Ukraine spurned an offer from Russian President Vladimir Putin for a 36-hour ceasefire over Orthodox Christmas, saying there would be no truce until Russia withdraws its invading forces from occupied land.
* The Kremlin said Putin had ordered a ceasefire from midday on Friday after a call for a Christmas truce from Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.
* Ukrainian presidential adviser Mikhailo Podolyak tweeted back that Russia “must leave the occupied territories – only then will it have a ‘temporary truce’. Keep hypocrisy to yourself.”
* Ukraine has previously said any Russian call for a ceasefire would be an attempt by Moscow to secure some respite for its troops.
* Ukrainian and Russian troops battled in eastern regions as Kyiv tried to push back occupying forces, while President Volodymyr Zelenskiy urged the West to provide his army with heavy tanks.
* The Ukrainian military said the Russians were focused on an offensive in the Bakhmut sector of the Donetsk region, but their attacks in the Avdiivka and Kupiansk sectors were unsuccessful.
* A married couple and their 12-year-old son were killed when a Russian shell hit a residential building in southern Ukraine, a presidential aide said.
* Russia and Belarus have beefed up their joint military grouping in Belarus with weapons, soldiers and specialised equipment, and plan to hold joint aviation drills, the Belarusian Defence Ministry said.
* Reuters could not immediately verify the battlefield reports.
* Russia and Ukraine made clear there would be no peace talks between them any time soon, effectively spurning an offer of mediation by Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan, who spoke separately to both Putin and Zelenskiy.
* The Kremlin said Putin had told Erdogan Moscow was ready for talks – but only under the condition that Ukraine “take into account the new territorial realities”, a reference to acknowledging Moscow’s annexation of Ukrainian territory.
* Ukraine’s Podolyak called that demand “fully unacceptable”.
* France’s decision to send light AMX-10 RC armoured combat vehicles to Ukraine prompted renewed calls from within German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s coalition for Berlin to send more modern fighting vehicles to help in the war against Russia.
* Ukraine’s gross domestic product fell by 30.4% in 2022 – the largest annual fall in more than 30 years – because of the war with Russia, Economy Minister Yulia Svyrydenko said.