Here is the situation as it stands on Saturday, December 24.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has warned of possible increased Russian attacks over the upcoming Christmas holiday season, urging people in his country to “pay attention to air raid alarms, help one another and look out for one another”.
- Ukraine has accused Russia of trying to cover up war crimes after Russian authorities in the occupied Ukrainian city of Mariupol started demolishing most of its drama theatre, where Ukrainian authorities say hundreds died in an air bombardment in March.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin told the country’s defence industry chiefs to increase efforts to ensure the Russian army quickly received all the weapons, equipment and military hardware it needs to fight in Ukraine.
- Russia has made significant progress towards “demilitarising” Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, referring to one of the goals Putin declared when he launched the war on February 24.
- The exiled mayor of Russian-occupied Melitopol in the south, Ivan Fedorov, said more Russian troops had been brought into the city and were strengthening fortifications.
- The US House of Representatives approved a $45bn aid package for Ukraine after it passed a $1.7 trillion spending bill, but some Republican lawmakers expressed frustration at the price tag for the latest round of assistance to Ukraine.
- Russia’s ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said bilateral relations were in an “ice age” and the risk of a clash between the two countries was “high”, Russian news agency TASS reported.
- Ukraine will intensify diplomatic efforts in Africa, Latin America and Asia to take advantage of “colossal economic potential” and other international benefits, Zelenskyy said.
- Russia may cut oil output by 5-7 percent in early 2023 and halt sales to countries supporting a price cap on its crude and oil products, according to Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak.
- Ukraine estimated its grain harvest fell by approximately 40 percent year on year due to Russia’s war, the head of the Ukrainian Grain Association, Serhiy Ivaschenko, said.