President Vladimir Putin praised the Russian Orthodox Church for supporting Moscow’s forces fighting in Ukraine in an Orthodox Christmas message designed to rally people behind his vision of modern Russia.
* Russian and Ukrainian forces exchanged artillery fire at the front line in Ukraine on Friday after Moscow said it had begun a truce that was firmly rejected by Kyiv.
* The Russian-installed governor of the Crimean city of Sevastopol said on Saturday that air defences had shot down a drone in what he suggested was the latest attempted Ukrainian attack on a port where Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is based.
* The United States will provide more than $3.75 billion in military assistance to Ukraine and countries affected by the Russian invasion of its neighbour, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday.
* A U.S. commitment to supply Kyiv with Bradley Fighting Vehicles for the first time is exactly what Ukraine needs, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Friday.
* Germany said on Friday it wants to deliver around 40 Marder infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine before the end of March, and Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck said Berlin could ultimately send its entire functioning fleet of the weapons.
* Ukraine will need at least $1.79 billion to restore its telecommunications sector to pre-war levels, a U.N. agency said on Friday, alleging Russia had “destroyed completely or seized” networks in parts of the country.
* Costs for hiring ships to transport commodities from the Black Sea have risen by more than a fifth since the start of the year, reflecting higher war risk insurance rates, industry sources have said.
* Ukraine’s power grid operator issued a new appeal to civilians on Friday to save electricity as temperatures fell and energy consumption rose, threatening new strains on a network devastated by Russian air strikes.