At least one person has died and five others were injured on Tuesday after Russian forces shelled the town of Oleshky in southern Ukraine, authorities have reported. The attack comes amid heavy fighting in the eastern Bakhmut and Kreminna districts.
Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday that Kyiv must accept its demands or else suffer defeat on the battlefield.
Lavrov said Ukraine must remove any military threat to Russia, otherwise “the Russian army (will) solve the issue.”
His comments also reflected persistent unfounded claims by the Kremlin that Ukraine and its Western allies were responsible for the 10-month war, which has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions.
Meanwhile, Sumy governor Dmytro Zhyvytskyi reported that Russian troops targeted three of the region’s communities, including Seredyno-Buda, Shelyhyne and Esman on December 27.
But Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says his troops and his people will stand firm.
“We listened to the commanders, and have decided on steps for the near future,” said the president in his nightly address.
“We continue to prepare the defence and security forces of Ukraine for the following year.
It must be a crucial year. We understand the risks in the winter, what we have to do in the spring, and what results the entire defence and security sector must demonstrate”.
In Kherson, mourners gathered on Tuesday for the funeral of Natalya Ryaskova. The 47-year-old was killed when her apartment building was hit by a Russian missile.
Attacks on the city have not stopped since Ukraine’s forces liberated the territory in November.
Some 30 kilometres northwest of Kherson, this small village of Posad-Pokrovske is in ruins.
The few residents left are bracing themselves against plummeting temperatures as the harsh Ukrainian winter sets in.
As Russian President Vladimir Putin faces growing isolation on the world stage, he has sought to consolidate ties with a number of former soviet states that make up the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) at an informal summit in St Petersburg.
The meeting on Monday was attended by the leaders of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.