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Russia-Ukraine war: fighting in Donbas ‘difficult and painful’, Zelenskiy says; 9 million Ukrainians without power – live


Fighting in Donbas ‘difficult and painful’, Zelenskiy says

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has said fighting in the eastern regions of Bakhmut, Kreminna and other areas in Donbas are “difficult and painful” for Ukrainian troops.

Addressing the situation on the frontline in his Monday night address, he said:

The frontline. Bakhmut, Kreminna and other areas in Donbas, which now require maximum strength and concentration.

The situation there is difficult, acute. The occupiers are using all the resources available to them – and these are significant resources – to squeeze out at least some advance.”

Donetsk regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said on Monday that more than 60% of the infrastructure in the city of Bakhmut, which has been the site of intense fighting, is partially or fully destroyed.

“Russia is constantly shelling Bakhmut’s infrastructure. The enemy is keeping on scorched earth tactics,” he said.

Volodymyr, 61, and Nataliia Bolias, 51, walk past an industrial building hit by a Russian missile strike in Bakhmut, Ukraine.
Volodymyr, 61, and Nataliia Bolias, 51, walk past an industrial building hit by a Russian missile strike in Bakhmut, Ukraine. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Ukraine’s eastern military command spokesperson, Serhiy Cherevaty, also said that the Bakhmut and Avdiivka areas in Donetsk remain the sites of the heaviest hostilities. He reported that there were 225 shellings from artillery and tanks in the Bakhmut area on Monday alone.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s military said dozens of towns in the Luhansk, Donetsk, Kharkiv, Kherson and Zaporizhzia regions were shelled by Russian forces.

In the Kherson region, Russia shelled populated areas along the right bank of the Dnipro River, Ukraine’s military said.

Key events

Russian forces ‘suffer greatest losses in Bakhmut and Lyman’, says Ukraine’s armed forces

Ukrainian forces have repelled Russian attacks in the areas of two settlements in the Luhansk region and six in the Donetsk region over the past 24 hours, the general staff of Ukraine’s armed forces said in this morning’s operational update.

Russian forces launched two missile strikes and fired 44 multiple-launch rocket systems over the past day, it said.

The update, posted on social media, reads:

In the Volyn, Polissya, Siverskyi and Slobozhanskyi directions, the situation has not changed significantly, the enemy maintains a military presence along the state border, and no signs of the formation of its offensive groups have been detected.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s armed forces said a further 620 Russian servicemen were killed between 24 December and 27 December, bringing the total Russian losses to 103,220.

It said:

Russian enemy suffered the greatest losses (of the past day) at the Bakhmut and Lyman directions.

“I’ve got a theory that if you give 100 percent all of the time, somehow things will work out in the end.“
Larry Bird

Total combat losses of the enemy from Feb 24 to Dec 27: pic.twitter.com/dkZc4eLm1e

— Defense of Ukraine (@DefenceU) December 27, 2022

It is not possible to verify this report.

A destroyed monastery seen in Dolyna, eastern Ukraine.

Caesar, a 50-year-old Russian who joined the Freedom of Russia Legion to fight on the side of Ukraine, stands in front of a destroyed monastery in Dolyna, eastern Ukraine on 26 December, 2022.
Caesar, a 50-year-old Russian who joined the Freedom of Russia Legion to fight on the side of Ukraine, stands in front of a destroyed monastery in Dolyna, eastern Ukraine on 26 December, 2022. Photograph: Sameer Al-Doumy/AFP/Getty Images
Tikhiy, 41, also walks past the monastery in Dolyna.
Tikhiy, 41, also walks past the monastery in Dolyna. Photograph: Sameer Al-Doumy/AFP/Getty Images

Peter Beaumont

Peter Beaumont

From terms to mock the Russian foe to those that mask the grim reality of war, new usages abound, Peter Beaumont reports from Kyiv.

It was once a superstition only among Ukrainian air crew: the word “last”, especially in the context of a last or final meeting, should be avoided as it denotes a premonition of death.

In its place air crew would say krajne, which translates very roughly to English as “on the edge”.

Since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, krajne has gained far wider usage, employed by soldiers and some civilians in a country where everyone knows someone who is serving at the front.

