WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
The ongoing crisis between Ukraine and Russia continues, with both sides ramping up efforts to prevent the other from gaining ground in partially Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine.
The turmoil, which began on February 24, has displaced over 6 million, according to the UN Refugee Agency. Some 11 million people are estimated to be stranded within affected areas and are unable to leave due to risks associated with travel or a lack of resources to find a safe way out.
Moreover, the events in Ukraine and Russia have fueled a global energy and food crisis, with the war disrupting global agricultural exports from both countries and driving up prices for both energy and food commodities.
Bookmark and refresh this page for updates and analyses of the latest news on the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis.
Ukraine says Russia plans new mobilization to ‘turn tide of war’￼
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Russia was planning to call up more troops for a major new offensive, even as Moscow was facing some of its biggest internal criticism of the war over a strike that killed scores of fresh conscripts.
Kyiv has been saying for weeks that Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to order another mass conscription drive and shut his borders to prevent men from escaping the draft.
“We have no doubt that the current masters of Russia will throw everything they have left and everyone they can round up to try to turn the tide of the war and at least delay their defeat,” Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address on Tuesday. (Read story here.)
Russia and Ukraine free 200 captured troops in New Year prisoner swap
Russia and Ukraine said on Saturday, December 31, they had freed more than 200 captured soldiers, the latest prisoner exchange between the two sides in the 10-month-old conflict.
Russia’s Defence Ministry said 82 Russian soldiers had been released by Ukraine, while the Ukrainian president’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, said Russia had handed over 140 Ukrainian service personnel.
Some of the 132 Ukrainian men and eight women who were freed had been wounded or had fought to defend the Black Sea port city of Mariupol and on Snake Island, Yermak said in a message on his Telegram page.
The two sides have exchanged hundreds of captured soldiers in several rounds of prisoner exchanges in recent months, despite a complete breakdown in broader diplomatic talks between Moscow and Kyiv.
Explosions shake Ukrainian capital after missile warnings
Ten explosions were heard in the center of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, on Saturday, December 31, soon after Ukrainian officials warned of another large-scale missile attack by Moscow on Ukraine.
As air raid sirens sounded across the country, Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko said one of the blasts occurred in an area of residential buildings in the capital’s Solomyanskyi district, and that there were explosions in two other parts of the city.
He did not say what had caused the explosions.
The governor of the surrounding Kyiv region, Oleksiy Kuleba, warned shortly beforehand of a possible incoming missile attack, and said air defences in the region were engaging targets.
“The terrorist country launched several waves of missiles. They are wishing us a happy New Year. But we will persevere,” Kuleba wrote on Telegram after several explosions shook the capital.
In the western city of Khmelnytskyi, two people were wounded in a drone attack, a Ukrainian presidential aide said.
Putin says West is using Ukraine to destroy Russia in New Year video message
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday, December 31, his country would never give in to the West’s attempts to use Ukraine as a tool to destroy Russia in a New Year’s video message broadcast on Russian state TV.
Putin said Russia was fighting in Ukraine to protect its “motherland,” and to secure “true independence” for its people, in a message filmed in front of Russian service personnel.
Air raid warnings across Ukraine on New Year’s Eve
Air raid sirens rang out in every Ukrainian region on Saturday, December 31, as local officials warned of the danger of missile strikes and urged citizens to take cover.
Air raid sirens sound across Ukraine, no reports of new attacks
Air raid sirens sounded across all Ukraine’s regions on Wednesday, December 28, but there were no immediate reports of any new Russian missile strikes.
The capital Kyiv and other regions sounded the all-clear almost two hours later.
Ukrainian social media reports said the nationwide alert may have been declared after Russian jets stationed in Belarus took off.
Reuters was unable to immediately verify that information.