The war doesn’t rest at Christmas. The Russian army shells Cherson. Ten people die and 55 others are injured. At the age of 66, one of the most important men in the Russian naval industry dies unexpectedly. All news about the Ukraine war can be found in the Newsticker.
December 25, 08:15: The director of the large Russian naval shipyard Admirality Shipyards, Alexander Buzakov, died unexpectedly at the age of 66. This was confirmed by the parent company United Shipbuilding Corporation in a statement quoted by the Russian news agency Tass. For eleven years, Buzakov has headed the Admiralty Shipyard, which specializes in the construction of non-nuclear submarines and is state-owned. Details of the cause of death have not yet been given.
The 66-year-old was one of the most important men in Russia’s defense industry. Under him, diesel-powered submarines are said to have been built that can launch caliber missiles, according to Russian radio station Svoboda. According to the Russian army, these submarines were also used in the war in Ukraine.
9:38 p.m .: Is Putin only partially informed by his advisors about the situation in the Ukraine war? This is now reported by the “Wall Street Journal”, citing experts from Russia, Ukraine and the USA. The report speaks of the isolated man Vladimir Putin. Successes are emphasized, even embellished, while failures are downplayed. Putin is interested in getting a clear picture of the situation in Ukraine. He receives a written briefing every morning at 7 a.m. However, according to the Wall Street Journal, this contains some outdated information. It often takes days for Putin to receive certain information from the front, which means that it is often useless. Apparently the advisers to the Russian president are afraid of the consequences and don’t want to upset him. “People around Putin are protecting themselves,” Yekaterina Vinokorova told the Wall Street Journal. The Kremlin, meanwhile, disagrees: “As in the past, the President has several channels to obtain information.”
8:37 p.m .: In an emotional Christmas message, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj encouraged people suffering from Russia’s war and called on them to persevere. “We endured attacks, threats, nuclear blackmail, terror and missile strikes. Let’s get through this winter because we know what we’re fighting for,” Zelenskyy said in a video circulated on Christmas Eve. He was standing in the dark on the street with a Christmas tree and dim lights in the background.
“We believe that tears will give way to joy, that hope will come after despair, and death will be conquered by life,” Zelenskyy said. Millions of people in Ukraine and around the world are celebrating Christmas these days, he said. The President recalled Ukrainians who fled abroad or had to spend Christmas in Russian captivity. “We will bring freedom back to all Ukrainian women and men.”
After the Russian attacks on the country’s energy infrastructure, the streets and houses may not shine as brightly as usual this year, Zelensky said. But no Russian drone or missile can break the spirit of Christmas. “And even in total darkness we will find each other to hug tightly. And if there is no heating, we will warm ourselves with a big hug,” said Zelenskyy. “We will not wait for a miracle, we will create it ourselves.”
6:44 p.m.: According to Ukrainian intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov, Russia has received 1,700 Shahed Kamikaze drones from Iran. So far, Tehran has refused to supply ballistic missiles to Russia. “Iran is in no hurry, for understandable reasons, because as soon as Russia fires the first missiles, sanctions pressure on Iran will increase,” Budanov told The New York Times.
With improvements in Ukraine’s air defenses, most drones would be shot down before they reached targets, Budanov said. So far, Russia has already used about 540 drones against Ukraine.
In November, the organization StateWatch and the group Independent Anti-Corruption Commission released an investigation, according to the report, which found that drones made in Iran are said to consist exclusively of foreign-made parts, with the exception of the engine. Over 30 EU and US companies were identified among the companies whose parts were used to manufacture these drones.
6:17 p.m .: The Kremlin-critical punk rock band Pussy Riot is back with an anti-war song. “Mama, don’t watch TV” is the name of the first publication in eight months on the YouTube channel of the activists, who are using it to oppose the Ukraine war.
