Russia’s overnight bombing of regions in eastern Ukraine killed at least one, officials said on Sunday after Moscow ended a self-declared Christmas ceasefire and vowed to fight on until it defeats its neighbour. FIGHTING
* Two thermal power plants were damaged by Ukrainian shelling in Russian-controlled parts of the country’s Donetsk region with preliminary reports of injuries, Moscow-installed officials said on Sunday. * Serhiy Haidai, governor of Luhansk in eastern Ukraine, said on TV on Sunday there was heavy fighting in the region and Russian forces had deployed their most combat-ready units and heavy equipment to the city of Kriminna that they occupy, which he said meant the Russians were slowly retreating in the region.
* With nighttime temperatures dipping to minus 15-17 Celsius (5 to 1 Fahrenheit), fighting activity would soon increase as hard frosts mean it is easier to move heavy equipment, Haidai added. * Shellfire echoed on Saturday around the near-deserted streets of the Ukrainian town of Bakhmut, focus of the most intense fighting in Russia’s invasion. Reuters could not ascertain the origin of the shells heard in Bakhmut.
* The Russian-installed governor of the Crimean city of Sevastopol said on Saturday air defences had shot down a drone in what he suggested was the latest attempted Ukrainian attack on a port where Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is based. * The founder of Russia’s highest-profile mercenary organisation, the Wagner group, said he wanted his forces and the regular Russian army to capture Bakhmut because it possessed “underground cities” that can hold troops and tanks.
DIPLOMACY * Justice ministers from around the world will gather in London in March to boost international support for the International Criminal Court in its investigations of alleged war crimes in Ukraine, the British government said.
CHRISTMAS * Tears of joy streamed down worshippers’ faces as Ukraine’s main church celebrated a “return” to Kyiv’s Cathedral of the Assumption on Orthodox Christmas day, shortly after taking control of it from a rival church with alleged ties to Russia.
* President Vladimir Putin praised the Russian Orthodox Church for supporting Moscow’s forces fighting in Ukraine in an Orthodox Christmas message designed to rally people behind his vision of modern Russia. (Compiled by Alexandra Hudson, William Mallard and Frances Kerry)
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