Sunday, December 31, 2023

Report: U.S. And U.K. Planning Strikes On Houthi Rebels

Components of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (IKECSG), guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) and French Navy frigate FS Languedoc (D 653) transit the Strait of Hormuz November 25, 2023. (photo credit: VIA REUTERS)  

Jerusalem Post: UK, US planning strikes as 10 Houthis killed in Red Sea  

The Houthis warned that the US 'bears the consequences' of the deaths of the ten militants

Ten Iran-backed Houthi militants were killed after the US sunk their boats during an attempted attack by the militants against a container ship in the southern Red Sea, the militant group announced on Sunday evening. 

On Sunday morning, the Maersk Hangzhou container ship issued a distress call after being attacked by four Houthi small boats, as the Houthis fired on the vessel and attempted to board it, according to US Central Command (CENTCOM). The security team on the vessel returned fire. 

When the US helicopters from the USS Eisenhower and USS Gravely arrived at the scene, the Houthis fired at them as well. The helicopters returned fire, sinking three of the four boats and killing their crews. The fourth boat fled the area.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: The White House is sending a different message .... White House says it is not seeking wider conflict after US helicopters sink Houthi boats in Red Sea, killing crews (CNN).

Russia Retakes Territory Won By Ukraine During Their Summer Counteroffensive

Assessed control of terrain around Robotyne, Zaporizhzhia Oblast, as of 27 December 2023. Credit: ISW  

New York Times: Russia Retakes Some Land Hard Won by Ukraine During Counteroffensive 

KYIV, Ukraine — Russia has recaptured land hard won by Ukrainian troops at the peak of their summer counteroffensive in the south, making progress around the southern village of Robotyne. 

The situation has reinforced the war’s latest reality: With their counteroffensive stalled, Ukrainian troops are now on the back foot in many places. Besides Robotyne in the south, they are also struggling in the east, having all but retreated from the town of Marinka, officials said this week. 

Deepening their challenges, Ukraine is increasingly worried that its military will not have the resources to keep up the fight. The United States announced Wednesday that it was releasing the last remaining Congress-approved package of military aid available to Ukraine.  

Read more ....  

Update #1: ISW: Russian forces regain positions near Robotyne in Zaporizhzhia Oblast (Euromaidan)  

Update #2: Positional fighting continues near Robotyne – ISW (Ukrainska Pravda)  

WNU Editor: Thousands of Ukrainian soldiers were either killed or wounded when the counteroffensive to reclaim this territory was launched this summer. And now they are being pushed back. I still remember all the military pundits on US main stream media this summer predicting that the Russian Army would collapse in a few weeks. They were completely wrong. Sighhh .... what a waste.

US Republican Senator Believes Ukraine Must Cede Land To Russia To End The War


DNYUZ/Newsweek: Ukraine Faces Growing Calls From US to Cede Land to Russia 

 A Republican senator has said Ukraine could give land to Russia in “America’s best interest” to put an end to the war there. 

Ohio Senator J.D. Vance said it was preposterous to think that the Ukrainian military was going to force Russian troops back to the border crossed during the invasion in February 2022. 

Vance told CNN‘s State of the Union: “What’s in America’s best interest is to accept Ukraine is going to have to cede some territory to the Russians and we need to bring this war to a close.”

The Biden administration has been a staunch backer of Ukrainian efforts to repel Vladimir Putin‘s Russian invaders, but President Joe Biden has faced difficulty getting his latest request for funding through Congress. Newsweek contacted representatives of Vance and the White House by email on Saturday.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: Ohio Senator J.D. Vance is stating the obvious on what needs to be done to end the war. But his view is in the minority when it comes to US support for Ukraine in this war.

Report Says USS Gerald R. Ford To Leave The Eastern Mediterranean In The 'Coming Days'

USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier refuels from the underway replenishment oiler USNS Laramie in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, October 11, 2023. (US Navy photo via AP)  

ABC News: Exclusive: US to bring back aircraft carrier from eastern Mediterranean  

The USS Gerald R. Ford will leave "in coming days," two U.S. officials say. 

The USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier strike group will leave the eastern Mediterranean Sea, where it was sent just after the start of the Israel-Hamas war in October, in the "coming days," two U.S. officials tell ABC News. 

The Ford is the U.S. Navy's newest and largest aircraft carrier and was nearing the end of its first operational deployment when it was redirected to the eastern Mediterranean the day after Hamas terrorists launched an unprecedented surprise attack on Israel on Oct. 7. 

Read more ....  

Update #1: US said set to pull one of its aircraft carriers away from Middle East (Times of Israel) 

Update #2: USS Gerald R. Ford to Leave the Eastern Mediterranean, ABC Says (Bloomberg)  

WNU Editor: This contradicts earlier reports that said the Ford's deployment was extended .... USS Ford to remain in the Mediterranean Sea amid Israel-Hamas war (Navy Times/AP).

Russia - Ukraine War News Updates -- December 31, 2023 (Videos)


WNU Editor: A lot of updates today.

Former NATO Commander Believes China Won't Be Ready For A War With The US 'For About 10 Years'

Business Insider: Former NATO commander reckons that China won't be ready for a war with the US 'for about 10 years' 

* Retired US Navy Adm. James Stavridis says China isn't ready to fight the US in the next 10 years. 

* "If we ended up in a war with China, it wouldn't be just the US and China," Stavridis said. 

* Stavridis said US allies such as Japan and South Korea would come to their aid if war breaks out. 

China wouldn't be able to fight the US if war were to break out within the next decade, said a former NATO supreme allied commander. 

"China, in my estimation, will not be ready to take on the US in a very mature way for about 10 years," retired US Navy Adm. James Stavridis said in an interview on The Michael Medved Show, which aired on Wednesday. 

