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Russia-Ukraine war live: Zelensky says Ukrainians are creating their own ‘miracle’ in Christmas Eve address | Ukraine

Volodymyr Zelensky delivers a defiant message for Christmas Eve

President Volodymyr Zelensky used a video address on Christmas Eve to say that Ukrainians will create their own miracle this Christmas by standing firm, despite Russian attacks that have left millions without power.

Most Ukrainians are Orthodox Christians and celebrate Christmas at the beginning of January.

Speaking 10 months to the day of Russia’s invasion, Zelensky said that while freedom was expensive, slavery would cost even more.

Even in total darkness we will find ourselves hugging each other tightly. And if there is no heat, we will hug each other for a long time to keep warm.

We will smile and be happy, as always. There is one difference – we will not wait for a miracle, because we create it ourselves.

Referring to Russian attacks on the recently liberated city of Kherson that left at least 10 dead on Saturday, Zelensky described Russia as a “terrorist country”.

The world must see and understand what absolute evil we are fighting against.”

Key events

Ukraine issues airstrike warning in Kiev and other regions

Air raid sirens sound in Kyiv and other regions of Ukraine.

The city administration of Kyiv urged people to go to shelters after the air alert was issued.

The mayor of Mikoljeva in the south of the country posted a message on his official Telegram channel, warning about sirens.

We’ll bring you more information as it becomes available.

Pope Francis held a Christmas Eve Mass on Saturdaywarning that the level of greed and hunger for power was such that some wanted to “consume even their neighbors”, apparently referring to the war in Ukraine.

Men and women in our world, in their hunger for wealth and power, are consuming even their neighbors, their brothers and sisters.

How many wars have we seen! And in how many places today human dignity and freedom are treated with contempt.”

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Francis has spoken out against the war at almost every public event, condemning what he called atrocities and unprovoked aggression.

On Saturday night, he did not specifically mention Ukraine.

Earlier this month, the pope urged people to spend less on Christmas celebrations and gifts and send the difference to Ukrainians to help them get through the winter.

Volodymyr Zelensky delivers a defiant message for Christmas Eve

President Volodymyr Zelensky used a video address on Christmas Eve to say that Ukrainians will create their own miracle this Christmas by standing firm, despite Russian attacks that have left millions without electricity.

Most Ukrainians are Orthodox Christians and celebrate Christmas at the beginning of January.

Speaking 10 months to the day of Russia’s invasion, Zelensky said that while freedom was expensive, slavery would cost even more.

Even in total darkness we will find ourselves hugging each other tightly. And if there is no heat, we will hug each other for a long time to keep warm.

We will smile and be happy, as always. There is one difference – we will not wait for a miracle, because we create it ourselves.

Referring to Russian attacks on the recently liberated city of Kherson that left at least 10 dead on Saturday, Zelensky described Russia as a “terrorist country”.

The world must see and understand what absolute evil we are fighting against.”

Welcome and summary

Hello and welcome to today’s coverage of the war in Ukraine. My name is Jonathan Yerushalmi and I will be with you for a while.

It is 9 o’clock in the morning in Kyiv where some will celebrate Christmas, however most Ukrainians are Orthodox Christians and therefore will mark the occasion at the beginning of January.

However, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky used his Christmas Eve address to send a message to all Ukrainians celebrating the holiday in the face of constant attacks from Russia.

Speaking 10 months to the day of Russia’s invasion, Zelensky said that while freedom was expensive, slavery would cost even more.

More on that soon. In the meantime, here are other key recent developments:

  • At least ten people were killed and an estimated 58 wounded Saturday in Russian shelling of a recently conquered Ukrainian city Kherson. The region was the target of 74 Russian strikes. 66 cars caught fire in the residential part of the city as a result of shelling, the emergency services announced.

  • Volodymyr Zelenskyi he called the attacks on Kherson “terror… killing for intimidation and pleasure.” He said: “This is the real life of Ukraine… The world must see and understand what absolute evil we are fighting against.”

  • Ukrainian minister of defense Oleksii Reznikovsaid attack in Kherson is more evidence that Ukraine should get more defense systems and demand more weapons and ammunition.

  • Reuters journalists in Russian– occupied city Mariupol have confirmed that authorities are demolishing and clearing what remains of the shattered rear of the city’s theater, where hundreds Ukrainians were killed in Russian airstrikes after a prolonged siege earlier this year.

  • Ukraine announced that he had killed another 480 Russian troops, according to the latest data on casualties.

  • Netherlands has pledged 2.5 billion euros ($2.7 billion) in aid to Ukraine in 2023, with most of the money earmarked for military aid.

  • Rock group Pink Floyd raised $600,000 for Ukraine with the song Hei Hei Rise Up.

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