Zelensky warns Ukrainians against complacency during holiday season: "Remember who is fighting against us"
From CNN's Yulia Kesavia
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky used his evening address Friday to warn Ukrainians about not becoming complacent during the holiday season.
“Please remember who is fighting against us. In the upcoming holiday season, Russian terrorists may become more active again. They despise Christian values and any values at all,” he claimed.
He asked Ukrainians to “help each other and take care of one another."
The Ukrainian president ended his statement by speaking in Russian and saying, “One more thing: Russian citizens must clearly understand that terror never remains unanswered.”
1:44 p.m. ET, December 24, 2022
Death toll in Kherson city climbs to at least 10 after Russian shelling
From CNN's Mariya Knight
At least 10 people were killed and 55 were injured in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson after Russian shelling hit the area on Saturday, Yaroslav Yanushevych, head of the Kherson region military administration, said in a new update on the death toll.
Yanushevych called on Kherson residents to donate blood to help save the lives of people injured in the shelling.
He also said the Russians used "Grad multiple-launch rocket systems to hit Kherson city center," and 18 people, among 55, are in critical condition at the moment.
The head of the regional administration noted there were no children among the victims of Saturday morning's shelling.
At the same time, he reported five people were killed and 17 were injured Friday as a result of Russian shelling.
"Among the injured is a six-year-old girl, doctors fought for her life and managed to save her," Yanushevych said. "But, unfortunately, the six-year-old girl lost her eye and her ear. She has a broken leg. We will evacuate her to Kyiv."
Yanushevych said the shelling of the city continued all day Saturday, especially the areas along the Dnipro river, and it prevented the rescuers from doing their job of clearing the rubble.
The areas along the Dnipro river, such as Hydropark, Antonivka and Navtohavan have no heating or electricity. Yanushevych said people who live in these areas are under constant heavy shelling and "need to immediately evacuate."
"It is almost impossible to restore the infrastructure in these areas," Yanushevych said.
11:39 a.m. ET, December 24, 2022
Russians crowdfund for troops, as the Kremlin tries to fix campaign’s problems
From CNN's Tim Lister and Katharina Krebs
Russian citizens are crowdfunding to equip soldiers deployed to Ukraine as winter closes in on the battlefield. Troops have complained they are short of basic equipment – and the message has reached President Vladimir Putin.
Putin and other Russian officials have said that teething problems with supplying newly mobilized troops sent to Ukraine are being overcome, partly by a shake-up in supply chains.
But the Kremlin has also stepped up pressure on those who dare to complain – and is increasingly framing the invasion of Ukraine as a patriotic and almost existential cause.
Putin himself held a well-choreographed meeting with the families of soldiers at the Kremlin at the end of November, two months after the much-criticized partial mobilization. But those attending were carefully selected for their supportive tone.
Local campaigns to raise funds for soldiers are underway in both Russia and the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) in eastern Ukraine. One dubbed “Together is Warmer” has raised 3 million rubles (about $45,000) to provide basic equipment and clothing for Russian soldiers.
Moscow may cut oil output by up to 7% in the new year, Russian deputy prime minister says
From CNN’s Clare Sebastian in London
Russia may cut oil output by 5% to 7% at the start of next year, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak told Russian state television channel on Friday, detailing a concrete threat of a production cut for the first time.
“We are ready to partially reduce our production, and this may happen, I assess the risk, let’s say at the start of next year we could have a reduction of 500,000-700,000 barrels a day, for us that’s about 5-6, 5-7%t. This is an insignificant amount, but nevertheless the risks are there,” Novak said in an interview with Russia 24.
That production cut may be necessary, Novak said, because a presidential order is being prepared that includes a ban on the delivery of oil and oil products to countries that impose European Union’s price caps.
“As far as the price cap is concerned, a presidential order is being prepared, it’s almost ready for release. That order will include a ban on the delivery of oil and oil products to those countries and legal entities who will require compliance with the European Union’s price cap in their contracts,” Novak said.
The prices of Brent crude prices were up by 3.6% on Friday, recording its highest level in three weeks.
Ukrainian presidential adviser urges liquidation of Iranian weapons factories and arrest of suppliers
From CNN’s Robert Iddiols in London
A top adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday called for the liquidation of Iranian factories making drones and missiles and the arrest of their suppliers.
Presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak tweeted that Iran was “planning to boost missile, drone supplies for Russia” with blatant disregard for international sanctions.
Kyiv has accused Tehran of supplying 1700 Shahed-136 loitering munitions to Moscow, which it says have been used to hit targets in Ukraine since September.
“Non-working sanctions” ought to be abandoned, Podolyak wrote, replaced with more “destructive” measures such as the “liquidation of plants” and the “arrest of suppliers.”
Podolyak’s comments come after CNN and other outlets reported last month that Iran was preparing to send more weapons, including surface-to-surface short range ballistic missile and more attack drones to Russia before the end of the year.
The Iranian government acknowledged last month that it had sent a limited number of drones to Russia before the start of its invasion of Ukraine, but has denied supplying military equipment for use in the war.
During his landmark trip to the US earlier this week, Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky said those claims were false and accused Tehran of sending “deadly drones” to Russia in “hundreds and hundreds.”
US Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield on Thursday called for a fact finding team to investigate Russia’s renewed use of Iranian drones against Ukraine’s infrastructure, and a review of Iran’s violations of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
View Podolyak's tweet, below:
CNN’s Kylie Atwood contributed reporting to this post.
8:09 a.m. ET, December 24, 2022
At least 7 people killed in Kherson city due to Russian shelling, Ukrainian official says
From CNN's Dennis Lapin in Kyiv and Robert Iddiols
At least seven people were killed and 58 others were injured in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson following Saturday’s Russian shelling, according to an update from the Deputy head of the Presidential Office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko.
Posting to Telegram, Tymoshenko said that “doctors are fighting for the lives of the victims.” 18 of the injured are in serious condition.
“There are no military facilities even nearby. This is a targeted attack on civilians,” Tymoshenko added.
“Law enforcement officers are already investigating this terrorist act,” Tymoshenko said, adding that “every inhuman who gave this criminal order and executed it will be brought to justice.”
8:25 a.m. ET, December 24, 2022
Zelensky condemns Russian shelling of Kherson as an act of "terror"
From Dennis Lapin in Kyiv and CNN’s Robert Iddiols in London
Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky condemned the Russian shelling of Kherson city on Saturday as an act of “terror.”
“The terrorist country continues bringing the Russian world in the form of shelling of the civilian population. Kherson. In the morning, on Saturday, on the eve of Christmas, in the central part of the city,” Zelensky said.
“These are not military facilities,” he wrote on Telegram Saturday. “This is not a war according to the rules defined. It is terror, it is killing for the sake of intimidation and pleasure.”
The Ukrainian president posted several photos showing the aftermath of the bombardment, in which cars are aflame and bodies litter the street.
“Social networks will most likely mark these photos as ‘sensitive content.’ But this is not sensitive content — it is the real life of Ukraine and Ukrainians,” Zelensky said.
“The world must see and understand what absolute evil we are fighting against,” Zelensky added.