President Zelenskyy urges Ukrainians to be ready for possible Russian missile attacks or provocations, and Russian FM Lavrov gives Ukraine an ultimatum to fulfil Moscow's proposals as fighting enters its 306th day.

Since his appointment in May, Commissioner for Missing Persons Oleh Kotenko managed to bring home the bodies of 869 Ukrainian soldiers.
Since his appointment in May, Commissioner for Missing Persons Oleh Kotenko managed to bring home the bodies of 869 Ukrainian soldiers. (Reuters Archive)

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Ukrainian brings home remains of 42 soldiers

Ukraine’s Ministry for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories has announced that they have brought home the bodies of 42 soldiers, who fought against Russia.

"The Office of the Commissioner for Missing Persons, together with law enforcement agencies, continues to bring home heroes who sacrificed their lives for Ukraine. Another transfer of bodies took place today as 42 bodies were delivered," the statement read.

The Commissioner for Missing Persons, Oleh Kotenko, has managed to bring home the bodies of 869 Ukrainian soldiers since his appointment in May, it added.

The statement, however, did not mention where the bodies were recovered.

Italy reaffirms support for Ukraine

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has reaffirmed her government's "full support" for Ukraine in a call with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, her office said in a statement.

Meloni, who took office in October, has been a firm supporter of Kiev, despite divided public opinion and the friction on the issue within her rightist ruling coalition.

"Meloni renewed the Italian government's full support for Kiev in the political, military, economic, and humanitarian fields, to repair energy infrastructure and (to work) for the future reconstruction of Ukraine," her office said.

READ MORE: As Ukraine conflict rages, Zelenskyy embarks on US trip to meet ally Biden

An elderly woman puts wood she and her neighbours chopped up to burn for heat, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, during intense shelling in Bakhmut.
An elderly woman puts wood she and her neighbours chopped up to burn for heat, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, during intense shelling in Bakhmut. (Reuters)

Ukraine must demilitarise or Russia will do it: Lavrov

Russia's foreign minister warned anew Ukraine that it must demilitarise, threatening further military action while accusing Kiev and the West of fueling the war that started with Moscow's invasion.

Sergey Lavrov said Ukraine must remove any military threat to Russia — otherwise “the Russian army (will) solve the issue."

His comments also reflected claims by the Kremlin that Ukraine and its Western allies were responsible for the 10-month war, which has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions.

Russia to ban oil exports to countries with price cap from February

Russia has issued a decree to ban oil sales to countries and companies that comply with a price cap agreed upon by Western countries in response to Moscow's offensive in Ukraine.

"The supply of Russian oil and oil products to foreign legal entities and individuals is prohibited if the contracts for these supplies directly or indirectly" are using a price cap, the presidential decree said Tuesday.

The decree will take effect from February 1 until July 1 of 2023.

It added that the ban may be lifted in individual cases on the basis of a "special decision" from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russia's currency slumps around 3 percent as sanctions weigh

The Russian rouble dived around 3 percent against the dollar in the latest trading, failing to consolidate a recovery from last week's slide as the market comes to terms with the prospect of lower export revenue in the wake of restrictions on Russian oil.

The rouble lost about 8 percent against the dollar last week and is on course for a hefty monthly decline after an oil embargo and price cap came into force.

READ MORE: Putin vows to boost combat readiness of Russia's nuclear forces

US, NATO want Russia's defeat on the battlefield: Russia

The US and NATO are seeking victory on the battlefield in Ukraine to destroy Russia, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said.

“The actions of countries of the collective West and (Ukrainian President) Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who is controlled by them, confirm the global nature of the Ukrainian crisis,” Lavrov said in an interview with the Russian state-run TASS news agency.

“It is no secret that the strategic goal of the US and its NATO allies is victory over Russia on the battlefield as a mechanism for significantly weakening or even destroying our country.”

Oil price cap may widen Russia's 2023 budget deficit

Russia's budget deficit could be wider than a planned 2 percent of GDP in 2023 as an oil price cap squeezes export income, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said, an extra fiscal hurdle for Moscow as it spends heavily on its military activities in Ukraine.

His comments represented Moscow's clearest acknowledgement yet that the $60 per barrel cap that was imposed in December.

"Is a bigger budget deficit possible? It is possible, if revenues are lower than planned. What are the risks next year? Price risks and restrictions," Siluanov told reporters in comments cleared for publication on Tuesday.

Kiev urges to 'silently wait for the finale' of war with Moscow

Ukraine's presidential adviser has urged to "silently wait for the finale" of the Kiev-Moscow war.

"Ukraine will demilitarize the RF (Russian Federation) to the end. ... Wait for the finale silently," Mykhailo Podolyak tweeted. Podolyak also said Kiev will oust Moscow from Ukrainian territories, arguing that nothing with help prevent this from happening.

"Neither total mobilisation, nor panicky search for ammo, nor secret contracts with Iran, nor (Russian Foreign Minister Sergey) Lavrov’s threats will help. Russia needs to face the reality," Podolyak noted.

Fighting continues for control of Donbass region: Ukraine’s president

Fighting for control of the Donbass region in Ukraine continued, according to the country’s president.

“The situation in Donbass is difficult, acute,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in an address to the nation.

Bakhmut, Kreminna and other areas in Donbass now require “maximum strength and concentration,” he said in the video message released on social media.

Moscow accuses Ukraine of deadly air base attack

Moscow said it had foiled a new Ukrainian drone attack on a strategic bomber military base hundreds of kilometres from their joint border, as Kiev called for Russia's ouster from the United Nations.

Russia said it had downed the drone at Engels, a base for the country's strategic aircraft that Kiev says has been used to strike Ukraine. Three servicemen were killed by falling debris, regional authorities said.

The same day, Russia's domestic security agency said it killed four Ukrainian "saboteurs" who allegedly attempted to enter Russia via a border region.

Moscow's ultimatum: Ukraine fulfils its proposals or Russian army will decide

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov gave Ukraine an ultimatum to fulfil Moscow's proposals, including surrendering territory Russia controls, or its army would decide the issue, a day after President Vladimir Putin said he was open to talks.

Kiev and its Western allies have dismissed Putin's offer to talk, with his forces battering Ukrainian towns with missiles and rockets and Moscow continuing to demand that Kiev recognise its conquest of a fifth of the country.

Kiev says it will fight until Russia withdraws.

For live updates from Monday (December 26), click here.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies