Russian invasion: War against Ukraine: That's the situation

In response to repeated Russian rocket attacks on Ukrainian cities, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has announced a further expansion of the air defense system.

Russian invasion: War against Ukraine: That's the situation

In response to repeated Russian rocket attacks on Ukrainian cities, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has announced a further expansion of the air defense system. "In the new year, the Ukrainian air defense will be even stronger, even more effective," Zelenskyy said in his daily video address on Friday evening. Ukraine's air defense could become the strongest in Europe, he added, referring to the announced Patriot battery from the United States. "This will be a security guarantee not only for our country but for the entire continent."

In recent weeks, the Ukrainian armed forces' air defenses have achieved relatively high numbers of kills in large-scale Russian attacks with cruise missiles, rockets and so-called kamikaze drones. Given the mass of incoming projectiles, not all missiles could be repelled. The Ukrainian army, which already uses a number of foreign anti-aircraft systems, is awaiting deployment of the Patriot battery promised by the US government. Ukrainian soldiers are currently being trained on the system.

The Russian army has been targeting the Ukrainian energy grid since October, causing massive damage to the power and water supply for long periods of time. The aim is to wear down the population in winter and to increase the pressure on the Ukrainian government.

Kyiv has been on alert for almost 29 days since the war began

Since the beginning of Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine on February 24, the alarm sirens have sounded around 640 times in the capital Kyiv. Overall, since the end of February, the state of alarm has been in effect for almost 700 hours, said Kiev's military administration chief Serhiy Popko on Friday. "That's practically 29 days, almost a whole calendar month, that the city's citizens spent in shelters and bunkers." In total, the capital experienced 52 airstrikes in which 120 people died, including five children. 495 people were injured in the rocket and cruise missile attacks.

More than 600 buildings were damaged by the attacks, Popko said. The critical infrastructure of the capital had been significantly damaged. The number of casualties and damaged buildings could not be independently verified.

Kyiv: Russia's army needs five years to rebuild

According to Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Resnikov, the Russian army has lost a lot of its effectiveness over the years due to its losses in Ukraine. The Russian armed forces would need at least five years to rebuild. "According to the findings of NATO reconnaissance, the Russians have suffered enormous losses in tanks, artillery, armored personnel carriers and soldiers," Resnikov was quoted as saying by the newspaper Ukrajinska Pravda.

"The regular armed forces of the Russian Federation could be restored in five years at the earliest, maybe in ten years," said the minister. That also applies to Russia's missile potential. After all, this is a war of resources. "And they (NATO) can calculate these resources."

Zalushnyj: God is on our side

The Ukrainian army chief Valeriy Zalushnyi encouraged his soldiers in a video message at the turn of the year and the upcoming Orthodox Christmas. "We didn't want the war, but we accepted the fight," he said. "And God is on our side." Although this Christmas has "the taste of tears and the color of blood," the country has the strength to ward off the enemy, said Zalushny. "May our victory mark the beginning of Ukraine's prosperity and the end of Russia."

Thousands wanted to avoid military service

According to the military, since the beginning of the Russian invasion and the declaration of a state of war in Ukraine, several thousand young Ukrainians have tried to evade military service. As the Ukrainian border troops announced on Friday, almost 12,000 men were caught trying to illegally cross the country's border to the west. 15 men died while crossing the border.

In Russia, too, thousands of young men tried to evade military service. Immediately after the partial mobilization in September, thousands fled abroad, and veritable small Russian colonies were established in some former Soviet republics.

That's going to be important today

At the end of a year that was strongly marked by the war, Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) calls on the people of Germany to show confidence and unite. In his speech, which will be broadcast on television today, he said, among other things: "We sympathize with the Ukrainians, who, even on days like today, cannot rest from the Russian bombs and rockets."