The conflict is spawning a new lexicon. Some of the words and phrases that have entered wider usage in Ukrainian society date back to the beginning of the war in 2014, others to military usage in the Soviet era, military slang that has become popularised again, and others are entirely new coinages.

Read the full story below:

Fighting focuses around Bakhmut, Donetsk: UK MoD

Over the last 48 hours, fighting in Ukraine has remained focused around the Bakhmut area of the Donetsk region, and near Svatove in Luhansk, according to the latest UK Ministry of Defence report.

“Russia continues to initiate frequent small-scale assaults in these areas, although little territory has changed hands,” the report claims.

“To the north, elements of Russia’s 1st Guards Tank Army were probably amongst the Russian forces recently deployed to Belarus. This formation was likely conducting training before its deployment and is unlikely to have the support units needed to make it combat-ready.”

Russia does not intend to propose any new initiatives on strategic arms or security guarantees, its foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said in an interview published by state-run Tass news agency on Tuesday.

Lavrov also called on the west to exercise maximum restraint in the “highly sensitive” nuclear sphere.

The foreign minister earlier alleged the United States and its Nato allies together with Ukraine wanted to defeat Russia “on the battlefield” in order to destroy it, in remarks published on Monday.

Ukraine aims for UN-backed peace summit in February

Ukraine is aiming to hold a peace summit by the end of February – preferably at the United Nations with its secretary general, António Guterres, as a possible mediator – according to its foreign minister.

But Dmytro Kuleba said that Russia could only be invited if the country faced a war crimes tribunal first.

Ukraine aims for UN-backed peace summit by end of February, says its foreign minister – video

Every war ends in a diplomatic way … Every war ends as a result of the actions taken on the battlefield and at the negotiating table.”

Kuleba said the Ukrainian government would like to have a peace summit by the end of February, around the anniversary of Russia’s invasion.

The United Nations could be the best venue for holding this summit, because this is not about making a favour to a certain country,” he said. “This is really about bringing everyone on board.”

Fighting in Donbas ‘difficult and painful’, Zelenskiy says

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has said fighting in the eastern regions of Bakhmut, Kreminna and other areas in Donbas are “difficult and painful” for Ukrainian troops.

Addressing the situation on the frontline in his Monday night address, he said:

The frontline. Bakhmut, Kreminna and other areas in Donbas, which now require maximum strength and concentration.

The situation there is difficult, acute. The occupiers are using all the resources available to them – and these are significant resources – to squeeze out at least some advance.”

Donetsk regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said on Monday that more than 60% of the infrastructure in the city of Bakhmut, which has been the site of intense fighting, is partially or fully destroyed.

“Russia is constantly shelling Bakhmut’s infrastructure. The enemy is keeping on scorched earth tactics,” he said.

Volodymyr, 61, and Nataliia Bolias, 51, walk past an industrial building hit by a Russian missile strike in Bakhmut, Ukraine.
Volodymyr, 61, and Nataliia Bolias, 51, walk past an industrial building hit by a Russian missile strike in Bakhmut, Ukraine. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Ukraine’s eastern military command spokesperson, Serhiy Cherevaty, also said that the Bakhmut and Avdiivka areas in Donetsk remain the sites of the heaviest hostilities. He reported that there were 225 shellings from artillery and tanks in the Bakhmut area on Monday alone.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s military said dozens of towns in the Luhansk, Donetsk, Kharkiv, Kherson and Zaporizhzia regions were shelled by Russian forces.

In the Kherson region, Russia shelled populated areas along the right bank of the Dnipro River, Ukraine’s military said.

Summary and welcome

Hello and welcome back to the Guardian’s live coverage of the war in Ukraine. I’m Samantha Lock and I’ll be bringing you all the latest developments as they unfold over the next few hours.

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has said fighting in the eastern regions of Bakhmut, Kreminna and other areas in Donbas are “difficult and painful” for Ukrainian troops.

The Donetsk regional governor, Pavlo Kyrylenko, added that more than 60% of the infrastructure in the city of Bakhmut has been partially or fully destroyed in a update on Monday.

