Aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that his country proposes to start a real peace process only “after the withdrawal of the occupation forces from its lands”.

This coincides with Zelensky’s announcement of further expansion of the country’s air defenses and the progress of Ukrainian forces in some areas of Donbas, amid renewed Russian missile attacks targeting it.

“Ukraine refuses to stop the war, give its lands to Russia, kill its sovereignty, accept the ultimatums of the occupier, and refuse to prosecute war criminals,” added Mikhalio Podolyak, assistant to the Ukrainian President.

For his part, Zelensky announced a further expansion of the country’s air defenses, amid renewed Russian missile attacks targeting it.

“In the new year, Ukraine’s air defense will become stronger and more effective,” he said Friday in his daily video address, adding that this step could make Ukraine’s air defenses the strongest in all of Europe.

This will be a guarantee of security not only for our country, but for the entire continent.

The Ukrainian president also confirmed that the Ukrainian forces are sticking to their positions in the face of the Russian forces in the Donbas region, in the east of the country, and are making slight progress in some areas.

“In general, we are holding our positions… There are also some areas on the front where we are making little progress,” he added in his nightly speech on Friday.

Zelensky also spoke of a clear strategy to secure the generation and distribution of electricity.

He said, “It takes a lot of effort, but it will work… It’s one of the most important tasks for the next year, and I have no doubt that we will master it”.

Russia has been bombing Ukraine’s power grid since last October, causing frequent and prolonged power outages and water supplies.

Ukraine announced earlier Friday that it had repelled a night attack with explosive drones launched by Russia, less than 24 hours after the massive bombing of energy facilities, which deprived millions of Ukrainians of electricity.

On Friday morning, the Ukrainian Air Force confirmed that it had shot down 16 Iranian-made drones that were launched to target transformers and power stations.

On the other hand, the Ukrainian border guard forces announced on Friday that nearly 12,000 men had been arrested trying to illegally cross the border into Western countries.

It added that 15 men died while illegally crossing the border.

According to information, two men froze to death in the mountainous Carpathians on their way to Romania.

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