According to ISW, the Kremlin is expanding the kidnapping of Ukrainian children to Russia. Russia’s Foreign Minister Lavrov issues an ultimatum to four Ukrainian regions. After a drone attack on the Engels base, Russia is now relocating its fighter jets. All news about the Ukraine war can be found in the Newsticker.

08:12: The Ukrainian troops are apparently about to liberate the city of Kreminna. Serhiy Hajdaj, the governor of Luhansk, wrote to Telegram on Tuesday that parts of the Russian troops had been forced to withdraw to Rubishne.

“The Russians understand that if they lose Kreminna, their entire line of defense would fall,” Hajdaj continued. He also added that Putin’s troops managed to build a strong defense. “They bring large amounts of reserves and equipment. They are constantly renewing their troops.”

Wednesday, December 28, 7:58 a.m.: Russian authorities are apparently stepping up efforts to kidnap Ukrainian children to Russia. This is reported by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) in its current update. Accordingly, the Russian occupiers demanded that children in the occupied territories undergo various medical examinations. These could subsequently lead to deportations to Russia.

According to the ISW, the Ukrainian Resistance Center has now reported that high-ranking Russian officials have allocated more than 350 million rubles (around 4.5 million euros) since October. In addition, the Russian Cabinet of Ministers is responsible for financing the program and is said to have made 435 million rubles (5.8 million euros) available.

10:49 p.m .: Selenskyj also reported on a conversation with Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. According to him, Rome is currently examining the delivery of anti-aircraft systems for Ukraine. “I believe that Italian support will allow us to strengthen the defense of Ukrainian airspace,” Zelenskyy said in his evening video message.

After the right-wing alliance’s victory in Italy in the autumn, there was speculation as to whether the country would end its support for Ukraine. The coalition includes the Forza Italia party of ex-Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who was one of Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin’s closest allies in the West.

9:40 p.m .: In the dispute over whether the Orthodox Church should remain in the world-famous Kiev Cave Monastery, the Ukrainian leadership has urged the church to distance itself from Moscow. “If you have no relations with Russia, then officially renounce, say that (Vladimir) Putin is Satan,” Secretary of the National Security Council Oleksiy Danilov demanded of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church on television on Tuesday. Moscow Patriarch Kirill is also a devil, added Danilov. Until May, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was subordinate to the Moscow Patriarchate.

At that time, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church officially broke with Moscow and condemned Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine ordered by Kremlin chief Putin. However, the Ukrainian authorities continue to suspect the church of collaborating with Moscow. The organization’s premises were searched several times.

8:53 p.m .: According to the city administration, the residents of Kiev must expect sudden emergency shutdowns again and again until the end of winter. “We will have to live under these conditions all winter,” said the deputy chief of the city administration, Petro Pantelyev, on Ukrainian television on Tuesday. As in other Ukrainian cities, the power supply in Kyiv has been severely affected by the Russian rocket attacks.

Electricians worked around the clock to repair the system, but Panteleyev admitted the situation remained difficult. The official warned that the capacities are not sufficient, especially on working days, when there is an increased power consumption.

6.30 p.m .: The Ukrainian leadership has sharply criticized Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban for his attitude in the Ukraine war. “The remarks made by Hungary’s prime minister demonstrate pathological contempt for Ukraine and the Ukrainian people who oppose Russian aggression, and political short-sightedness,” Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said on its website on Tuesday. The trigger was a statement by Orban that the war could be ended if the US stopped providing arms to Kyiv.

Orban is calling for Ukraine’s defeat in this way, but this would only increase the risk of Russian aggression against Hungary itself, according to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry. “The Hungarian leader should ask himself if he wants peace.” Relations between Hungary and Ukraine have been tense since the beginning of the war. Orban has repeatedly shown resistance to EU sanctions against Russia.

4:26 p.m .: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov sees the USA as the main culprit and at the same time the greatest beneficiary of the Ukraine war. The strategic goal of the United States and its allies in NATO is a “victory over Russia on the battlefield” in order to weaken or even destroy Russia, Lavrov said in an interview with the Russian state agency TASS on Tuesday. Washington is also pursuing the goal of destroying Russia’s traditional relations with Europe.

3:50 p.m .: The Russian military has probably moved some of its fighter planes from the Russian military base Engels to other airfields. A spokesman for the Air Force said on Ukrainian television on Tuesday.

2:27 p.m .: There is now an air alarm throughout Ukraine. This is reported by the opposition Belarusian news channel Nexta.

1:17 p.m .: In fighting and artillery duels on various front sections, Russian troops said they inflicted greater losses on the Ukrainian defenders on Tuesday. Around 60 Ukrainian soldiers were “destroyed” in fighting around Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, the state agency TASS reported, citing the Ministry of Defense in Moscow.

Around 30 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in an artillery attack in the neighboring Luhansk region. In addition, a number of Ukrainian guns are said to have been destroyed in various artillery duels from Cherson in the south to Kharkiv in the east. The information could not be independently verified.

12.30 p.m .: In the Russian-occupied town of Makiivka in the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine, several men robbed and killed a family of eight. Four children were among the victims, Russian and Ukrainian media reported unanimously on Tuesday. Cash, cellphones and a car were stolen during the robbery. According to the Russian state agency TASS, three suspects have already been arrested.

According to Ukrainian media, the suspects are members of the notorious Wagner mercenaries. This had recently recruited new members in Russian prisons.

11:56 am: For the past 48 hours, fighting in Ukraine has been concentrated in the Bakhmut area of ​​the Donetsk region and near Svatove in Luhansk. This emerges from the latest update from the British Ministry of Defence. “Russia continues to frequently initiate small-scale attacks in these areas, although few areas have changed hands,” the report said.

With regard to the Russian armed forces sent to Belarus, the secret service writes that an elite tank unit is said to have been among them. They probably carried out training before they were deployed. Still, it could be that the support units needed to make them combat-ready are missing.

9:28 a.m .: Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov demands that Ukraine must fulfill Moscow’s proposals in four areas. Otherwise, the Russian military would intervene, according to the Russian state news agency TASS.

“The enemy is aware of our proposals to demilitarize and denazify the regime-controlled areas and eliminate the threats they pose to Russian security, including our new areas,” Lavrov said, repeating the false Nazi accusations against Ukraine that Russia justifies its war of aggression, saying that if Ukraine does not comply with these demands, “the Russian army will take matters into its own hands”.

In an interview with the Russian news agency TASS, Lavrov also stated that the West wanted to kill Putin. “There, some ‘unnamed officials’ from the Pentagon actually threatened to deal a ‘decapitation blow’ to the Kremlin – in fact, we are talking about threatening the physical elimination of the Russian head of state,” Lavrov says indignantly. So far, those threats could not be independently verified. It is therefore questionable whether Lavrov is not inventing the alleged threats for propaganda purposes.

Russia has been claiming control of the four regions of Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhia and Cherson through illegal sham referendums since September. Just a few weeks after the annexation, Cherson was recaptured and about 10,000 square kilometers of land was liberated. Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin acknowledged that the situation in the occupied territories was “extremely complicated”.

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