LIVE. War in Ukraine: Russian soldiers claim they are continuing the ceasefire despite firing from both sides
Ukraine estimates it has killed more than 110,000 Russian soldiers
Ukraine has updated the number of Russian soldiers believed to have died, now at 110,740. According to the General Staff of the Armed Forces, another 490 soldiers were killed on Friday. The figure has not been independently verified by Le Parisien, and Russians differ, although the Kremlin’s figure is believed to be understated by the actual number of soldiers killed.
In Warsaw, Ukrainian refugees’ first Christmas since the Russian invasion
Hundreds of Ukrainian refugees celebrated their first Christmas at a theater in Warsaw since fleeing the Russian invasion.
These women, mostly Ukrainian men of recruiting age who are not allowed to leave the country, in unison spoke of their pain at celebrating Orthodox Christmas away from their husbands and sons.
The Russian army guaranteed the continuation of the ceasefire and denounced Ukrainian artillery fire
The Russian army confirmed that they intend to observe until the end of the day the unilateral truce concluded by Vladimir Putin on the occasion of Orthodox Christmas.
“Despite the artillery fire of the Ukrainian armed forces on populated areas and Russian positions, implementation of the announced ceasefire will be continued by Russian forces until midnight (22:00 in France)”, the Russian Defense Ministry said in its daily report.
Marriage proposal on the forehead
Gun slung over his shoulder, a Ukrainian soldier asking his partner to marry him, in the middle of the war. Both are members of the same brigade of the territorial defense forces, part of the military reserve.
“Even in the biggest war of the 21st century, there is a place and time for love,” the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense wrote on Twitter.
At least seven areas were attacked
Attacks have been reported in at least seven regions of eastern and southern Ukraine in the past 24 hours, killing at least three people and wounding 14 others, reports the Kyiv Independent. Russian troops shelled southern Kherson Oblast 39 times on Friday. Residential buildings and a fire station (see below) were attacked in the liberated city of Kherson, Governor Yaroslav Yanushevych said on Telegram.
Sevastopol was targeted, a Ukrainian drone was shot down
Air defenses in occupied Sevastopol in annexed Crimea shot down a Ukrainian drone in an apparent attack on the port where Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is based. According to Mikhail Razvozhaev, the governor of the Russian-backed city, the incident occurred in the early hours of this Saturday, Orthodox Christmas Day.
“Even the holy holiday of Christmas is not an excuse for these inhumane people to end their efforts to attack our heroic city,” he wrote on Telegram.
Ukrainians are celebrating their first Orthodox Christmas since the invasion of the country
Religious services have started in Ukraine. However, they are celebrating the first Orthodox Christmas since Russia invaded the country last year. Metropolitan Epiphanius leads a Christmas service at the Dormition Cathedral of the Caves Lavra in Kyiv. Other services will take place throughout Ukraine. Many Orthodox Christians still celebrate Christmas honoring the original date of January, before the 16th century reformation.
Putin attended the Orthodox Christmas service alone
Vladimir Putin attended a service celebrated alone at the Kremlin church at midnight on Friday for Orthodox Christmas.
The Russian president joined the celebrations at the Cathedral of the Annunciation, which was originally designed as a church for tsars. In previous years, he used to attend Orthodox Christmas services in the Russian province or on the outskirts of Moscow.
The Russian Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas on January 7.
“Orthodox killers wish you a Merry Christmas”
The Ukrainian governor of Luhansk province Serhiy Haidai said that within the first three hours of the ceasefire, the Russians shelled Ukrainian positions fourteen times and overran the settlement three times. “Orthodox killers wish you a Merry Christmas,” he joked on the messaging app Telegram.
Less intense fights… Thanks to the snow?
On the front lines, Russian rockets continued to explode. Ukraine replied. Admittedly, the combat is slightly less intense.
But was it because of the Russian truce? According to Ukrainian forces, they owe this relative slowdown to snow, which makes it difficult to pilot drones and detect targets. “The situation today is exactly the same as yesterday, the day after, last week and last month,” one soldier told Reuters. It makes no sense to talk to them, believing in their promises, orders and decrees. »
Attack the fire station
Russian troops attacked a fire station in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson in an attack that left several people dead or injured, a senior Ukrainian official said. And this, despite Moscow’s unilateral declaration of a 36-hour ceasefire.
“Routine” fights during the Orthodox Christmas period
Christmas or not, the fighting in Ukraine continues at a “routine” pace, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense said on Twitter. One of the most disputed areas is the city of Kremina and its surroundings, in the Luhansk region. The woods, to the west of the town, “provided cover from aerial surveillance even in winter, both sides likely having difficulty directing artillery fire”. The battle took place at close range.
For the Russians, the stakes were crucial: losing this battle would threaten the right flank of their Bakhmut sector.
Zelensky congratulated Kevin McCarthy, the new Speaker of the US House of Representatives
Volodymyr Zelensky, president of Ukraine, congratulates Kevin McCarthy, who has finally been elected chairman of the American House of Representatives after 15 rounds of voting, throwing Congress into disarray. “America’s support in all areas is critical to Ukraine’s success on the battlefield,” Zelensky wrote on Twitter. We count on your continued support and additional assistance from the United States to realize our shared victory. »
Variable geometry warfare “escalation”.
Russia will choose the right time to provide Western military aid to Ukraine as an “escalation”, according to analysts at the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW). Experts have noted that the Kremlin and the Russian media respond “selectively” to arms shipments, only when the rhetoric of confrontation with the West suits them. Evidence, they argue, that Russia is more concerned “with the consequences of Western assistance on certain Russian military operations than the nature of weapons, red lines, or alleged Ukrainian attacks on Russian territory. »
What does the new military aid to Ukraine contain?
The United States has promised massive new military aid to Kyiv, totaling three billion dollars. This will include the supply of Bradley armored infantry vehicles, personnel carriers and howitzers, the White House has disclosed.
“This victorious year has just begun,” the Ukrainian presidency immediately rejoiced. The American “package” also includes Himars precision missiles and Sea Sparrow anti-aircraft missiles.
In Las Vegas, a Ukrainian startup wants to help the nation win the war
A dozen Ukrainian startups have taken residence at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, a premier electronics fair, with the aim of making their country great, both economically and on the battlefield. “The beginners present what they have achieved, if there is an interesting solution they will take it to the armed forces and directly to the battlefield”, explains Karyna Koudriavtseva, project director. Conversely, no Russian company is allowed to present its innovations.
Before the war, Ukraine provided fertile ground for digital innovation, but the fighting has caused startups in the country to relocate and rethink their plans. Today, Ukrainians basically have three jobs: their traditional one, volunteering and helping the army.
Poland willing to donate all its Leopard tanks?
That belief was made by a Polish diplomat in wall journal. Warsaw currently has 240 such tanks and will be ready to part with all of them. This will make it possible to form two brigades.
The ceasefire ends tonight
Announced Thursday by Vladimir Putin, officially to allow Orthodox Christmas to take place under the best conditions, the truce was denounced by Western nations, for which Moscow was only trying to buy time.
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