Putin vows to destroy US patriot missiles in Ukraine 100 per cent

Russian TV host says they will 'burn European humanitarians'

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Putin was pressed in a Kremlin press conference to respond to Washington’s recent move to station Patriot missiles in Ukraine. The Russian leader was confident that Russian forces will be able to seek out and destroy the air defence batteries “100 percent.”

Asked if the Patriot system which has been promised to Ukraine will be a target, he replied: “Of course, we will destroy it, 100 percent.”

The Kremlin website reports Putin having added: “It is said that the Patriot systems may be sent to Ukraine. Let them do it; we will weed out the Patriots too.”

The US has announced a new $1.8billion military aid package, including supplies of the Patriot air defence systems, the most powerful such weapons to be delivered to Ukraine yet.

Ukraine also stands to receive an additional $44.9billion in US aid as part of a massive government spending bill the Senate approved Thursday.

Meanwhile, Putin said in a state television interview, excerpts of which were released on Sunday afternoon that Russia is “prepared to negotiate some acceptable outcomes with all the participants of this process.”

He said that “it’s not us who refuse talks, it’s them” — something the Kremlin has repeatedly stated in recent months as its 10-month-old invasion kept losing momentum.

Putin also repeated that Moscow has “no other choice” and said he believed the Kremlin was “acting in the right direction.”

He said: “We’re defending our national interests, the interests of our citizens, our people.”

Ukraine: Air raid sirens sound in Kyiv on Christmas Day

Putin’s remarks come as attacks on Ukraine continue. A country-wide air raid alert was announced twice on Sunday alone, and three missiles in the afternoon hit the city of Kramatorsk in the partially occupied Donetsk region, local officials reported.

The missiles hit an industrial area of the city, and there weren’t any casualties, according to the Ukrainian governor of Donetsk, Pavlo Kyrylenko.

Kyrylenko said that the city of Avdiivka was also attacked on Sunday with six rounds of shelling, and a woman was wounded there.

Elsewhere in the front-line region, around the city of Bakhmut, where fierce battles have been underway in recent weeks, the Russian forces were struggling to keep up the pace of their offensive, a US-based think tank reported this weekend.

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“Russian forces’ rate of advance in the Bakhmut area has likely slowed in recent days, although it is too early to assess whether the Russian offensive to capture Bakhmut has culminated,” the Institute for the Study of War wrote in its recent update.

The think tank cited Russian military bloggers, who it said have recently acknowledged “that Ukrainian forces in the Bakhmut area have managed to slightly slow down the pace of the Russian advance around Bakhmut and its surrounding settlements.”

Sources on Ukrainian social media “previously claimed that Ukrainian forces completely pushed Russian forces out of the eastern outskirts of Bakhmut” around December  21, the report added.

“Russian forces will likely struggle to maintain the pace of their offensive operations in the Bakhmut area and may seek to initiate a tactical or operational pause,” the institute concluded.

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