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Russia-Ukraine war live news: Zelenskiy aide reveals up to 13,000 Ukrainian soldiers killed; Russian missiles hit Zaporizhzhia, mayor says


Up to 13,000 Ukrainian soldiers killed, Zelenskiy aide reveals

Ukraine’s armed forces have lost somewhere between 10,000 and 13,000 soldiers so far in the war against Russia, presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak told a Ukrainian television network on Thursday.

We have official figures from the general staff, we have official figures from the top command, and they amount to [between] 10,000 and 12,500 to 13,000 killed,” Podolyak told the Kanal 24 channel.

Zelenskiy would make the official data public “when the right moment comes”, he added.

Top US general Mark Milley last month said more than 100,000 Russian military personnel have been killed or wounded in Ukraine, with Kyiv’s forces likely suffering similar casualties.

Those figures – which could not be independently confirmed – are the most precise to date from the US government.

Key events

Finland PM Sanna Marin says Europe is ‘not strong enough’ without the US

Helen Sullivan

Helen Sullivan

Finish prime minister Sanna Marin has called for Europe to build its own defence capabilities in the wake of the war in Ukraine, saying that without US help it is not resilient enough.

“We should make sure that we are stronger,” Marin said in Sydney on Friday. “And I’ll be brutally honest with you, Europe isn’t strong enough. We would be in trouble without the United States.”

Marin insisted Ukraine must be given “whatever it takes” to win the war, adding that the United States had been pivotal in supplying Kyiv with the weapons, finance and humanitarian aid necessary to blunt Russia’s advance.

“We have to make sure that we are also building those capabilities when it comes to European defence, the European defence industry, and making sure that we could cope in different kinds of situations,” she said.

Marin said that when Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February, the priority of most Finns changed “overnight” to security.

Until Russia invaded Ukraine, Finland’s priorities were to have working bilateral relations with Russia and be close partners with members Nato, but not be a member, she said. “That was the best way to secure our nation.”

The United States is reportedly working with two Middle Eastern countries to shift advanced Nasams air defence systems to Ukraine in the next three to six months.

Weapons manufacturer Raytheon Technologies CEO Greg Hayes told Politico late Thursday:

There are Nasams deployed across the Middle East, and some of our Nato allies and we [the US] are actually working with a couple of Middle Eastern countries that currently employ Nasams and trying to direct those back up to Ukraine.”

He spoke a day after the Pentagon awarded a $1.2bn contract to Raytheon for six Nasams expected to be built in late 2025.

“Just because it takes 24 months to build, it doesn’t mean it’s going to take 24 months to get in country,” Hayes said.

He declined to name the Middle Eastern countries that would send the systems to Ukraine, but Defence Security Cooperation Agency records cited by Politico list Oman and Qatar as its purchasers.

Kyiv received two of the eight approved deliveries of Nasams in early November.

Nasams, or national advanced surface-to-air missile systems, have a longer range than other western-supplied air defence systems in Ukraine.

Biden prepared to speak to Putin if he is willing to end the war

US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron presented a united front on Ukraine with Biden saying he would talk to Russian President Vladimir Putin if he is willing to end the war and only in consultation with Nato allies.

I’m prepared to speak with Mr Putin if in fact there is an interest in him deciding he’s looking for a way to end the war. He hasn’t done that yet,” Biden told a news conference at the White House with Macron on Thursday.

Macron said he would continue to talk to Putin to “try to prevent escalation and to get some very concrete results” such as the safety of nuclear plants.

Biden and Macron pledged to hold Russia accountable for “widely documented atrocities and war crimes” in Ukraine.

At the East Room press conference, Biden said he had been shocked by Russia’s brutality in Ukraine but insisted that Vladimir Putin was “not going to succeed”, adding: “President Macron and I have resolved that we’re going to continue working together to hold Russia accountable for their actions and to mitigate the global impacts of Putin’s war on the rest of the world.”

“Intentionally targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure constitutes war crimes whose perpetrators must be held accountable.”

Taking questions from reporters, Biden added:

There’s one way for this war to end – the rational way. Putin to pull out of Ukraine … it’s sick, what he’s doing … I’m prepared to speak with Mr Putin if in fact there is an interest in him deciding he’s looking for a way to end the war.”

Macron said they discussed initiatives “to keep supporting and strengthen our support to the Ukrainian troops and enable them to resist”.

Russian missiles hit Zaporizhzhia, mayor says

Russian forces reportedly struck the southeastern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia overnight.

Zaporizhzhia mayor Anatoly Kurtev announced the attack on Telegram early this morning.

As a result of the enemy attack, the building of the infrastructure object is on fire. The blast wave blew out windows in nearby houses.”

Kurtev said emergency services are on the scene and casualties are not yet known.

Zaporizhzhia administrative head Oleksandr Starukh posted an update to Telegram this morning, writing:

Tonight, the enemy once again launched a rocket attack on Zaporizhzhia. Its goal was the destruction of the industrial and energy infrastructure of the regional centre. As a result, a fire broke out. According to available data, there are no victims.”

Up to 13,000 Ukrainian soldiers killed, Zelenskiy aide reveals

Ukraine’s armed forces have lost somewhere between 10,000 and 13,000 soldiers so far in the war against Russia, presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak told a Ukrainian television network on Thursday.

We have official figures from the general staff, we have official figures from the top command, and they amount to [between] 10,000 and 12,500 to 13,000 killed,” Podolyak told the Kanal 24 channel.

Zelenskiy would make the official data public “when the right moment comes”, he added.

Top US general Mark Milley last month said more than 100,000 Russian military personnel have been killed or wounded in Ukraine, with Kyiv’s forces likely suffering similar casualties.

Those figures – which could not be independently confirmed – are the most precise to date from the US government.

Summary and welcome

Hello and welcome back to the Guardian’s live coverage of the war in Ukraine. I’m Samantha Lock and I’ll be bringing you all the latest developments as they unfold over the next few hours.

Ukraine’s armed forces have lost somewhere between 10,000 and 13,000 soldiers so far in the war against Russia, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak told a local television network on Thursday.

Meanwhile Russian forces reportedly struck the southeastern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia overnight. City mayor Anatoly Kurtev announced the attack on Telegram early this morning. “As a result of the enemy attack, the building of the infrastructure object is on fire. The blast wave blew out windows in nearby houses,” he said.

For any updates or feedback you wish to share, please feel free to get in touch via email or Twitter.

If you have just joined us, here are all the latest developments:

  • US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron presented a united front on Ukraine with Biden saying he would talk to Russian President Vladimir Putin if he is willing to end the war and only in consultation with Nato allies. “I’m prepared to speak with Mr Putin if in fact there is an interest in him deciding he’s looking for a way to end the war. He hasn’t done that yet,” Biden told a news conference at the White House with Macron on Thursday. Macron said he would continue to talk to Putin to “try to prevent escalation and to get some very concrete results” such as the safety of nuclear plants.

  • Biden and Macron pledged to hold Russia accountable for “widely documented atrocities and war crimes” in Ukraine. Biden said their support would continue in the face of Russian aggression, which he added has been “incredibly brutal”. In a joint statement with Macron, the leaders said: “Intentionally targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure constitutes war crimes whose perpetrators must be held accountable.”

  • Russian rockets pounded neighbourhoods in Kherson knocking out power in the city where electricity had only begun to be restored nearly three weeks after Russian troops left. Local authorities said about two-thirds of Kherson had electricity as of Thursday night. Some residents congregated at the train station or at government-supported tents that provided heating, food, drinks and electricity to charge mobile phones.

  • Ukraine’s military said Russia had pulled some troops from towns on the opposite bank of the Dnieper River from Kherson city, the first official Ukrainian report of a Russian withdrawal on what is now the main frontline in the south. The statement gave only limited details and made no mention of any Ukrainian forces having crossed the Dnipro.

  • Kyiv’s mayor Vitaliy Klitschko told residents to stock up on water, food and warm clothes in the event of a total blackout caused by Russian strikes. Ukraine’s state emergency service said on Wednesday nine people had been killed in fires in the past 24 hours as people broke safety rules trying to heat their homes following Russian attacks on power facilities.

  • Ukraine’s armed forces have lost somewhere between 10,000 and 13,000 soldiers so far in the war against Russia, presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak told a Ukrainian television network on Thursday. “We have official figures from the general staff, we have official figures from the top command, and they amount to (between) 10,000 and 12,500 to 13,000 killed,” Podolyak told the Kanal 24 channel.

  • More than 1,300 prisoners have been returned to Ukraine since Russian troops invaded, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Thursday. Zelenskiy was speaking after a new exchange of 50 prisoners with Russian and pro-Russian forces. “After today’s exchange, there are already 1,319 heroes who returned home,” Zelenskiy said on Instagram, posting a photo showing a few dozen men holding Ukrainian flags.

  • EU members have tentatively agreed to a $60 a barrel price cap on Russian seaborne oil, diplomats said on Thursday. Europe will begin enforcing an embargo on Russian crude shipments from Monday, so the price cap will apply to oil exported by sea by Moscow to ports around the world. Poland is left to give the final nod and Estonia is under pressure to abandon its threat to veto the cap that it believes is set too high to have an impact on the Russian war machine.

  • The head of Nato, Jens Stoltenberg, said it was too early reach a verdict on talks between Poland and Germany about sending the Patriot air-defence systems from Germany to Ukraine. “We all agree on the urgent need to help Ukraine, including with air defence systems,” Stoltenberg said at a joint news conference with German chancellor Olaf Scholz.

  • European Council President Charles Michel urged Chinese President Xi Jinping to use the country’s “influence” on Russia over its war in Ukraine during a visit to Beijing on Thursday. “I urged President Xi, as we did at our EU-China summit in April, to use his influence on Russia to respect the UN charter,” Michel said. President Xi made it clear that China is not providing weapons to Russia and that nuclear threats are not acceptable, the European Council president added

  • Spain has ordered increased security at government buildings and embassies after the discovery of letter bombs and incendiary devices, including one that exploded at Ukraine’s embassy in Madrid on Wednesday and another that was detected at the US embassy on Thursday. Devices have also been sent to the prime minister, the defence ministry, an arms company that makes rocket launchers donated to Kyiv, and a military airbase near the Spanish capital.

  • Ukraine will move to impose limitations on religious organisations in the country which have links to Russia. “The National Security and Defence Council has instructed the government to propose to [parliament] a bill on proscribing activities in Ukraine by religious organisations affiliated with centres of influence in Russia,” Zelenskiy said in his latest national address on Thursday. “National security officials should intensify measures to identify and counteract the subversive activities of the Russian special services in the religious space in Ukraine.”

An elderly woman looks at damage caused by overnight Russian shelling of a residential building on 1 December in Kherson, Ukraine.
An elderly woman looks at damage caused by overnight Russian shelling of a residential building on 1 December in Kherson, Ukraine. Photograph: Chris McGrath/Getty Images





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