Putin crushes Zelenskys hopes for a Christmas ceasefire

Ukraine: President Zelensky visits war wounded in Kiev hospital

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Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky called on Russia to withdraw their troops by Christmas time, in the first step towards peace since the war began this February. However, Russia has claimed they have not received any proposals about a “Christmas ceasefire” from Ukraine. 

On Wednesday, Dmitry Peskov, Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, was asked about Volodymyr Zelensky’s proposal by reporters.

Mr Peskov said: “No, no such offers have been received from anybody. This topic is not on the agenda.”

It seems the peace proposal was rejected, and both countries are currently not engaged in any peace negotiations.

The spokesman has said recently there will be no peace between the two countries unless President Zelensky accepts the “realities” on the ground.

This seems to refer to Russia’s referendums that were held in September in occupied Ukraine territory, which the country now claims are Russian territory.

President Zelensky described the current situation in his nightly war update on Wednesday and said: “There is no calm on the frontline, every day and every metre is given extremely hard. 

“Especially where the entire tactic of the occupiers boils down to the destruction of everything in front of them with artillery – so that only bare ruins and craters in the ground remain.”

The White House’s National Security spokesman, John Kirby, has said the current widescale violence in the war has tempered hopes for any peace negotiations. 

He said: “Just given what we’re seeing in the air and on the ground in Ukraine, it’s difficult to conclude that this war will be over by year’s end.

“So there is active fighting going on right now. We would expect that that will continue for some time going forward.”

It comes at a time Pope Francis has called on people to reduce their spending on Christmas gifts this year in order to give donations to help the “suffering people of Ukraine”.

During his weekly audience, the Pope called for “concrete gestures” of charity for the Ukrainian people.

He said: “Let’s make a more humble Christmas, with more humble gifts, and let’s send what we save to the people of Ukraine who need it.

“They are hungry, they are cold, so many die for lack of doctors and nurses,

“Let’s not forget them. Christmas yes, in peace and with the Lord, yes. But with Ukrainians in the heart.”

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Ukraine has accused Russia of using the cold as a weapon against civilians this winter due to the current drone strikes attacking the country’s power grid. 

Some areas of Ukraine are often below zero temperatures and many other parts only have power for a few hours a day. 

The country is also experiencing unexpected blackouts that can last for days and have affected almost every region in the country.  

President Zelensky said: “Unfortunately, this is a typical situation for us. And we expect new Russian strikes every day, which can dramatically increase the number of shutdowns.”

On Tuesday morning, Russian strikes targeted Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, which has also caused morale to decrease for some Ukrainians. 

Yana, a Kyiv resident, was getting ready for work when the attack took place and said: “I want this all to be over … For (Russian President Vladimir) Putin, that b***ard, to die.”

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