Ukraine Russia news latest updates: Putin’s war ‘failing’ as Moscow forces lose ‘several commanders’


‘I want peace’: A nine-year-old Ukrainian refugee in England shares his Christmas wish

The UK Defense Secretary says Russia has “failed to achieve its strategic objectives”, pointing to the high death toll and all the commanders who have left the army and the public’s dismay.

Ben Wallace said in a statement in the Commons on Tuesday: “There is not a single operational commander who was there on February 24. Russia has lost many generals and commanders.

“More than 100,000 Russians have been killed, wounded or defected, and Russian capabilities have been severely hampered by the destruction of more than 4,500 armored and protected vehicles, as well as more than 140 helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has made an unannounced visit to the besieged city of Bakhmut, meeting with troops and handing out prizes.

Bakhmut has suffered months of bombing and heavy damage as Russia’s main target in Ukraine’s Donetsk region. So far Ukrainian forces have held back the Russian advance.

On the war front, a Russian artillery attack hit 25 villages and towns near Bakhmut, Avdiivka and another town in the northeast, Kupiansk.

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Defense Secretary Ben Wallace told the House of Commons that Russia had “failed to achieve its strategic objectives” in Ukraine, detailing the casualties its military was suffering.

Wallace said: “Not a single operational commander who was there on February 24 is responsible. Russia has lost many generals and commanders.

“There are high mortality rates and growing public discontent.

“More than 100,000 Russians have been killed, wounded or defected, and Russian capabilities have been severely hampered by the destruction of more than 4,500 armored and protected vehicles, as well as more than 140 helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.

Chris StevensonDecember 20, 2022 6:46 p.m

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At a ceremony in the Kremlin earlier today, President Vladimir Putin presented awards to Moscow-appointed heads of Ukraine’s four regions illegally.

“Our country has faced many challenges and defended its sovereignty,” Putin said. “Now Russia is once again meeting that challenge. Soldiers, officers and volunteers are showing great examples of courage and self-denial on the front lines.”

Chris StevensonDecember 20, 2022 6:18 p.m

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Kremlin trying to shut down Russia’s oldest human rights group

The Russian government is trying to shut down the Moscow Helsinki Group, one of the country’s oldest human rights organizations, according to a notice on the Moscow court website seen on Tuesday.

The group, which has its origins in the Soviet era, produces an annual report on the state of human rights in Russia.

Valery Borshov, co-chairman of the Helsinki Group in Moscow, said the authorities presented a “nonsense” complaint, claiming that the group’s own charters prohibited it from advocating for human rights outside the capital – something it has always openly done.

Since invading Ukraine in February, Russian President Vladimir Putin has moved swiftly to suppress dissenting views, whether from independent media, non-governmental rights groups or political opponents.

This month, opposition politician Ilya Yashin was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in prison for spreading “false information” about the army, highlighting atrocities committed by Russian soldiers in Bucha near Kyiv – which Russia says are fabricated by the West.

Thomas KingsleyDecember 20, 2022 6:00 p.m

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Sunak says UK needs to “evolve” aid to Ukraine

He said: “Of course we will continue to support Ukraine, I think what we would all like to see is Ukraine successfully repelling Russian aggression.

“And it’s important to maintain support, but also to become support for the conditions we’re seeing on the ground on the battlefield. And that’s what I want to do.”

Taking an opening question from the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee and Tory MP Alicia Kearns, the Prime Minister offered a voice to Ukraine and appeared to partially dismiss the “Goldman Sachs-style” review.

“I wouldn’t necessarily read too much into the press reports. Look at my actions,” he told the parliamentarians.

Lucy ScouldingDecember 20, 2022 5:00 p.m

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Suna says that “of course” he will continue to help Ukraine

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is giving evidence to the communications committee amid concerns over the Ukraine war audit.

Sunak says he won’t read much into the audit reports, pointing out the support he has already shown Ukraine and adding that he will “of course” continue to give the country what it needs.

He said the current priorities are armored vehicles, air defense and artillery ammunition.

Asked about the homelessness faced by Ukrainian refugees who have come to the UK, the Prime Minister began by paying tribute to people who have taken refugees into their homes.

He added that Thanksgiving payments had been extended to those families and said councils had received £150 million to help alleviate homelessness in the local area.

Lucy ScouldingDecember 20, 2022 4:30 p.m

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UK Defense Secretary Says Russia Has ‘Not Achieved Its Objectives’

The UK Defense Secretary says Russia has “failed to achieve its strategic objectives”, pointing to the high death toll and all the commanders who have left the army and the public’s dismay.

Ben Wallace said in a statement in the Commons on Tuesday: “There is not a single operational commander who was there on February 24. Russia has lost many generals and commanders.

“Rumours of Gen. Gerasimov’s impeachment continue as Putin deflects responsibility for continued military failure in Ukraine. High death rates and growing public discontent.”

“More than 100,000 Russians have been killed, wounded or defected, and Russian capabilities have been severely hampered by the destruction of more than 4,500 armored and protected vehicles, as well as more than 140 helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.”

Lucy ScouldingDecember 20, 2022 3:50 p.m

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The WHO says that a quarter of Ukraine’s population may suffer from mental health problems as a result of the war

As many as 10 million people in Ukraine — or a quarter of the population — may suffer from mental health problems as a result of the war, according to the World Health Organization.

Jarno Habicht, WHO representative for Ukraine, said: “The WHO estimates that 10 million people are at risk of some form of mental disorder, from anxiety and stress to more serious conditions.”

Severe conditions refer to illnesses such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Cases have surged after 10 months of war, and the UN has launched online support services for suffering Ukrainians.

A quarter of Ukraine’s population may suffer from mental health problems due to the war

(Getty)

Lucy ScouldingDecember 20, 2022 3:38 p.m

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Russia to supply advanced military components to Iran in exchange for hundreds of drones

Russia plans to supply advanced military components to Iran in exchange for hundreds of drones, British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said today.

“Iran has become one of Russia’s main military backers,” Wallace told parliament as part of a statement on the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

“In exchange for supplying more than 300 kamikaze drones, Russia now plans to supply Iran with advanced military components, undermining Middle East and international security.”

Earlier today, European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told Iran’s foreign minister that Tehran must immediately suspend military aid to Russia, Reuters reported.

Lucy ScouldingDecember 20, 2022 3:00 p.m

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Photos of Bakhmut visiting Zelensky

New footage shows scenes from the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, where President Zelensky made an unannounced visit to the front line.

The eastern city is the scene of “fierce fighting” between Ukrainian defenders and invading Russian forces, the Kiev president’s office said on Tuesday.

The office said Zelensky met and chatted with the military.

(Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Lucy ScouldingDecember 20, 2022 2:45 p.m

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Kiev’s power supply is at critical levels after more drones hit key infrastructure on Monday.

Oleksiy Kuleba, the governor of the city, reported that 80% of Kiev is without electricity for the second day in a row after the attack.

He said: “The electricity supply situation remains critical.

“I want to emphasize that with each enemy bombardment, the complexity and duration of repairs increases.”

Ukraine’s national electricity grid operator Ukrenergo said: “The supply of critical infrastructure is a priority. We hope that today we will be able to turn on equipment to increase security of supply, reduce the capacity deficit and connect more consumers.”

Lucy ScouldingDecember 20, 2022 2:30 p.m

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