Stavridis had served as NATO chief from 2009 to 2013. Before taking the helm of NATO, he was the Commander of the US Southern Command from 2006 to 2009, overseeing military operations in Latin America.  

Read more .... 

Update #1: 'China not ready to take on US in war for 10 years': Ex-NATO commander's huge prediction (Express)  

Update #2: Former NATO Commander's Prediction About War With China (Newsweek) 

WNU Editor: I do not share retired US Navy Adm. James Stavridis' view on China's capabilities that far in the future. My gut tells me that China will be ready sooner. Maybe within 5 years.

Russian President Putin Delivers Annual New Year’s Address To The Country


BBC: Vladimir Putin makes little mention of Ukraine in new year speech 

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for united support of his army in his annual new year address, without explicitly referring to the war he is waging in Ukraine. 

The Kremlin leader hailed his soldiers as "heroes... at the forefront of the fight for truth". 

He also referenced economic issues, a key topic for many Russians, and declared 2024 the "year of the family". 

The address was a more subdued affair than the previous year's.  

Read more .... 

Russian President Putin Delivers Annual New Year’s Address To The Country 

Putin makes passing Ukraine reference in New Year's Eve address -- CNBC/Reuters  

Putin lauds Russian unity in his New Year’s address -- Politico/AP  

Putin Praises Army in Scaled-Back New Year's Eve Address -- Moscow Times/AFP  

Putin says Russia will never give up in New Year's address -- DPA  

Putin warns Russia 'will never back down' in New Year's Eve message - after sinister tyrant rained hell on Ukraine -- Daily Mail  

Putin praises ‘hero soldiers’ in New Year’s address -- RT  

Putin Calls 2023 Year Russia Defended National Interests, Security in New Year's Address -- Sputnik 

Putin addresses Russians with New Year's greetings from Kremlin -- TASS  

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers annual New Year’s address to the country -- Meduza

US Navy Helicopters Sink Three Houthi Boats Attacking Merchant Ship In Red Sea


ABC News: US Navy sinks 3 Houthi boats attacking merchant ship in Red Sea, US says  

The U.S. Navy sank three small boats, killing the crew, military officials said. 

U.S. Navy helicopters returned fire and and sank three small boats carrying Houthi militants in the Red Sea on Sunday, after U.S. warships responded to a distress call from a merchant vessel, military officials said. 

A Maersk container ship, the Singapore-flagged Hangzhou, issued a distress call at about 6:30 a.m. local time, U.S. Central Command said in a statement on Sunday. The merchant vessel said four small boats were attacking it.  

Read more .... 

 US Navy Helicopters Sink Three Houthi Boats Attacking Merchant Ship In Red Sea  

US Navy helicopters destroy Houthi boats in Red Sea after attempted hijack -- BBC  

U.S. helicopters kill several Houthi rebels after latest Red Sea shipping attack -- CBC/AP  

US Navy helicopters kill Iran-backed Houthi fighters attempting to board a cargo ship in Red Sea -- Business Insider  

US Navy helicopters repel Houthi attack on Maersk container ship in Red Sea -- ABC News Australia  

US Navy helicopters destroy Houthi boats after attempted Red Sea hijack -- The Independent  

U.S. Navy sinks Houthi boats after container ship attack -- Axios  

US army attacks three Houthi boats in Red Sea, killing at least 10 fighters -- Al Jazeera 

U.S. Navy Helo Crews Kill Houthi Assault Boat Teams After Red Sea Attack -- USNI News

North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un Orders His Generals To Draw Up Plans For 'Nuclear Missile Attack'


The Telegraph: Kim Jong-Un orders military chiefs to plan nuclear strike against South Korea 

Kim Jong-Un ordered his military chiefs to draw up plans for nuclear strikes on South Korea as he said war could break out at “any time”. 

Wrapping up five-days of meetings with party leaders, the North Korean dictator accused the US of driving the region to the “brink of nuclear war”. 

Kim, whose speech was cheered, according to state news media, pledged to boost Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal and build three new spy satellites.  

Read more .... 

More News On North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un's Warnings On War  

Kim Jong-un orders North Korea to draw up plans for 'nuclear missile attack' -- Mirror  

North Korea's Kim Jong Un warns 2024 will bring more nuclear weapons, spy satellites and war 'at any time' -- ABC News Australia 

Kim Jong Un warns war is 'realistic reality' as he pledges to build more nuclear weapons in 2024 -- SKY News  

North Korea's Kim Jong Un orders military to prepare for possible 'war' -- France 24  

North Korea's Kim orders military to accelerate war preparations -- Reuters  

Kim Jong Un reveals New Year's resolution to make more nukes and launch military satellites -- FOX News  

Korean unification ‘impossible’ – Kim -- RT

2023, In 7 Minutes


WNU Editor: 2923 was not a good year for the West .... Why 2023 was an uncomfortable year for the West (BBC). U.S. President Biden's policies are being questioned .... Biden's foreign policy challenges in 2023: China, Russia and war in the Middle East (FOX News).

Wall Street Journal: Almost 70% Of Gaza Homes Have Been Damaged Or Destroyed


Wall Street Journal: The Ruined Landscape of Gaza After Nearly Three Months of Bombing 

The war in the Gaza Strip is generating destruction comparable in scale to the most devastating urban warfare in the modern record. 

By mid-December, Israel had dropped 29,000 bombs, munitions and shells on the strip. Nearly 70% of Gaza’s 439,000 homes and about half of its buildings have been damaged or destroyed. The bombing has damaged Byzantine churches and ancient mosques, factories and apartment buildings, shopping malls and luxury hotels, theaters and schools. Much of the water, electrical, communications and healthcare infrastructure that made Gaza function is beyond repair.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: Over 200 archeological sites have been destroyed .... Israeli Forces Destroyed over 200 Archeological Sites in Gaza - Reports (Palestine Chronicle). More here .... Israeli army destroyed more than 200 archeological sites in Gaza: Report (Middle East Monitor). 

