Russia-Ukraine war: List of key events, day 671

As the war enters its 671st day, these are the main developments.

A Ukrainian soldier with a cat on his shoulder
A Ukrainian serviceman at a rest house near the front line in the Donetsk region [Thomas Peter/Reuters]

Here is the situation on Tuesday, December 26, 2023.

Fighting

  • Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu claimed Russian troops had gained full control of the eastern Ukrainian town of Marinka in what would be their first major breakthrough since the capture of Bakhmut back in May. Ukrainian military spokesperson Oleksandr Shtupun denied the Russian claims. “It’s not correct to talk about seizing Marinka,” he told national television. “Our forces are within the city.”
  • Five people were killed after Russian shelling of Ukraine’s southern city of Kherson and towns elsewhere in the region hit an apartment block and residential homes. Nine other people, including a 15-year-old, were wounded while gas and water supplies were partially cut off in the attacks.
  • Russian-installed authorities, meanwhile, said one person had been killed and six wounded in Ukrainian shelling of the Russian-occupied eastern town of Horlivka.
  • Ukraine said it shot down 28 of 31 drones launched by Russia overnight as well as two missiles mostly targeting the south of the country.
  • Russian and Ukrainian military officials both reported bringing down enemy aircraft in different areas of the 1,000km-long (621-mile) front line. Mykola Oleshchuk, the commander of Ukraine’s Air Force, said Ukrainian anti-aircraft units had hit a Russian Su-34 fighter bomber near the Russian-occupied Ukrainian city of Mariupol. Russia’s Defence Ministry, meanwhile, said its air defence systems shot down four Ukrainian military aircraft over the previous 24 hours.
  • Ukraine is proposing lowering the age of those who can be mobilised for combat duty from 27 to 25, according to the draft text of a new law on conscription.

Politics and diplomacy

  • Ukraine celebrated Christmas on December 25 for the first time in part of an ongoing effort to distance itself from Russian influence. Russia marks the holiday in January.
  • Ukraine received $1.34bn in funds from the World Bank. The money will be used to support non-security related financial and economic stability, Ukraine’s Ministry of Finance said.
  • Hundreds of supporters of Igor Girkin, a jailed former commander of Russian-backed fighters in Ukraine who is better known by his alias Igor Strelkov, rallied in Moscow to back his bid to stand for president. Girkin was a key leader of fighters in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic in eastern Ukraine in 2014 and has criticised Russia’s military strategy in Ukraine for being “too kind”. He was detained in July.

Weapons

  • Denis Manturov, the Russian deputy prime minister who oversees arms production, told the RIA news agency that Russia had the upper hand in weapons production over Western countries and intended to grow its arms industry. Manturov said that the volume of state defence orders in 2023 had doubled compared with the previous year, with production of “certain weapons” rising ten-fold.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies