Ukraine-Russia war – live: Kyiv blows up major Russian vessel as Putin’s nuclear weapon shipment to Belarus complete

By Isaac M December 26, 2023

Kyiv suffers largest ever drone attack by Russia leaving five wounded

Russia has shipped nuclear weapons to Belarus in a move intended to deter what Minsk claims to be Polish aggression in the region.

Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko said the shipments were completed in October, but did not give details of how many weapons were sent or where they have been deployed.

Mr Lukashenko claimed hosting Russian nuclear weapons was intended to deter aggression by neighbouring Nato member Poland.

Poland has given Kyiv military, economic and political support ever since Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The Polish ministry of defence was approached for comment.

It comes after Ukraine claimed it downed five Russian fighter jets in three days, which would be one of the biggest weekly losses for the Russian air force since the war began.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian officials claimed responsibility for a massive air attack on the Crimean town of Feodosia early on Tuesday, damaging Vladimir Putin’s fleet parked in the port area as powerful explosions rocked the region.

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Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny breaks silence after disappearance

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has issued his first statement after going missing for nearly three weeks.

Mr Navalny disappeared shortly after Vladimir Putin announced his intention to run for a fifth presidential term in early December. On Christmas Day his lawyers said they had tracked him down to one of Russia’s toughest prisons.

On Tuesday the jailed critic issued a statement on X, formerly Twitter, discussing the details of the past few weeks, during which many feared for his life.

You can read the full report below.

Tom Watling26 December 2023 09:30

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Russia says controls Maryinka in east Ukraine, Kyiv denies the claim

Russia said on Sunday that its forces have gained full control of Maryinka in Ukraine’s east, but Kyiv’s military denied Moscow’s claim, saying Ukrainian troops were still within the borders of the blighted town.

“Our assault units (…) have today completely liberated the settlement of Maryinka,” Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu told Russian President Vladimir Putin in a televised meeting.

Putin said control of the town, which lies some five kms (three miles) southwest of the city of Donetsk, will allow the Russian forces to move enemy combat units away from Donetsk.

“Our troops (now) have the opportunity to reach a wider operational area,” he said in a video of the exchange between him and Shoigu posted online by a Kremlin journalist.

But Oleksandr Shtupun, a spokesman for the Ukrainian military, told the Ukrainian national broadcaster on Monday, that fierce fighting for the town continued.

“Our troops are in the administrative borders of Maryinka, the battles for the city continue,” Shtupun said. “The city is completely destroyed, but it is incorrect to talk about the complete capture of Maryinka.”

Bohdan, “Fritz”, the deputy of commander of the unit in 79th Air Assault Brigade, takes cover after firing towards Russian positions on a frontline near the town of Marinka

(REUTERS)

Tom Watling26 December 2023 09:00

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Russia confirm warship damage

Russia has confirmed that one of its warships has been damaged after being struck by Ukrainian missiles.

In a statement on Telegram, the Russia Ministry of Defence admitted the large landing ship known as the Nobocherkassk, had been hit in the Crimean base of Feodosia.

Earlier, Ukraine had claimed it destroyed the landing ship.

It is rare that the Russian MoD admits ships have been damaged by Ukraine.

Tom Watling26 December 2023 08:27

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Russian nuclear weapons shipments to Belarus completed, says president Lukashenko

This has sparked concerns in Poland and other countries in the region.

The shipments of these tactical nuclear weapons were completed in October, Mr Lukashenko revealed at a meeting of a Moscow-led economic bloc in St Petersburg. However, he did not share further details regarding the quantity of weapons sent and their specific deployment locations.

Russian troops stationed in Belarus invaded Ukraine from the north during the opening days of the war in February last year, but Belarusian forces are not known to have participated actively.

Maroosha Muzaffar26 December 2023 08:00

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Ukraine says it has blown up major Russian navy vessel in Crimea’s Feodosia port

“And the fleet in Russia is getting smaller and smaller! Thanks to the Air Force pilots and everyone involved for the filigree work,” the top commander said. He shared a 48-second video of the assault, captured from a distance, depicting a massive cloud of smoke and fire raging in the sky.

The official did not share the photo of the destroyed landing ship.

Maroosha Muzaffar26 December 2023 07:35

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Pope Francis blasts the weapons industry as he makes a Christmas appeal for peace in the world

Pope Francis blasted the weapons industry and its “instruments of death” that fuel wars as he made a Christmas Day appeal for peace in the world and in particular between Israel and the Palestinians.

Speaking from the loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica to the throngs of people below, Francis said he grieved the “abominable attack” of Hamas against southern Israel on 7 Octoberand called for the release of hostages.

And he begged for an end to Israel’s military campaign in Gaza and the “appalling harvest of innocent civilians” as he called for humanitarian aid to reach those in need.

Alexander Butler26 December 2023 07:00

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Ukrainian refugees falling victim to ‘extremely sophisticated’ UK visa scam, charities warn

Ukrainian refugees are arriving at UK airports with fake visas and false promises of a Homes for Ukraine sponsor family after being targeted by “extremely sophisticated” scams, charities have warned, Andy Gregory reports.

Charities told The Independent that they are dealing with increasing numbers of cases in which Ukrainians have been tricked into paying hundreds of pounds for letters giving them “permission to travel” to the UK and fake British visas, by criminals taking advantage of their desperation to leave.

The visas are impossible to identify as fraudulent by sight, meaning that Ukrainians are permitted to travel by airline staff, only to be told by Border Force that their documents are not valid, according to the charity Settled, which says it is now dealing with between one and five such cases each week.

Alexander Butler26 December 2023 04:00

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Ukraine says it shot down Russian fighter jets and drones as the country officially marks Christmas

Ukraine’s air force on Monday reported that it shot down two Russian fighter jets during the night along with two cruise missiles and 28 Shahed-type drones.

The report said the attacks were aimed at southern and central regions of Ukraine, but that no casualties were immediately known. It said that 31 drones were launched in all, but details of what the three that weren’t intercepted may have struck weren’t given.

A summary from the Ukrainian presidential office said that one civilian was killed and at least four wounded in Russian attacks over the previous 24 hours.

Alexander Butler26 December 2023 02:01

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Belarus leader says Russian nuclear weapons shipments are completed

Russia has shipped nuclear weapons to Belarus in a move intended to deter what Minsk claims to be Polish aggression in the region.

Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko said the shipments were completed in October, but did not give details of how many weapons were sent or where they have been deployed.

Mr Lukashenko claimed hosting Russian nuclear weapons was intended to deter aggression by neighbouring Nato member Poland.

Alexander Butler26 December 2023 00:01

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US welcomes Russia’s Navalny being located

The United States welcomed reports that jailed Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny had been located but remained “deeply concerned” about his well-being, the U.S. State Department said, calling for his immediate release.

Navalny has been tracked down to a penal colony north of the Arctic Circle, his spokeswoman said on Monday, after supporters lost touch with him for more than two weeks.

Navalny’s allies had been preparing for his expected transfer to a “special regime” colony, the harshest grade in Russia’s prison system, and had said earlier he had not been seen by his lawyers since Dec. 6, raising alarm about his fate.

(AP)

Alexander Butler25 December 2023 22:00

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