Almost 70% Of Gaza Homes Have Been Damaged Or Destroyed  

Israel-Hamas war: 70% of Gaza homes destroyed in fighting, WSJ claims -- Jerusalem Post  

Almost 70% Of Gaza Homes Damaged Or Destroyed In Israel-Hamas War: Report -- NDTV/Asian News International

Israeli bombardment destroyed over 70% of Gaza homes: Report -- Al Jazeera

Chinese President Xi Jinping's New Year Address


SCMP: Chinese President Xi Jinping pledges reform in future-focused New Year’s address 

* Xi offers upbeat assessment of the economy's resilience, pointing to advances in various industrial projects 

* Wind and rain are the norm, he says, acknowledging pressures on people and businesses 

Growth and stability were the two big themes of Chinese President Xi Jinping's New Year's address to the country on Sunday night, as he put the focus firmly on future progress.

Flanked by photos of his family and images from his tours around the country, Xi called for continued efforts towards modernisation and pledged further reform and opening up. 

"We must persist in seeking progress while maintaining stability, promoting stability through advancement," he said. 

Read more .... 

Chinese President Xi Jinping's New Year Address 

Full text of President Xi Jinping's 2024 New Year message -- Xinhua  

Xi says China to consolidate and enhance economic recovery in 2024 -- Reuters  

China's Xi hails 'resilient' economy in bullish New Year speech -- AFP  

Xi Pledges to Strengthen Economic Recovery After ‘Tough’ Year -- Bloomberg 

Xi Jinping’s New Year Speech: Emphasis on Reunification and Economic Development -- BNN

These Are The States Where Either Officials Have Decided Trump Can't Appear On A Ballot, Or Where Litigation Is Currently Underway

Colorado and Maine have said Trump cannot appear on ballots; in the other highlighted states, litigation is underway to block him  

New York Times: What to Know About the Efforts to Remove Trump From the 2024 Ballot 

The campaign to have former President Donald Trump removed from the ballot over his efforts to remain in power after the 2020 election has kicked into high gear, with decisions in two states, Maine and Colorado, barring him from the primary ballots. 

Challenges are still underway in many more states, based on an obscure clause of a constitutional amendment enacted after the Civil War that disqualifies government officials who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” from holding office. 

Over the years, the courts and Congress have done little to clarify how that criterion should apply, adding urgency to the calls for the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on the politically explosive dispute before the upcoming election.  

Read more ....  

Update: CO, ME Just The Start Of Trump Ballot-Blocking: These 20 States Have Suits In Progress (Zero Hedge)  

WNU Editor: This must be a huge distraction in time and money for the former President. And IMHO it is working.

German Government Is Considering The Reintroduction Of Compulsory Military Service

Advertising postcard for the Bundeswehr (Armed Forces). It reads: “After school, already planned anything  

DW: Germany mulls reintroduction of compulsory military service 

The Bundeswehr is facing a dramatic shortage in personnel. Now Defense Minister Boris Pistorius has rekindled the debate over reintroducing conscription. 

At the end of October, the Bundeswehr said it counted 181,383 soldiers in its ranks — that's still some distance from the target of 203,000 that the German military hopes to reach by 2025. This has given rise to concern in times of Russia's war against Ukraine, which has once again reminded Germans how quickly conflicts can erupt in Europe. 

Since taking office at the beginning of 2023, Defense Minister Boris Pistorius has been thinking about ways to make the Bundeswehr more attractive as a career. He said he has received 65 concrete proposals from his ministry on recruitment and reforming training methods.  

Read more ....  

Update #1: Senior German coalition politician: Conscription should be reviewed (DPA)  

Update #2: Germany considers bringing back military service as it seeks to boost troop numbers (The Telegraph) 

WNU Editor: This is old news. The German debate on imposing conscription started earlier this year .... German politicians and military chiefs suggest return of conscription (The Guardian). It was not well received then, and it will not be accepted now.

Saturday, December 30, 2023

US Central Command Says Missile Fired From Houthi-Controlled Yemen Strikes Merchant Vessel In Red Sea


The Guardian: Missile hits Red Sea container ship, US destroyers shoot down two more 

Warships responded to call from Maersk Hangzhou when they came under fire from Houthi rebel-held part of Yemen, says US Central Command 

An American destroyer shot down two anti-ship ballistic missiles fired from Yemen Saturday as it responded to a call for help from a container ship that was hit separately, the US Central Command (Centcom) said. 

Centcom said the US destroyers Gravely and Laboon responded to a request for assistance from the Maersk Hangzhou, a Singapore-flagged, Denmark-owned and operated container ship that reported being struck by a missile while transiting the Red Sea. 

While responding, missiles were launched toward the ships from territory controlled by the Iran-backed Houthi rebels, Centcom said.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: No kidding .... Houthis show no sign of ending attacks on ships in the Red Sea, U.S. commander says (AP). 

 Update: Houthi leaders threaten more Red Sea attacks (see video below). 


 US Central Command Says Missile Fired From Houthi-Controlled Yemen Strikes Merchant Vessel In Red Sea  

US Shoots Down Houthi Anti-Ship Missiles For Second Time In 3 Days -- AFP  

Missile fired from Houthi-controlled Yemen strikes merchant vessel in Red Sea, Pentagon says -- CBS  

US Shoots Down Two Anti-Ship Missiles Launched by Houthi Targeting Maersk Vessel -- Bloomberg 

Maersk container ship struck by missile in Red Sea — US Central Command -- TASS

Israel And Hezbollah Continue To Launch Attacks Against Each Other


Times of Israel: IDF strikes Lebanon after Hezbollah rocket fire, reportedly targets Syria’s Aleppo  

‘Widespread’ strikes target Hezbollah stronghold of Kafr Kila, as well as Bint Jbeil and Marwahin; northern resident lightly injured after anti-tank missile near miss 

The Israel Defense Forces said Saturday it carried out “widespread” strikes on Hezbollah sites in southern Lebanon as the Iran-backed terror group continued to attack communities in northern Israel with rockets and drones. 

According to the IDF, strikes were carried out in two waves on a series of sites belonging to the terror group in Kafr Kila on Saturday morning and afternoon. 

The IDF said Kafr Kila is a Hezbollah stronghold, where the terror group “uses the infrastructure in the area for terror purposes, exploiting the civilian population and using it as a human shield for its operations.”  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: These attacks show no signs of ending anytime soon.  

Update: Many believe the current fight between Hezbollah and Israel is actually a fight between Israel and Iran .... Israel-Iran Tensions Rise as Israeli Forces Trade Fire With Militias in Syria, Lebanon (WSJ). 

 Israel And Hezbollah Continue To Launch Attacks Against Each Other  

Live: IDF says it launched ‘widespread’ strikes on Hezbollah stronghold in south Lebanon -- Times of Israel  

Netanyahu warns Hezbollah, Iran and sees flexibility on hostage deal -- Jerusalem Post  

Israel Gaza war: Israel warns Hezbollah and Lebanon over border fighting -- BBC

Hezbollah strikes Israeli military sites, confirms direct hits -- Al Mayadeen  

IDF: 80% of Hezbollah's rockets don't reach Israel, land inside Lebanon -- Jerusalem Post  

Tensions between Israel and Hezbollah rise amid fears of the war spilling over -- NPR

White House Announces $150M Emergency Arms Sale To Israel


CNN: Biden admin again bypasses Congress to sell military equipment to Israel 

The Biden administration for the second time this month has bypassed Congress to approve the transfer of nearly $150 million in military equipment to Israel amid the country’s war against Hamas. 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken informed Congress that he has made an emergency determination to immediately approve the transfer of “155mm ancillary items including fuzes, charges, and primers that make 155mm shells functional,” a State Department spokesperson said Friday. 

“Given the urgency of Israel’s defensive needs, the secretary notified Congress that he had exercised his delegated authority to determine an emergency existed necessitating the immediate approval of the transfer,” the spokesperson said.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: The US President is facing opposition within his own party .... Virginia senator Tim Kaine condemns Biden’s arms transfer to Israel (The Guardian). 

White House Announces $150M Emergency Arms Sale To Israel  

The Biden administration once again bypasses Congress on an emergency weapons sale to Israel -- AP  

US skips congressional review to approve sale of artillery projectiles to Israel -- Reuters 

White House announces $147M emergency arms sale to Israel -- UPI  

Biden administration bypasses Congress on weapons sales to Israel -- Al Jazeera  

Biden administration works around Congress in another Israel emergency weapons sale -- Axios

 US approves ‘emergency’ arms sale to Israel -- RT

Israel - Hamas War -- News Updates December 30, 2023


Times of Israel: Israeli forces push deeper into central and southern Gaza amid airstrikes 

Palestinian residents report heavy air, artillery fire; IDF says it killed dozens of terror operatives, raided Hamas intel HQ in Khan Younis; Ground op death toll rises to 170 

Israeli tanks pushed deeper into districts in central and southern Gaza Friday overnight and Saturday under heavy air and artillery fire, pressing forward with the ground campaign in Israel’s war against Hamas terrorists. 

Fighting late on Friday and early Saturday was focused in al-Bureij, Nuseirat, and Maghazi in central Gaza, and Khan Younis in the southern part of the Strip, backed by intensive air strikes. 

A Hamas health official alleged the strikes had killed 100 Palestinians and injured 150 in the central Gaza Strip over the past 24 hours. The terror group does not differentiate in its reports between civilians and combatants.  

Read more .... 

Israel - Hamas War -- News Updates December 30, 2023 

 Live: Netanyahu says war with Hamas will continue ‘for many months’ -- France 24 

Israel-Hamas War Day 85: Netanyahu threatens Iran, IDF deep in Gaza -- Jerusalem Post  

Israel-Hamas war: IDF says it destroyed Hamas hideout -- DW  

Humanitarian crisis worsens in Gaza as Israel-Hamas war rages -- CNN  

Netanyahu says Gaza war on Hamas will go on for ‘many more months,’ thanks US for new weapons sales -- AP  

Netanyahu says war in Gaza will continue for months until all goals are attained -- TASS 

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says military seeks full control of Gaza-Egypt border -- ABC News Australia  

Israeli army is locked in street battles in Hamas stronghold as Tel-Aviv also launches strikes on Iran-backed Hezbollah militants in Lebanon and Syria -- Daily Mail  

Gaza death toll climbs amid fierce fighting in south -- Euronews  

Israel bombs refugee camps in central Gaza -- Politico  

Tens of thousands flee central Gaza as Israel's offensive expands -- CBS/AP 

Israeli bombing of Gaza is killing and maiming children at 'record pace' -- The Independent 

Israel-Gaza war: Displaced Gazans 'living in the open', UN says -- BBC  

Israel rejects S. Africa's genocide case, WHO warns of infectious diseases in Gaza -- France 24  

‘Blood libel’: Israel slams South Africa for filing ICJ genocide motion over Gaza war -- Times of Israel  

Netanyahu Aims for Israeli Control on Gaza -- VOA 

As Gaza death toll mounts, Israelis look in vain for any sign of victory -- The Guardian

Russia - Ukraine War News Updates -- December 30, 2023 (Videos)


WNU Editor: The above videos are confirming what I have been hearing from Kyiv in the past few days. Ukraine is now being forced to withdraw from the territories that it was able to retake in their summer counteroffensive.

Russia Accuses Ukraine Of Using Cluster Bombs In Its Against The City Of Belgorod


Bloomberg: Russia Vows Revenge for Strike on City Near Ukraine Border 

(Bloomberg) -- Russia’s defense ministry vowed revenge for a deadly strike on Belgorod, claiming that Ukraine’s military had used so-called cluster bombs in the attack. “This crime will not go unpunished,” the ministry said in a statement about the strike on the city about 30 kilometers (19 miles) north of Russia’s border with Ukraine. 

At least 18 people were killed, the New York Times reported, citing Russian authorities. The dead included two children, and more than 100 people were injured. 

Multiple explosions were heard on Saturday evening in Ukrainian cities from Kharkiv and Sumy, near the Russian border, to Kherson in the south, with widespread air raid alerts triggered. 

Russia’s foreign ministry has called for a United Nations Security Council meeting Saturday to discuss the attack, Tass said.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: This attack was done deliberately in the middle of the day when civilians are on the street. 

More News On Today's Ukraine Strikes On the Russian City Of Belgorod  

Ukraine updates: Russia decries 'terrorist' Belgorod strike -- DW  

Shelling kills 21 in Russian city of Belgorod following Moscow’s aerial attacks across Ukraine -- AP  

Ukraine war: Kremlin says 20 dead after attack on Russian city -- BBC  

Shelling in Russian border city kills 21 and injures 110 -- The Guardian 

Ukrainian shelling kills 21 Russian civilians, Russia says, a day after Moscow launched major aerial assault -- CNN  

Russia accuses Kyiv of 'terrorist' attack on Belgorod civilians -- France 24 

Strike on Belgorod that killed more than a dozen 'will not go unpunished', Russia says -- France 24  

Shelling on Russia's Belgorod kills 18 after Moscow's aerial assault against Ukraine -- ABC News Australia 

Russian News Coverage On Today's Attack On Belgorod  

21 dead in Ukrainian attack of Russian border city – governor -- RT 

'Criminal' Belgorod Strikes Designed to Distract From Kiev Regime's Failures at Front - Russian MoD -- Sputnik  

Kiev used banned weapons in attack on Russian city – Defense Ministry -- RT  

Russian UN Envoy Calls Ukraine's Strikes on Belgorod Deliberate Terrorist Attacks -- Sputnik  

Russia’s UN envoy says Kiev regime shells Russian cities to please West -- TASS  

West complicit in Ukraine’s deadly strikes on Belgorod – Moscow -- RT  

Russia’s envoy describes Ukraine’s shelling of Belgorod as premeditated terrorist attack -- TASS  

Ukrainian attack on Belgorod ‘unacceptable’ – UN -- RT  

Most of damaged buildings in Belgorod are residential houses — emergencies services -- TASS  

Russian civilians in the city of Belgorod describe the first hours of Saturday’s attack -- Meduza

Global Defense Orders Are Soaring

Zero Hedge: World On Fire Sends Global Defense Orders Soaring 

The world now teeters dangerously close to a major military conflict. This brewing storm of global unrest in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and the South China Sea signals a chilling reminder of the world on fire. 

The shift towards a multipolar world has led to a surge in military spending by countries. New data from the Financial Times reveals that the world's top defense firms have been bombarded with orders from tanks to fighter jets to missiles. 

Britain's BAE Systems, South Korea's Hanwha Aerospace, and the United State's Lockheed Martin, along with twelve other defense firms, were found to have combined order backlogs of $777.6 billion at the end of 2022, up from $701.2 billion two years earlier - or about a 10% increase.  

Read more ....  

Update: Global defense orders surge amid escalating geopolitical tensions (Voice of Europe)  

WNU Editor: Here is an easy prediction. 2024 is going to be a banner year for these defense firms.

Editor's Note

On the road today. Blogging will return this evening.

Chinesed President Xi Urges China's Foreign Ministry To Create A 'Diplomatic Iron Army'

China's President Xi Jinping speaks at the "Senior Chinese Leader Event" held by the National Committee on US-China Relations and the US-China Business Council on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in San Francisco, California, U.S., November 15, 2023. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/Pool/File Photo  

Reuters: Xi urges Chinese envoys to create 'diplomatic iron army' 

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday urged Chinese ambassadors to forge a "diplomatic iron army" loyal to the Communist Party, reviving the abrasive "Wolf Warrior" rhetoric propagated by some diplomats as a sign of China's increasingly assertive foreign policy. 

"Dare to be good at struggle and to become defenders of the national interest. It is necessary to... resolutely safeguard the interests of national sovereignty, security and development with a posture of readiness and a firm will to defy strong powers," Xi told Chinese overseas envoys gathered in Beijing, state broadcaster CCTV reported. 

His remarks harked back to a more brash, confrontational style of rhetoric adopted by Chinese diplomats since 2020, which had been less prominent this year as China sought to attract foreign investment for its weakened economy.  

Read more ....  

Update #1: Xi says China must fight ‘escalating oppression’ from West with ‘diplomatic iron army’ -- FOX News  

Update #2: China’s Leaders Seek to Raise Global Clout to ‘A New Level’ -- Bloomberg News  

WNU Editor: President Xi is signaling an aggressive foreign policy in 2024.

U.S. President Biden Warns The US Military May Get Pulled Into A Direct Conflict With Russia

President Joe Biden warned about the rising risk of the US getting pulled into a direct conflict with Russia. By: MEGA © Knewz (CA)  

Newsweek: Biden Warns US Military May Get Pulled Into Direct Conflict With Russia 

President Joe Biden warned that the United States is at risk of being pulled into a direct conflict with Russia if the Kremlin succeeds in its war against Ukraine. 

