Day 306 of the Invasion of Ukraine: 3 Servicemen were Killed when Debris from a Ukrainian Drone fell on a Russian Base

Ukraine | December 26, 2022, Monday // 11:50|  views


Here are the highlights of events related to the war in Ukraine over the past 24 hours:

Rain of Russian missiles on Ukrainian cities in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kharkiv, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions

The war in Ukraine did not stop for Christmas, even though Russian President Vladimir Putin said yesterday that he was ready for negotiations. Russian forces carried out more than 40 missile attacks on Christmas Day, the Ukrainian military said today, Reuters reported.

Putin again yesterday said he was open to talks and accused Ukraine and its Western allies of not engaging in talks, a position the US had previously dismissed as positioning given the ongoing Russian attacks.

An adviser to the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, responded that Putin should come back to reality and admit that it is Russia that does not want negotiations. "Russia has single-handedly attacked Ukraine and is killing citizens," councilor Mykhailo Podolyak wrote on Twitter. "Russia does not want negotiations, but tries to avoid responsibility".

Earlier today, the Ukrainian military reported that in the previous 24 hours, Russian forces had shelled dozens of cities in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kharkiv, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions.

"In the Kherson direction, the enemy continues to shell the populated areas along the right bank of the Dnieper with artillery," the message says. Ukrainian forces launched attacks against almost 20 Russian targets, the Ukrainian Armed Forces reported.

The Kremlin says it will fight until it achieves all its territorial goals, while Kyiv says it will not rest until every Russian soldier is expelled from the country.

Asked whether the geopolitical conflict with the West was approaching a dangerous level, Putin said yesterday: "I don't think it's that dangerous."

Three servicemen were killed when debris from a Ukrainian drone fell on a Russian air force base

Three servicemen have died as a result of debris from a Ukrainian drone falling on a Russian military base in the Saratov region, Russian agencies reported, citing the country's defense ministry. In Ukraine, the hostilities do not stop even on holidays, new missile strikes are reported in the Donetsk region.

The Russian Ministry of Defense reported that a Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicle that was approaching the Engels military airfield in the Saratov region at a low altitude was shot down last night. The information states that the aircraft was not damaged. Earlier, Ukrainian and Russian media reported that explosions were heard at the base, located just a few hundred kilometers from the front line in Ukraine, and local governor Roman Busargin said that reports of an incident at Engels Air Force Base were being verified, but no damage to civil infrastructure.

The Ukrainian command said that Russian troops shelled dozens of cities in Ukraine on the first day of the Christmas holiday yesterday. In the Kupyan and Lyman directions, Russia has inflicted fire damage in the areas of more than 25 settlements in Kharkiv, Luhansk and Donetsk regions. More than 20 settlements were shelled in the direction of Bakhmut and Avdiivka, as well as more than 25 in the Zaporizhzhia region, the Ukrainian military said.

Iskander missiles and S-400 systems have entered combat duty in Belarus

The Iskander tactical missile systems and S-400 air defense systems deployed by Russia in Belarus are fully ready to perform their tasks, a high-ranking representative of the Ministry of Defense in Minsk said, quoted by Reuters.

"Our servicemen and officers have completed a full training course at the joint military training centers of the armed forces of Russia and Belarus," said Leonid Kasinsky, head of the Main Directorate for Ideological Work of the Belarusian Defense Ministry, in an interview with the STV television channel. "As of today, these weapons samples (Iskander and the S-400 complexes) are on combat duty and are fully ready to perform the tasks for which they are intended."

It is not yet clear how many Iskander complexes - which can carry nuclear warheads - are located in Belarus. In June, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that he would deliver Iskander complexes and S-400 anti-aircraft missile complexes to Minsk, BTA recalls.

The news comes amid increasing pressure from Moscow on Minsk to help it in the conflict in Ukraine, which began ten months ago and shows no sign of ending, Reuters notes.

In February, Russian troops used Belarus as a springboard for the aborted attack on Kyiv, and recent months have seen increased joint Russian-Belarusian military activity.

The Iskander-M mobile missile complexes, codenamed SS-26 "Stone" by NATO, replaced the Soviet Scuds. The two guided missiles of the Iskander-M complexes have a range of up to 500 km and can carry a conventional and nuclear warhead.

Their reach reaches deep into the territory of Belarus' neighbors Ukraine and Poland, which is a member of NATO and has very strained relations with Minsk.

