In Ukraine, around nine million people are still without electricity as a result of the Russian attacks on the energy grid. And in Kyiv there are fears that new waves of cruise missiles and rockets will soon appear - possibly as early as New Year's Eve. Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accuses Ukraine of wanting to draw NATO deeper into the war.
Zelenskyj: Still deficits in the power supply
Despite feverish repair work on the severely damaged power grid, around nine million people in Ukraine are still without electricity. "But the number and duration of power outages is steadily decreasing," said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy last night in his daily video address. But there are still many deficits in the power supply.
At the same time, Zelenskyy warned of possible new Russian attacks on the energy grid. "The air defense is preparing, the state is preparing and everyone has to prepare," he said. The Russian military has been attacking the Ukrainian energy grid again and again for weeks with cruise missiles, rockets and so-called kamikaze drones. The aim is to put the population under pressure in the middle of winter with the failure of the electricity and water supply.
Ukrainian Energy Minister Herman Galushchenko fears a major Russian attack with rockets and cruise missiles on New Year's Eve. "The Russians have not renounced attacks against our energy grid," he said on Ukrainian television last night. "And since they're looking at specific dates, New Year's is likely to be one of those dates that they're going to try to damage our energy grid."
Fighting for eastern Ukrainian town of Bakhmut continues
Russian invading forces and Ukrainian defenders continued fighting around the frontline town of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine. The general staff in Kyiv said that several advances by Russian units had been repelled.
The city of Bakhmut is considered the so-called cornerstone of the front in eastern Ukraine. A breakthrough at this point would allow Russian troops to penetrate deep behind the Ukrainian lines. The city has since been expanded into a fortress by the defenders.
Ukrainian artillery yesterday hit a concentration of Russian troops in the village of Polovinkino in the Luhansk region in the east of the country. Around 150 soldiers were killed or wounded, it said. A similar artillery attack on Russian troops in the Kherson region in southern Ukraine killed around 50 soldiers and wounded another 100, the general staff in Kyiv said. The information could not initially be independently verified.
Kyiv wants to shake Moscow's UN membership
According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it launched an initiative to question the legitimacy of Russia's membership in the United Nations and all bodies. According to the foreign office in Kyiv, Moscow's seat is not regulated on the basis of international law either in the UN or in the World Security Council, the "Ukrajinska Pravda" quoted yesterday from a letter from the authority. Russia has "wrongly" considered itself a UN member since December 1991.
According to Kiev, the name "Russian Federation" does not appear in the UN charter, and the country has not gone through the necessary admission procedure, such as the Czech Republic and Slovakia after the collapse of Czechoslovakia. The former republics of Yugoslavia also had to re-apply for UN membership after the collapse of the multinational state. Russia considers itself the legitimate successor to the Soviet Union, which was a founding member of the United Nations.
The then Russian President Boris Yeltsin merely informed the UN in December 1991 that Russia, with the support of the Commonwealth of Independent States, retained membership in the UN and all bodies.
Lavrov: Ukraine wants to draw NATO deeper into the conflict
Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov told the TASS state agency in an interview published during the night: "The (Kiev) regime is trying on its behalf to draw the Americans and other NATO members deeper into the vortex of the conflict in hopes of a hasty clash to make inevitable with the Russian army."
He also criticized the course of the West. He constantly speculates that Russia is about to use nuclear weapons against Ukraine. "We are talking about completely different matters here - the political course of the West, aimed at total restraint from Russia, is extremely dangerous. It entails risks of a direct armed clash between the nuclear powers," Lavrov claimed.
More than 2.2 billion euros in German arms exports
The federal government approved arms exports for at least 8.35 billion euros this year. This is already the second highest value in the history of the Federal Republic. Only last year was the number even higher at 9.35 billion euros.
More than a quarter of arms and military equipment delivered between January 1 and December 22 went to Ukraine. This emerges from a response from the Federal Ministry of Economics to a request from the left-wing member of the Bundestag Sevim Dagdelen. The letter is available from the German Press Agency. Since the beginning of the war, arms sales worth 2.24 billion euros have been approved for Ukraine.
What can be important today
The Rada, Ukraine's parliament, is expecting Zelensky's annual address to MPs this week. The exact date is not given for security reasons.