January 27, 2023

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Ukrainians celebrated Christmas this weekend. But Putin did not keep his promise.

There are great contradictions in Ukraine. In Kyiv, they manage to celebrate Christmas at the weekend. In eastern Ukraine, fierce battlefield fighting continues around Bakhmut

Orthodox priests of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church deliver Christmas Mass inside the Petcherskaya Lavra Cathedral.

We warn of strong images in this case.

The thousand-year-old Lavra Cathedral was full when an Orthodox Christmas service in the Ukrainian language was held there for the first time in years on a Saturday.

Life goes on in Kyiv – far from the fiercest fighting in eastern Ukraine. This weekend, the Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas.

broke from the church

Since the 17th century, Ukraine has been under the Russian Orthodox Church. In 2019, parts of the church separated from Moscow after the Crimean annexation and the war in Donbass.

This year, the service has become a demonstration of independence from the Russian Orthodox Church.

A Ukrainian couple at a skating rink during Orthodox Christmas Eve in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Friday.
In recent days, the people of Kyiv have survived deadly Russian missile and drone attacks. But it hasn’t been that long since the last time. On New Year’s Eve, this man lost his wife when missiles hit a residential area of ​​the city.

Almost the entire city was destroyed

For the occasion, Russian President Vladimir Putin promised a 36-hour truce. But he did not, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

– He said on Saturday that the fact is that the Russian attacks again hit Bakhmut and other Ukrainian sites.

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Zelensky said on Sunday that Ukrainian forces are constantly repelling Russian attacks on Bakhmut.

Russian forces have been trying to secure control of Bakhmut in Donetsk for a long time. It had a population of about 70,000 people before the war.

– Bakhmut is still standing, despite everything – and although almost the entire city was destroyed by the Russian attacks, he said.

Smoke billows after the Russian attacks on the town of Bakhmut in the Donbass – in the middle of Putin’s alleged 36-hour ceasefire.

The fighting took heavy casualties on both sides. Ukraine recently claimed to have killed 800 Russian soldiers in one day. But the numbers are very difficult to verify.

However, images from the region suggest human suffering.

Famous Kyiv Independent journalist Ilya Ponomarenko published these photos (below) from Bakhmut on Saturday Twitter. They allegedly show the bodies of the dead on the battlefield from a bird’s eye view.

The photos show many of the dead soldiers lying in and near shell craters in the ground.
It is unclear exactly where or when the photos were taken.

Russia claims to have killed 600 – this is unacceptable

Pavlo Kirilenko, the governor of Donetsk, says there were nine rocket attacks in the area overnight through Sunday. It is said that seven were against the destroyed city of Kramatorsk.

Russia claims to have killed more than 600 Ukrainian soldiers in the attacks on Kramatorsk. However, Reuters journalists immediately rejected this.

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And according to Zelensky, there are also very difficult conditions in Solidar.

Reuters quoted local officials as saying that at least two people were killed in Kharkiv and Solidar, respectively, on Sunday night. They did not verify the information themselves.

soldiers to Belarus

Russian forces are also said to have deployed their “most combat-ready” forces and heavy equipment in the eastern Ukrainian city of Krymina, which they occupy. This is what Serhiy Hayday, the governor of Luhansk, said on television, according to Reuters.

Reuters also writes that Telegram channels that monitor military activity in Belarus report that some 1,400 to 1,600 Russian soldiers have arrived in the northeastern Belarusian city of Vitebsk in recent days.

AFP journalists reported on Friday that they heard artillery fire in and outside the city of Bakhmut, also after the Russian ceasefire went into effect.

A woman in Kramatorsk near the site that was hit by a rocket attack Sunday night.

40 percent must be mined

And while Ukrainians celebrated Christmas, it was said that their country was the biggest minefield in the world. This is what Prime Minister Dennis Sjemihal says.

More than 40 percent, 250 thousand square kilometers, will be extracted from Ukraine.

The Russian base was erased

On New Year’s Eve, Ukraine launched a large-scale artillery and missile attack on the Russian occupation forces in the Ukrainian city of Makivka, which is under Russian control.

The building, which housed a large number of Russian soldiers, was destroyed in the attack by Ukrainian precision weapons.

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By cooperating with Faktisk Verifierbar, Aftenposten has obtained high-resolution satellite imagery of the crime scene from Planet Labs. These show the extent of the damage.