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18:43 Large majority do not expect the war to end in 2024

Ukraine war in the live ticker

18:43 Large majority do not expect the war to end in 2024

Most Germans do not believe that the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine will end in 2024. According to a survey conducted by the Infratest dimap institute for the ARD Deutschlandtrend, only one in ten Germans (9%) believe the war is more likely to end this year. This corresponds to a decrease of 23 percentage points compared to January 2023. 87% of Germans assume that the war will not end in 2024. According to WDR, this is a representative survey for which 1321 eligible voters were questioned both online and by telephone on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. Almost one in two (44%) believe it is necessary for Ukraine to cede territory to Russia in order to end the war. This is an increase of 9 points compared to March 2023. 43 percent of eligible voters do not agree with this.

18:21 Weber calls for German Taurus delivery to Ukraine
In light of the recent Russian airstrikes, CSU European politician Manfred Weber is also calling on the German government to deliver German Taurus cruise missiles to Ukraine. "Further support such as the delivery of German Taurus missiles is overdue," Weber told the Funke Mediengruppe newspapers. "A strategy of letting Ukraine fight but not making it strong enough to win would be cynical." The Western allies must "support Ukraine in the best possible way", Weber demands. Ukraine is "fighting our fight for freedom and must win". The CSU politician also called for the establishment of a common defense force in the EU. "The fact that the Europeans have not achieved the promised production and delivery of ammunition to Ukraine in 2023 dramatically demonstrates the need for action," he says. "We need a kind of war economy for armaments in Europe - with all due caution with the terminology." Decisions need to be made and implemented more quickly. Weber emphasized: "Germany and Europe must become capable of defending themselves within a few years."

17:56 Ukraine: Have hit command post in Crimea
Ukrainian forces are said to have hit a Russian military command post near Sevastopol in the Russian-occupied Crimea. This was reported by the Strategic Communications Directorate of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. In recent months, there has been an increase in Ukrainian attacks in Russian-occupied Crimea in an attempt to destroy Russian logistics and undermine defenses in the south of the country. Several explosions were heard in Sevastopol and "a very strong one" in Yevpatoriya, reports the Suspilne news agency, citing Crimean residents.

17:16 Russian air defense in Crimea in action against attack
The Russian military on the annexed Crimean peninsula is defending itself against a Ukrainian air attack. The Ministry of Defense in Moscow announced that it had succeeded in shooting down ten approaching cruise missiles. There was no independent confirmation of this. In the port city of Sevastopol, the seat of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, an air alert was triggered. The air defense was deployed, according to the Russian city chief Mikhail Rosvoshaev. One person was injured by a falling piece of debris. There was no information on possible hits from the Russian side.

16:47 War wounded clear the skies over Kiev
Soldiers who are injured on the front line are often unable to continue fighting. In Kiev, however, a unit of disabled soldiers is forming to clear the skies over the Ukrainian capital from the ground. Russia has recently stepped up the shelling. The soldiers are in constant action.

16:12 Ukraine puts food company on list of Russian "war sponsors"
The Lithuanian food company Viciunai Group has been placed on the Ukrainian list of "international war sponsors" due to its continued activities on the Russian market, the National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption (NACP) has announced. The title of "international sponsor of the war" is intended to be a "powerful reputational tool" to encourage the withdrawal of international companies from Russia and reduce Moscow's financial ability to continue its war against Ukraine, the NACP explains on its website. The Viciunai Group, which is best known for its seafood-based processed foods such as crab sticks, "remains one of the favorite brands of Russian consumers" and continues its business in Russia "as usual", the NACP said.

15:40 Another death in Russian attacks
At least four people have been killed in renewed Russian bombardments in eastern and central Ukraine, according to local authorities. In addition to the casualties in Kirovograd, Kherson and Donetsk, Ukrainian officials also report damage to energy facilities and other infrastructure.

15:36 Putin signs decrees on the assembly line - but half of them are secret
Since the start of the war in Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin has been signing heaps of decrees - such as the recent one allowing mercenaries to obtain a Russian passport. An investigation by the media website Mediazona has now revealed that Putin approved 997 decrees last year alone, but half of them (49.5 percent) are classified as secret. Mediazona therefore assumes that there are two main reasons for secrecy. Firstly, the awarding of military honors for soldiers killed in action and the pardoning of convicted criminals who took part in the so-called "military operation" in Ukraine. Russia is keeping a low profile, especially when it comes to casualty figures; the deaths of Russian officers are regularly reported by Ukraine, but not confirmed by the Kremlin. It is known that Russian convicts are fighting in Ukraine, but in many cases it is not known why they were previously imprisoned.

