Ukraine war – live: Putin’s spokesman says Russia not planning ‘Christmas ceasefire’ – The Independent

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Moscow is not planning on a holiday ceasefire
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The Kremlin said that is not planning a “Christmas ceasefire” in Ukraine and has not received any proposals about it, top spokesperson Dmitry Peskov revealed on Wedneday.
“No, no such offers have been received from anybody. This topic is not on the agenda,” the Kremlin spokesperson said when asked if Russia has seen any proposals for a Christmas ceasefire.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called on Russia, earlier in the week, to start withdrawing its troops from his country by Christmas as the first step towards a peace deal in the conflict.
Meanwhile, explosions rocked Kyiv early morning today, sending many inside shelters as officials rang air raid alert for more than half an hour.
Ukraine’s air defence forces shot down a total of 11 Shahed drones, Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko said shortly after.
Kyiv oblast governor Oleksiy Kuleba said that air defence systems have been activated and are hitting targets.
This comes as Washington is expected to deliver its most advanced air defence system to help Ukraine protect its skies from Russian attacks, risking a response from Vladimir Putin who may view the move as an escalation.
Good morning, welcome to our coverage of the Ukraine war on Wednesday, 14 December.
The US is reportedly set to send its most advanced air defence systems to help Ukraine, finally agreeing to a request made months ago by that nation’s leader.
Reports said that as early as this week, defence secretary Lloyd Austin could approve a directive to transfer at least one Patriot battery unit to Ukraine.
Both CNN and the New York Times quoted anonymous US officials as saying that an agreement to send the weapons systems had been reached. It would need president’s Joe Biden’s signature on any agreement.
Patrio weapons systems already deployed in nations such as Poland
Officials in Kyiv have activated air defence systems in the last hour amid air raid alert in the Ukrainian capital today.
The air defence systems are hitting targets, Kyiv oblast governor Oleksiy Kuleba was reported as saying by The Kyiv Independent.
He also asked residents to remain in safe shelters.
“Heard several explosions in Kyiv — we’re in an air raid alert and air defences have been working,” said war reporter Nolan Peterson.
The air raid alert has been on since 5.55am in Kyiv.
Dozens of countries and international organisations have pledged hundreds of millions of pounds to help keep Ukraine powered, fed and warm during winter.
An international donor conference in Paris racked up substantial promises of financial support worth around £800m.
Ukraine had made an impassioned plea for aid which they said could pressure Russia into pursuing peace. Conference donors strongly condemned the Kremlin’s savaging of power stations, water facilities and other essential services in Ukraine.
Read the full story here:
Some 12 million Ukrainians living without power
Ukraine’s air defence systems downed at least 10 Iranian Shahed drones over Kyiv this morning after the Ukrainian capital came under a renewed Russian attack.
“In the Kyiv region and over the capital, air defence forces shot down a total of 10 Shahed drones,” Kyiv mayor Vitalii Klitschko said in a Telegram post today.
He had also confirmed explosions in the Shevchenkiv district of the capital around 10am, adding that emergency services follow in place.
The Iranian drone strikes on Kyiv come almost a month after Russia last attacked Ukraine with the borrowed drones from its middle-east ally.
Late November, the British defence ministry had said that Russia likely nearly exhausted its current stock of Iranian drones and will probably seek resupply.
“No OWA UAVs strikes have been publicly reported since around 17 November 2022. Russia has likely very nearly exhausted its current stock, but will probably seek resupply.” Russia can probably procure UAVs from overseas more rapidly than it can manufacture new cruise missiles domestically, the MoD claimed.
The top of Russia’s military hierarchy is likely plagued by factional tensions amid concerns from former Russian military intelligence officer about lack of strategic planning in Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, especially in Donetsk.
“Igor Girkin, a well-known Russian nationalist and former military intelligence officer, claimed he had spent two months embedded with a Donetsk People’s Republic battalion on the front line,” the ministry said in its latest intelligence update.
“He said his recent experiences had revealed a ‘crisis of strategic planning’ in Russia’s Ukraine operation,” the ministry said.
It added that since Mr Girkin’s deployment, he has also “derided the Russian military’s current emphasis upon constructing extensive, positional defensive works, questioning their utility in modern warfare.”
“His comments highlight the fraught debate about the conduct of the war which continues within Russia’s security community,” the MoD noted.
“Rumours circulating on social media within the last 48 hours suggesting that Russian Chief of the General Staff General Valery Gerasimov could have been fired cannot be verified. However, factional tensions likely extend to the top of Russia’s military hierarchy,” it said.
Ukrainian air defence has shot down another drone this morning, the Kyiv city military administration said today, taking the total number of Iranian Shahed aerial artillery downed to 11.
Authorities have kept the air raid sirens on, hours after it first went off around 5.30am.
Russia has attacked Ukraine with Iranian-made Shahed-136 and Shahed-131 drones this morning, the country’s air force said today after coming under another attack.
These drones were launched from the eastern coast of the Azov sea, officials said.
A nurse wounded by a Russian sniper was spirited out wrapped in sheets. Another, sickened by the thought of working for the people who destroyed his home, sneaked out a side door and walked out through Mariupol’s shattered streets.
Doctors shed their scrubs for street clothes. And one by one, the staff of the largest hospital in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine slipped away as Russian forces seized control of the city’s center.
Months later, around 30 staff members from Mariupol’s Hospital No. 2 have reassembled in Kyiv. Along with 30 specialists from a cardiac hospital in Kramatorsk, a Donetsk city that remains under Ukraine’s control, they are opening a pared-down version of a public hospital to help displaced Ukrainians in need of care.
Read more:
A team of doctors and nurses who fled Mariupol as Russian forces closed in on their hospital are starting up a new medical center in the Ukrainian capital to serve people displaced by the war
Two administrative buildings in Kyiv – the Ukrainian capital – were damaged on Wednesday in a drone attack, the city’s administration said.
They added that there was still no information about potential injuries or fatalities.
The mayor of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, said that air-defence systems shot down 10 Iranian-made Shahed drones.
They added that there were explosions in the city’s central Shevchenkivskyi district, as well as in a cluster of universities, galleries and restaurants.
Deep in the forest and less than a mile from enemy Russian positions, the sound of incoming artillery landing nearby thunders every few minutes. The landscape is littered with unexploded ordnance, so the Ukrainian soldiers don’t dare step anywhere they have not before. They pack light because they might be on the move quickly – forward, they hope.
In their cramped, hastily dug mud outpost, they apologise that they only have tea – no room for coffee.
A commander manning one of Ukraine’s forward-most positions did not flinch at the roar of shells crashing close by as he zoomed in on his tablet to show how Kyiv’s forces in the area have advanced within five miles of Kreminna – an occupied stronghold for the Russian military and potential gateway for the Ukrainian forces as they press into the eastern Luhansk region.
Read more:
After the rapid progress of Ukrainian forces in the Kharkiv region, progress has slowed in Luhansk as the wet and cold weather moves in, writes Isabelle Khurshudyan
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Members of the Ukrainian military drive tanks down a road on the outskirts of the city in Bakhmut, Ukraine
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