Ukraine updates: Kherson hit by deadly shelling – DW (English)

At least seven people died as Russian strikes hit the southern Ukrainian city, officials said. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the attack on Christmas Eve was an act of "terror." Follow DW for the latest.
The Ukrainian presidency on Saturday said at least seven people were killed and 58 were injured in new Russian shelling on the southern city of Kherson
A fire erupted at a busy Christmas market after the shelling, the AFP news agency reported. 
Kherson’s regional governor said a 6-year-old girl was among the wounded and was in a serious condition.
Russian shelling has continued to batter the city since Ukrainian forces recaptured it last month in a major setback for Moscow. Saturday’s attack marked 10 months since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy condemned Saturday’s attack as an act of “terror.”
“Kherson. In the morning, on Saturday, on the eve of Christmas, in the central part of the city,” Zelenskyy wrote on social media, while posting graphic images of the attack.
Traditionally, Ukrainians have celebrated Christmas eve on January 6. But since 2017, both January 7 and December 25 have been official state holidays as more people in Ukraine celebrate Christmas according to the Gregorian calendar.
Saturday’s shelling came hours after Zelenskyy warned of possible Russian attacks on Ukraine during the holiday season.
“With the holiday season approaching, Russian terrorists could become active again,” Zelenskyy said in his daily video address. “They despise Christian values and any values in general.”
He urged Ukrainians to pay attention to the air raid sirens and help each other.
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After months of Russia targeting Ukrainian infrastructure, millions of Ukrainians are suffering power cuts and a lack of running water and heating. 
Despite the gloominess, Ukrainians across the country have shown determination to still celebrate the holiday season however they can, with cities like Kyiv and Kharkiv installing a Christmas tree. 
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said the Christmas tree in the capital was going to be named the “Tree of Invincibility.”
“We decided that we wouldn’t let Russia steal the celebration of Christmas and New Year from our children,” he said, adding that the name was “because we Ukrainians cannot be broken.” 
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Here are the other main headlines from the war in Ukraine on Saturday, December 24:
Russia may be preparing to attack Ukraine from Belarus, according to the US Institute for the Study of War (ISW). 
The Ukrainian military also reported that Russia has moved some of its battalions to the country. 
While the ISW believes an attack is unlikely, it cited the establishment of a field hospital in Belarus as one of the warning signs.
“Field hospitals are not necessary for training exercises and could indicate preparation for combat operations,” said the ISW.
Belarus, whose leader Alexander Lukashenko is reliant on Russia, has allowed Moscow to use its military bases for attacks on Ukraine.
Ukraine sees Belarus as a contributing party to the war. 
A British Defense Ministry regular intelligence update said it was “highly likely” that Moscow’s attacks have limited due to its shortage of munitions. 
“Russia has likely limited its long-range missile strikes against Ukrainian infrastructure to around once a week due to the limited availability of cruise missiles,” the update said.
It added that Russia’s stockpile of artillery ammunition may not be big enough “to enable large-scale offensive operations.”
According to the report, Russia’s “operational design” also poses a vulnerability to defend the long front lines as it requires a large daily expenditure of shells and rockets.
Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak urged the “liquidation” of Iranian factories making drones and missiles and the arrest of arms suppliers, accusing Tehran of supplying Russia with weapons. 
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Podolyak claimed that Iran was “planning to boost missile [and] drone supplies for Russia,” and that Tehran “blatantly humiliates the institution of international sanctions.”
Iran has denied allegations by Ukraine and its Western allies that it was supplying munitions to Moscow. 
Kyiv has accused Tehran of providing Russia with 1700 Shahed-136 loitering munitions, and that Russian forces had already launched around 540 of the drones at military and energy targets in Ukraine.
Earlier this month, the EU blacklisted eight Iranian drone makers and airforce commanders in response to “the delivery of Iranian drones to Russia.” 
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Russian authorities in the occupied eastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol started tearing down the city’s drama theatre, where Kyiv says hundreds died in an air bombardment in March.
Ukrainian officials have decried the demolition, which they said was an attempt by Russian troops to cover up the atrocities they committed there.
Russian officials, meanwhile, said the move was part of their plans to rebuild the city. 
Russian media quoted the theatre’s director as saying that authorities were tearing down “only that part of the building that is impossible to restore.”
Ukrainians who have fled their country in the 10 months since the Russian invasion are facing their first festive season in Germany. DW speaks to Ukrainians in Germany on how they are finding comfort.
British architect Norman Foster has proposed ambitious plans for the reconstruction of Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv. DW looks at the award winning architect’s plan and how it’s been received
fb/wd (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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