15:05 Budanov thanks UAE for help in deal with Russia
Russia and Ukraine exchange dozens of prisoners, and both sides are jubilant and relieved. Kyrylo Budanov, Ukraine's military intelligence chief, talks about the preparations for the deal and thanks the United Arab Emirates.

14:43 Smugglers of Ukrainian conscientious objectors arrested
According to Ukrainian police, smugglers who allegedly helped Ukrainians to escape conscription into the army to fight against Russia have been apprehended in the Republic of Moldova. Two members of "a criminal group" were detained while transporting four Ukrainians, the Ukrainian police announced on the online service Telegram. The arrest was made in cooperation with the Moldovan authorities. According to the police, the detainees were bringing "men of recruitment age from the Odessa region to the border with Transnistria". From there, they were led to Moldova's capital Chisinau via forest roads. According to the police, the fugitives paid between 4500 and 5000 dollars (the equivalent of 4100 to 4500 euros) to the smugglers.

14:17 Decree signed: Putin lures new mercenaries to the army
Foreigners fighting for Russia in Ukraine will be able to obtain Russian citizenship in future. President Vladimir Putin signs a decree to this effect. The families of the fighters - spouses, children and parents - are also to be given this opportunity. The option will apply to foreigners who have fought alongside the Russian armed forces for at least one year. Persons who have enlisted in other "military formations" outside the Russian military, such as members of the Wagner mercenary force, are also eligible. Observers see the move as an attempt to make fighting alongside Russia in the war of aggression against Ukraine more attractive. The government in Moscow has not yet published figures on foreign fighters.

13:59 Rare missiles? Moscow is probably shopping in Tehran
The Wall Street Journal reports, citing US officials, that Russia is planning to purchase short-range ballistic missiles from Iran. This would improve Moscow's ability to attack Ukraine's infrastructure. Last year, the White House said it was seeing more signs that Russia and Iran were expanding an unprecedented defense partnership that would help Moscow prolong its war in Ukraine and pose a threat to Iran's neighbors, Reuters reports.

13:44 Russian missile hail continues: One dead and eight injured in central Ukraine
One person has been killed and eight others injured in a Russian missile attack on central Ukraine. According to the governor of the region Andrij Raikowytsch, the town of Kropywnyzkyj was the target. Energy company buildings were damaged and there were interruptions to the electricity and water supply. A Russian attack on December 31 had already damaged power lines and commercial buildings in the city, as Raikovych had previously reported.

13:25 Export record: Ukraine aid causes German arms exports to explode
Against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, the German government issued record arms export licenses last year. According to preliminary figures from the Federal Ministry of Economics, individual licenses worth around 12.2 billion euros will be issued in 2023. At 4.4 billion euros, over a third of this will be for supporting Ukraine in the war against Russia. In total, Germany will issue export licenses for war weapons worth 6.4 billion euros. According to the Ministry, this is in addition to other military equipment worth 5.8 billion euros. "The new statistical peak in arms export licenses for 2023 is a direct consequence of the security policy challenges of our time," explains State Secretary for Economic Affairs Sven Giegold.

13:02 "Taurus is a dangerous weapon for the Russians"
The largest prisoner exchange since the start of the war is taking place between Russia and Ukraine. Meanwhile, pressure is growing on Chancellor Scholz to agree to the delivery of the "Taurus" cruise missiles. ntv reporter Rainer Munz explains why these would provide Ukraine with decisive points of attack.

12:43 Hundreds of Russians surrender in December: Ukrainian hotline works
More than 220 Russian soldiers are said to have surrendered to Ukraine via the "I want to live" hotline since December, reports the Financial Times , citing Vitaly Matviyenko, spokesman for the prisoner of war department of the Ukrainian military intelligence service (HUR). The 24-hour hotline set up by the HUR in September 2022 helps Russian soldiers to hand themselves or their units over to the Ukrainian military. Ukraine promises the Russian military personnel that they will be held in accordance with the Geneva Conventions after being handed over. A further 1000 extradition requests are pending, Matviyenko adds. The hotline and its associated Telegram chatbot have received more than 26,000 calls since its launch, and its website has been visited more than 48 million times. It was blocked shortly after its launch in Russia, but remains accessible via a VPN.

