Ukraine Says It Shot Down Russian Fighter Jets And Drones As Country Officially Marks Christmas

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Monday hailed the capturing down of two Russian fighter jets on Xmas Eve and stated “this Xmas sets the proper mood for the complete year in advance.”

In a Christmas information marking the very first time the country has formally observed the holiday getaway on Dec. 25 somewhat than Jan. 7, Zelenskyy also referred to Ukraine’s claim to have destroyed a further more a few Russian fighter planes on Friday.

“The stronger our air protection, the fewer Russian devils will be in our skies and on our land,” Zelenskyy explained, praising Ukraine’s “capabilities in negotiations with partners, capabilities in bolstering our sky defend, capabilities in defending our homeland from Russian terrorists. ”

His upbeat evaluation arrives amid rising issue about battlefield disappointments and about the foreseeable future of Western aid for Ukraine’s war hard work. Despite higher hopes for a summer season counteroffensive, the entrance line has hardly moved and political disputes in allied nations around the world leave billions of dollars of aid in question.

Russia on Monday claimed a battlefield progress. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu explained Moscow’s forces experienced taken management of Marinka, a now-deserted strategic town about 20 kilometers (12 miles) west of Donetsk, the largest town in Russian-held territory.

“This allows us these days to a lot more correctly safeguard Donetsk from assaults,” Shoigu reported at a assembly with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Ukrainian officials did not comment on the doable seizure of the city.

Ukraine claimed that alongside with the two Russian planes that were being shot down for the duration of the evening, its air protection forces intercepted 28 Russian drones. The air force reported 31 drones ended up released in all, but no aspects ended up given about what the three that weren’t intercepted may possibly have struck.

Ivan Zelenchuk walks to visit the graves of his relatives at the cemetery in Kryvorivnia village, Ukraine, Sunday, Dec. 24, 2023. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)
Ivan Zelenchuk walks to go to the graves of his kin at the cemetery in Kryvorivnia village, Ukraine, Sunday, Dec. 24, 2023. (AP Image/Evgeniy Maloletka)

AP Photograph/Evgeniy Maloletka

A summary from the Ukrainian presidential office environment claimed that a person civilian was killed and at minimum 4 wounded in Russian attacks in excess of the previous 24 hours. The demise occurred in the city of Chornobaivka in the Kherson region, which is underneath Ukrainian regulate and ordeals recurrent attacks.

Zelenskyy signed laws in July to shift the date for the Christmas community holiday. Ukraine is predominantly Orthodox Christian, but the faith is divided among two churches, a single of which had long affiliation with the Russian Orthodox Church.

The Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which didn’t recognize the authority of the Russian church and experienced been regarded as schismatic, was granted total recognition in 2019 by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Orthodoxy’s top rated authority.

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which was a branch of the Russian church, introduced in 2022 just after the start of the Russia-Ukraine war that it was breaking ties with Moscow and considered alone autonomous. Nevertheless, its parishes proceed to stick to the identical liturgical calendar as the Russian church and will notice Xmas on Jan. 7.

Many Ukrainians embraced the improve with enthusiasm, viewing it as a positive phase that will further more improve their cultural separation from Russia.

“It’s historical justice,” reported Yevhen Konyk, a 44-calendar year-old serviceman who, along with his spouse and children, participated in classic celebrations at the open-air museum in Kyiv. “We require to move forward not only with the globe but also with the traditions of our country and defeat the imperial remnants we experienced.”

Konyk, who serves in Kyiv, explained he is hopeful of victory following year but pointed out the dire scenario on the frontline.

“This yr, everybody expected big achievements on the entrance, but it turned out that the predictions were as well optimistic. The enemy was also making ready,” he said.

Oksana Poviakel, the director of the Pyrohiv Museum of Folk Architecture and Daily life of Ukraine, exactly where the celebrations of Christmas took place, reported that celebrating on Dec. 25 is “another important aspect of self-identification.”

“We are separating ourselves from the neighbor who is currently attempting to wipe out our point out, who is killing our people today, destroying our residences, and burning our land,” she said.

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