The Russo-Ukrainian War at a Glance: What We Know on Day 306 of the Invasion | Russia
Explosions were heard at Russia’s Engels air base hundreds of miles from the front lines in Ukraine, Ukrainian and Russian media reported early Monday. RBC-Ukraine agency reported that two explosions took place. Russian news bulletin Baza, citing local residents, said air raid sirens had sounded and an explosion had been heard. The Guardian could not immediately verify the reports. The air base, near the city of Saratov, is about 730 km (450 miles) southeast of Moscow.
Vladimir Putin said the West was trying to “tear apart” Russia and claimed his offensive in Ukraine was aimed at “uniting the Russian people”. In an interview broadcast on national television, Putin said that “Russia’s geopolitical adversaries [were] aiming to tear apart Russia, historical Russia… Divide and rule, that is what they have always sought to achieve and still strive to achieve,” Putin added. “But our goal is different: it is to unite the Russian people.
Putin said Russia was ready to negotiate with all parties involved in the war in Ukraine, while accusing Kyiv and its Western allies of “refusing” to negotiate. Kyiv and its allies suspect Putin’s claims are a ploy to buy time after a series of Russian defeats and retreats on the battlefield.
An adviser to Ukraine’s president Mykhailo Podoliak said Putin “needs to come back to reality” after the Russian leader said Moscow was ready for talks. “It is clear that Russia ‘does not want negotiations, but is trying to avoid responsibility.’ Podolyak tweeted.
Alerts of an air strike rang out in Kyiv and most of Ukraine on Sunday. Officials gave the all clear and there were no immediate reports of Russian attacks. Unconfirmed reports on Ukrainian social media suggest the sirens may have gone off after Russian jets took to the skies over Belarus.
The governor of Ukraine’s Kherson has appealed for blood donations after 16 people were killed in Russian shelling on the southern region on Saturday. Yaroslav Janushevich said the Russian forces “71 times they opened fire in the Kherson region” with artillery, rocket launchers and mortars. Yulia Mendel, former spokeswoman for the Ukrainian president, shared photos of people waiting to donate blood in Kherson.
Three Ukrainian emergency workers died in a mine explosion while demining parts of the Kherson region. “All three selflessly served … and completed the task of demining territories liberated from the enemy in the Kherson region,” the Zhytomyr emergency service said on its Facebook page.
The pace of Russian forces’ advance in the Bakhmut region of eastern Ukraine may have slowed in recent days, analysts say. In its latest update, the US think tank Institute for the Study of War (ISW) quoted a Russian military blogger saying that Ukrainian forces had pushed elements of the Russian private mercenary company the Wagner group into positions they had held days earlier.
President Volodymyr Zelensky used his latest video address to say this Ukrainians would create their own Christmas miracle staying defiant despite Russian attacks that left millions without power. Speaking 10 months ago since Russia’s invasion, Zelensky said that while freedom comes at a high price, slavery will cost more.
Moscow is reportedly ready to resume gas supplies to Europe via the Yamal-Europe pipeline. “The European market remains relevant as gas shortages continue and we have every opportunity to resume supplies,” Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak was quoted as saying on Sunday by Russian state media TASS.
The Russian parliament is preparing to introduce a higher tax rate for people who have left the country, as many have since the start of the war in Ukraine. Some local media reported about 700,000 fled after the announcement of a mobilization campaign to call up new troops to join the battle in September. The government then rejected that figure.
China’s foreign minister has defended his country’s position on the war in Ukraine and indicated that Beijing will deepen ties with Moscow next year. China will “deepen strategic mutual trust and mutually beneficial cooperation” with Russia, Wang Yi said in a video address.
Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Pope Francis used his Christmas addresses to call for an end to the war in Ukraine. Condemning the use of food as a weapon of war, the pope said the war in Ukraine and conflicts in other countries had put millions at risk of starvation.
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