The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday condemned the Russian bombing, which he described as “terrorist”, on the city of Kherson in southern Ukraine, where at least eight people were killed and 17 wounded after ten months since the start of the invasion.
“Saturday morning, Christmas Eve, in the city center… Not military installations… It’s not a war according to what is known… It is terrorism and killing to intimidate and enjoy killing”.
The Ukrainian Public Prosecution announced on social media that the strike “killed eight civilians and injured 17,” some of whom “were taken to hospital with severe injuries”.
“The world must see and understand what is the absolute evil that we are fighting against,” Zelensky declared.
Zelensky added, “It is the reality of the situation of Ukraine and the Ukrainians” ten months ago from the war, accompanying his message with pictures showing the horror of the damage.
Since its restoration, Kherson has become a target of regular Russian bombing, especially its energy facilities.
On Friday, 74 Russian raids targeted it, killing five people and wounding 22 others, according to the regional authorities.
In the east of the country, Russian strikes are still continuing on Bakhmut, which the Russians have been trying to control since the summer, according to what the Ukrainian presidency announced on Saturday, noting that “the city center was bombed several times” the day before.
To counter the Russian offensive, Kyiv has been asking for new financial and military aid from the West for weeks.
On Friday, two days after Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit to Washington, the US Congress approved the draft federal budget, which includes $45 billion in aid to Ukraine.
Outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi praised the passage of the budget, saying, “It’s not a handout – as the President of Ukraine said. It’s about security, it’s about working together”.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced on Friday that Kyiv will receive a support package of 2.5 billion Euros from the Netherlands in 2023, a large part of which will be military aid.
The Russian invasion also greatly affects Ukrainian economic activity which is now focused almost entirely on the war effort.
Grain harvests in Ukraine, one of the world’s major producers, have fallen by about 40 percent this year compared to 2021, industry specialists told AFP.
In a related development, the Ukrainian judiciary sentenced mercenaries and Russian soldiers to 11 years in prison, who tortured three Ukrainian soldiers in early September in the Izyum region, according to what the prosecution announced on Saturday.
“They were kidnapped and held in an entertainment center without water or food,” the prosecution said in a statement… The invaders hit one of them (the soldiers) with a hammer on his bones”.
“The four men admitted their guilt and apologized,” according to the statement.
For its part, the American Institute for the Study of War said that Russia is showing possible indications of launching an attack on northern Ukraine from Belarus.
The Ukrainian military also said on Saturday that Russia had moved some military battalions there.
The institute’s experts said in a report released on Friday evening that such an attack is still unlikely, but the potential danger must be taken seriously.
The construction of a field hospital in Belarus was seen as a sign that Russia might attack from there.
“Field hospitals are not necessary for training and may indicate readiness for combat operations,” the institute said.