What you need to know
Russian forces are again attacking the eastern Ukrainian town of Avdiivka in Donetsk. Attacks are focusing on the war-torn town's industrial center.
Meanwhile, Russia said 16 Ukrainian drones were shot down over the occupied Crimean peninsula as well as the Volgograd region of Russia.
Here's a look at further developments in Russia's war in Ukraine on Friday, November 24.
Zelenskyy says Ukraine needs 'victories' in US and EU
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Kyiv needed three diplomatic victories abroad to help its ongoing war with Russia.
"The first one is the victory with US Congress," Zelenskyy said, referring to billions in US aid that are in limbo due to the funding dispute between US Democrats and Republicans. US lawmakers approved an emergency federal funding bill to keep the government running until mid-January, but the legislation does not include funding for Ukraine.
"It's a challenge, it's not easy, but Ukraine is doing everything," Zelenskyy told reporters in Kyiv.
The second victory, according to the Ukrainian leader, is a €50 billion ($54.7 billion) aid package from the European Union.
"Not everyone in the EU today are ready to support this package," he added.
And the final victory is the EU starting the long-running process for Ukraine to eventually join the bloc, Zelenskyy said. Ukrainian leaders hope EU members will make this decision at a summit in mid-December.
Russia vows retaliation over Moldova's backing of EU sanctions
Russia views Moldova's decision to join EU sanctions against it as a hostile step aimed at destroying ties with Moscow, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Friday, vowing to retaliate.
"We regard this as yet another hostile step by the Moldovan leadership, which is fully integrated into the anti-Russian campaign of the 'collective West,'" the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
"Its aim is the complete destruction of Russian-Moldovan relations, which, through the fault of official Chisinau, are already in a very deplorable state," the ministry added.
Moldova has, so far, backed four of the six packages of EU sanctions against Moscow in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Along with Ukraine, Moldova is a candidate for EU membership. Brussels requires future EU members to coordinate their foreign policy, including complying with the EU’s sanctions policy.
Dutch minister hopes Wilders keeps up Ukraine support
Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren said she hoped the country would continue sending military support to Ukraine despite the likelihood of a new government led by anti-EU populist Geert Wilders.
Wilders, whose far-right Freedom Party (PVV) was the clear winner of national elections this week, has called for the withdrawal of military help to Kyiv, saying the weapons are needed for the Netherlands to defend itself.
"In the Netherlands, there is broad support for our help to Ukraine," Ollongren told reporters on Friday. "I hope and expect this will not change in the new parliament. But the PVV is now the largest party and they have never been enthusiastic about support to Ukraine. They have even been pro-Russia at times. So that has me worried."
The Dutch government last week earmarked an additional €2 billion euros ($2.2 billion) in military aid for Ukraine in 2024.
It has so far spent around €7.5 billion to support Ukraine since the beginning of Russia's invasion.
The Netherlands helped cement an international coalition to deliver F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine and has promised it will also supply a number of these planes itself.
Kyiv warns against war wariness
Ukraine's deputy prime minister warned Friday that European countries are displaying increased war-weariness.
Speaking on a visit to Berlin, Olha Stefanishyna, who is responsible for European and Euro-Atlantic integration, said some news headlines mention war-weariness and that public opinion was suggesting that the war was dragging on for too long.
"Our determination has remained the same," she told delegates at an event for the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP). "We should not count the days; we should see how things develop."
NATO leaders discussed Ukraine's potential membership at the summit but without a precise path or date being set.
The deputy PM vowed that Ukraine would become a reliable EU member state and that a positive decision on accession talks would maintain the positive impulse of EU expansion.
Defeat for Ukraine, meanwhile, would have a domino effect as Russia's claims did not end at the Ukrainian border, she warned.
Germany extends protection status of Ukrainian refugees
Ukrainians who fled the war and were given protection in Germany will have that status extended for another 15 months.
The Interior Ministry said in a statement that the Bundesrat, the upper house of German parliament, had approved a decree extending refugee protection for Ukrainians until March 4, 2025.
Those affected won't have to apply for an extension of their residence status or make further appointments with immigration authorities.
As of September, Germany has been hosting 1.09 million Ukrainian refugees.
Fewer than a fifth of them are currently employed, but the government has introduced steps to try and improve integration, including asking firms to ease language requirements.
Ukraine ready to evacuate stranded truckers as Polish protests persist
Ukraine's top truckers' union said hopes for a quick end to protests by Polish truck drivers at the border are fading, as Kyiv prepared to evacuate its stranded drivers.
"Frankly speaking, the more we talk to them the less hope we have," Leonid Kostiuchenko, president of the Ukrainian Association of International Carriers, said in an interview on national television.
Some 3,000 Ukrainian haulers are backed up at the border on the Polish side waiting to cross at four checkpoints, Kostiuchenko said.
Deputy Infrastructure Minister Serhiy Derkach said late on Thursday that Ukrainian truckers were suffering in bitter, sub-zero temperatures and that there were no food supplies, basic sanitary conditions or ambulances at the scene.
"For our part, we have started collecting data for the evacuation of our drivers. We have already run out of time to agree on compromises," Derkach wrote on Facebook.
Two Ukrainian drivers have died and thousands of trucks have been stuck for days in the winter cold as Polish truckers have blocked the roads to four crossings on the border, a key route for Ukrainian trade during Russia's full-scale invasion.
The protesters allow passenger traffic and humanitarian and military aid, but not commercial cargo. All attempts to negotiate have been unsuccessful.
The Polish truckers say they are losing out to Ukrainian companies who offer a cheaper rate and are now transporting goods within the European Union, and not just back and forth to Ukraine.
Russia says it shot down 16 Ukrainian drones in south and over Crimea
Russia says it has destroyed 16 Ukrainian drones in the south of the country and over annexed Crimea.
"Air defense systems destroyed 16 drones, including 13 over the Crimean peninsula and three over the territory of the Volgograd region," the Russian Defense Ministry said.
Ukraine has stepped up drone and missile attacks on Russian military installations in and around the Crimean peninsula, which was annexed by Russia in 2014.
The Ukrainian military, meanwhile, said its air defense systems had shot down three Iranian-designed attack drones launched by Russian forces overnight.
Russian forces attack Avdiivka 'from all sides,' Ukraine says
A third wave of Russian forces is attacking the eastern Ukrainian town of Avdiivka and systematically shelling the center of the industrial hub, a local Ukrainian official said.
"The third wave [of assaults] began. They are attacking from all directions, from the flanks of the south and north, as they did before. They are attacking the industrial zone," Vitaly Barabash, the head of the town, said.
Avdiivka has been on the front line since 2014 and is part of the Donetsk region, which the Kremlin has claimed to have annexed along with three other regions. This fall, Russia intensified its attack on Avdiivka.
"They are attacking from all sides, using a lot of infantry. Machinery went to the industrial zone, because the asphalt surface allows them to do so," Barabash told state media.
Barabash said 1,350 residents were remaining in the town which had a pre-war population of around 30,000 people. Some 102 people had been evacuated over the last week.
dh/ab (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)