Russia-Ukraine war live: air raid alarms sound in Kyiv and Kherson; Bakhmut reaching stalemate, say US thinktank | Ukraine

0
17

Air raid alarms sound in Kyiv and Kherson

At around 6am on Thursday, 29 December, air raid alarms sounded in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, as well as the southern regions of Kherson and Mykolaiv and the western region of Zhytomyr.

“An air alert has been announced in the capital! Please go to the shelter!” the Kyiv City Military Administration posted on Telegram.

As yet, there have been no confirmed attacks.

Key events

There is currently a “threat of a massive missile attack” on Ukraine, according to Zhytomyr Oblast governor Vitaliy Bunechko on Telegram.

We are also seeing reports from Flash news that Russian missiles have entered Ukrainian airspace – the Guardian has not been able to verify either of these claims independently.

The US is stepping up its efforts to stop Iran from being able to supply drones to Russia, the New York Times reports.

“In interviews in the United States, Europe and the Middle East, a range of intelligence, military and national security officials have described an expanding US program that aims to choke off Iran’s ability to manufacture the drones, make it harder for the Russians to launch the unmanned “kamikaze” aircraft and — if all else fails — to provide the Ukrainians with the defences necessary to shoot them out of the sky,” according to the New York Times.

The Biden administration is reportedly concentrating on depriving Iran of some of the components needed to make the drones, many of which are made in the West.

Russia’s Lavrov rejects Zelenskiy’s ‘peace formula’ – RIA

Russia will not use Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’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 Sergei Lavrov as saying on Thursday.

Lavrov also told RIA that Kyiv’s idea of driving Russia out of eastern Ukraine and Crimea with Western help was “an illusion”.

Fighting at a deadlock, says Ukraine spy chief

The head of Ukraine’s military intelligence agency, Kyrylo Budanov, has made a similar claim to what the Institute for the Study of War had to say about Bakhmut, though he has widened it to the whole country.

Budanov says that fighting in Ukraine is at a deadlock, as neither Ukraine nor Russia is able to make significant advances.

“The situation is just stuck…It doesn’t move,” Budanov told the news agency in an interview.

He said that Russia was at a dead end but that Ukraine “can’t defeat them in all directions comprehensively” while it awaits weapons.

Bakhmut reaching stalemate, say US thinktank

Analysts at the US-based Institute for the Study of War believe that Russia has reached a stalemate in Bakhmut, with “several indicators support[ing] the assessment that Russian forces around Bakhmut have culminated”.

On Wednesday, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said “only a few” civilians remained in the embattled frontline city, which is in the eastern province of Donetsk. In a post on Telegram, Ukraine’s leader said of the city that “there is no place that is not covered with blood”.

In an update posted at 8.15pm Eastern Time, the ISW wrote:

US military doctrine defines culmination as the “point at which a force no longer has the capability to continue its form of operations, offense or defense,” and “when a force cannot continue the attack and must assume a defensive posture or execute an operational pause.” If Russian forces in Bakhmut have indeed culminated, they may nevertheless continue to attack aggressively. Culminated Russian forces may continue to conduct ineffective squad-sized assaults against Bakhmut, though these assaults would be very unlikely to make operationally significant gains.

Air raid alarms sound in Kyiv and Kherson

At around 6am on Thursday, 29 December, air raid alarms sounded in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, as well as the southern regions of Kherson and Mykolaiv and the western region of Zhytomyr.

“An air alert has been announced in the capital! Please go to the shelter!” the Kyiv City Military Administration posted on Telegram.

As yet, there have been no confirmed attacks.

Summary and welcome

Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the war in Ukraine. My name is Helen Sullivan and I’ll be bringing you the latest developments as they happen.

Air raid sirens sounded in the capital city, Kyiv, and the southern Ukrainian regions of Kherson and Mykolaiv in the early hours of Thursday morning, a day after Russian forces stepped up mortar and artillery attacks on Kherson city.

As yet, we have no reports of rocket fire, only notifications via the respective governors on Telegram that the alarms are sounding and that people should head to shelters.

Our other top story this morning is that analysts at the US-based Institute for the Study of War believe that Russia has reached a stalemate in Bakhmut, with “several indicators support[ing] the assessment that Russian forces around Bakhmut have culminated”.

On Wednesday, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said “only a few” civilians remained in the embattled frontline city, which is in the eastern province of Donetsk. In a post on Telegram, Ukraine’s leader said of the city that “there is no place that is not covered with blood”.

We’ll bring you more detail on these stories shortly. In the meantime, here are the other key recent developments:

  • Ukrainian officials were urging residents to evacuate from the city of Kherson on Wednesday as Russian forces stepped up mortar and artillery attacks on the southern Ukrainian city, which was recently liberated. Some residents who lived through the Russian occupation are reluctant to leave despite the bombardment, according to a local official who has been involved in the evacuation.

  • Volodymyr Zelenskiy said “only a few” civilians remain in the embattled frontline city of Bakhmut in the eastern province of Donetsk. In a Telegram post, Ukraine’s leader said “there is no place that is not covered with blood” in the Ukrainian-held city, where his troops are waging a battle that has come to symbolise the grinding brutality of the war.

  • Ukraine has secured the release of 1,456 prisoners of war since Russia invaded in February, according to Zelenskiy. Ukraine’s president was speaking in an annual address to the Ukrainian parliament, where Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, the commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s armed forces, cabinet ministers, foreign diplomats, military personnel and family members of fallen soldiers were reportedly present.

  • The Kremlin has insisted any proposals to end the conflict must take into account what it calls “today’s realities” of four Ukrainian regions Moscow has unilaterally declared part of Russia. In a regular briefing with reporters, the Kremlin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, dismissed Zelenskiy’s 10-point peace plan, which includes the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, the withdrawal of Russian troops, the release of all prisoners, a tribunal for those responsible for the aggression and security guarantees for Ukraine.

  • Russia’s foreign minister has said he is convinced that Moscow would achieve its goals in Ukraine thanks to its “patience” and “perseverance”. “I am convinced that thanks to our perseverance, patience and determination, we will defend the noble goals that are vital for our people and our country,” Russia’s top diplomat Sergei Lavrov said in an interview broadcast on national television.

  • The head of Gazprom has said the Russian gas giant had a challenging year, as the company seeks new markets after international sanctions over Moscow’s Ukraine offensive. “I want to say right away that 2022, of course, has turned out to be very, very difficult,” Alexei Miller said during an end-of-year conference as tensions soar between Russia and the west.

  • A Crimean human rights activist has been sentenced to seven years in prison after a Moscow-installed court in the Russian-annexed peninsula found her guilty of carrying an explosive device, in a trial that rights activists have described as “trumped up” and “illegal”. Iryna Danilovich was sentenced to seven years in a general regime colony by a court in Feodosia, the Kyiv-based organisation Institute of Mass Information (IMI) said.

  • Authorities in the Ukrainian city of Odesa have begun dismantling a monument to Catherine the Great, the Russian empress who founded the city in the late 18th century. Last month, the local parliament voted to dismantle the statue, as well as another to the Tsarist general Alexander Suvorov.

  • Russian soldiers mobilised to fight in Ukraine will be able to store their frozen sperm in a cryobank for free, a leading Russian lawyer has said. Demographers have warned that Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and its “partial” military mobilisation could further deepen Russia’s demographic crisis.

  • The United Nations high commissioner for human rights has released a count of the number of civilian casualties in Russia’s war on Ukraine so far, saying that 6,884 people are known to have died in Ukraine, including 429 children, between 24 February 2022 to 26 December 2022. The actual figure is likely to be “considerably higher”, it added.

Source