Despite the fighting, Ukraine’s foreign minister proposed to hold a peace summit by the end of February – preferably at the United Nations with its secretary general, António Guterres, as a possible mediator.

For any updates or feedback you wish to share, please feel free to get in touch via email or Twitter.

If you have just joined us, here are all the latest developments:

  • Moscow has accused Ukraine of a deadly attack on an airbase that killed three Russian servicemen on Monday. Russia’s defence ministry claimed a Ukrainian drone was shot down on the approach to Engels base located about 300 miles away from the Ukrainian border but falling debris killed three service personnel. The Ukrainian government made no comment on the reported attacks.

  • Ukraine’s military said dozens of towns in the Luhansk, Donetsk, Kharkiv, Kherson and Zaporizhzia regions were shelled by Russian forces. In the Kherson region, Russia shelled populated areas along the right bank of the Dnipro River, Ukraine’s military said. Zelenskiy said the frontline in Bakhmut, Kreminna and other areas in Donbas “now require maximum strength and concentration” in his Monday night address.

  • Zelenskiy said power shortages were persisting, with nearly 9 million people remaining without electricity. “Shortages persist. Blackouts are continuing,” he said in his Monday night video address. “But the numbers and the length of the blackouts are gradually decreasing.”

  • Ukraine should fulfil Moscow’s proposals for settlement for its own good or the Russian army will decide, Russia’s foreign minister has said. “Our proposals for the demilitarisation and denazification of the territories controlled by the regime, the elimination of threats to Russia’s security emanating from there, including our new lands, are well known to the enemy,” state news agency Tass quoted Sergei Lavrov as saying late on Monday. “The point is simple: fulfil them for your own good. Otherwise, the issue will be decided by the Russian army.”

  • The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, hosted leaders of other former Soviet states in St Petersburg on Monday. In televised remarks Putin said threats to the security and stability of the Eurasian region were increasing. “Unfortunately challenges and threats in this area, especially from the outside, are only growing each year,” he said. “We also have to acknowledge unfortunately that disagreements also arise between member states of the commonwealth.”

  • Ukraine’s foreign minister said Kyiv was aiming to have a peace summit by the end of February. Dmytro Kuleba suggested that the UN’s secretary general, António Guterres, could be the possible mediator for peace talks with Russia, though Russia could only be invited if the country faced a war crimes tribunal first. “The United Nations could be the best venue for holding this summit, because this is not about making a favour to a certain country. This is really about bringing everyone on board,” he said.

  • Zelenskiy also said he sought India’s help with implementing a “peace formula” in a phone call with the country’s prime minister on Monday. “I had a phone call with PM Narendra Modi and wished a successful G20 presidency,” Zelenskiy wrote on Twitter. “It was on this platform that I announced the peace formula and now I count on India’s participation in its implementation.” The Indian government said in statement late on Monday that Modi “strongly reiterated” his call for an immediate end to hostilities in Ukraine and conveyed India’s support for any peace efforts.

  • Russia’s FSB security service said a Ukrainian four-person “sabotage group” was “liquidated” while trying to enter the Bryansk region on Sunday, Russian state media reported. The alleged saboteurs were armed with foreign-made guns and four improvised explosive devices, the FSB said. There was no immediate comment on the incident from Ukraine.

  • Ukraine has called for Russia to be removed as a permanent member of the security council. The foreign ministry said Russia had illegally occupied “the seat of the USSR in the UN security council since the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991, and that its three-decade presence in the UN has been “marked by wars and seizures of other countries’ territories”.

  • A video has emerged allegedly shows members of the private Russian mercenary company, Wagner Group, calling the Russian armed force’s chief of general staff a “piece of shit”. Bellingcat’s Christo Grozev reports that Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Russian businessman and founder of Wagner Group, said he has “nothing to say about this video”, which Grozev writes means the Putin ally is essentially endorsing the attack on Valery Gerasimov.

A solider walks past a destroyed monastery in Dolyna, eastern Ukraine on 26 December, 2022.
A solider walks past a destroyed monastery in Dolyna, eastern Ukraine on 26 December, 2022. Photograph: Sameer Al-Doumy/AFP/Getty Images





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