Live blog | Three aid workers killed in landmine clearance in Kherson

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Putin: ‘I am willing to negotiate on Russia

11:24 | Russia would be willing to negotiate with all parties involved in the Ukraine war, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with state broadcaster Rossiya 1. Additionally, Putin accuses Kiev and its Western allies of ” reject” any kind of negotiation.

“We are ready to negotiate acceptable solutions with all involved,” Putin said. ‘After all, we are not the ones who reject negotiations.’

He added that Russia was moving “in the right direction” on Ukraine because the US-led West would only aim to drive Russia apart. “We only defend our citizens and the interests of our citizens,” Putin said. “We have no choice but to protect them.”

It is day 305 of the war in Ukraine.  Follow the latest news about the war and all its consequences in this live blog.
It is day 305 of the war in Ukraine. Follow the latest news about the war and all its consequences in this live blog. (Anadolu Agency)

Pope calls for an end to ‘senseless’ war in Ukraine

12:43 | In his traditional Christmas blessing Urbi et Orbi (For the city and for the world) on Sunday, Pope Francis condemned the “senseless” war in Ukraine.

“May the Lord inspire us in concrete movements of solidarity to help all who suffer, and may He enlighten the spirit of those who have the power to silence the weapons and put an immediate end to this senseless war.” said the prelate from the balcony. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.

The head of the Roman Catholic Church also called for food to be stopped as a weapon. “Every war breeds hunger and food is used as a weapon to prevent it from being distributed to populations that are already suffering,” he told the thousands of worshipers gathered in the square in front of the church. The Pope called for agreements to be made “to make food exclusively an instrument of peace.”

Pope Francis, who is increasingly dependent on a wheelchair because of chronic knee problems, said the Christmas blessing while standing.

Ukraine: 16 killed by Russian attacks and mines

11:10 | The death toll from Russian attacks on the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson has risen to 13, Ukrainian authorities announced on Sunday. 64 people were injured by the shelling on Saturday. Three more people were killed in the region on Saturday when a landmine exploded as aid workers were clearing the area of ​​landmines.

The authorities earlier spoke of ten dead and accused the Russians of massive artillery shelling of the city center. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned the attacks as an “act of terrorism”. “These are not military facilities,” Zelensky reported on Telegram, adding that the shootings are “killings for intimidation and pleasure.”

The Russian-appointed governor of the occupied part of the Kherson region denies that Russian troops are responsible. Ukrainian troops have themselves shelled the city in a ‘terrorist manner’, according to Vladimir Saldo. “This is a disgusting provocation with the clear aim of blaming the Russian armed forces.”

Russia, which invaded Ukraine ten months ago, controls most of the Kherson region. But not the entire region. In mid-November, Ukrainian troops retook the city of Kherson, the administrative center, and a number of smaller towns in the area.

China’s foreign minister defends China’s position on Ukraine

10:15 | Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has defended his country’s stance on the war in Ukraine, saying China is likely to strengthen ties with Russia next year.

“China will improve strategic trust and good cooperation with Russia,” Wang said in a video speech. “In light of the Ukraine crisis, it is important to remember that at all times China maintained the basic principles of objectivity and impartiality without expressing support for either side.”

Three aid workers killed in landmine clearance in Kherson

10:00 | Three Ukrainian aid workers were killed on Saturday when a landmine exploded while clearing parts of the Kherson region of landmines. This is stated by the emergency services in another Ukrainian region, Zhytomyr, on its Facebook page.

The three victims volunteered ‘selflessly’ to the emergency aid and rescue team from Zhytomyr, west of the capital Kiev, the Facebook post states. They carried out the order on behalf of the team in the Kherson region to “clear landmines from areas liberated from the enemy.”

Russia, which invaded Ukraine ten months ago, controls most of the Kherson region. But not the entire region. In mid-November, Ukrainian troops recaptured the city of Kherson, the administrative center, and a number of smaller settlements in the area. Since then, explosives experts have been at work because Russian troops are said to have planted many mines there.

The Russians raise taxes for Russian refugees

09:16 | The Russian parliament is working on plans to make Russians who have traveled to other countries since the start of the war pay a higher tax rate when they return.

“It is the right move to impose a higher tax liability on those who have left the Russian Federation when they return,” concludes Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin. “Those who have already understood that they have made a serious mistake have already returned, but the rest of the traitors must understand that the absolute majority of society does not support their actions and actually believe that they have stolen the country, their family and their friends.” betray.

Zelensky addresses the nation combatively

07:03 | Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the citizens of Ukraine in a broadcast Christmas message, saying that Ukrainians would create their own miracle this Christmas by staying fighting – despite millions of Ukrainians being without power due to Russian attacks.

Since the Russian attack ten months ago, Zelensky has insisted that there is a price for freedom, but an even higher price for slavery. “Even in total darkness, we will be able to find each other to give each other a tight hug,” Zelensky said. ‘And if there is no warmth, we find it in each other. We will continue to smile and feel the joy of Christmas as always, but instead of waiting for a Christmas miracle, we will do it ourselves.’

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