Russia launched a Christmas Day drone attack against Ukraine overnight, launching 31 UAVs from the occupied Crimea peninsula.

Ukraine’s air force said it had shot down 28 of them.

"On December 25, the enemy attacked with 31 attacking UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles)... 28 Shahed-136/131 drones were shot down," the air force said on social media.

The air force said it had also shot down two Russian missiles and two fighter jets – one over the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine and one over the Black Sea.

The defence forces in southern Ukraine said 17 of the downed drones were in the southern Odesa region and five more in other parts of the south, AFP reports.

In Odesa, the defence forces said port infrastructure was damaged but there were no casualties.

Ukrainian Orthodox Christians attended services on Sunday as the country for the first time celebrated Christmas on December 25, after the government changed the date from January 7, when most Orthodox believers celebrate, as a snub to Russia.

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“All Ukrainians are together,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a Christmas message released Sunday evening.

“We all celebrate Christmas together. On the same date, as one big family, as one nation, as one united country.”

In the southern Black Sea port of Odesa, churchgoers prayed and lit candles as priests in gold vestments held Christmas Eve service in the Cathedral of the Nativity, decorated with fir trees and a nativity scene.

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“We believe that we really should celebrate Christmas with the whole world, far away, far away from Moscow. For me that's the new message now,” said one smiling parishioner, Olena, whose son is a medic on the front line.

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