12:21 Successful cyberattack: Russian hacker has probably been operating in Ukrainian system for a long time
Russian hackers who took down Ukraine's largest telecommunications provider Kyivstar are believed to have infiltrated the company's internal system months before the attack, gaining access to a large amount of users' personal data, says Illia Vitiuk, the head of the Ukrainian Security Service's (SBU) cyber security agency, in an interview with Reuters. Ukraine fell victim to a massive cyberattack on December 12 that targeted Kyivstar and one of the country's main banks, Monobank. People across the country reported internet and network outages as well as problems with air raid warnings. A Russian hacker group called Solntsepek claimed responsibility for the attack on Telegram. Vitiuk says he is "pretty sure" that the attack was carried out by Sandworm, a unit of Russian military intelligence (GRU), which the SBU links to Solntsepek.

11:49 Thousands of kilometers behind the border: Ukraine torches Russian fighter jet
A Russian Su-34 fighter jet is said to have been set on fire at the Shagol airbase in Chelyabinsk, Russia. Intelligence sources told Ukrainska Pravda that the Ukrainian military intelligence service (HUR) was responsible. The extent of the damage to the aircraft, which cost at least 50 million US dollars, is unclear. The attack has since been confirmed by the Ukrainian secret service. Chelyabinsk is located almost 2000 kilometers east of the Ukrainian border. Ukrainian sabotage attacks on Russian infrastructure have been reported even further afield, such as the derailment of a freight train on December 1 in the Far Eastern Republic of Buryatia, almost 5000 kilometers from Ukraine.

11:27 Better air defense for Ukraine to come: NATO to meet next week
Following massive Russian attacks on Ukraine at the turn of the year, the NATO states and Kiev want to discuss Ukrainian air defense once again. The military alliance has announced a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council for next week. The agenda of the special meeting of diplomats is likely to include demands from Ukraine for a faster delivery of ammunition supplies. The meeting is being convened "at the request of Ukraine following the recent Russian missile and drone attacks on Ukrainian civilians, cities and towns", explains NATO spokesman Dylan White. The military alliance has already "delivered a large number of air defense systems to Ukraine" and is "determined to further strengthen Ukraine's defenses". The leadership in Kiev had repeatedly called on NATO countries to speed up the delivery of air defense weapons, combat drones and long-range weapons.

11:08 Where Russia and Ukraine are working together
Relations between Russia and Ukraine have been largely at a standstill since the 2021 invasion. A diplomatic solution to end the conflict seems a long way off. And yet there are individual agreements between the two countries. ntv reporter Gordian Fritz gives an overview.

10:44 Russians deny atomic energy agency access to reactor blocks in Zaporizhia
Experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have been denied access to the reactor halls of three of the six units at the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant. "Five of the six reactors at the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant are still shut down cold, while unit 4 is shut down hot to generate steam and heat, including for the nearby town of Enerhodar, where most of the plant's employees live. The IAEA team can still carry out inspections on the site, but not in all parts. In addition, it has been denied access to the reactor halls of units 1, 2 and 6 for the last two weeks," explains IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi. This is the first time that IAEA experts have not been granted access to a reactor hall of a reactor unit that is undergoing cold shutdown," says Grossi. This is where the reactor core and the spent fuel elements are located. The team will continue to ask for this access." In addition, the experts are still waiting for the access to the reactor roofs planned for December 19, which did not take place due to safety concerns.

10:20 Obrador plan causes dispute between Ukraine and Mexico
Following statements by Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador about a global five-year ceasefire, which would also include the war in Ukraine, there are initial disagreements between Kiev and Mexico City. Mykhailo Podoliak, advisor to the Ukrainian presidential office, criticizes such a "peace initiative" and explains that such a plan would only benefit the Kremlin. However, the head of the Ukrainian presidential office, Andriy Jermak, calms the situation with the help of a telephone call with the Mexican foreign minister, Alicia Bárcena, and thanks the country for its support, even if it does not support sanctions against Russia. It is positive that the Mexican embassy in Kiev has resumed its work, for example. "These steps open a new page in bilateral relations between the two countries," said Jermak.

