Iranian-made drones shot down, no truce in sight

Ukraine claimed to have destroyed an entire swarm of drones launched in the early morning by Russia against kyiv, the latest attack to date from Moscow, which seeks to systematically destroy energy infrastructure.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky praised the effectiveness of his anti-aircraft forces, saying all 13 Iranian-made Shahed drones had been shot down.

According to US media citing unnamed officials, the United States is finally ready to provide the Ukrainian army with a battery of Patriot missiles.

The final agreement could be announced as early as this week, once US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin endorses it and forwards it to the White House for a final green light.

The Kremlin, for its part, brushed aside the idea of ​​a Christmas or New Year truce on the ground, once again vowing to continue the fighting.

The situation of Ukraine’s energy system remains difficult.

“No proposal has been made by anyone, this subject is not on the agenda,” spokesman for the Russian presidency, Dmitry Peskov, told the press, when asked about the possibility of such a pause in hostilities.

In the west of kyiv, journalists from Agence France-Presse saw in the morning police and emergency services deployed on the spot where, according to the military administration, debris from the downed aircraft “fell on an administrative building” and caused “minor damage” to “four apartment buildings”.

“There are no injuries,” she said on Telegram.

The roof of the building appeared to be mostly destroyed, and debris of bricks, wood, and scrap metal littered the frozen, snow-covered ground.

“7 million children” at risk

Since October and a series of humiliating Russian military setbacks, Moscow has regularly launched massive strikes using drones and missiles.

It’s about destroying Ukraine’s energy infrastructure as temperatures plummet and snow falls, leaving millions cold and dark.

“Almost all children in Ukraine, nearly seven million”, are threatened by these attacks, UNICEF said on Wednesday.

“The situation of Ukraine’s energy system remains difficult,” repeated the national operator, Ukrenergo.

According to the company, the most affected area is the East, because the bombardments there are “almost daily”. “Repair work is slowed down because of the danger to the lives of employees. »

The previous nationwide Russian attack that targeted energy targets across Ukraine dates back to December 5.

That of Wednesday on kyiv comes the day after an international conference in Paris organized in support of Ukraine, and this while Russian President Vladimir Putin has promised to continue his bombing campaign.

The kyiv authorities were able to collect more than a billion euros in pledges that will help the population get through the winter.

A liberated American

In addition, the Ukrainian presidency said on Wednesday that it had obtained the release of 64 Ukrainian soldiers and an American citizen, during a new exchange of prisoners with Russia.

According to the Russian news agency Tass, the American Suedi Murekezi was arrested in June in the territories occupied by Russia, before being charged at the beginning of August for having “participated in pro-Ukrainian and anti-Russian demonstrations” and “incited to racial hatred” in Kherson at the start of the conflict.

In a speech on the occasion of the official presentation to the Ukrainian people of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, Volodymyr Zelensky again called for the establishment “as soon as possible” of a tribunal to try Russian war crimes in Ukraine.

On the eastern front, in the Donetsk region, artillery battles continued to rage, especially around the now largely destroyed city of Bakhmout, which Russia has been trying to conquer since the summer, and of Avdiivka, indicated the Ukrainian presidency.

She also claims that Russian attacks were repelled in the Kharkiv region, which the Ukrainian army almost completely reconquered in September, which inflicted a heavy defeat on Russia.

Finally, the Ukrainian security services (SBU) announced that they had carried out searches in Orthodox churches suspected of links with Moscow, claiming to have found Russian passports and “pro-Russian literature”.

These operations come about ten days after Volodymyr Zelensky announced that he wanted to limit the activities in Ukraine of religious organizations affiliated with Russia.