Biden's statement follows Russia's massive aerial attack across Ukraine on Friday. Kyiv air force officials said that about 110 missiles struck Ukraine, hitting hospitals, residential buildings and a shopping center. At least 31 citizens were killed in the attack and another 120 wounded, according to Ukraine officials cited by Reuters. 

"Overnight, Russia launched its largest aerial assault on Ukraine since this war began," Biden said in a statement released Friday. "It is a stark reminder to the world that, after nearly two years of this devastating war, Putin's objective remains unchanged. He seeks to obliterate Ukraine and subjugate its people. He must be stopped."  

Read more ....  

Update #1: Biden Warns of Direct U.S. Involvement in Europe if Putin Left Unchecked After Aerial Assault on Ukraine (KNEWZ)  

Update #2: Biden Warns US Military May Get Pulled Into Direct Conflict (  

WNU Editor: US President Biden's statement is here .... Statement from President Joe Biden on Russia’s Aerial Assault on Ukraine (White House).

Friday, December 29, 2023

Russia - Ukraine War News Updates -- December 29, 2023 (Videos)


WNU Editor: A lot of updates today.

Ukrainian Ministry Of Defense Certifies Body Armor Designed For Female Military Personnel

Groundbreaking Development: Ukraine Certifies Body Armor Tailored for Female Soldiers © Provided by (CA)  

The New Voice of Ukraine: Ukrainian Ministry of Defense certifies female body armor 

The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine announced that it has certified the first body armor designed for female military personnel on December 27th. It has an outwardly curved armor plate and narrowed shoulders. It also includes extended portions that cover more of the lower body. 

It is noted that female soldiers are uncomfortable working with weapons in men's body armor due to typically having narrower shoulders and a wider pelvis than their male counterparts. 

Read more ....  

Update #1: Defense Ministry approves first body armor for female soldiers (The Kyiv Independent)  

Update #2: Groundbreaking Development: Ukraine Certifies Body Armor Tailored for Female Soldiers (  

WNU Editor: Ukraine is running out of men to fight this war. This announcement only tells me that women are now going to be deployed near the front lines providing military and medical support.

With Western Aid Drying Up Millions Of Ukrainians Are About To See Their Salaries & Pensions Put On Hold

A teacher leads a class about mine safety in a kindergarten in Kryvyi Rih, Ukraine, Sept. 14, 2023. Teachers, along with civil servants and pensioners, could see delayed pay if Western aid to the country is not approved soon, officials say. 

VOA: Report: Ukraine May Have to Delay Salaries, Pensions Without Foreign Aid  

Ukraine's government faces the prospect of delaying pensions and salaries for public servants if crucial Western financial aid is not approved soon, Deputy Prime Minister Yulia Svyrydenko told the Financial Times on Wednesday.

Kyiv has poured all its revenue into defense since Russia's February 2022 invasion, relying on foreign support to cover everything from pensions to social payments. But key funding packages, including $55.54 billion from the European Union, have been blocked in Brussels and Washington.  

Read more ....  

Update: Millions Of Ukrainians About To See Salaries & Pensions Paused As Western Aid Dries Up (Zero Hedge)  

WNU Editor: The below tweet is probably true.

US Has Denied Israel's Request For Apache Attack Helicopters

IDF AH-64 Apache attack helicopterOfer Zidon/Flash90  

The New Arab: US denies Israeli request for more Apache attack helicopters: report  

The US has denied an Israeli request for more Apache attack helicopters, after making muted criticism of the conduct of the war on Gaza. 

The United States has denied Israel's request for more of the Apache attack helicopters being used in its war on Gaza and its attacks in the West Bank and Lebanon, Israeli media reported Tuesday. 

Israel made the request to the US Defence Department for more Apache helicopters in recent weeks, and the request arose again when Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant met his US counterpart Lloyd Austin in Israel last week, the Israeli Ynet news site reported.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: The U.S. has also rejected Ukraine's request for Apache attack helicopters .... US Rejects Israel’s & Ukraine’s Request For AH-64 Apache Choppers To Fight Hamas & Russia – Reports (EurAsian Times). 

US Has Denied Israel's Request For Apache Attack Helicopters  

US denies Israel's request for Apache attack helicopters -- YNet News  

Request rejected: Israel asked for fighter helicopters - the US said no -- 7 Israel National News  

US rejects Israeli request for Apache attack helicopters amid Gaza war -- Middle East Monitor  

Israel Pressures US For More Apache Helicopters Even While Owning Up To Mass Civilian Casualty Airstrikes -- Zero Hedge

U.S. Guided-Missile Destroyer USS Mason Shoots Down Houthi Drone, Ballistic Missile In Red Sea

The guided-missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG-87) sails in the Gulf of Aden Nov. 25, 2023. US Navy Photo  

USNI News: USS Mason Shoots Down Houthi Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile 

USS Mason (DDG-87) shot down an anti-ship missile and a drone fired by the Houthis Thursday, U.S. Central Command announced via X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter. 

This is the 22nd attack on international shipping, according to Central Command, although the X post did not say which ship was targeted. Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sare’e has not mentioned an attack on ships on Dec. 28 nor has Saba, the Yemeni state-run media site. 

There were 18 ships in the southern Red Sea between 5:45 and 6:10 p.m. local time, during which Mason shot down the drone and missile. It is not clear how many of the ships were commercial or military.  

Read more ....  

