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Putin says Russia ‘ready to negotiate’ over Ukraine as Zelenskiy gives defiant Christmas message – as it happened


Putin: Russia ‘ready to negotiate’ over Ukraine

Russia is ready to negotiate with all parties involved in the war in Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin has said, while accusing Kyiv and its western allies of “refusing” to negotiate.

Speaking in an interview with Rossiya 1 state television, Putin said:

We are ready to negotiate with everyone involved about acceptable solutions, but that is up to them – we are not the ones refusing to negotiate, they are.

He added that Russia was acting in the “right direction” in Ukraine because the west, led by the US, was trying to cleave Russia apart. He continued:

I believe that we are acting in the right direction, we are defending our national interests, the interests of our citizens, our people. And we have no other choice but to protect our citizens.

Moscow has persistently said it is open to negotiations, but Kyiv and its allies suspect Putin’s claims are a ploy to buy time after a series of Russian defeats and retreats on the battlefield.

The Russian president said on Thursday that Moscow “will strive” for an end to the war and that this would inevitably involve “some kind of negotiations on the diplomatic track”. His comments came a day after President Volodymyr Zelenskiy visited the US.

John Kirby, the White House’s spokesperson, said Putin has “shown absolutely zero indication that he’s willing to negotiate” an end to the war. “Quite the contrary,” Kirby said, adding:

Everything he is doing on the ground and in the air bespeaks a man who wants to continue to visit violence upon the Ukrainian people.

Key events

A summary of today’s developments

  • Russia is ready to negotiate with all parties involved in the war in Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin has said, while accusing Kyiv and its western allies of “refusing” to negotiate. Moscow has persistently said it is open to negotiations, but Kyiv and its allies suspect Putin’s claims are a ploy to buy time after a series of Russian defeats and retreats on the battlefield.

  • Ukraine’s presidential adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, said Putin “needs to come back to reality” after the Russian leader claimed Moscow was ready for negotiations. It is “obvious” that Russia “doesn’t want negotiations, but tries to avoid responsibility”, Podolyak tweeted.

  • President Putin also blamed the west for starting the conflict in Ukraine in 2014 by toppling a pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych, in the Maidan revolution protests. But he told Rossiya 1 state television that the geopolitical conflict with the west was not “so dangerous”.

  • Air raid alerts blared across Kyiv and most of Ukraine twice on Sunday. Officials gave the all-clear and there were no immediate reports of Russian attacks on the country. Unconfirmed reports on Ukrainian social media suggested the sirens may have been triggered after Russian jets took to the skies in Belarus.

  • At least 16 people were killed and 64 injured in Russia’s shelling of the Kherson region in southern Ukraine on Saturday, the region’s governor, Yaroslav Yanushevych, said. Russian forces “opened fire on the Kherson region 71 times” with artillery, multiple-launch rocket systems and mortars, Yanushevych said. Iuliia Mendel, a Ukrainian former presidential spokesperson, shared photos of people waiting to donate blood in Kherson.

  • Among those killed in Kherson on Saturday were three Ukrainian emergency workers, who died when a mine exploded while they were demining parts of the Kherson region. “All three selflessly served … and performed the task of demining territories liberated from the enemy in the Kherson region,” the Zhytomyr emergency service said on its Facebook page.

  • Russian forces’ rate of advance in the Bakhmut area of eastern Ukraine has probably slowed in recent days, according to analysts. In its latest update, the US thinktank the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) cited one Russian military blogger as saying that Ukrainian forces had pushed back elements of the Russian private mercenary company, the Wagner group, to positions they held days ago.

  • President Volodymyr Zelenskiy used his latest video address to say that Ukrainians would create their Christmas miracle by remaining unbowed, despite Russian attacks that have left millions without power. Speaking 10 months to the day since Russia invaded, Zelenskiy said that while freedom came at a high price, slavery would cost more.

  • Russia’s parliament is preparing to introduce a higher taxation rate for people who have left the country, as many have since the war in Ukraine began in February. Some local media reported that as many as 700,000 fled after the announcement of a mobilisation drive to call up new troops to join the fight in September. The government rejected that figure at the time.

  • China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, has defended his country’s position on the war in Ukraine and indicated that Beijing will deepen ties with Moscow in the coming year. China will “deepen strategic mutual trust and mutually beneficial cooperation” with Russia, Wang said in a video address, according to an official text of his remarks.

  • The Archbishop of Canterbury and Pope Francis have used their Christmas addresses to call for an end to the war in Ukraine. Condemning the use of food as a weapon of war, the pope said the war in Ukraine and conflict in other countries had put millions at risk of famine.

Local residents in Kyiv, Ukraine, have been spotted singing Christmas carols during an air raid alarm inside a metro station.

Relentless Russian attacks on power generating facilities since October have regularly left millions of Ukrainians without heat and water.

“The threat of enemy air and missile strikes on critical infrastructure facilities remains throughout the territory of Ukraine,” the Ukrainian armed forces’ general staff said in an update on Facebook.

Russian troops had shelled dozens of towns and positions along the front line, it said, causing civilian casualties in the southern Kherson region. Moscow has denied targeting civilians.

Ukraine’s ministry of defence has tweeted information about a blood donation centre in Kherson following yesterday’s shelling, which killed at least 16 people and wounded dozens.

Kherson blood donation center.
People have gathered to help their fellow city residents injured by yesterday’s russian terrorist attack.
Anger.
Invincibility.
Compassion.
Victory. pic.twitter.com/8t3JAwNkHK

— Defense of Ukraine (@DefenceU) December 25, 2022

Soldier and Christmas tree
Raphael Karapitian, 45, a Ukrainian serviceman with the Dnipro-1 special tasks patrol police regiment, sits beside a Christmas tree in the trenches on the frontline as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

People near smoking building
Bakhmut
Volodymyr, 61, and Nataliia Bolias, 51, walk past an industrial building that was hit by a missile strike on Christmas Day.
Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Summary of the day so far

It’s 6pm in Kyiv. Here’s where we stand:

  • Russia is ready to negotiate with all parties involved in the war in Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin has said, while accusing Kyiv and its western allies of “refusing” to negotiate. Moscow has persistently said it is open to negotiations, but Kyiv and its allies suspect Putin’s claims are a ploy to buy time after a series of Russian defeats and retreats on the battlefield.

  • Ukraine’s presidential adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, said Putin “needs to come back to reality” after the Russian leader claimed Moscow was ready for negotiations. It is “obvious” that Russia “doesn’t want negotiations, but tries to avoid responsibility”, Podolyak tweeted.

  • President Putin also blamed the west for starting the conflict in Ukraine in 2014 by toppling a pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych, in the Maidan revolution protests. But he told Rossiya 1 state television that the geopolitical conflict with the west was not “so dangerous”.

  • Air raid alerts blared across Kyiv and most of Ukraine twice on Sunday. Officials gave the all-clear and there were no immediate reports of Russian attacks on the country. Unconfirmed reports on Ukrainian social media suggested the sirens may have been triggered after Russian jets took to the skies in Belarus.

  • At least 16 people were killed and 64 injured in Russia’s shelling of the Kherson region in southern Ukraine on Saturday, the region’s governor Yaroslav Yanushevych said. Russian forces “opened fire on the Kherson region 71 times” with artillery, multiple launch rocket systems and mortars, Yanushevych said. Iuliia Mendel, a Ukrainian former presidential spokesperson, shared photos of people waiting to donate blood in Kherson.

  • Among those killed in Kherson on Saturday were three Ukrainian emergency services workers, who died when a mine exploded while they were demining parts of the Kherson region. “All three selflessly served … and performed the task of demining territories liberated from the enemy in the Kherson region,” the Zhytomyr emergency service said on its Facebook page.

  • Russian forces’ rate of advance in the Bakhmut area of eastern Ukraine has probably slowed in recent days, according to analysts. In its latest update, the US thinktank Institute for the Study of War (ISW) cited one Russian military blogger as saying that Ukrainian forces had pushed back elements of the Russian private mercenary company, the Wagner group, to positions they held days ago.

  • President Volodymyr Zelenskiy used his latest video address to say that Ukrainians would create their Christmas miracle, by remaining unbowed, despite Russian attacks that have left millions without power. Speaking 10 months to the day since Russia invaded, Zelenskiy said that while freedom came at a high price, slavery would cost even more.

  • Russia’s parliament is preparing to introduce a higher taxation rate for people who have left the county, as many have since the war in Ukraine began in February. Some local media reported that as many as 700,000 fled after the announcement of a mobilisation drive to call up new troops to join the fight in September. The government rejected that figure at the time.

  • China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, has defended his country’s position on the war in Ukraine and indicated that Beijing will deepen ties with Moscow in the coming year. China will “deepen strategic mutual trust and mutually beneficial cooperation” with Russia, Wang said in a video address, according to an official text of his remarks.

  • The archbishop of Canterbury and Pope Francis have used their Christmas addresses to call for an end to the war in Ukraine. Condemning the use of food as a weapon of war, the pope said the war in Ukraine and conflict in other countries had put millions at risk of famine.

The only church in the village of Kyselivka in Ukraine’s southern Kherson region has been destroyed by Russian shelling, according to its defence minister, Oleksii Reznikov.

The only church in Kyselivka village (Kherson region) was fully destroyed by russian shelling. The Hague Convention IV protects religious buildings during hostilities, but for russian war criminals there is no God, nor any respect for religion#tribunal4russia
5/13

— Oleksii Reznikov (@oleksiireznikov) December 25, 2022

Here are some of the latest images we have received from Ukraine.

Ukrainian servicemen pose for a photo during the shoot towards Russian forces of self-propelled artillery at a frontline in Kharkiv region, Ukraine.
Ukrainian servicemen pose for a photo during the shoot towards Russian forces of self-propelled artillery at a frontline in Kharkiv region, Ukraine. Photograph: Evgeniy Maloletka/AP
Ukrainian army medic Oleksander carries his bride and comrade Eugenia after their wedding ceremony in Lyman, Donetsk region, Ukraine.
Ukrainian army medic Oleksander carries his bride and comrade Eugenia after their wedding ceremony in Lyman, Donetsk region, Ukraine. Photograph: Libkos/AP
A Ukrainian self-propelled artillery shoots towards Russian forces at a frontline in Kharkiv region, Ukraine.
A Ukrainian self-propelled artillery shoots towards Russian forces at a frontline in Kharkiv region, Ukraine. Photograph: Evgeniy Maloletka/AP

Iuliia Mendel, a Ukrainian former presidential spokesperson, has shared photos of people waiting to donate blood in Kherson after its regional governor, Yaroslav Yanushevych, issued an appeal for donations.

At least 16 people were killed and 64 injured in Russia’s shelling of the Kherson region on Saturday, according to Yanushevych.

A blood donation center in Kherson.

People lined up to donate and save the victims of yesterday’s shelling.

Photos from the Office of the President pic.twitter.com/4NrMeSPtol

— Iuliia Mendel (@IuliiaMendel) December 25, 2022





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