Erdogan: 44% of grain exported from Ukraine went to Europe

Turkey's role as a mediator between Russia and Ukraine helped secure an agreement for the safe transportation of grain across the Black Sea. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said this at a meeting with young people in Erzurum Province in the northeastern part of the country.

"Unfortunately, the West was only engaged in provocations and made no effort to mediate in the Ukrainian-Russian war. On the other hand, Turkey assumed the role of mediator in 2022 and managed to put the Black Sea Grain Corridor into operation," said the Turkish leader.

According to him, Europe received about 44% of the grain exported from Ukraine, Turkey - 16%, and African countries - 14%.

The Turkish head of state said that Turkey intends to produce flour from Russian grain to be sent in coordination with Russia and the United Nations to African countries in need.

Erdogan added that Turkey will take steps together with Russia on the issue of fertilizer exports. At the same time, he noted that solving this problem is "the most stressful part of the job."

Speaking about the prospects for the development of the Turkish energy sector, he said that the 540 billion cubic meters of natural gas discovered by Turkey in the Black Sea will reach Turkish homes as early as the first quarter of 2023.

In his speech, the Turkish head of state also talked about Turkey's successes in the defense industry. Specifically, he said that Turkey's largest warship Anadolu will be launched in 2023, serial production of the Kızılelma drone will begin, and a domestic fighter jet will also "come out of the hangar" next year.

President Erdogan also commented on the results of the recently concluded FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Underscoring that comparing Argentinian footballer Lionel Messi and Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo is incorrect, he says the latter was subjected to "political repression" during the World Cup.

"They 'sacrificed' Ronaldo. Unfortunately, they have imposed political sanctions on him. Putting a player like Ronaldo on the field just 30 minutes before the end of the game destroyed his psychology and took away his energy," Erdogan said. According to the Turkish president, this is because: "Ronaldo is a person who stands up for the just cause of the Palestinians."

Russia has declared readiness to resume gas supplies to Europe via the Yamal-Europe pipeline

Moscow is ready to resume supplies of blue fuel to Europe via the Yamal-Europe pipeline, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak told TASS.

"The European market remains relevant, as the gas deficit continues, and we have the opportunity to resume supplies. For example, the Yamal-Europe pipeline, which was stopped for political reasons, remains unused," noted Novak, quoted by BTA.

The Deputy Prime Minister emphasized that "Turkish Stream" is currently operating at full capacity and that 42 million cubic meters of gas per day are delivered to Europe via the Ukrainian route - which is about one third of the agreed volumes.

Flows along the Yamal-Europe pipeline normally flow westward, but as of December 2021, they were largely reversed after Poland stopped buying gas from Russia and decided to rely on blue fuel from German gas storage facilities, Reuters noted.

In May, Warsaw terminated its supply agreement with Moscow after previously rejecting its request to pay for gas in rubles.

Russian supplier Gazprom responded by halting supplies to Poland and adding that it would no longer be able to transport blue fuel through its territory after Moscow imposed sanctions on the company that owns the Polish section of the Yamal-Europe pipeline.

Novak said that Moscow is discussing with European consumers a possible increase in gas supplies through Turkey after a gas distribution center is established there.

He added that Russia expects its LNG supplies to Europe this year to reach a total volume of 21 billion cubic meters.

"This year we managed to significantly increase the supply of liquefied gas to Europe," Novak said. "For the past 11 months from 2022, they grew to 19.4 billion cubic meters, and by the end of the year, 21 billion are expected," Alexander Novak also said.

Spare parts are scarce: In Russia, old "Ladas" are becoming more and more valuable

Many Soviet-era cars are still found in Russia

At the home of the Lada manufacturer in Tolyatti, most people can only afford the company's old models, which are without air conditioning, electric windows and other extras. But nevertheless, locals prefer them because parts are available for repair. And young people use them for car racing.

New models reach prices of up to 17 thousand dollars and are often unaffordable for ordinary people.

"Avtovaz" was opened in 1966. It produces the "Zhiguli" and "Lada" brands. After Russia invaded Ukraine, the company became Russian state-owned again, as Renault left the plant and sold its majority stake for 1 ruble.

Due to a lack of supplies for electronic components, the Russian manufacturer is suspending car production at its plants in Tolyatti and Izhevsk.

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Tags: Ukraine, Russia, drones, europe


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