Update #1: US shoots down Houthi drone, ballistic missile in Red Sea (ABC News) 

Update #2: US warship shoots down drone and missile in Red Sea (DW)  

WNU Editor: Here is an interesting article on how some ships are trying to avoid being attacked by the Houthis .... Report: Ships Make Novel Use of AIS to Ward Off Attacks by Houthis (Maritime Executive).

China Appoints A New Defense Minister


BBC: China appoints Dong Jun as new defence minister 

China has named Dong Jun as its new defence minister, two months after his predecessor was officially sacked. 

Mr Dong, a former navy commander, takes over from Li Shangfu - who was last seen in public in August. 

Mr Dong's appointment was announced by China's top legislators at a Standing Committee meeting of the National People's Congress in Beijing on Friday. 

The move follows a slew of dismissals of top military officials from the country's top posts earlier this year. 

As well as Mr Li, it included the removal of Qin Gang as foreign minister in July. 

No reasons were given for Mr Li or Mr Qin's dismissals. Both had been in their posts for only seven months respectively. 

Further sackings took place this week too, with nine senior military officials removed from the Standing Committee on Friday, Reuters reported, citing state media outlet Xinhua.  

Read more .... 

China Appoints A New Defense Minister  

China appoints Dong Jun as new defence minister - state media -- CNBC/Reuters

China appoints new defence minister to replace ousted Li Shangfu -- CNA  

China Names New Defense Minister, Removing Block to US Talks -- Bloomberg  

China picks ex-navy chief as new defense minister -- Politico  

China names new defense minister months after removing predecessor without explanation -- CNN 

China appoints a new defense minister after months of uncertainty following firing of predecessor -- The Canadian Press  

China appoints new defense minister — news agency -- TASS

U.S. Intelligence Officials Have Determined That A Chinese Spy Balloon That Flew Across The US Used A U.S. Internet Provider To Communicate

IN FLIGHT - FEBRUARY 3: In this handout image provided by the Department of Defense, a U.S. Air Force U-2 pilot looks down at the suspected Chinese surveillance balloon on February 3, 2023 as it hovers over the Central Continental United States. Recovery efforts began shortly after the balloon was downed.U.S. Department of Defense 

Daily Mail: US intelligence officials determined the Chinese spy balloon used a US internet provider to communicate 

* Intelligence officials have revealed that a Chinese spy balloon that flew across the US reportedly used an American internet service provider to communicate 

* A new report stated that the balloon was connected to a US-based company and communicating with China about its navigation 

* The unidentified internet service provider company has denied all such claims 

Intelligence officials have revealed a Chinese spy balloon that flew across the US for a week in February used an American internet service provider to communicate. 

The balloon had drifted east and entered US airspace over Alaska on 28 January and was tracked as it flew over Malmstrom Air Force base in Montana, where nuclear assets are stored. 

On 4 February, the Air Force sent an F-22 fighter jet armed with an AIM-9X Sidewinder missile to take the balloon down over water.  

Read more ....  

Update #1: U.S. intelligence officials determined the Chinese spy balloon used a U.S. internet provider to communicate (NBC)  

Update #2: Intelligence Officials Determine Chinese Spy Balloon Used US Internet Provider For Communication: Report (The Messenger)  

WNU Editor: This is not being covered properly .... Biden admin's top officials attempted to 'conceal' Chinese spy balloon from public, Congress exposed: report (FOX News).

Russia Unleashes The Biggest Air Attack On Ukraine Since The Start Of The War


Business Insider: Russia launched its most intense ever air attack on Ukraine, overcoming its defenses with drones, airstrikes and powerful missiles 

* Russia launched waves of attacks on Ukrainian cities on Thursday. 

* Ukraine's air force says it has "never seen so many locations targeted simultaneously." 

* The volume of attacks proved a challenge for Ukraine's air defenses. 

Russia launched its biggest-ever wave of attacks on Ukrainian cities overnight using hundreds of missiles and drones. 

Ukrainian officials said that the attacks struck Ukrainian capital Kyiv in the north, the cities of Dnipro and Kharkiv in the east, Lviv in the west, and Odesa in the south from late Thursday into early Friday. 

Air Force commander Mykola Oleshchuk described it as "the most massive aerial attack" since Russia launched its invasion, reported the Associated Press. 

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: Russia is confirming this massive attack .... Russia confirms ‘massive barrage’ on targets in Ukraine (RT). More here .... Russia Launches 50 Attacks, One Mass Strike Against Targets in Ukraine With Precision Weapon, Drones (Sputnik). 

Russia Unleashes The Biggest Air Attack On Ukraine Since The Start Of The War  

Ukraine updates: Russia launches 'massive missile attack' -- DW  

Live: At least 28 killed as 'biggest Russian air attack' hits Ukraine -- BBC  

Russia fires 122 missiles and 36 drones in what Ukraine calls the biggest aerial barrage of the war -- AP  

Russia launches 122 missiles in one of biggest attacks on Ukraine since start of war -- France 24  

Russia pummels Ukraine with ‘massive’ wave of airstrikes; 26 reported killed -- CNBC  

Ukraine: At least 27 killed as Russia hits cities with huge aerial barrage -- SKY News  

Russia unleashes biggest air attack on Ukraine since start of full-scale invasion -- CNN  

Poland reports airspace incursion as Russia launches huge strike on Ukraine -- The Guardian 

Putin's revenge: Russia launches 'everything it has' in its most intense aerial attack of Ukrainian cities days after Vladimir's forces suffered humiliating loss of a warship in occupied Crimea -- Daily Mail 

Russia kills at least 24 in largest aerial attack of war, Ukraine says -- Axios

U.S. Space Force's X-37B Spaceplane Is Launched On A Secret Mission Aboard SpaceX Rocket


FOX News: SpaceX launches X-37B aboard a Falcon Heavy rocket at Kennedy Space Center  

The mission marks the first time SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket has been used to launch the Boeing X-37B into orbit 

Elon Musk’s SpaceX on Thursday successfully launched the Pentagon’s secretive X-37B spacecraft after the mission was delayed for several weeks due to weather and other issues. 

