Ukraine Day 1043: LIVE UPDATES BELOW.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak announced today that a holiday ceasefire agreement was not being observed and that Ukrainian positions had been fired on 33 times, with 5 soldiers wounded.
Yesterday’s live coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here.
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Bodies of Ukrainian Soldiers Killed at Svetlodarsk Returned
With OSCE monitors present, militants returned the bodies of three Ukrainian soldiers killed at the Svetlodarsk Bulge battles last week, Unian reported. The official KIA count was 8 soldiers from December 18-23 and 33 WIA. Reports that as many as 12 had been killed could not be confirmed. As we reported, this was likely the fiercest battle of the year.
The Defense Ministry continues to deny reports that soldiers taken prisoner were tortured to death, Unian reported. Medical examiners from the Dnepropetrovsk Morgue said Lt. Nikita Yarovoy and soldier Andrei Baybuz, identified by a fellow serviceman and his wife, respectively, died due to bullet wounds, and no other signs of violence was found.
He told me in conversation who had given him this information, to which I provided a video where the faces of the guys are clearly visible, and in what state. And I explained to him that these actions cause harm to the negotiations which our guys were having to exchange the bodies.Unfortunately, instead of stopping the dissemination of fakes, people are still trying to accuse me of something.We all know how much our guys in captivity have been in brutal conditions; we know what many of them had to go through; we have facts of the death of our guys in captivity. And all that together does not give us the right to put out untruthful information.The question arises — why is this done?Why make martyrs out of Heroes?The guys stood until death and for the sake of their memory we must be honest!
DNR and LNR Heads Say They Will Release 2 Women Hostages
Aleksandr Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky, heads of the self-declared “Peoples Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk” announced that they were prepared to release two women hostages and return them to Ukraine through Nadiya Savchenko, UNIAN reported.
Savchenko made a controversial private visit to Minsk to meet with Zakharchenko and Plotnitsky outside the formal negotiation structure to advocate the release of POWs, a move that cost her membership in the Batkivshchyna Faction in parliament and thus her seat in PACE.
The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), whose chief interviewed Savchenko after her return from Minsk, said today that they could not confirm the release of the hostages.
Translation: The SBU has not confirmed the transfer by the militants of two women hostages.
Aidar Volunteers Announce Blockade of Occupied Territories
Former Aidar Battalion commander Valentin Likholit, known by his call sign “Batya” [Dad] announced that veterans from Aidar and Donbass were organizing a blockade of the occupied territories and demanding the release of POWs, Liga.net reported.
— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick