Moscow ends self-proclaimed ceasefire and vows to move forward in Ukraine

(Reuters) – Russia’s overnight shelling of eastern Ukraine killed at least one person, local officials said on Sunday, after Moscow ended a self-declared Christmas ceasefire and vowed to continue fighting until a resolution was reached. victory over his neighbor.

President Vladimir Putin on Friday ordered a 36-hour ceasefire along the contact line to observe Russian and Ukrainian Orthodox Christmas, which fell on Saturday. The Ukraine had rejected the truce and there was shelling on the front.

A 50-year-old man has died in the northeastern Kharkiv region as a result of Russian shelling, Oleh Sinehubov, the region’s governor, said on the Telegram messaging app. The news came minutes after midnight in Moscow.

Most Ukrainian Orthodox Christians have traditionally celebrated Christmas on January 7, as have Orthodox Christians in Russia. But this year, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the largest in the country, also allowed a celebration on December 25. Still, many observed the holiday on Saturday, flocking to churches and cathedrals.

The Kremlin has said Moscow will go ahead with what it calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine and that Kyiv and its Western allies are calling an unprovoked aggression to seize land.

“The tasks set by the president (Putin) for the special military operation will still be fulfilled,” Russia’s state agency TASS quoted Putin’s first deputy chief of staff, Sergei Kiriyenko, as saying.

“And there will definitely be a win.”

There is no end in sight for the war, now in its 11th month, which has killed thousands, displaced millions and turned Ukrainian cities to rubble.

Ukrainian authorities also reported explosions in regions that make up the broader Donbas region, the front line of the war where fighting has been raging for months.

Pavlo Kyrylenko, governor of Ukraine’s Donetsk region, said there were nine missile attacks in the region overnight, including seven in the battered city of Kramatorsk. According to preliminary information, there were no victims.

Explosions were also heard in the city of Zaporizhzhia, the administrative center of the Zaporizhzhia region, a local official said, without giving an immediate report on damage or casualties.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Wednesday that Russia is planning a major new offensive. The Pentagon said Friday that Putin’s goal of seizing Ukrainian territory has not changed, even as his army continues to take blows.

There has been growing concern that Belarus, a staunch supporter of Moscow, could be used as a platform to attack Ukraine from the north after increased military activity in the country and the new transfer of Russian troops there.

Unofficial Telegram channels monitoring military activity in Belarus reported late Saturday that between 1,400 and 1,600 Russian soldiers had arrived from Russia in the northeastern city of Vitebsk in Belarus over the past two days.

Reuters could not independently verify the information.

Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters.

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