Good morning from a foggy and murky Kyiv, even though some like 10 hours ago, big snowflakes were falling from the sky, reminding the capital's residents of Christmas magic. However, shortly after the snowfall temperature rose up to 2 degrees above zero, and all the magic melted away.  The night in Kyiv was relatively calm. However, the long silence always suggests to Ukrainians something bad is coming, like a sudden onslaught of rockets or kamikaze drones.

 

What’s happening?

 

The Ukrainian government wants to hold an international summit within the next two months to discuss the "peace formula".

 

Speaking in an interview with AP, Dmytro Kuleba, the Foreign Minister of Ukraine, said Kyiv wants a "peace" summit in February at the United Nations with Secretary-General António Guterres as mediator.

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"He has established himself as an effective mediator, negotiator, and, most importantly, principled and honest person. Therefore, we would welcome his active participation," the Ukrainian Foreign Minister said.

 

At the same time, he mentioned that he didn't anticipate Russia taking part. Kuleba said Russia must face a war-crimes tribunal before his country talks directly with Moscow. 

 

The U.N. associate spokesperson Florencia Soto Nino-Martinez gave a very cautious response.

 

"As the secretary-general has said many times in the past, he can only mediate if all parties want him to mediate," she said.

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What was in Volodymyr Zelensky’s latest message?

In his latest address on Dec. 26, President Zelensky confirmed that the situation in Donetsk Region (Bakhmut, Kreminna) is very difficult and requires maximum strength and concentration.

 

He said that the occupiers are using all the resources available to them to squeeze out at least

some advance.

 

"And I thank all our guys who hold their positions firmly, stand strong, and nevertheless find opportunities not only not to lose anything but also to drive the occupiers out, to 'subtract'them," Zelensky added.

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He also expressed his gratitude to all the energy workers who managed to repair critical equipment by Christmas, so it was possible to give people more energy.

 

Zelensky has also reported on having a meeting on the results of his visit to the U.S. last week and the implementation of agreements.

 

"We will not waste time. We will quickly implement everything that was agreed upon in Washington. As much as possible," he said.

 

What’s the latest military situation?

 

The Dec. 27 British Ministry of Defense (MoD) update reported that over the last 48 hours, fighting has remained focused around the Bakhmut sector of Donetsk Region, and near Svatove in Luhansk. Russia continues to initiate frequent small-scale assaults in these areas, although little territory has changed hands.

 

According to MoD assessment, to the north, elements of Russia’s 1st Guards Tank Army were probably amongst the Russian forces recently deployed to Belarus. This formation was likely conducting training before its deployment and is unlikely to have the support units needed to make it combat-ready.

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The Institute for the Study of War’s Dec. 26 daily assessment covers a multitude of topics, most notably that:

  • Putin did not offer to negotiate with Ukraine on Dec. 25, contrary to some reporting.
  • Putin is likely concerned over the lack of support for his war in Ukraine among elites and may be setting information conditions for nationalizing their property.
  • Ukrainian intelligence reported that a Wagner Group-linked Russian officer was appointed commander of the Russian Western Military District (WMD).
  • Ukrainian strikes on legitimate military targets far in the Russian rear continue to be points of neuralgia for the Russian military blogger community.
  • Russian sources claimed that Russian forces made limited gains northeast of Bakhmut.
  • Russian forces continued ground attacks on the western outskirts of Donetsk City.
  • Ukrainian military officials indicated that Russian forces may be concentrating some unspecified forces for offensive or demonstration operations in Zaporizhzhia Region and that Russian forces are attempting to conduct small-scale reconnaissance-in-force operations to reach right-bank Kherson Region.
  • Russia is continuing efforts to consolidate control of occupied territories in Ukraine through the manipulation of citizenship procedures.

 

And that’s it for today’s Morning Memo.

Kyiv Post will bring you the latest news throughout the day and we’ll be back with another edition tomorrow.

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