SpaceX launched the X-37B aboard a Falcon Heavy rocket from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida Thursday evening – marking the first time the rocket has carried the Space Force’s X-37B. 

On its six previous trips into orbit, the spacecraft was launched by United Launch Alliance Atlas V or SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: This mission is expected to last for years .... US military space plane blasts off on another secretive mission expected to last years (ABC News). 

U.S. Space Force's X-37B Spaceplane Is Launched On A Secret Mission Aboard SpaceX Rocket  

US military space plane blasts off on another secretive mission expected to last years -- AP  

US military's secretive spaceplane launched on possible higher-orbit mission -- Reuters 

In spectacular launch doubleheader, SpaceX puts military spaceplane and 23 Starlinks in orbit -- CBS News  

SpaceX Falcon Heavy launches X-37B plane, one of the US military’s most fascinating secrets -- CNN  

US military’s X-37B robot spaceplane blasts off on secret mission aboard SpaceX rocket -- The Guardian

SpaceX launches U.S. military spaceplane on Falcon Heavy rocket -- Space News 

SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket launches mysterious X-37B space plane for US Space Force after delays --  

US Space Force sends X-37B space plane on another secretive mission -- C4ISRNET

Dutch Commander-in-Chief Warns The Country Must Prepare Itself For War With Russia. Urges The Public To Stockpile Food And Water

Lieutenant-General Martin Wijnen. Stock photo: Wikipedia  

NL Times: Dutch Army commander warns of potential war with Russia 

Both the Dutch military and society as a whole need to brace themselves for the possibility of a war with Russia, said Lieutenant-General Martin Wijnen, the departing Commander of the Royal Netherlands Army. 

"Our society should be preparing themselves for this," he told the Telegraaf in an interview published on Thursday. 

Wijnen said that the Netherlands should follow the examples set by countries like Sweden, Finland, the Baltic nations. Those countries which border Russia, or are close to it, are better prepared for the outbreak of war.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: This is the new normal. Every week a top general in a European country issues a warning that the country needs to prepare itself for war, and that the public needs to stockpile on food/water/and emergency preparations. 

Dutch Commander-in-Chief Warns The Country Must Prepare Itself For War With Russia  

Dutch Army chief fears direct conflict with Russia; urges public to stockpile food -- Voice of Europe  

Dutch Army Chief Sounds Alarm on Readiness for Potential Conflict with Russia -- Trendy Digest  

Dutch Commander-in-Chief call on Netherlands to prepare for war with Russia -- Ukrainska Pravda

America's Dwindling Arsenal Of High-End Munitions Emerges As An Alarming Crisis

Staff Sgt. Trevor Glass and Airman Joseph Boik secure a Joint Direct Attack Munition onto an F-16 fighter at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea, on Aug. 16, 2020. (Senior Airman Mya M. Crosby/U.S. Air Force)  

Real Clear Wire: A Shrunken Arsenal: The Alarming Decline of U.S. Munitions 

As fighting rages in the Middle East and Europe and China looms as a threat, America's dwindling arsenal of high-end munitions emerges as an alarming crisis. The United States, once a fortress of military might, now faces the prospect of a munitions deficit in an era brimming with uncertainties. This desperate situation demands the development of a national critical munitions stockpile. 

European weapons makers are overwhelmed and struggling to meet Ukraine's consumption of more than 6,000 artillery rounds each day during peak counteroffensive fighting. Ukraine's ability to stave off defeat and defend itself against the Russian invasion largely depends on an uninterrupted supply of these rounds. Ukrainian forces are conserving their ammunition supply, which might lead to postponements in upcoming counterattacks. Over the coming months, this shortage of ammunition could compel Ukrainian military units to make difficult choices regarding the allocation of resources across various frontlines, focusing on areas where maintaining control is most crucial and potentially allowing minor territorial losses in less critical sectors. 

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: Concerns on America's dwindling arsenal of high-end munitions are being raised everywhere .... The US needs more munitions to deter China (Wilson Beaver and Jim Fein, Defense News). The Pentagon's extensive weapons stockpile in Israel is also under scrutiny .... Gaza war puts US’s extensive weapons stockpile in Israel under scrutiny (The Guardian).

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Nikkei Reports That President Putin Promised Chinese Leader Xi Jinping That His Invasion Of Ukraine Would Last Five Years  

Moscow Times: Putin Promised Xi That Russia Will Fight ‘5-Year War’ in Ukraine – Nikkei 

President Vladimir Putin promised Chinese leader Xi Jinping that his invasion of Ukraine would last five years, the Japanese newspaper Nikkei reported Thursday, citing multiple anonymous sources familiar with Russian-Chinese diplomatic maneuvering. 

Putin’s remark apparently came during Xi’s visit to Moscow in March 2023, when Russia was already one year and one month into the war and had suffered a series of embarrassing setbacks. 

Nikkei interpreted Putin’s words that Russia “will fight for [at least] five years” as an assurance that Moscow would emerge victorious in the end and a possible warning for Xi not to reverse China’s pro-Russia policy.  

Read more ....  

Update #1: Media: Putin told China's Xi Russia will fight for 'at least 5 years' in Ukraine -- The Kyiv Independent  

Update #2: Putin's 5-year war plan with Ukraine revealed in conversation with Xi Jinping, Nikkei reports -- RBC Ukraine  

WNU Editor: Putin committed Russia to waging a ten year war against Chechnya. Russian soldiers are stilled based in Syria after being deployed into the country during the height of its civil war. Bottom line. Putin is no stranger to long wars.