Mon, 11 Dec 2023

Russia said Wednesday its air defenses destroyed 31 Ukrainian drones that were part of attempted attacks on Russian territory overnight.

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Telegram that it downed the drones over the Belgorod, Bryansk and Kursk regions. All three regions are located along the Russia-Ukraine border.

Alexander Bogomaz, the regional governor of Bryansk, said Ukrainian forces fired cluster munitions at several villages, damaging several homes. Bogomaz said there were no casualties reported.

Russia's military said it also stopped a group of Ukrainian troops that were using a high-speed boat and jet skis to try to "penetrate the territory of Crimea."

U.S. President Joe Biden called key Western allies on Tuesday to reassure them of continued American military support for Ukraine's fight against Russia after hardline right-wing congressional Republicans over the weekend forced the exclusion of immediate new funding for Kyiv.

The White House said Biden spoke with the leaders of Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, Poland, Romania, Britain, and of the European Union and NATO, along with the foreign minister of France.

"President Biden convened a call this morning with allies and partners to coordinate our ongoing support for Ukraine,' the White House said in a statement.

Later, White House national security spokesman John Kirby said Biden reaffirmed the strong commitment of the United States to supporting Ukraine as it defends itself "for as long as it takes, as did every other leader on the call."

Kirby said the leaders discussed efforts to continue providing Ukraine with the ammunition and the weapons systems that it needs to defend itself and to continue strengthening Ukrainian air defenses as they prepare for more attacks on critical infrastructure. "Now, certainly, but also certainly in the winter months ahead," Kirby said.

Some right-wing Republicans have balked at new funding for Kyiv, contending that Ukraine's fight against Russia is not a strategic U.S. national security interest, although the large majority of U.S. lawmakers still appear to support more aid.

Some information for this story came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters

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