Russian President Putin says he is expecting Chinese President Xi to make a state visit early next year in a show of solidarity as Moscow's conflict with Kiev continues on day 310.

Rescuers work at an area allegedly damaged by a Russian missile strike, in Mykolaiv, Ukraine on December 31, 2022.
Rescuers work at an area allegedly damaged by a Russian missile strike, in Mykolaiv, Ukraine on December 31, 2022. (Reuters)

Saturday, December 31, 2022

Macron: France will stand by Ukraine 'without fail'

France will stand by Ukraine until its victory, French President Emmanuel Macron has said in a New Year's Eve speech. 

"In the year that is starting, we will stand by you without fail," he said. Macron vowed to the Ukrainian people that France will continue to help them fight for independence and rebuild their country.

Macron also urged the French to continue with energy savings, saying this was one way for the country to avoid electricity cuts, as the conflict drags on in Ukraine.

Russian missiles strike Kiev on New Year's Eve

Russia carried out its second major round of missile attacks on Ukraine in three days, Ukrainian officials said, with explosions reported throughout the country on New Year's Eve.

Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko said at least one person had been killed and 20 wounded in the explosions. 

"One of the explosions rang out between residential buildings in the Solomianskyi district of the capital. All services are going to the scene. Details will be given later," he added.

The mayor said one of those wounded by the blasts was a Japanese journalist who had been taken to hospital.

Russia and Ukraine free captured troops 

Both countries said they had freed more than 200 captured soldiers, the latest prisoner exchange between the two sides in the 10-month-old conflict.

Russia's Defence Ministry said 82 Russian soldiers had been released by Ukraine, while the Ukrainian president's chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, said Russia had handed over 140 Ukrainian service personnel.

Some of the 132 Ukrainian men and eight women who were freed had been wounded or had fought to defend the Black Sea port city of Mariupol and on Snake Island, Yermak said in a message on his Telegram page.

Ukraine will not forgive Russia - Zelenskyy

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that his country will not forgive Russia and its aggression after Moscow conducted a barrage of strikes just hours before the New Year.

"Several waves of missile attacks on New Year's Eve. Missiles against people... No one in the world will forgive you for this. Ukraine will not forgive," Zelenskyy said on social media.

Fighting for true independence — Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country would never give in to the West's attempts to use Ukraine as a tool to destroy Russia.

In a New Year's video message broadcast on Russian state TV, Putin said Russia was fighting in Ukraine to protect its "motherland" and to secure "true independence" for its people.

Russian defence chief reassures victory in the conflict

In a New Year's message to servicemen, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has said Russia's victory in Ukraine is "inevitable" as Moscow's military campaign grinds through its 11th month. 

Shoigu said that in the outgoing year "we all faced serious trials" and that the New Year comes during a "difficult military-political situation".

For live updates from Friday (December 30), click here.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies