HERE IS THE SITUATION ON TUESDAY DECEMBER 26, 2023. (671 DAY)
A huge explosion and fireball engulfed part of the Crimean port of Feodosia early on Tuesday morning. Ukraine’s air force commander claimed responsibility on Telegram after videos circulated online of the blast in the Russian-held port. Lieutenant General Mykola Oleshchuk said the Russian landing ship Novocherkassk was hit: “The fleet in Russia is getting smaller and smaller!” An initial fire was followed by a massive secondary explosion.
Ukraine’s cabinet of ministers has submitted to parliament a draft law lowering the age of those who can be mobilised for combat duty to 25 from 27. Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Ukraine’s president, said a week ago that the military had proposed mobilising up to half a million more Ukrainians but it was a “highly sensitive” issue that the military and government would have to discuss.
Russian troops have probably begun a third wave of attacks trying to take Avdiivka, Vitalii Barabash, head of the Avdiivka city military administration, has told Ukrainian TV.
Volodymyr Zelenskiy has warned Russian pilots that Ukraine’s air defence will “only get stronger” after Ukraine said it shot down five Russian jet fighters in the days before Christmas. “In just one evening yesterday, our warriors shot down almost 30 Shahed drones, a few missiles, and two military aircraft. Five in a week. I am grateful to everyone who ensured such a powerful result.”
Ukrainians celebrated Christmas on December 25 for the first time as a public holiday, departing from the later date observed in Russia. This change is a direct response to Russia’s invasion. Oksana Poviakel, director of a Ukrainian cultural museum in Kyiv, expressed the significance, stating, “We are separating ourselves from the neighbour who is currently trying to destroy our state, who is killing our people, destroying our homes, and burning our land.”
Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko declared that Russia has completed its shipments of nuclear weapons to his country. This development has sparked strong concerns in neighboring Poland and across the region.
Russian forces, as stated by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, have now gained full control of Maryinka, a town in eastern Ukraine, according to reports from news agencies.
Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has been located at a penal colony in the Arctic Yamal-Nenets region of northern Russia, as confirmed by his spokesperson Kira Yarmysh.
The members of the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union have signed a free trade agreement with Iran, as reported by the Russian news agency Tass.