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Russia-Ukraine war: Moscow’s ceasefire ends with no let up in fighting; Ukraine strikes power plants in Donetsk, officials say – live


Ukraine shelling damages two power plants in Donetsk, say officials

Reuters is reporting two thermal power plants were damaged by Ukrainian shelling in Russian-controlled parts of the country’s Donetsk region, according to Moscow-installed officials on Sunday.

Preliminary information indicated injuries in the shelling in Zuhres and Novyi Svit, the officials said on their Telegram monitoring channel.

Ukraine almost never publicly claims responsibility for attacks inside Russia or on Russian-controlled territory in Ukraine.

Key events

Epiphany Singers Perform For Ukrainian Refugees At Tegel CenterBERLIN, GERMANY - JANUARY 07: Volunteers in Santa costumes welcome refugees from Ukraine to an Epiphany event at the Tegel refugees registration center and temporary shelter on January 7, 2023 in Berlin, Germany. Over 100,000 refugees from Ukraine have sought shelter in Berlin as Russia's war in Ukraine continues to rage nearly one year on. (Photo by Omer Messinger/Getty Images)
Volunteers in Santa costumes welcome refugees from Ukraine to an Epiphany event. Ukrainians and Russians marked Orthodox Christmas on Saturday as the 36-hour ceasefire ordered by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin ran its course with little sign the fighting had eased. Photograph: Omer Messinger/Getty Images

Demands for a special tribunal to investigate Russia for a “crime of aggression” against Ukraine have been backed by senior UK politicians from across the political divide in a move to show Vladimir Putin and his generals that they will be held to account.

In a joint statement shared with the Observer, figures including the Labour leader Keir Starmer, the former Nato secretary general George Robertson, the former foreign secretary David Owen, and former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith say the tribunal should be set up to look into the “manifestly illegal war” on the same principles that guided the allies when they met in 1941 to lay the groundwork for the Nuremberg war crimes trials of Nazi leaders.

While the International Criminal Court (ICC) is already looking at allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity in relation to the Ukraine invasion, advocates for a special tribunal say it is needed because the ICC does not have the power to examine the crime of aggression. The United Nations defines an act of aggression as the “invasion or attack by the armed forces of a state on the territory of another state, or any military occupation”.

A special tribunal would heap further pressure on Russia and Putin, its advocates say. It would stop senior Russian officials from travelling out of fear of arrest, show solidarity with Ukraine, which has requested the tribunal, and send a message from the international community that aggression will not go unpunished. It would also examine Belarus’s role.

They write:

It has been 10 months since Russia, backed by Belarus, launched one of the largest ground invasions in Europe since the second world war.

Since then, thousands of Ukrainian civilians have been killed or injured, 8 million people have been internally displaced and around 8 million have become refugees. Civilian infrastructure and economic assets worth tens of billions have been destroyed or plundered, and irreplaceable cultural monuments reduced to rubble.

If proven in court, these acts of aggression could constitute what the Nuremberg trials termed the ‘supreme international crime’. For it is the crime of aggression from which most other international crimes – war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide – often flow.

Read more here:

Welcome to today’s politics liveblog. I’m Nicola Slawson and I’m taking over from my colleague Adam. Do drop me a line if you have any questions or think I’ve missed anything. My email is nicola.slawson@theguardian.com and I’m @Nicola_Slawson on Twitter.

Ukrainians and Russians marked Orthodox Christmas on Saturday as the 36-hour ceasefire ordered by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin ran its course with little sign the fighting had eased.

Agence France-Presse reported that war-scarred cities in eastern Ukraine saw no significant let-up in the combat. Heavy artillery fire was heard in the town of Chasiv Yar, south of the frontline city of Bakhmut, throughout much of Saturday morning.

The Russian defence ministry insisted its forces were observing the unilateral ceasefire, which ended at 11pm in Kyiv (2100 GMT). But they also said they had repelled attacks in eastern Ukraine and killed dozens of Ukrainian soldiers on Friday.

Ukrainian authorities said only three people had been killed on Friday.

Smoke rises in Bakhmut on Saturday after a Russian attack
Smoke rises in Bakhmut on Saturday after a Russian attack. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

The two thermal power plants in Ukraine’s Donetsk region controlled by Russian forces were damaged in a rocket attack by the Ukrainian army, Moscow-installed officials and Russian state news agency Tass said on Sunday.

Reuters also reported that early information suggested the plants in Zuhres and Novyi Svit had been hit and that some people on the spot had sustained injuries, the officials said on their Telegram channels.

Two people might be trapped under debris at the damaged Starobesheve power plant in Novyi Svit, Tass reported. Citing officials, it said the strike was carried out using a multiple rocket launcher system.

There was no immediate comment from Ukraine, which never publicly claims responsibility for attacks inside Russia or on Russian-controlled territory in Ukraine.

Ukrainian troops in Donetsk on Saturday
Ukrainian troops in Donetsk on Saturday. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Ukraine shelling damages two power plants in Donetsk, say officials

Reuters is reporting two thermal power plants were damaged by Ukrainian shelling in Russian-controlled parts of the country’s Donetsk region, according to Moscow-installed officials on Sunday.

Preliminary information indicated injuries in the shelling in Zuhres and Novyi Svit, the officials said on their Telegram monitoring channel.

Ukraine almost never publicly claims responsibility for attacks inside Russia or on Russian-controlled territory in Ukraine.

Opening summary

Welcome back to our continuing live coverage of the Russia-Ukraine war – I’m Adam Fulton.

Russia bombed regions in eastern Ukraine overnight, local officials said on Sunday, after Moscow ended its self-declared 36-hour ceasefire and vowed to push on with combat until it was victorious.

A 50-year-old man died in the Kharkiv region as a result of the Russian shelling, the regional governor, Oleh Sinehubov, said on the Telegram messaging app, Reuters reported.

In other developments:

  • Russian attacks were reported on Saturday in at least seven regions in Ukraine’s east and south over the previous 24 hours, despite Moscow’s ceasefire declaration for Orthodox Christmas. At least three people were killed.

  • Russian troops shelled the Kherson region 39 times on Friday, according to the governor, Yaroslav Yanushevych. Residential buildings and a fire station building came under fire in the liberated city of Kherson, where a first responder was killed. Seven civilians were also wounded in the reigon.

  • Ukraine’s military said two were killed and 13 injured in Russia’s shelling of Bakhmut, eastern Ukraine, during the purported ceasefire. The two dead were a 66-year-old man and 61-year-old woman.

  • Russian troops were “terrorising” civilians in the north-eastern region of Kharkiv, said its governor, Oleh Syniehubov. No casualties have been reported, but residential and commercial buildings continued to come under fire.

  • Russian forces shelled Ukrainian positions 14 times and stormed one settlement three times in the frontline eastern Luhansk province in the first three hours of the purported ceasefire, said its governor, Serhiy Haidai, Reuters reported. It heard explosions of what Ukrainian troops at the frontline described as incoming Russian rocket fire. Ukrainians fired back from tanks.

  • The Russian-installed governor of the occupied Crimean city of Sevastopol has said air defences shot down a drone in an apparent attack on the port where Russia’s Black Sea fleet is based. Mikhail Razvozhaev alleged that the incident took place early on Saturday.

  • The UK Ministry of Defence said fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces continued at a “routine level” into the Orthodox Christmas period. The ministry’s daily intelligence update stated that fighting was focused in heavily forested terrain to the west of the town of Kremina in eastern Ukraine’s Luhansk province, where “combat has devolved to dismounted infantry fighting, often at short range”.

  • The US has asked Italy to provide air defence systems to Ukraine as soon as possible. The Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported that the request was made in a conversation between the US national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, and Francesco Talo, an adviser to the Italian prime minister, Giorgia Meloni.

  • The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has praised the US for including tank-killing armoured vehicles in its latest multibillion-dollar package of military aid, saying they are “exactly what is needed”. The latest US military assistance announced on Friday by the White House was the biggest to date for Kyiv, and for the first time included Bradley armoured vehicles.

  • Services have taken place in Ukraine to mark the first Orthodox Christmas since Russia’s invasion of the country last year. Metropolitan Epiphanius led a Christmas service at the Holy Dormition Cathedral at the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra in the Ukrainian capital.

  • Ukraine has updated the number of Russian troops it believes it has killed to 110,740. The general staff of the armed forces said in an update on Saturday that a further 490 troops were killed on Friday.





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