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Live: Zelensky blasts Russian 'terror' after deadly shelling of Kherson

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Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has condemned a Russian act of “terror” after at least five people were killed on Saturday in a strike on the centre of Kherson in southern Ukraine. The attack comes a day after the US House of Representatives gave final approval to a $45 billion aid package to help Kyiv combat Russia’s invasion. Read our live blog for the latest updates on the war in Ukraine. All times are Paris time (GMT+1). 

6:28pm: Death toll rises from shelling of Kherson

Russian shells pummeled the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson on Saturday, killing at least 10 people and injuring 55 in the city that Moscow’s troops were forced to abandon last month.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, just back from his quick trip to Washington, posted photos of the wreckage on his social media accounts. He noted the destruction came as Ukrainians were beginning Christmas celebrations that for many Orthodox Christians will culminate in the traditional celebration Jan. 7.

“This is not sensitive content – it’s the real life of Kherson,” Zelensky tweeted. The images showed cars on fire, bodies on the street and building windows blown out.

Yaroslav Yanushevych, the governor of the Kherson region, said in televised remarks that the number of people killed in the latest shelling of the city has risen from seven to 10. He added that 55 people were wounded, 18 of them in grave condition, including a 6-year-old child.

2:55pm: Turkey says Ukraine war ‘will not end easily’

Turkey conceded Saturday that Russia‘s war on Ukraine “will not end easily”, despite Ankara’s repeated efforts to arrange peace talks between Kyiv and Moscow.

NATO member Turkey, which has friendly relations with both of its Black Sea neighbours, has positioned itself as a neutral player and tried to broker a truce.

But the continuing war, which entered its 10th month, is dashing Ankara’s hopes.

“It appears that this war will not end easily,” Defence Minister Hulusi Akar told journalists during a year-end briefing in the capital Ankara.

12:30pm: Ukrainian church allows December 25 celebrations amid widening feud with Moscow

While Ukraine’s Orthodox worshippers traditionally celebrate Christmas on January 7, that is likely to change for many this year, with the Orthodox Church of Ukraine for the first time allowing its congregations to celebrate on December 25.

Reporting from Kyiv, FRANCE 24’s Andrew Hilliar talks us through the latest sign of a growing rift with the Orthodox Church in Russia.


11:10am: Ukraine says five killed, 20 wounded by Russian strike on Kherson

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has condemned an act of “terror” after a deadly Russian attack on the centre of Kherson, the recently liberated Russian city which Moscow claims to have annexed.

His aide Kyrylo Tymoshenko said at least five people were killed by the Russian strike, and another 20 were wounded.

“These are not military facilities,” Zelensky wrote on Telegram, describing the attacks as “killing for the sake of intimidation and pleasure”.

10:15am: Ukraine official urges ‘liquidation’ of Iranian weapons factories

A top Ukrainian presidential aide has called for the “liquidation” of Iranian factories making drones and missiles, as well as the arrest of their suppliers, as Kyiv accuses Tehran of planning to supply more weapons to Russia.

Writing on Twitter on Saturday, Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak said Iran “blatantly humiliates the institution of international sanctions”, before calling for the destruction of Iranian weapon factories in response.

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. Iran denies the allegations.

Ukraine’s espionage chief said in an interview released on Friday that Russia had already launched around 540 of the drones at military and energy targets in Ukraine.

5:20am: For Ukrainians guarding Kyiv’s airspace, Patriot missiles could be a game changer

Ukrainian military commanders say the delivery of a US-made Patriot Missile Battery will provide a much-needed boost to their efforts to protect cities from Russian missile and drone attacks.

FRANCE 24’s team on the ground witnessed first-hand how Ukrainian soldiers are defending their airspace from Moscow’s assaults.

Ukrainian soldiers on the lookout for incoming Russian missiles or drones.
Ukrainian soldiers on the lookout for incoming Russian missiles or drones. © FRANCE 24 screengrab


11:45pm: Japanese companies to stop insuring ships in Russian waters

Three Japanese insurance companies will stop insuring ships for damage in all Russian waters due to the war in Ukraine, potentially affecting Japan’s energy imports such as liquefied natural gas (LNG), the Nikkei newspaper said on Saturday.

Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance, Sompo Japan Insurance and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance started notifying shipowners about their decision on Friday, the business daily reported.

The insurers’ decision was prompted by reinsurance companies refusing to take on risks related to the war that Moscow launched 10 months ago, the newspaper said.

9:35pm: US approves $45 billion aid package for Ukraine

US lawmakers gave approval to a $45 billion aid package for Ukraine and its NATO allies. This military and economic assistance, part of a huge Washington spending bill, follows US aid worth around $50 billion sent to Ukraine earlier this year, as well sanctions imposed on Russia by the West that now include a cap on Russian oil prices.

In a dramatic address to a joint meeting of Congress on Wednesday night, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told lawmakers that the aid was not charity, but an investment in global security and democracy.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)

© France Médias Monde graphic studio


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