Ukraine: Air raid sirens sound in Kyiv on Christmas Day
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Ukraine’s Armed Forces have reported 33 Russian attacks targetting civilian infrastructure in Kherson over the last day. Among the buildings reportedly hit by Russian rockets and shells was the maternity wing of a hospital in the city.
The deputy head of the president’s office Kyrylo Tymoshenko reported no causalities in the strike as staff and patients had taken shelter.
It comes as authorities in Kherson reported that at least 10 people had been killed and 58 were wounded by a Russian strike on the city on Saturday.
Russia invaded Ukraine 10 months ago, citing a threat to its security orchestrated by NATO. The war has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions so far, with an end nowhere in sight.
Russian attacks on power stations and other infrastructure have left millions of Ukrainians without heating and electricity for hours or days at a time.
Russian forces have pressed their offensive to capture all of eastern Ukraine by concentrating in recent weeks on Bakhmut, a city in Donetsk province.
Ukrainian forces were pushing a counteroffensive toward Kreminna, a city in neighboring Luhansk province, in hopes of reclaiming the area and potentially dividing Russia’s troops in the east.
The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington think tank, said in its analysis published early Wednesday that Russian efforts to take Bakhmut “may be nearing culmination” due to “combat losses and degrading equipment.”
Russian advances likely will decrease “if Russian forces continue advancing at all, unless significant new reinforcements and supplies of artillery rounds arrive soon,” the analysis said.
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The latest Russian shelling has wounded at least eight civilians, including three in Bakhmut, the Donetsk region’s governor, Pavlo Kyrylenko, said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday warned that Ukraine must meet Moscow’s demand for “demilitarization” and “denazification,” as well as the removal of the military threat to Russia, otherwise “the Russian army [will] solve the issue.”
Mr Lavrov also accused the West of fueling the war in Ukraine to weaken Russia, and said that it depends on Kyiv and Washington how long the conflict, which started on February 24 when Russia invaded Ukraine, will last.
“As for the duration of the conflict, the ball is on the side of the [Kyiv]regime and Washington that stands behind its back,” Mr Lavrov told the state Tass news agency. “They may stop senseless resistance at any moment.”
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In an apparent reaction, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak tweeted that “Russia needs to face the reality”.
“Neither total mobilization, nor panicky search for ammo, nor secret contracts with Iran, nor Lavrov’s threats will help,” he said. “Ukraine will demilitarize the RF (Russian Federation) to the end, oust the invaders from all occupied territories. Wait for the finale silently…”
A day earlier, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told the Associated Press in an interview that his government wants a summit to end the war but that he doesn’t anticipate Russia taking part.
Kuleba said Ukraine wants a “peace” summit within two months with UN Secretary-General António Guterres acting as mediator. But he also said that Russia must face a war crimes tribunal before his country directly talks with Moscow.
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