According to the band, the chorus is based on the words of a captured Russian military serviceman, as the British “Guardian” reports. In a telephone conversation with his mother, the soldier had said: “Mom, there are no Nazis here, don’t watch TV”. A nod to state-controlled television in Russia. Russian propaganda poisons people’s hearts every day, criticizes the punk rock activists. The video also shows images from the war in Ukraine. In a statement, they labeled Putin’s government a “terrorist regime” and called him, his officials, generals and propagandists “war criminals”.
1:19 p.m .: According to the presidential administration in Kyiv, 7 people were killed and 58 others injured in Russian shelling of the center of the Ukrainian city of Cherson. Among them were 18 seriously injured, said the deputy head of the Presidential Office in Kyiv, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, on Saturday. He had previously spoken of 5 dead and 20 injured. Tymoshenko published photos of lifeless people in the center of the city, which had recently been liberated from Russian occupation, on his Telegram news service channel.
According to Ukrainian sources, Russian troops are still shelling the city from other parts of the occupied Kherson region. Most of the area is still controlled by Russian troops. Russia had annexed the Cherson region.
“The Russians launched terror again and shelled the city center,” Tymoshenko said. “People died, buildings were destroyed.” On Saturday there were many people on the streets because of the weekend.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj condemned the attack as another crime by the “terror state” Russia just before Christmas. The photos of the dead would certainly be flagged by social networks because of the content. “But this is not sensitive content, this is real life of Ukraine and Ukrainians,” he said.
There are no military targets there, stressed Zelenskyy. This isn’t a war. “This is terror, this is killing for the sake of intimidation and for pleasure,” he said. “The world needs to see and understand the absolute evil we are fighting,” he said.
Ukrainian troops took the city of Cherson in the fall after the Russian forces withdrew. The Russian occupiers retreated to the other side of the Dnipro River. The Kremlin had stressed that Russia considers the entire Kherson region as its territory and will not give it up.
Saturday, December 24, 9:35 a.m.: According to British military intelligence services, the Russian troops in Ukraine lack ammunition and missiles. Tens of thousands of recruits have been mobilized since October. “Despite easing immediate manpower shortages, an ammunition shortage remains most likely the most important constraining factor for Russian offensive operations,” the UK Defense Ministry said on Saturday.
Due to the limited availability of cruise missiles, Russia has also limited its long-range missile attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure to about once a week. The stock of artillery ammunition is not sufficient for larger offensive operations. This is due to the fact that numerous grenades and rockets are needed every day for defense along the front.
6:55 p.m .: According to Ukrainian reconnaissance, the Russian armed forces are bringing reinforcements to their troops on the fronts in eastern and southern Ukraine. “The enemy has increased the volume of rail transport of troops, equipment and ammunition to combat zones,” the General Staff said in Kyiv on Friday.
The areas around the front-line town of Bakhmut in the east, as well as the towns of Avdiivka, Kupyansk and Limansk in the Donbass region, were considered the main combat zones. Reinforcements on the Russian side were also recognized in the south of the country, it said. However, the new units in the Cherson region would only be used to expand the defense lines. The information could not be independently verified.
6:11 p.m .: After his surprise visit to Washington, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has agreed to further trips abroad in wartime under certain conditions. “When a visit may have the same strategic importance as my visit to the US, when our armed forces and all of our defense forces depend on it, when one partner or another takes a leadership role in Ukraine’s peacekeeping role, when there are decisive steps to accelerate our victory then my negotiations on a personal level could be an exception to the general practice in wartime,” Zelenskyy said on Friday in Kyiv at a meeting with Ukrainian ambassadors from various countries.
“I urge you to take this visit as a point of reference, as a yardstick,” said Zelenskyy, according to a report in Ukrayinska Pravda. The Ukrainian head of state left Ukraine on Thursday for the first time since war broke out on February 24 to meet US President Joe Biden in Washington and to give a speech to the US Congress. In addition to massive military aid in the billions, Biden promised Zelenskyj further support in the fight against Russia.
For appearances on the political world stage – for example at the G7 summit in Elmau, Bavaria – Selenskyj has always had himself connected digitally from Ukraine. He has been invited to Brussels for February. Among other things, an EU-Ukraine summit is planned there for February 3.
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