In September, Nikita Chibrin deserted. The former Russian soldier left the notorious 64th Rifle Brigade, accused of committing war crimes during its offensive in Bucha and other towns north of Kyiv. Chibrin finally fled to Europe via Belarus and Kazakhstan. In an interview with “CNN” he describes the kind of people he went to war with.

He well remembers seeing two of his comrades run away after allegedly raping a mother and her daughter. Their commanders are said to have shrugged their shoulders when they learned of the rapes. Although the two rapists were beaten, Chibrin says they were never fully punished. “They were never jailed for it. Just fired. Just dismissed on the war. That’s it!” Chibrin exclaims.

His unit received direct orders to kill anyone who revealed any information about the unit’s location. “If someone had a phone in their hands – we were allowed to shoot them,” says Chibrin. In his eyes there is no doubt that some of his comrades were willing to kill unarmed civilians. “There are lunatics who enjoy killing people. Such maniacs appeared there,” says Chibrin.

Chibrin’s military documents, obtained by CNN, reveal that his commander is the “Butcha Butcher”, Azatbek Omurbekov. He was sanctioned by the EU and the UK, and the US even sanctioned the entire 64th Rifle Brigade. Chibrin said he was ready to testify against his unit before an international criminal court. He himself claims not to have committed any crimes. He didn’t see any murders, but rapists running away and other crimes. His superiors merely reacted indifferently to the war crimes.

There were several explosions in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv on Wednesday morning. Mayor Vitali Klitschko confirmed the explosions in the Telegram news service without giving any details. According to Ukrainian media reports, Russia’s armed forces flew drone attacks on the three-million metropolis and its surroundings. The authorities said the air defense was deployed. There were air raids in the capital, the surrounding area and in Zhytomyr and Vinnytsia. Nothing was initially known about possible damage and victims.

In his own words, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleba expects a new major Russian offensive in January or February. “I think that Russia will probably have restored its ability for a major offensive by the end of January or the beginning of February – they will try and we will try to prevent it,” he said Tuesday night while speaking to press officials in Kyiv. Ukraine will do everything to thwart these plans of the Russian military.

According to a report, the US government is planning to deliver the Patriot air defense system to Ukraine. The project still has to be approved by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, CNN reported on Tuesday, citing unnamed government sources. The plans could be made official later this week. The Patriot system is used to counter aircraft, tactical ballistic missiles and cruise missiles. Ukraine, attacked by Russia, keeps pushing for better anti-aircraft defenses. The US is already delivering Himars multiple rocket launchers and the Nasams air defense system to Ukraine.

UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths sparked anger among Russian occupiers across the Dnipro River by visiting the recently liberated southern Ukrainian city of Kherson. Moscow’s regional head of administration, Vladimir Saldo, accused the UN representative on Tuesday of illegally crossing the border into Russian territory. “This is outrageous, shameful and indecent,” Saldo was quoted as saying by the Russian state agency Tass.

After invading Ukraine, Russia held sham referendums and illegally annexed four territories in southern and eastern Ukraine, including the Kherson Oblast. In the autumn, however, Ukrainian troops managed to liberate the city of Cherson and push back the Russian occupiers across the Dnipro River. UN spokesman Stéphane Dujarric pointed out that the United Nations does not recognize the referendums orchestrated by Moscow either.

Zelenskyy thanked the international community for the €1 billion emergency winter aid that was launched on Tuesday. “Every day we draw new strength for Ukraine to get through this winter and I thank everyone who is committed to this and helping our state,” he said in his daily video address in the evening.

Representatives from around 70 countries came together in Paris to help Ukraine, which had been badly hit by the Russian war of aggression. The aid is primarily intended to benefit the repair of the severely damaged power and heat supply, as well as the water supply, the transport and health systems and the supply of food. The Russian military recently targeted Ukraine’s entire energy infrastructure in order to wear down the population in winter and to put pressure on the country’s leadership.

Safety experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are to be permanently stationed in all four Ukrainian nuclear power plants. IAEA chief Rafael Grossi and Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Schmyhal agreed on this on Tuesday in Paris.

Currently, only the Russian-occupied Zaporizhia nuclear power plant has an IAEA team constantly monitoring the situation and providing independent reports on Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, which has repeatedly come under fire. Indirectly, the presence of the IAEA is also intended to prevent serious attacks that could cause a nuclear accident. Now the three remaining nuclear power plants in the Ukraine are also to be permanently monitored by the IAEA. These facilities are under Ukrainian control.

To date, around 185,000 refugees from Ukraine have started an integration course in Germany. This is reported by the editorial network Germany (RND, Wednesday) with reference to data from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (Bamf). “More than 185,000 Ukrainian nationals have already started an integration course,” a spokesman told RND, referring to the latest data from late November.

According to the authorities, more than a third of the more than one million refugees from Ukraine are minors. “For them, schooling is also compulsory in Germany, so the integration course is only aimed at adults,” added the spokesman. According to Bamf, many refugees want to return to Ukraine quickly: the people have only just escaped from the war and are hoping to return as soon as possible, they said. It is anything but a matter of course “that such a large number of people want to learn the German language so quickly of their own accord”.

That will be important on Wednesday

The European Parliament will award the renowned Sakharov Prize to the Ukrainian people in Strasbourg this Wednesday. Three Ukrainians who are committed to civil society will receive the award. The Sakharov Prize has been awarded by the European Parliament since 1988 to a person or organization defending human rights and freedom of expression.

Also Read: Ukraine Update December 12 – Kyiv Reports Heavy Losses Among Russian Troops