09:59 Ukraine wants further prisoner exchange with Russia "in the coming weeks"
The Ukrainian Human Rights Ombudsman expresses hope that a further prisoner exchange with Russia could take place in the coming weeks. "I hope that the exchange process will show continuity this year. I hope that we will be able to welcome our heroes back home in the coming weeks," says Dmytro Lubinets on the TV Marathon program. Lubinets' announcement comes after yesterday's prisoner exchange, the largest since the start of the Russian invasion, in which 230 Ukrainian prisoners of war returned home. The United Arab Emirates took part in brokering the exchange. The last previous prisoner exchange took place in August 2023. According to Ukrainian officials, Moscow had refused to continue the practice, allegedly to turn Ukrainian families of POWs against their own authorities.

09:32 Is there movement in the Taurus debate? FDP defense expert believes so
The FDP parliamentary group's defense expert Marcus Faber believes that there will be movement in the issue of the delivery of Taurus cruise missiles to Ukraine. In an early start on RTL and ntv, he says: "I think there will be movement. You see, I was with you a year ago and that was 14 days before the Leopard 2 was released, after eleven months of debate. We have now been talking about the Taurus cruise missile for eight months. I don't think most people even knew what it was eight months ago. That's why I'm quite confident that the Chancellery, like the majority of the Bundestag, will come to the realization that it makes sense to do what the British and French have already done and deliver the Taurus."

09:09 Moscow's attrition strategy must not be allowed to work: General calls for more ammunition for air defense
Ukrainian General Serhiy Nayev warns of an acute shortage of ammunition for his country's air defense. The ammunition for Ukraine's mobile air defense systems is currently sufficient "to withstand the next heavy attacks", said Nayev on Wednesday during a visit to troops near Kiev. In the medium and long term, however, Ukraine "naturally needs the help of Western countries to replenish its missile stocks". This is "primarily about more ammunition". "Of course we would like to have more missiles for the Patriots and the systems themselves," says the commander responsible for the mobile air defense units in the capital Kiev and in the north of Ukraine, referring to US Patriot defense systems. This is because the Russian army wants to "really exhaust the air defense system". From Kiev's perspective, the massive wave of Russian attacks on Ukraine at the turn of the year highlights the urgency for increased Western deliveries of air defense systems, combat drones and medium-range missiles.

08:36 Russian missiles in Poland's airspace: Warsaw does not rule out provocation
Warsaw and its Western partners are not ruling out the possibility that the Russian missile that briefly flew through Polish airspace on December 29 was a provocation by Moscow. This is what Polish security official Jacek Siewiera says in an interview with TVN24. In a major attack on Ukraine at the end of the year, Russia fired 158 drones and missiles, 114 of which were shot down by Ukrainian air defenses. Polish officials claim that one of the Russian missiles crossed the border into Poland before turning back. Siewiera, the head of Poland's National Security Office, now says that Polish authorities "have enough information to confirm that this missile was shot down by Russian systems". "It is difficult to assume that the crossing 40 kilometers from the border was accidental," comments Siewiera, hinting at Moscow's intention. When asked whether the incident could have been a deliberate provocation, Siewiera says: "I can't rule it out. The allies are not ruling it out either." The Polish official links the incident to the new Polish government.

08:08 Number of victims rises to 32 after major Russian attack on Kiev
The number of Ukrainians killed in Russian mass attacks on Kiev on December 29 rises to 32 after two more bodies were found in the rubble, says Serhii Popko, the head of Kiev's military administration. Yesterday, Wednesday, the number was raised to 30 after another wounded person died in hospital. According to Mayor Vitali Klitschko, this was the deadliest attack on civilians in Kiev since the start of the full-scale invasion.

07:33 US administration sees no corruption in Kiev over weapons supplied
The Biden administration says US weapons provided to Ukraine "are being used appropriately on the battlefield," White House national security spokesman John Kirby tells reporters Wednesday. "We have seen no evidence that the Ukrainian military has been corrupted or misused across the board," Kirby said. The U.S. has provided $44.2 billion in military aid since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began on Feb. 24, 2022, and more than $47 billion since Russia first invaded Ukraine in 2014. In September, the US sent staff to Kiev to assess the use of American military aid, according to the report by the US Department of Defense Inspector General's Office.

06:58 Russian governor: 600 people evacuated in Belgorod
Yesterday, Wednesday, Russia accused Ukraine of carrying out further missile and drone attacks on the southern Belgorod region. The governor of the region, Vyacheslav Gladkov, later explained that 600 residents had to be evacuated due to unexploded ammunition. A total of 323 houses within a radius of 500 meters were evacuated while sappers assessed the danger, he says. Several villages had come under fire and a power line had been cut, Gladkov added. There have been repeated attacks on the southern Russian region since the weekend. According to Russian reports, 25 people have been killed.

