Russian forces continued to wage war on Ukraine over the holiday weekend, with more than 40 missiles being launched into Ukrainian towns on Christmas day, according to Ukraine’s military.
According to Russian news agencies, which cited the country’s defense ministry, three Russian military personnel were killed Monday by falling wreckage of a Ukrainian drone that was shot down as it was on its way to attack a base in Russia’s Saratov region.
Russian President Vladimir Putin reiterated Sunday that he was open to negotiations and accused Ukraine and its Western allies of not engaging in talks. The U.S. has previously dismissed this stance from Russia as posturing given the ongoing attack on Ukraine.
“We are ready to negotiate with everyone involved about acceptable solutions, but that is up to them – we are not the ones refusing to negotiate, they are,” Putin said in an interview on Rossiya 1 state television.
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An adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, however, responded on Twitter by saying Putin needed to acknowledge it was Russia that has not been open to talks.
“Russia single-handedly attacked Ukraine and is killing citizens,” the adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, said. “Russia doesn’t want negotiations, but tries to avoid responsibility.”
Moscow launched its invasion into its eastern European neighbor on February 24, and attacks on Ukraine’s power stations have left millions without electricity. Zelenskyy said Russia would attempt to make the final days of 2022 dark and difficult.
“Russia has lost everything it could this year. … I know darkness will not prevent us from leading the occupiers to new defeats. But we have to be ready for any scenario,” he said in a Christmas Day address.
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Ukraine and Russia traditionally celebrate Christmas on January 7, but some Orthodox Ukrainians decided to celebrate on December 25 this year. Zelenskyy, Ukraine’s prime minister and other officials in the country issued Christmas wishes on Sunday.
Ukraine’s military said early on Monday that Russian forces had shelled dozens of towns in the prior 24 hours on the Luhansk, Donetsk, Kharkiv, Kherson and Zaporizhzia regions.
“In the Kherson direction, the enemy continues artillery shelling of populated areas along the right bank of the Dnipro River,” the military said.
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The Ukrainian military also said its forces launched attacks on nearly 20 Russian targets.
Russia’s defense ministry said Sunday that its forces had killed about 60 Ukrainian servicemen the previous day along the Kupiansk-Lyman line of contact, and that it had destroyed numerous pieces of Ukrainian military equipment.
The Kremlin vowed to fight until all its territorial goals are reached, but Ukraine says it will keep fighting until every Russian soldier is forced from the country.
Reuters contributed to this report.