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Ukraine updates: Russian strikes kill 4 in Kherson

Published December 24, 2023last updated December 24, 2023

Russian forces fired 71 shells at Ukraine's city of Kherson over a 24-hour period, damaging critical infrastructure. Germany's Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock reiterates Berlin's support for Kyiv. DW has the latest:

A photo of a Russian struck on a building in downtown Kherson, Ukraine, on December 12, 2023
Russian forces continue to target Kherson, which was recaptured by Ukraine in November last yearImage: Ukraine's Kherson Regional Administration/AP/dpa
Skip next section What you need to know

What you need to know

Ukraine said Sunday it had downed 14 or 15 Russian drones fired into several of its regions overnight.

Meanwhile, the governor of Ukraine's Kherson said that four people were killed when Russia fired dozens of shells at the southern city.

After being captured by Russian forces, Kherson was retaken by Kyiv's military in November last year.

Also on Sunday, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock reiterated Berlin's support for Kyiv and accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of trying to "destroy" Ukraine by launching its full-scale invasion in February last year.

Here's a look at the latest developments in Russia's war in Ukraine on Sunday, December 24.

Skip next section Russian forces shoot down four Ukrainian aircraft — Defense Ministry
December 24, 2023

Russian forces shoot down four Ukrainian aircraft — Defense Ministry

Russia's Defense Ministry says its air defense systems have shot down four Ukrainian military jets.

The ministry said that its forces shot down three Su-27 fighter jets and one Su-24 tactical bomber in the southeastern Zaporizhzhia region and the central Dnipropetrovsk region.

Two days earlier, Ukrainian authorities said the country's forces shot down three Russian Su-34 fighter-bomber aircraft in the south.

The Reuters news agency said it could not corroborate the battlefield reports.

Musicians boost morale among Ukrainian front-line troops

Skip next section Ukraine to hold first Christmas on December 25
December 24, 2023

Ukraine to hold first Christmas on December 25

For the first time, many Ukrainians will celebrate Christmas Day on Monday instead of January 7 in a snub to Russia.

Kyiv passed a law in July moving the celebration from the date approved by the Russian Orthodox Church to December 25, when most of the Christian world marks Christmas.

The law signed by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy noted that Ukrainians wanted to "live their own life with their own traditions and holidays."

The Russian Orthodox Church and other eastern Christian churches use the Julian calendar, dating back to Roman times, rather than the Gregorian calendar used in everyday life.

The Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which broke away from its Russian counterpart over Moscow's annexation of Crimea in 2014, supports the move.

However, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is keeping the January 7 Christmas date.

The country's third Orthodox denomination, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, will also hold Christmas services on December 25.

Despair, defiance, hope: Ukraine at Christmas

Skip next section Kyiv says it downed all but one Russian drone
December 24, 2023

Kyiv says it downed all but one Russian drone

Ukraine's Air Force said it downed a barrage of Russian combat drones overnight.

The military said it successfully repelled 14 of the 15 unmanned aerial vehicles.

The drones struck the regions of Mykolaiv, Zaporizhzhya and Dnipropetrovsk, among others.

The vehicles were launched from the eastern coast of the Sea of Azov in Russia, the Air Force said.

No damage or casualties have been reported by military and civilian authorities.

The attacks come as Ukraine prepares to celebrate Orthodox Christmas.

Kyiv has brought the festive period forward from January 7 to December 25 in response to Russia's full-scale attack on its neighbor, which began almost two years ago.

Skip next section Baerbock: Russia wants to 'destroy' Ukraine
December 24, 2023

Baerbock: Russia wants to 'destroy' Ukraine

Germany's Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock reiterated her country's continued support for Ukraine, during an interview with the Potsdamer Neusten Nachrichten.

"The fact that Putin's original plan to capture Kyiv and murder, displace or subjugate over 40 million people has not been successful is due to the incredible bravery of Ukrainians who are determined to defend their country," she said.

And it was also due to "our support as well as that of so many other countries, who are doing what's human: 

Helping the victim, instead of turning a blind eye, which would help the aggressor," Baerbock added.

She added that Putin is "deliberately attacking power plants, electricity distribution centers and power lines so that the water supply freezes at minus 10 degrees Celsius and people die of thirst and freeze to death."

"He wants to destroy Ukraine, and that's why we will support it as long as it needs us."

Skip next section Russia forces strike Kherson city, 4 killed: governor
December 24, 2023

Russia forces strike Kherson city, 4 killed: governor

Four people were killed and nine others injured during Russia's bombardment of the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, the region's governor said Sunday.

Oleksandr Prokudin wrote on Telegram that resident, commercial and public buildings in the city center and "critical infrastructure facilities" were damaged in the shelling.

"As a result of Russian aggression, four people died and nine others were wounded, including one child," he added.

Prokudin said Russian forces had fired a total of 71 shells at Kherson.

Ukraine recaptured Kherson in November last year following several months of Russian occupation.

The city has again become a target for Moscow's forces who are situated on the opposite side of the Dnipro river.

mm/rc (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)