Here is the situation as it stands on Thursday, December 29.
- Air raid sirens rang out across Ukraine as several regions Kyiv, were facing a Russian missile attack. Sounds of explosions were heard in the capital, Kyiv, where the regional administration said air defense systems had been activated to fend off the ongoing missile attack. Authorities in several regions said some Russian missiles have been downed.
- Russia has shelled more than 25 settlements around Kherson and Zaporizhia, causing civilian casualties and damaging civilian infrastructure in Kherson city and region, according to the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
- Fighting was particularly intense around the strategic eastern city of Bakhmut in Donetsk province and Svatove, further north in Luhansk province, Britain’s defence ministry said.
- Kyiv-based military analyst Oleh Zhdanov noted that Kharkiv city and region have suffered heavy attacks, and a regional gas pipeline has been damaged.
- Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov said in a Telegram post that the city has come under attack twice, “presumably” from Iranian-made Shahed drones, five of which Ukraine’s eastern air command separately reported downing over the city of Dnipro.
- Ukrainian officials are calling on residents to evacuate from Kherson amid renewed Russian attacks on the southern city.
- An Australian man, Sage O’Donnell, has been killed fighting in Ukraine, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told parliament to remain united and praised Ukrainians for helping the West “find itself again”.
- The Kremlin rejected Zelenskyy’s 10-point peace plan, reiterating that proposals to end the conflict must accept Russia’s annexation of four Ukrainian regions: Luhansk and Donetsk in the east, and Kherson and Zaporizhia in the south.
- Russia will not use Zelenskyy’s “peace formula” as a basis for negotiations and believes Kyiv is still not ready for real peace talks, Russia’s RIA news agency cited foreign minister Sergey Lavrov as saying, adding that Kyiv’s idea of driving Russia out of eastern Ukraine and Crimea with Western help was “an illusion”.
- Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany, Oleksii Makeiev, has called for further support for his country in fending off the Russian invasion, saying “peace does not fall from the sky. It has to be fought for.”
- Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said the country’s economy, battered by Western sanctions, shrank by more than 2 percent over the past 11 months.
- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres named a retired Kuwaiti vice admiral, Abdullah Abdul Samad Dashti, as coordinator of shipments from Ukraine as part of the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies