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The latest in Ukraine: intense clashes on the front – Selenskyj praises air defense for drone interceptions

Ukraine Update: Overnight Events

Following several days and nights of heavy Russian air strikes on Ukraine, President Volodymyr Selenskyj praised the work of the Ukrainian air defense. Selenskyj said in his evening video on Saturday that 104 out of 112 attacking Shahed drones had been intercepted in a week. “And the destruction of each one means that lives and infrastructure were saved,” he said, thanking all air defense soldiers.

During the night into Sunday, there were air raid warnings over large parts of eastern Ukraine. The Ukrainian Air Force reported that Russian drones had penetrated into Ukrainian airspace from the east and south. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian General Staff reported ongoing intense ground clashes. Foreign experts such as the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) in the U.S. observe that Russia is making territorial gains with its advances.

Ukraine has been repelling a large-scale Russian invasion for almost 22 months; Sunday marks the 662nd day of the war. Including the Crimea peninsula, about a fifth of the country is occupied by Russian soldiers.

Dozens of Frontline Clashes

According to its leadership, the Ukrainian army repelled dozens of Russian attacks on the frontline in the east and south of the country on Saturday. The evening report from the General Staff mentioned 71 clashes – a slight decrease from 82 clashes on Friday. The military information could not be independently verified. Nonetheless, the numbers provide insights into the intensity of the fighting.

The majority of Russian attacks were once again concentrated in the city of Avdiivka and its surroundings in the Donbas region – 27 clashes were recorded. They were reportedly repelled. Further north in the Kharkiv and Luhansk regions, the Ukrainian military counted eleven clashes near the village of Synkiwka. According to the ISW, Russian troops have been on the offensive there for days and are advancing. There have been no reports of Ukrainian offensive actions in General Staff reports for quite some time. Following the largely failed summer offensive, Kyiv’s forces are preparing for defense.

Western air defense systems prove their worth in Ukraine

Among the successes of the air defense, Selenskyj mentioned that ballistic missiles from Russia were shot down from the sky last week. “The Patriots, Nasams, Cheetahs, and other systems provided by our partners work perfectly,” he said. At the same time, he stressed the need to further improve air defense over Ukraine, a topic that comes up in almost every contact with foreign partners, according to the president.

In the past few nights, Russia has launched swarms of combat drones. Like last winter, the targets are often energy infrastructure facilities. However, Ukrainian air defense is much better equipped this winter. Still, civilian authorities reported dozens of injuries and damage in Kiew last week.

Ukraine puts Moscow Patriarch Kirill on wanted list

In the fight against the influence of the Russian Orthodox Church, Ukraine has put Moscow Patriarch Kirill on the wanted list. He is accused of being one of the main supporters of the Russian war of aggression. The Interior Ministry in Kyiv listed the church leader, whose civilian name is Vladimir Gundjajew, as a wanted person. His location was given as Moscow.

Kirill is clearly behind the efforts of Kremlin leader.Wladimir Putin ordered a war of aggression against Ukraine. Like him, he insists on Russia’s dominion over neighboring countries where Russians reside. In Ukraine, he continues to wield influence over the priests and communities affiliated with the Moscow Patriarchate.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Praises Chancellor Scholz and Calls for More Leadership

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba lauded the efforts of Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz in support of Ukraine during the recent EU summit. “The actions taken by Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the summit to resolve the looming Hungarian veto will be remembered as a display of German leadership in the interest of Europe,” Kuleba told “Bild am Sonntag”. He also called for greater German leadership. “I can only hope that this signals a broader and irreversible shift in the German approach towards leading efforts to address the most complex issues,” he stated.

The dispute over EU accession negotiations with Ukraine was deadlocked leading up to the summit due to Hungary’s resistance. As a solution, Scholz suggested to Prime Minister Viktor Orban that he leave the meeting during the vote. This enabled the other heads of state and government to reach the necessary consensus.

What’s Important on Sunday

The Ukrainian military anticipates further ground and aerial assaults by the Russian army.

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