06:19 Ukrainians are tired of the war: "Telemarathon" by Selenskyj and Co annoying
Once called a "weapon" by President Volodymyr Zelenskyi, many Ukrainians say after nearly two years of war they are fed up with the government-backed telemarathon broadcast around the clock, the New York Times reported on January 3. Oksana Romaniuk, head of the Kiev Institute for Mass Information, called it state propaganda and said, "Everyone is fed up with this image that says: we are winning, everyone likes us and gives us money." Since the start of the Russian invasion in 2022, Ukrainians have only seen one television news program, which revolves around political leaders seeking support abroad and troops shelling Russian positions. There are also catchy slogans and mood-lifting themes. Most Ukrainians saw the telemarathon as vital at the beginning of the war. "It was life-saving content," says Khrystyna Havryliuk, a well-known local journalist. But in the third year of the war, the number of Ukrainians who trust the Telemarathon has dropped significantly - from 69 percent in May 2022 to just 43 percent in December 2023, according to a survey by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology.

01:39 Ukraine reports new attacks on Kharkiv
Russian airstrikes are reported again from Kharkiv in the late evening. According to the military administration, there is damage to civilian infrastructure in the city center. No casualties have been reported so far.

23:06 Ukrainian energy supplier fears no serious outages
The Ukrainian state energy supplier Ukrenerho does not expect the power grid to collapse, even if Russia uses the coming cold weather for new attacks. "The enemy will not reach it," says Ukrenerho boss Volodymyr Kudrytsky. Hits would cause problems. "But I am sure that it will only be temporary interruptions to the power supply due to damage to some systems," says Kudryzkyj. Nevertheless, he advises Ukrainians to use electricity sparingly.

22:01 France sees only Ukrainian self-defense in Belgorod attack
The French Foreign Ministry comments on the attack on the Russian city of Belgorod, for which Moscow blames Ukraine and in which 24 people were killed and over 100 others injured. Kiev has not claimed responsibility for the attack. "There is an attacking state, Russia, which is carrying out a strategy of terror by deliberately attacking important civilian infrastructure in violation of international humanitarian law, and an attacked state, Ukraine, which is acting in self-defense in accordance with Article 51 of the United Nations Charter," says a representative of the French Foreign Ministry. "Russia can put an end to this conflict and the human tragedies associated with it, for which it bears full responsibility. To do so, it must withdraw all its troops from the internationally recognized territory of Ukraine."

21:17 Emergency power supply at Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant improved
The emergency power system at the occupied Ukrainian nuclear power plant in Zaporizhia has been improved to prevent a nuclear accident. At the urging of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Russian operators of the nuclear power plant near the front line have set up a system that automatically connects the nuclear power plant to a backup power line in the event of a main line failure. This was announced by IAEA chief Rafael Grossi in Vienna. The power plant, which is currently not generating any electricity, needs external power to ensure that the reactors are cooled on a permanent basis. The nuclear power plant has already suffered several temporary power outages in the course of the Russian war of aggression.

20:38 USA rejects report on changed Ukraine strategy
The USA rejects a media report that it is seeking to change Ukraine's strategy in the war against Russia. In response to a question from journalists, a State Department spokesperson stated that this was "not true". On December 27, Politico reported that the USA and European representatives were secretly changing their focus. According to the report, the Ukrainian goal of a complete victory over Russia should no longer be pursued. Instead, an improvement in the situation before negotiations to end the war is being advocated. An unnamed representative of the US government and a European diplomat were cited as sources.

20:04 Experts are not allowed to enter the reactor halls of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant
Experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have been prevented from inspecting the reactor halls of three units at the Russian-occupied Ukrainian nuclear power plant Zaporizhzhya, according to the organization. Experts have not been allowed to enter the reactor halls of units one, two and six over the past two weeks, explains IAEA Director Rafael Grossi. "This is the first time that IAEA experts have not been given access to a reactor hall of a unit that was in cold shutdown." In addition, access to some parts of the power plant's turbine halls is still restricted, Grossi explains. The IAEA is also waiting for the access to the reactor roofs planned for December 19, which "did not take place due to safety concerns". Grossi added that his team would continue to request access to the reactor halls where the reactor core and spent fuel are located.

You can read about all previous developments here.

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