The Ukrainian military leadership fears new Russian missile attacks at the turn of the year. As army spokesman Yuri Ignat explained on Sunday, it cannot be ruled out that the enemy will “congratulate” in this way at the end of the year. They have a clear plan in which they have laid down priority goals.” The aim is to inflict as much damage as possible on Ukraine.

“And depending on where it hurts us the most, that’s where they’ll aim, as mean, as bold and as painful as possible,” Ignat was quoted as saying by the Unian state agency. In addition, the date of the next attacks will be set “to please the dictator (Vladimir Putin)”. But the attacks at the turn of the year were also intended to appeal to the “internal audience”, i.e. the Russian population.

The Ukrainian armed forces say they have destroyed at least two Russian ammunition dumps and anti-aircraft systems in fighting in the east of the country. This was announced by the General Staff in Kyiv on Sunday. The Luftwaffe flew several missions. Location information was not given.

Heavy losses were inflicted on Russian troops in bitter fighting for the city of Bakhmut in the Donbass. There, a Russian unit with a strength of 400 to 800 men fell into a carefully prepared ambush and was “put out of action,” said presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovich in Kyiv. The information could not be independently verified.

During the day, the Russian-controlled city of Donetsk came under artillery fire several times. A hospital was hit, the Russian state agency TASS reported, citing local authorities. Because of the resulting fire, the evacuation of staff and patients had begun.

According to British secret services, Moscow wants to use music and culture to boost the morale of its own troops in the Ukraine war. A few days ago, two so-called “creative brigades” with opera singers, actors and circus people were announced to be deployed at the front, the British Ministry of Defense said in the daily short report on Twitter on Sunday.

The British suspect that Russia’s culture and entertainment offensive is closely linked to ideologically shaped political education. This has been closely intertwined with the Russians since Soviet times. At the same time, there are doubts in London that the Kremlin can actually use this to boost the morale of the Russian troops. The biggest problems for the Russians continue to be the high number of casualties, poor leadership, problems with salaries and incomplete equipment. It was said that the creative brigades could do little with these challenges.

Several explosions occurred in the Russian city of Belgorod near the border with Ukraine, according to the Russian news agency Ria Novosti. A correspondent reports that a total of nine explosions were heard. The governor said four people were injured and air defense intervened. It is unclear how many of the explosions were impacts or intercepted projectiles.

According to an analysis by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), pro-Russian forces contradict each other in the Battle of Bakhmut. Denis Pushilin, leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR), said Saturday that DNR troops are advancing on the city together with Wagner mercenaries. There was immediate objection: According to the ISW, several military bloggers wrote that DNR troops had nothing to do with the attack on Bakhmut. Wagner boss Prigoshin had already denied direct cooperation with DNR troops.

In the past, Prigozhin and Pushilin had also made contradictory statements about the course of the Bakhmut offensive so far.

After the heaviest Russian missile attacks in weeks, Ukraine is continuing to work to restore power and water supplies in the rain and cold. After the attacks on the energy infrastructure, the power supply has been restored for almost six million people, said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday in his video message distributed every evening in Kyiv. “The repair work continues,” said Zelenskyj, referring to the “terrorist attack” on Friday. Russia had fired more than 70 rockets at the country.

In view of the severe damage, Zelenskyy called on the international community to give Ukraine the means to protect its airspace. What is meant is an effective anti-aircraft system. “You can do that. You can give our people protection – 100 percent protection against these Russian terrorist strikes,” said Zelenskyy. Accordingly, Ukraine is waiting for final approvals for the delivery of the weapons. Selenskyj is hoping for the US Patriot air defense systems. This is to prevent damage to the infrastructure in the future.

“Problems with the heating, big problems with the water supply remain,” Zelenskyy said. Accordingly, millions of people are still affected by power outages and other restrictions. The situation is most difficult in the city of Kyiv and in the region, but also in Vinnytsia and its surroundings and in Lviv. There are also power outages in other regions such as Odessa, Poltava and Dnipropetrovsk.

Ukraine spoke of more than 70 rocket attacks on Friday, most of which were intercepted by anti-aircraft defenses. As a result of the hits and damage, the power and water supply failed again in many regions. In the capital Kyiv and in the Kharkiv region, among others, the authorities reported progress in restoring the supply. In the Kiev region it was said that 50 percent of households still had no electricity.

Kiev’s Mayor Vitali Klitschko had previously announced that the water supply in the metropolis had been restored. In three quarters of the households, the heating is also working again. However, there were still problems with the power supply.

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) has no hope of a ceasefire in Ukraine anytime soon. “Nobody but (Vladimir) Putin started this war, and if Putin wants it, then the war will be over tomorrow,” she told the “Bild am Sonntag”. The Russian President only has to order his soldiers to withdraw. “But unfortunately there are anything but honest signs of this.” She also opposed a ceasefire on Russian terms: such a ceasefire would not end the “terror” for the people in Ukraine, “on the contrary”.

According to Ukrainian Nobel Peace Prize winner Olexandra Matviychuk, the establishment of a tribunal for Russian war crimes could have a short-term impact on the actions of the Russian army in her country. “Even if we take the first steps to an international tribunal, that sends a signal to the perpetrators that they will be held accountable,” the lawyer told the “Tagesspiegel” (Sunday). “That can possibly save lives.” Together with partners and witnesses, 27,000 cases of war crimes have been documented. “That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Head of state Selenskyj had already campaigned for a special tribunal before the UN General Assembly in September. Matviychuk received the Nobel Peace Prize for the Center for Civil Liberties she heads.

Wladimir Klitschko – brother of Kiev’s mayor Vitali Klitschko – was honored at the charity gala “A Heart for Children”. He accepted the Golden Heart on Saturday evening in Berlin on behalf of all the helpers of the war-affected children in Ukraine. In her laudation, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen recalled the people of the country.

“If it happens at this moment, anywhere in the world, that a child is born, then it needs two things in addition to a lot of love. protection and security. This is unattainable for many children in Ukraine,” said von der Leyen (64) on ZDF. “For many newborns, the first light is a flashlight because there is no electricity in the delivery room. The cold creeps down the hospital corridors. There is a lack of hot water. Babies are born under rocket fire.”

Innocent children, women and men have been trapped in the nightmare of a brutal Russian war of aggression for the past ten months. “Hundreds of children have already died in this war. Millions experience fears every day that no child should experience.” Sometimes the Russian bombs also fell on playgrounds and maternity clinics. The electricity, gas and water supply in Ukraine has been largely destroyed. Tens of thousands of buildings are uninhabitable. In some places food is becoming scarce.

Wladimir Klitschko thanked him on the show. He didn’t just want to say thank you to those who looked after the children directly behind the front line. He also mentioned the people in the studio and in Germany, everyone who financially supported or took in refugees.

What will be important on Sunday

Fighting in eastern Ukraine continues. According to the Defense Ministry in Moscow, Russian troops are continuing their attacks in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine from more favorable positions. The Ukrainian military is trying to prevent breaches at the defense line. The authorities in Kyiv continue to struggle to supply citizens with heat and electricity after the recent Russian rocket attacks.

Also read: The Ukraine update on December 17th.