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Ukraine updates: Russia confirms death of general

Published December 4, 2023last updated December 4, 2023

Vladimir Zavadsky is the seventh Russian general whose death has been confirmed in the war. Meanwhile, Ukraine is shifting its wartime strategy amid the winter and repeated Russian drone attacks. DW has the latest.

Russian General Vladimir Zavadsky renders a salute in Moscow
Zavadsky was only 45 years old Image: Russian Defence Ministry/REUTERS
Skip next section What you need to know

What you need to know

Russian authorities confirmed that Major General Vladimir Zavadsky has died, following Ukrainian reports last week.

Zavadsky, deputy commander of the 14th Army Corps of the Northern Fleet, died "in the line of duty in a special operation zone," the governor of Russia's Voronezh region said. Russia uses the term "special operation" to describe its war in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Ukraine said it is moving to defensive positions in some areas on the battlefield. Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said Ukrainians are prepared as Russia continues drone attacks on cities.  

This live blog is now closed. These were the updates on Russia's war in Ukraine on Monday, December 4:

Skip next section Ukraine adjusts tactics amid winter, repeated Russian drone attacks
December 4, 2023

Ukraine adjusts tactics amid winter, repeated Russian drone attacks

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said Ukraine is shifting its strategy amid the winter and constant Russian drone attacks. 

"On the frontline and in the cities, we are already moving to a different tactic of warfare — effective defense in certain areas, continuation of offensive operations in other areas, special strategic operations on the Crimean peninsula and in the Black Sea waters, and significantly reformatted missile defense of critical infrastructure," Podolyak said on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.  

He noted that Russia "has put more emphasis on drones." 

Russia has repeatedly attacked Ukrainian cities with Shahed drones in recent months. Shahed drones are made in Iran.

Iran has repeatedly denied that it supplied the Shahed drones to Russia. Tehran has maintained that it has a neutral stance amid Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine

The US and other NATO countries have imposed sanctions on entities reportedly involved in the transfer of drones from Iran to Russia.      

Skip next section Russian general killed in Ukraine
December 4, 2023

Russian general killed in Ukraine

Another Russian general has been killed while deployed in Ukraine, the governor of the Russian region of Voronezh, Alexander Gusev, announced on his Telegram channel.

"A piercing pain. Major General Vladimir Zavadsky, deputy commander of the 14th Army Corps of the Northern Fleet, died in the line of duty in a special operation zone," Gusev wrote, using the Russian term for the invasion of Ukraine.

Gusev gave no details about how Zavadsky died, but French news agency AFP reported that other Russian Telegram channels with military links had said he was killed when he stepped on a mine behind the front line, suggesting that the device may have been laid by Russian forces themselves.

Skip next section White House warns money for Ukraine will run out by year's end
December 4, 2023

White House warns money for Ukraine will run out by year's end

The White House budget chief has warned Congress that unless more aid is greenlighted soon, the US will run out of money to support Ukraine in its war against Russia.

"I want to be clear: without congressional action, by the end of the year we will run out of resources to procure more weapons and equipment for Ukraine," director of the Office of Management and Budget Shalanda Young wrote in a letter to the House speaker.

"Cutting off the flow of US weapons and equipment will kneecap Ukraine on the battlefield," she added.

Republican infighting has brought Congress to a standstill after a group of far-right lawmakers ousted Republican speaker Kevin McCarthy.

His replacement, Mike Johnson, narrowly averted a government shutdown just before Thanksgiving, but he is beholden to the far right of the party that got him into power.

President Joe Biden requested approval for $106 billion (€97.6 billion) in national security funding for Ukraine and Israel in October.

The far-right wing of the Republican Party has, however, opposed increasing funding for Ukraine as the war shows little sign of ending soon.

Can Ukraine still defeat Russia?

Skip next section First Ukrainian trucks cross Polish border at new crossing
December 4, 2023

First Ukrainian trucks cross Polish border at new crossing

Some 30 empty Ukrainian trucks have crossed through the newly opened Uhryniv-Dolhobychuv crossing from Poland to Ukraine, Ukraine's border service said.

"As of the morning of December 4, border guards cleared 30 heavy vehicles with a total permissible weight of more than 7.5 (metric) tons for departure from Ukraine at the Uhryniv checkpoint," the service said on the Telegram messaging app.

The crossing was opened on Sunday, almost a month after Polish truck drivers set up a blockade at four other border crossings in protest over what they consider unfair competition from the Ukrainian trucks.

The Polish drivers want to stop Ukrainian haulers from having permit-free access to the European Union. Kyiv has been in talks with Warsaw over the protest, but the main demands of the Polish drivers have not been met.

Skip next section War in Ukraine responsible for high level of carbon emissions
December 4, 2023

War in Ukraine responsible for high level of carbon emissions

The carbon emissions linked specifically to the first year and a half of the ongoing war in Ukraine were equivalent to one year of total carbon emissions from Belgium, according to calculations by Dutch scientist Lennard de Klerk.

The report, seen by the German news agency dpa ahead of its presentation at the COP28 summit in Dubai on Monday, said that 150 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalents had been emitted by activities specifically related to the conflict and not, for example, Ukraine's regular carbon emissions.

The study was carried out by the Initiative on GHG Accounting of War. It found that a quarter of the emissions came from the consumption of fuel by troops.

Another 15% came from fires while 12% came from aircraft having to take longer detours to avoid flying over the conflict zone.

But the greatest source of emissions — including various greenhouse gases that are calculated as CO2 equivalents — was connected to the reconstruction of buildings and infrastructure that had been damaged or destroyed, such as the Kakhovka Dam in southern Ukraine. 

Reconstruction alone amounted to 54.7 million tons of CO2 equivalents, equal to 36% of the total emissions calculated in the report.

Skip next section UK estimates total Russian casualties to be around 320,000
December 4, 2023

UK estimates total Russian casualties to be around 320,000

In its daily intelligence update, the UK Ministry of Defence said the number of Russian combatants in Ukraine who had either died or been wounded since the beginning of the Russian invasion in February 2022 was likely around 320,000.

The breakdown of the casualty estimates was between 180,000 and 240,000 military personnel wounded and approximately 50,000 killed, plus some 40,000 wounded and 20,000 killed Wagner mercenaries.

This amounts to between 220,000 and 280,000 total wounded and 70,000 total dead, according to the estimates by the UK ministry.

"Even amongst Russian officials there is likely a low level of understanding about total casualty figures because of a long-established culture of dishonest reporting within the military," the intelligence update added.

Skip next section Belarus's Lukashenko back in China for talks
December 4, 2023

Belarus's Lukashenko back in China for talks

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko was back in China on Monday where he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing.

State media in Belarus reported that Lukashenko — a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin — was on a  "working visit" that included three hours of talks with the Chinese premier.

"China is willing to continue to strengthen strategic cooperation with Belarus, promote practical cooperation and deepen bilateral relations," Xi told his guest, according to Chinese state news agency Xinhua.

"The two sides should implement projects like the China-Belarus Industrial Park and promote more achievements in China-Belarus industrial cooperation," Xinhua reported Xi as saying.

Belarus, like its neighbor Russia, is under Western sanctions and so has turned to China to increase commercial ties.

Belarusian and Chinese representatives have made numerous visits to each others' countries since March.

Skip next section Over 20 Russian drones launched at Ukraine overnight, Kyiv says
December 4, 2023

Over 20 Russian drones launched at Ukraine overnight, Kyiv says

Ukraine said that it had been targeted by more than 20 drones in a wave of strikes overnight.

The Ukrainian air force said it had managed to shoot down 18 of the 23 drones. It also said it had shot down one Russian missile.

"As a result of combat operations, 18 attack drones and one X-59 guided missile were destroyed," it said on social media.

The drone strikes were reportedly launched from the Russian-occupied Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea.

Air defenses were activated in nine different regions of the country.

Of the drones that did make it through, at least one reached the city of Kherson where a cultural center and shop were hit.

Drones have taken an ever greater role in the ongoing conflict as ground forces become entrenched and front lines see little movement.

Russian drones change Ukraine's tactics on eastern front

Skip next section Oil depot in Luhansk hit by Ukrainian drone strike
December 4, 2023

Oil depot in Luhansk hit by Ukrainian drone strike

A Ukrainian drone strike has hit an oil depot in the Russian-held Ukrainian region of Luhansk, Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported on Monday.

The strike caused a fire at the facility which was later reportedly extinguished. The Russian news agency gave no information about injuries.

The region of Luhansk — named after Ukraine's easternmost city — lies on the border with Russia and is one of the four regions that Russia claimed to annex in September 2022, in violation of international law.

ab/nm (Reuters, AP, AFP)