Russia's war on Ukraine latest: Moscow endures deadliest day yet, says Kyiv
* Russia says Western arms shipments to Ukraine are dragging military alliance NATO into the conflict with a potentially "unpredictable" level of escalation. * Switzerland is close to breaking with centuries of tradition as a neutral state, as a pro-Ukraine shift in the public and political mood puts pressure on the government to end a ban on exports of Swiss weapons to war zones.
Ukraine said the last 24 hours were the
deadliest of the war so far for Russian troops, as Moscow pressed on with an intensifying winter assault in the east bringing tens of thousands of freshly mobilised troops to the battlefield.
BATTLEFIELD LATEST * Ukraine's governor of the mainly Russian-occupied Luhansk province says Moscow is pouring in reinforcements for an offensive that could begin as soon as next week.
* Fierce battles in Ukraine's Donetsk region "are very difficult," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says, as Kyiv braces for a possible Russian offensive this month before the first anniversary of its invasion of Ukraine. * Russia says it has taken control of Mykolaivka, a village in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region, state media reported.
* Russia seems to have tried to restart major offensive operations since early January but is unlikely to be able to gather sufficient forces to significantly affect the war in the next few weeks, a British intelligence report says. * Russia says it is examining the alleged use of chemical weapons by Ukrainian forces near the eastern towns of Soledar and Bakhmut. Ukrainian forces deny they ever use such weapons.
DIPLOMACY * Russia has demanded that the U.S. embassy in Moscow stop spreading what Moscow regards as fake news regarding its military operation in Ukraine and has threatened to expel U.S. diplomats, the TASS news agency reported.
* The German government's security council has approved delivery of 178 Leopard 1 tanks
to Ukraine from industry stocks, considerably more than previously announced, a source said, confirming an earlier Spiegel magazine report. * Russia says Western arms shipments to Ukraine are dragging military alliance NATO into the conflict with a potentially "unpredictable" level of escalation.
* Switzerland is close to breaking with centuries of tradition as a neutral state, as a pro-Ukraine shift in the public and political mood puts pressure on the government to end a ban on exports of Swiss weapons to war zones. * The Paris mayor says there should be no Russian delegation at the Paris 2024 Olympics as long as the war is ongoing.
* Zelenskiy has been invited to take part in a summit of European Union leaders. * The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency, the IAEA, will visit Moscow this week, but the Kremlin said he will not meet President Vladimir Putin.
* Ukraine's main Catholic church said it would move to a new calendar that would see Christmas celebrated on Dec. 25 rather than Jan. 7, amid an effort by Ukrainian institutions to break cultural links to Russia. FATE OF DEFENCE MINISTER
* President Zelenskiy called for an end to the spread of "rumours or any other pseudo-information" that could undermine unity in Ukraine's war against Russia. His remarks in an address to parliament appeared intended to end public speculation over whether Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov will be removed. * Zelenskiy has fired a series of high-level officials this year in a purge aimed at clamping down on corruption. Reznikov had been under pressure over a corruption scandal.
* Kyrylo Budanov, tipped to be Ukraine's next defence minister, is a young officer who enjoyed a meteoric rise to become military intelligence chief. (Compiled by Reuters editors)
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)