Russia has shut down any proposals for a “Christmas ceasefire” in Ukraine, saying the topic is “not on the agenda”, according to the Kremlin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov. Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, earlier this week called on G7 leaders to back a peace solution that would start with Russia withdrawing troops from Ukraine, beginning this Christmas. “There is no calm on the frontline,” he added in an evening video address.
The Ukrainian military said it shot down 13 Iranian-made drones over Kyiv and the surrounding region on Wednesday in Russia’s first major drone attack on the capital in weeks. The strikes damaged five buildings and authorities described the assault as a continuation of Russia’s “energy terror” against the country. There were no victims, the spokesperson for Kyiv’s rescue services, Svitlana Vodolaga, told Ukraine’s Suspilne news.
Russian drone strikes on Kyiv and the region around the Ukrainian capital on Wednesday did not damage any energy facilities, the national power grid operator Ukrenergo said. “Thanks to the brilliant work of the air defense forces, the energy infrastructure facilities were not damaged – all 13 drones were shot down,” Ukrenergo said on Telegram.
The regional administration building in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson was also hit by multiple Russian rockets, according to a senior Ukrainian official. Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office, said two floors of the building on the central square of the recently liberated city had been damaged, but that no one was reported hurt. An unconfirmed video circulating on social media showed a huge plume of smoke pouring up from the top of the administration building.
The US is expected to decide whether to supply Ukraine with its advanced Patriot air defense system. US officials told CNN that the missiles could be delivered in a matter of days after the repeated Russian barrages against Ukrainian cities. The Patriot would be the most advanced surface-to-air missile system the west has provided to Ukraine. The Washington Post also reported that the US is planning to send electronic equipment that converts unguided aerial munitions into smart bombsallowing a high degree of accurate targeting, citing US officials familiar with the matter.
Canada has said it will revoke a sanctions waiver that allowed turbines for Nord Stream 1, Russia’s biggest gas pipeline to Europe, to be repaired in Montreal and returned to Germany. The pipeline under the Baltic Sea was shut down for repairs on August 31, but never restarted and in later September suffered major leaks. European governments suspect the ruptures of the pipeline and another called Nord Stream 2 were caused by sabotage. “Putin has been forced to show that his intention was never to return Nord Stream 1 to full operation, and that the pipeline itself has been rendered inoperable,” the foreign minister, Mélanie Joly, said on Wednesday.
The war in Ukraine will continue “for some time going forward”, the White House national security spokesperson, John Kirby, predicts. Kirby said the scale of the ongoing violence tempered hopes for an imminent end to hostilities. “Just given what we’re seeing in the air and on the ground in Ukraine, it’s difficult to conclude that this war will be over by year’s end,” Kirby said. “So there is active fighting going on right now. We would expect that that will continue for some time going forward.”
Russia faces a “critical shortage” of artillery shells and Moscow’s ability to conduct ground operations in Ukraine is “rapidly diminishing” as a result, Britain’s armed forces chief has said. Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, the chief of defense staff, told an audience at the Royal United Services Institute thinktank on Wednesday that the Kremlin had only planned for a short period to subjugate Ukraine, and has instead found itself embroiled in a conflict lasting nearly 10 months . “Russia faces a critical shortage of artillery ammunition. This means that their ability to conduct successful offensive ground operations is rapidly diminishing,” the military chief said.
A US national who was arrested by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine in the summer has now been released as part of a prisoner exchange with Ukraine, the head of Ukraine’s presidential administration, Andriy Yermak, said. Suedi Murekezi, 35, was released by Russia along with 64 Ukrainian soldiers and the bodies of four fallen soldiers, Yermark said. Murekezi told the Guardian earlier this month that he felt “trapped” after he was released in the Russian-controlled city of Donetsk without his papers.