We've wrapped up our live coverage for today. You can read more on Russia's invasion of Ukraine here, or scroll through the updates below.
December 23, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news
By Rhea Mogul, Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt and Leinz Vales, CNN
This map shows the latest state of control in Ukraine
The Ukrainian military reported heavy shelling this week by Russian forces in the Zaporizhzhia region, but Kyiv's military said it carried out its own damaging strikes on Russian bases deep in occupied territory.
Officials in the southern city of Kherson also say they have faced Russian shelling of late. Fighting in the region surrounding the liberated city has remained fierce since Moscow's troops retreated and staked out positions east of the Dnipro River.
This map shows the areas controlled by both sides in Russia's war on Ukraine:
Zelensky warns Ukrainians against complacency ahead of holiday season
From CNN's Yulia Kesavia
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky used his evening address Friday to warn Ukrainians about not becoming complacent during the holiday season.
“Please remember who is fighting against us. In the upcoming holiday season, Russian terrorists may become more active again. They despise Christian values and any values at all,” he claimed.
He asked Ukrainians to “help each other and take care of one another."
The Ukrainian president ended his statement by speaking in Russian and saying, “One more thing: Russian citizens must clearly understand that terror never remains unanswered.”
It's nighttime in Kyiv. Here's everything you need to know.
From CNN staff
Appearing in public for the first time since his historic visit to the US, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on foreign partners “to take the lead” in implementing his nation's peace plan.
Here are the latest developments:
- Russia targets Zaporizhzhia region: The Ukrainian military reports heavy shelling by Russian forces across the front lines in Zaporizhzhia region. At least a dozen settlements have been hit, including the towns of Huliaipole and Novoandriivka.
- Ukrainian forces hit targets far from front lines: Ukraine says it has made damaging strikes against Russian bases deep in occupied territory, including one near Crimea that left up to 140 Russian troops wounded. It also claimed another strike on an airfield near Kakhovka on Dec. 20 had killed up to 150 Russian troops.
- Russia demolishing famed drama theater in Mariupol: The Russian-appointed administration is demolishing the Mariupol Drama Theater, which was struck in March while being used as a shelter by hundreds of civilians. Local community groups have posted video of the demolition, with bulldozers pulling down the remaining walls.
- North Korea denies shipping weapons to Russia: North Korea on Friday denied a report in Japan that claimed it had sent arms to Russia by train last month. "The Japanese media's false report that the DPRK offered munitions to Russia is the most absurd red herring, which is not worth any comment or interpretation," a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said according to state media.
- Zelensky back in Ukraine: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky posted a video from his office, saying he has returned to Kyiv following his historic trip to the United States this week.
- Energy problems persist: Ukraine's state power provider Ukrenergo says the deficit in the electricity grid has "slightly decreased," but remains significant. "All types of generating facilities are working," it said, but "there are still certain restrictions in the power transmission system caused by damage to the main networks by Russian attacks."
- Car bomb leaves two hurt: Two people were wounded by a car bomb in the Russian-occupied city of Melitopol, according to Vladimir Rogov, a Russia-appointed member of the Zaporizhzhia region administration. "This is, of course, a terrorist attack, behind which are militants of the Kyiv regime," said Rogov.
Putin meets with Russian defense industry officials to discuss weapons supply "problems"
From CNN's Radina Gigova
Russian President Vladimir Putin is meeting on Friday with defense industry officials gathered from across the country in the city of Tula to discuss "problems" related to the supply of weapons to the Russian military, and how to improve deliveries and the weapons' characteristics.
"The most important, key task for the military-industrial complex enterprise is to supply everything necessary to the front-line units — weapons, equipment and munition — of the necessary volume and the required quality in the fastest way," Putin said at the start of the meeting, which he said is taking place in the "city of guns." There is a large arms plant in the city.
"Moreover, it is important to considerably improve the characteristics of supplied armaments in the context of the latest battle experience," Putin said. "I look forward to your proposals on addressing the problems that are inevitable in this large piece of work and how we will move forward and make sure there are fewer of them."
"A key task in this is to set up a feedback loop between the military-industrial complex and the units involved in the special military operation," he said, using his term for the invasion of Ukraine.
