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Latest Developments in Ukraine: Dec. 7

For full coverage of the crisis in Ukraine, visit Flashpoint Ukraine.

The latest developments in Russia’s war on Ukraine. All times EST.

The National Bank of Ukraine announced on Tuesday that the country had $27.95 billion in foreign reserves as of December 1, Reuters reported.

That figure topped the $27.42 billion in state coffers on the morning of Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine, the bank said in a statement.

It also said its reserves had grown 10.7% in November.

The U.S. Congress is now considering the White House’s request for $38 billion in additional support for Ukraine in its defense against Russia aggression. Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Republican Senator Jim Risch say they believe the aid will be approved in the coming weeks.

The two senators have been strong supporters of aid to Ukraine, part of bipartisan congressional support that, if the latest appropriation bill passes, will deliver more than $100 billion in aid to Ukraine this year.

The senators sat down with VOA Georgian Service’s managing editor Ia Meurmishvili on November 30 to discuss U.S. policy toward Ukraine and Russia, and the likelihood that Congress will continue backing Ukraine in 2023.

Shaheen said the lessons from World War II are still relevant in the context of Ukraine, and the West must stop Russia before it invades other countries in Europe. On providing arms to Ukraine, Risch said the U.S. should not engage in self-deterrence out of concern that Russia may escalate the war. He said Russian President Vladimir Putin should instead be thinking about how to avoid U.S. escalation.

The U.S. State Department has approved a potential sale of 116 M1A1 Abrams tanks, other vehicles and munitions to Poland in a deal valued at up to $3.75 billion, the Pentagon said on Tuesday, Reuters reported.

The sale comes just months after Poland was authorized to buy 250 M1A2 tanks. With this new option, Poland could elect to buy a mix of the two tank versions as it seeks to modernize its military and adjust to new geopolitical realities following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The package would include vehicles to recover disabled tanks, eight assault bridges and other vehicles. It would also provide thousands of rounds of advanced munitions including armor-piercing rounds, spares and technical support, the Pentagon said.

Despite approval by the State Department, the notification does not indicate that a contract has been signed or that negotiations have concluded.

Poland’s defense minister said Tuesday that his country will accept a Patriot missile defense system that Germany offered to deploy to Poland last month, The Associated Press reported.

The German offer was made after an errant missile fell in Poland near the border with Ukraine, killing two Polish men. Poland and NATO have said they believe it was a Ukrainian missile that misfired as the country was protecting itself from a missile barrage on November 15.

Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak had initially said that he accepted the offer, but the leader of Poland’s powerful ruling party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, said he thought the Patriot system should be placed in Ukraine.

On Tuesday, Blaszczak said on Twitter he was sorry Germany did not want to place the Patriot system in Ukraine. But that German and Polish defense ministries were proceeding “with arrangements regarding the placement of the launchers in Poland.”

An opinion poll published this week showed significant support by regular Poles for having the German rocket launcher located in Poland, where it will beef up defenses already enhanced by Poland and the United States since Russia's full invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

Some information in this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.