Millions of Ukrainians endure winter without electricity

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Monday that persistent power shortages throughout the country meant that nearly 9 million people had no electricity. Read our live blog to see how all the day’s events unfolded. All times are Paris time (GMT+1).

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11:50pm: Russia’s Lavrov: Either Ukraine fulfills Moscow’s proposals or our army will decide

Moscow’s proposals for settlement in Ukraine are well known to Kyiv and either Ukraine fulfills them for their own good or the Russian army will decide the issue, TASS agency quoted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying.

“Our proposals for the demilitarization and denazification of the territories controlled by the regime, the elimination of threats to Russia’s security emanating from there, including our new lands, are well known to the enemy,” the state news agency quoted Lavrov as saying late on Monday.

9:45 pm: Moscow carried out more than 4,500 cyberattacks against Ukraine in 2022, says Kyiv

Ukraine’s cybersecurity services have neutralized more than 4,500 Russian cyberattacks against their country since the beginning of the year, an official said on Monday.

“The aggressor country launches an average of more than ten cyberattacks a day. Fortunately, Ukrainian society is not even aware of most of them,” said Ilya Vitiuk, head of the cyber-security department at the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) in an interview with the television channel “My-Ukraine”.

9:40pm: Power shortages persist, nearly 9 million Ukrainians without electricity, says Zelensky

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Monday that power shortages were persisting, with nearly nine million people remaining without electricity.

Zelensky said in his nightly video address that power workers repairing the grid after repeated Russian attacks had reconnected many people over Christmas but problems remained.

“Naturally, shortages persist. Blackouts are continuing,” he said.

“The situation as of this evening in different regions of Ukraine is that nearly nine million people are without electricity. But the numbers and the length of the blackouts are gradually decreasing.”

9:14pm: Ukraine aims to win back enough territory to continue as a viable state

“For Ukraine, what is important is to at least win back enough territory to continue as a viable state,” said Peter Zalmayev, Director of the Eurasian Democracy Initiative. He explained that Russia is currently occupying all of the Azov Sea and a large part of the Black Sea, meaning that Ukraine has been cut off from its major critical sea ports.


7:32pm: Ukraine’s foreign minister tells the AP his government aims to have a peace summit by February at the UN

Ukraine’s foreign minister on Monday said that his government is aiming to have a peace summit by the end of February, preferably at the United Nations with Secretary-General António Guterres as a possible mediator, around the anniversary of the start of the Russian invasion.

But Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told The Associated Press that Russia could only be invited to such a summit if the country faced a war crimes tribunal first.

Kuleba also said he was “absolutely satisfied” with the results of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit to the US last week, and he revealed that the US government had made a special plan to get the Patriot missile battery ready to be operational in the country in less than six months. Usually, the training takes up to a year.

Kuleba said during the interview at the Foreign Ministry that Ukraine will do whatever it can to win the war in 2023, adding that diplomacy always plays an important role.

4:32pm: Ukraine’s Zelensky seeks India PM Modi’s help with ‘peace formula’

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday said he sought India’s help with implementing a “peace formula” in a phone call with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The conversation comes at a time when India, which has not explicitly condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, is seeking to strengthen trade relations with Moscow while Western nations introduce new measures to limit Russia’s funding of the war.

“I had a phone call with PM Narendra Modi and wished a successful G20 presidency,” Zelensky wrote on Twitter. “It was on this platform that I announced the peace formula and now I count on India’s participation in its implementation.”


2:33pm: Ukraine calls for Russia’s removal from the United Nations

Ukraine on Monday called for Russia’s removal from the United Nations, where Moscow can veto any resolution as a permanent member of the Security Council.

“Ukraine calls on the member states of the UN … to deprive the Russian Federation of its status as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and to exclude it from the UN as a whole,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The statement said that Russia “illegally occupies the seat of the USSR in the UN Security Council” since the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991.

“From a legal and political point of view, there can be only one conclusion: Russia is an usurper of the Soviet Union’s seat in the UN Security Council,” the ministry added.

“Three decades of its illegal presence in the UN have been marked by wars and seizures of other countries’ territories,” the statement said.

1:23pm: Russia says it killed Ukrainian ‘saboteurs’ trying to cross the border

Russia’s FSB domestic security service said Monday it had killed a group of saboteurs from Ukraine that had attempted to cross into a Russian border region.

“As a result of a clash on December 25, 2022, four saboteurs, who attempted to enter the territory of Bryansk region from Ukraine, were killed,” the FSB said in a statement carried by Russian news agencies.

It added that they were carrying German submachine guns, navigation equipment and “four improvised explosive devices”.

Russia has accused pro-Kyiv forces of a number of sabotage attacks, including a blast that damaged a bridge linking annexed Crimea to Russia.

11:31am: Ukrainian officials neither confirm nor deny drone attack on Russian military base

A Ukrainian drone shot down over Engels military base in Russia’s Saratov region, located more than 600 kilometers east of the border with Ukraine, is raising questions about the effectiveness of Russia’s air defenses if drones can fly that far into the country. Debris from the falling drone killed at least three military personnel on the ground, Russian defense officials reported.

Ukrainian officials have never confirmed sending drones into Russia. They have maintained ambiguity over previous high-profile attacks, including drone strikes on Russian military bases earlier this month.

FRANCE 24 correspondent in Kyiv Astrig Agopian has more on the story, including the possibility of Russian airstrikes in Ukraine in reprisal of the attack.


10:58am: Russia’s Putin and China’s Xi to confer this week, says the Kremlin

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping will speak before the end of the year, Russian state news agency TASS said on Monday, quoting Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying the two sides would release details in due course.

Putin and Xi proclaimed a “no limits” partnership between the two countries when the Russian leader visited Beijing in February, three weeks before his invasion of Ukraine.

The partnership with China has taken on even greater importance for Putin, although he publicly acknowledged in September that Beijing had expressed “questions and concerns” over Ukraine.

Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, now deputy chairman of Putin’s Security Council, met Xi on a visit to Beijing last week. Xi told Medvedev that China hopes all parties in the Ukraine crisis maintain restraint and resolve security concerns through political means, China’s state news agency Xinhua reported.

7:59am: Russia’s long-range air force to get new hypersonic missiles, reports Interfax

Russia’s long-range air force is to be refitted with new wing-borne hypersonic missiles, the Interfax news agency reported on Monday, citing the force’s commanding officer.

“In the interests of long-range aviation, the development and supply of the entire range of aviation weapons, including new cruise hypersonic missiles, is being carried out,” Interfax cited the commander, Sergei Kobylash, as saying in an interview with the Russian defense ministry’s newspaper.

Russia’s fleet of long-range bombers are part of its nuclear triad, and are capable of launching both nuclear and conventional missiles.

6:48am: Ukrainian drone shot down over air base in Russia’s Saratov region, at least three killed from debris

Russian air defense troops shot down a Ukrainian drone late Sunday as it approached a southern Russian air base, with debris from the attack killing three people, Russian news agencies reported Monday.

“On December 26, at around 01:35 Moscow time (2235 GMT), a Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicle was shot down at low altitude while approaching the Engels military airfield in the Saratov region,” the TASS news agency reported quoting the defense ministry. “As a result of the fall of the wreckage of the drone, three Russian technical servicemen who were at the airfield were fatally injured.”

The base, near the city of Saratov, about 730 kilometers (450 miles) southeast of Moscow and hundreds of kilometers from the front lines in Ukraine, was hit on December 5 in what Russia said were Ukrainian drone attacks on two Russian air bases that day .

6:16am: Ukraine to call for Russia’s removal from the UN Security Council

Ukraine is planning to call for Russia to be removed as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council on Monday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said late on Sunday.

“Tomorrow we will officially express our position. We have a very simple question: Does Russia have the right to remain a permanent member of the UN Security Council and to be in the United Nations at all?” he said, speaking late Sunday during a national television marathon.

Kuleba said the question of Russia’s veto-wielding permanent seat on the council – also held by the United States, Britain, France and China – was already being discussed around diplomacy circles.

The Security Council consists of 15 members tasked with tackling global crises by enacting sanctions, authorizing military action, and approving changes to the UN charter. The permanent five carrying veto power can block any resolution and reflect the power dynamics at the end of World War II.

2:07am: Moscow ready to resume gas supplies via Yamal-Europe Pipeline

Moscow is ready to resume gas supplies to Europe through the Yamal-Europe Pipeline, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak told state TASS news agency.

“The European market remains relevant, as the gas shortage persists, and we have every opportunity to resume supplies,” TASS quoted Novak as saying in remarks published by the agency on Sunday.

The Yamal-Europe Pipeline usually flows westward, but has been mostly reversed since December of 2021 as Poland turned away from buying from Russia in favor of drawing on stored gas in Germany.

In May, Warsaw terminated its agreement with Russia, after earlier rejecting Moscow’s demand that it pay in roubles.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP, Reuters)

© France Médias Monde graphic studio

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