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The most recent addition to Russia's list of "foreign agents" is an online newspaper based in Moscow.
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The most recent addition to Russia’s list of “foreign agents” is an online newspaper based in Moscow.

On Friday, the Russian Justice Ministry designated The Moscow Times, a widely read online newspaper among expats, as a “foreign agent.” This is part of Russia’s ongoing efforts to suppress any media or dissent that speaks out against its actions in Ukraine.

Individuals and organizations labeled as “foreign agents” are subject to closer financial examination and must prominently state on all public materials that they have been designated as such. The intention behind this label is to diminish the credibility of the designee.

The impact of this decision on The Moscow Times is currently unclear, as the publication relocated its editorial operations outside of Russia in 2022 due to a new law that imposes harsh punishments for content deemed to discredit the Russian military and its involvement in the Ukrainian conflict.

Russia has methodically targeted people and organizations critical of the Kremlin, branding many as “foreign agents” and some as “undesirable” under a 2015 law that makes membership in such organizations a criminal offense.

The Moscow Times releases content in both English and Russian, however, its Russian version was restricted in Russia a few months after the start of the conflict in Ukraine.

Foothold across Dnipro

On Friday, the Ukrainian military announced on social media that they had established a presence on multiple strategic points on the eastern side of the Dnipro River, in close proximity to the important city of Kherson.

Russia acknowledged that Ukrainian forces had regained control of territory on the opposite side of the bank.

The Ukrainian military is attempting to move Russian troops away from the Dnipro River in order to prevent them from attacking civilian areas on the western bank, according to a statement released by the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ general staff on Friday.

Ukrainian servicemen walk on the shore of Dnipro River after exiting a boat at the front line near Kherson, Ukraine, Oct. 15, 2023.

On October 15, 2023, Ukrainian military personnel were seen walking along the banks of the Dnipro River after disembarking from a boat at the front line near Kherson, Ukraine.

On Friday, Ukraine announced that they have successfully destroyed 15 Russian naval ships and caused damage to 12 others in the Black Sea since the start of Russia’s invasion in 2022.

According to navy spokesperson Dmytro Pletenchuk, Ukraine has compelled Russia to relocate its naval forces to locations that are harder for Kyiv’s weapons to target. This information was shared during a televised statement.

According to him, Russia is facing logistical issues as they have to relocate ships to Novorossiysk and occasionally to Tuapse, which are both ports located on the eastern side of the Black Sea, southeast of Crimea and further away from Ukraine.

The Associated Press and Reuters could not independently confirm battlefield claims. Russia usually does not acknowledge damage to its military assets and says it repels most Ukrainian attacks.

More aid

The talks for Ukraine’s membership in the EU are currently in jeopardy, and there is no consensus among member countries to provide Kyiv with an additional $54 billion (50 billion euros) in financial assistance, according to a high-ranking official who requested anonymity.

According to the official, Hungary may be impeding the required consensus for Ukraine’s discussions on joining the EU.

The official stated that the European Commission’s plan to modify its budget for the long-term and allocate funds for Ukraine until 2027 was met with criticism from various perspectives within the bloc.

The official involved in organizing a summit of the EU 27 member states’ leaders on December 14-15 in Brussels, expressed concerns about the high cost of the event. They questioned how the expenses would be covered.

The negative remarks show the growing weariness and darker atmosphere among Western supporters in Kyiv due to the ongoing war.

The government of the Netherlands has allocated an additional 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion) in military assistance for Ukraine by 2024. Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren stated on Friday that this demonstrates strong support for Kyiv in their conflict with Russia.

Netherland's Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren speaks with the media as she arrives at the European Council building in Brussels, Nov. 14, 2023.

On November 14, 2023, Kajsa Ollongren, the Defense Minister of the Netherlands, spoke to the press upon her arrival at the European Council building in Brussels.

The Netherlands will be offering a larger package to Ukraine in the upcoming year, which will include an initial amount of $111 million (102 million euros) for reconstruction and humanitarian aid. This amount may be increased throughout the year if necessary.

According to Ollongren, the most recent contribution brings the total Dutch aid for Ukraine during the conflict to approximately $8 billion (7.5 billion euros).

Ollongren informed Reuters that the most important aspect for us is that we plan to offer an extra 2 billion euros in military assistance in the coming year.

Military conference

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced that a military industry conference will be held in December between Ukraine and the United States.

During his Friday evening speech, Zelenskyy announced that a conference will be held this December, bringing together Ukrainian and American industries, government officials, and other state actors to coordinate our defense efforts.

The city of Kyiv is increasing its efforts to manufacture its own weapons due to worries that Western supplies may be lacking. It also seeks to revitalize its domestic industry by collaborating with international arms manufacturers.

Ukraine’s children

Authorities in the Kharkiv region of eastern Ukraine have initiated the construction of heavily fortified underground schools, providing a secure environment for children to resume in-person learning amid ongoing Russian airstrikes in the area.

The city of Kharkiv is often the aim of Russian missiles, drones, and artillery. The governor stated on Thursday that attacks had occurred in three separate districts within the past 24 hours.

Anton Korotovskykh, the chief regional architect, stated that two schools currently being built can each hold a maximum of 500 individuals and are designed to withstand direct impact.

During an interview with Reuters, he stated that these structures will have all the necessary tools for the learning process.

According to a recent study by Yale University published on Thursday, over 2,400 Ukrainian children have been transported to Belarus since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

The report from the Humanitarian Research Lab at the Yale School of Public Health provides the most comprehensive information to date on Belarus’ suspected involvement in Russia’s coerced displacement of Ukrainian children.

The findings of the report revealed that children from Ukraine, aged 6 to 17, were taken from at least 17 cities in the territory of Ukraine that is occupied by Russia.

In addition, Kateryna Rashevska, a legal specialist at the Regional Center for Human Rights in Kyiv, reports that nearly 20,000 Ukrainian children have been forcefully transported from Ukraine to Russia since the start of the conflict.

The war crimes prosecutors in Ukraine are looking into the possibility of genocide in the forced relocation of Ukrainian children.

The Associated Press and Reuters provided some of the information included in this report.