"Your specialists go to the frontline helping to repair quickly the damaged equipment and making it operational again, to test how it works in combat and make changes to the prototypes to improve their characteristics," he said.
Some context: There have been reports of basic equipment shortages for Russian troops since the beginning of the country's invasion of Ukraine. Russian citizens are now crowdfunding to equip soldiers deployed to Ukraine as winter closes in on the battlefield.
In the Chuvashia region, where some of the mobilized staged protests in the fall, Telegram channels said that families had gone into debt buying equipment. And in Tambov, in central Russia, 8th grade schoolchildren also raised money for socks for the troops.
While many appeals focus on preventing hypothermia among soldiers fighting without adequate clothing and shelter in sub-zero temperatures, some also try to source thermal imagery devices, two-way radios, body armor and even drones.
Zelensky explains his rare foreign visit to the US
From CNN's Yulia Kesavia and Seb Shukla
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky took the stage on Friday at the Conference of Ambassadors of Ukraine in Kyiv.
Appearing in public for the first time since his arrival back from the US, via Poland, Zelensky made the point that his visit to the United States was rare. Saying, “this visit is a very important benchmark, as a set bar. I do not have the opportunity to make foreign visits — I simply do not have it, because there's no time.”
The Ukrainian president went on to urge foreign partners, that if they are ready “to take the lead” in implementing the Ukrainian peace formula, then “negotiations can be held in person” with Zelensky.
As part of his speech the Ukrainian leader also spoke about the “powerful financial package” the US is preparing for Ukraine and put the figure at $45 billion.
Demolition of Mariupol theater where hundreds died in Russian airstrike enters final stages
From CNN's Tim Lister and Julia Kesaieva
The Russian-appointed administration is demolishing the Mariupol Drama Theater, which was struck in March while being used as a shelter by hundreds of civilians.
Local community groups have posted video of the demolition, with bulldozers pulling down the remaining walls.
One said: "The occupiers declared that they would dismantle the ruins of the Drama Theater, which had been destroyed, and erect a new building in its place. Now an excavator is clearing the rubble from the side of the theater stage, which has suffered the greatest destruction. Occupiers say the reconstruction of the building could take three to five years."
Petro Andriushchenko, an adviser to the Ukrainian Mariupol mayor who is not in the city, said in a Telegram post that "the occupiers in Mariupol have demolished half of the Drama Theater."
"They just demolished it to the ground. So in two days there will not even be a physical memory of it," he said.
According to satellite images reviewed by CNN in November, local authorities had previously placed large screens around the heavily damaged building.
Some background: On March 16, the theater was struck by a heavy bomb while hundreds of people were taking shelter there. At the time, Mariupol was under siege by Russian forces. The theater was struck even though it had a large sign spelling out "children" on the ground outside.
The number of casualties was never confirmed, but several investigations estimated that as many as 600 people were killed.
The Russian military denied striking the building, and some Russian-appointed officials accused Ukrainian militants of carrying out the attack. No evidence for that claim has emerged.
Kyiv region has about 50% electricity deficit, regional head says
From CNN's Sebastian Shukla
The energy deficit in the Kyiv region is at around 50%, Oleksii Kuleba, head of Kyiv regional military administration, said on Telegram.
“Hospitals, water and heat supply systems and other critical infrastructure facilities are supplied with electricity as a priority,” he added, reiterating that the situation is “difficult” in Bucha, Brovary and Boryspil districts, where lights are on for two to four hours a day.
Work on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure is continuing “around the clock” to repair the damages from Russian missile attacks, he added.
Russian missiles strike city of Kramatorsk, Ukrainian official says
From CNN's Tim Lister
Oleksandr Honcharenko, mayor of the city of Kramatorsk in Donetsk, says the city has been struck by two Russian missiles.
"Another act of terror against civilians in Kramatorsk. Russians have struck the city with two rockets. Two educational facilities, 12 multi-apartment buildings and three private houses were damaged. No casualties, fortunately," Honcharenko said on Facebook.
Some background: The eastern city of Kramatorsk was one of the first places to be targeted by the Russian military when the invasion of Ukraine was launched on February 24.