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KYIV –Russia on December 25 stated its forces had captured the strategic Donetsk area city of Maryinka in jap Ukraine, however Kyiv disputed the declare, reporting that its troops had repelled three “unsuccessful assaults” close to the ruined and practically abandoned neighborhood.

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“It isn’t appropriate to speak about seizing Maryinka,” Ukrainian navy spokesman Oleksandr Shtupun instructed Ukrainian TV following claims made by Russian Protection Minister Sergei Shoigu throughout a televised assembly with President Vladimir Putin.

“The combating for Maryinka continues,” Shtupun stated.

“At present, our servicemen are throughout the administrative borders of Maryinka, however the metropolis has been utterly destroyed,” he added.

Maryinka is a comparatively small city — with a prewar inhabitants underneath 10,000 — however, in keeping with British intelligence, the Russian navy has been looking for to seize it as a way to advance additional west and higher shield occupied Donetsk metropolis.

The combating comes as Ukraine celebrated Christmas on December 25 for the primary time as a substitute of the standard January date of previous years.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy signed a regulation in July transferring the official vacation to December 25 from January 7, the day noticed by the Russian Orthodox Church. The regulation said its aim was to “abandon the Russian heritage” following Moscow’s resolution to invade in February 2022.

The change brings Ukraine’s Orthodox worshippers consistent with the nation’s Catholics, who earlier this yr accredited an identical change in calendars.

Ukraine’s navy on Christmas Day stated its forces shot down dozens of Iranian-made Shahed drones and claimed to have blasted one other two Russian fighter jets from the sky, including to earlier claims of mounting success in opposition to enemy air assaults.

Ukrainian navy authorities stated the jets had been downed late on December 24, following stories that the nation’s forces had shot down three jets within the earlier two days, as Kyiv and Moscow exchanged unconfirmed claims that enemy warplanes had been downed. It additionally stated 38 Shahed drones had been shot down.

One of many Russian jets was downed within the space of occupied Mariupol, a Ukrainian official stated.

“It has been confirmed that our anti-aircraft missile system hit an Su-34 fighter-bomber within the Mariupol sector. It didn’t return to its airfield,” Air Pressure Commander Mykola Oleshchuk stated on Telegram,

Studies from both facet couldn’t instantly be independently verified.

However they arrive as Kyiv awaits supply within the coming days of the long-desired first cargo of superior F-16 fighter jets as Ukraine makes an attempt to counter Russia’s air supremacy over occupied territory.

In the meantime, Ukrainian navy spokesman Shtupun in Ukraine’s Tavria area stated Russian occupying forces are “more and more” refusing to participate in assault operations on the entrance traces.

“There may be details about an rising variety of occupiers’ refusals to take part in assault operations. Specifically, this was seen within the items of [Russia’s] 1st Military Corps,” he stated.

Elsewhere on the battlefield, the Ukrainian navy reported the motion of Russian tanks within the Mariupol district.

“Over the weekend, the motion of tanks — at the very least 5 items — with fashionable modifications was detected by means of Mariupol within the route of Berdyansk,” stated Petro Andryushchenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s Mariupol mayor.

Mariupol was occupied by Russian troops within the spring of 2022 after a protracted siege and road combating. The town was badly broken. At present, it’s situated at a substantial distance from the entrance line, however Ukrainian forces periodically launch missile strikes on Russian navy services in Mariupol.

Ukraine additionally introduced excellent news on Christmas Day on the financial entrance, saying it had obtained $1.34 billion in financing, largely by means of the World Financial institution — funds that will probably be partially used to compensate social applications for monies misplaced to safety and protection monetary wants.

The Finance Ministry stated the package deal consisted of a $1.086 billion mortgage from the World Financial institution, a $190 million grant from Norway, $50 million from the USA, and $20 million from Switzerland.

“Worldwide monetary help is a big contribution to sustaining the monetary and financial stability of Ukraine and permits us to make sure precedence social expenditures in the course of the battle,” Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko stated.

“For the reason that starting of the full-scale invasion, the governments of Japan, the USA, Norway, and Switzerland have repeatedly demonstrated their unwavering help and solidarity to Ukraine,” he added.

With reporting by Reuters

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