soldiers in Ukraine since their invasion of the neighboring nation almost two years ago.

According to the newspaper, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces has announced that a total of 346,070 troops have been lost, with 1,250 casualties occurring in the last 24 hours.

FILE - Mourners gather to lay flowers in memory of more than 60 Russian soldiers that Russia says were killed in a Ukrainian strike on Russian-controlled territory, in Samara, Russia, Jan. 3, 2023.

FILE – Mourners gather to lay flowers in memory of more than 60 Russian soldiers that Russia says were killed in a Ukrainian strike on Russian-controlled territory, in Samara, Russia, Jan. 3, 2023.

Furthermore, according to the report, Russia has suffered losses of “5,739 tanks, 10,692 armored fighting vehicles, 10,766 vehicles and fuel tanks, 8,137 artillery systems, 923 multiple-launch rocket systems, 609 air defense systems, 324 airplanes, 324 helicopters, 6,278 drones, 22 ships and boats, and one submarine.”

The British Ministry of Defense made a statement regarding Russia’s recent announcement that the presidential election in March will include several Ukrainian regions, specifically Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia. These regions were previously part of Russia’s regional elections in September.

According to the daily intelligence update from the ministry in Ukraine, the upcoming presidential election in Russian-controlled regions is expected to be neither free nor fair, similar to the recent regional elections.

The ministry stated that Russia plans to employ tactics, such as significant electoral fraud and intimidation of voters, to secure a substantial victory for Russian President Vladimir Putin in the regional elections.

According to the RIA news agency, Russia’s agriculture minister, Dmitry Patrushev, stated that Russia is not interested in extending the Black Sea grain deal that was brokered by the United Nations and Turkey with Russia and Ukraine. Patrushev also mentioned that despite the end of the grain deal, Russia’s grain export volumes have either remained stable or slightly increased.

He stated that Russia has its own purchasers for their grain shipments and also mentioned that Russia’s choice to not continue the agreement is mostly motivated by politics.

In July, Russia pulled out of the agreement. They claimed they left the deal, which permitted Ukraine to securely export grain from its Black Sea ports, due to its failure to provide grain to the most impoverished nations. Additionally, Russia cited ongoing obstacles to their own exportation of grain and fertilizer.

Certain details are sourced from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, and Reuters.