OCU Christmas service at the Lavra, Ukraine asks for Saakashvili back

10 January, 03:35 PM

Your slice of the top headlines in Ukraine. Daily. Tuesday, January 10th, 2023.

•   The Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) celebrated Orthodox Christmas services in the Holy Dormition Cathedral at the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra for the first time in its history on Jan. 7.

NV attended the event, which featured a heightened police presence, as well as throngs of faithful. Despite concerns, the Russian Orthodox Church, which previously held the leases on this church, did not interfere with Orthodox Church of Ukraine services.

Video of day

•   NV collated cases of violation of the so-called “Christmas ceasefire” called by Putin on Jan. 6.

An air raid siren rang out in Kyiv shortly after the supposed commencement of this “ceasefire”, followed by shelling in Kherson and Donbas. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated that Russia aimed to use this “Orthodox  Christmas ceasefire" as a cover to move its vehicles and personnel closer to Ukrainian positions.

•   Ukraine has officially appealed to the Georgian government to transfer former President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili to Ukraine for medical treatment.

Saakashvili’s health is believed to have deteriorated significantly since his imprisonment, as a result of what his advocates say are a combination of hunger strikes and poor treatment. The ex-Georgian president and former governor of Odesa has maintained his innocence against charges by the Georgian government, claiming that the sentence against him is politically motivated.

•   Ukraine asked Georgia to return Buk missile systems that Ukraine provided to the country during their 2008 war against Russia.

However, the Georgian government has stringently refused to provide military aid to Ukraine, with Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili saying that Georgia “will never get involved in this war.” Georgia has recently become the home for thousands of Russians fleeing mandatory conscription in their home country, raising concerns in Ukraine about the Georgian government’s seemingly pro-Russian stance.

•   80% of Ukraine’s wind power generation capacity has been knocked out of order or captured.

This represents a power deficit equal to about two nuclear reactors, said deputy energy minister Yaroslav Demchenkov – about 1.67 GW. “Almost all wind power plants in Kherson, Zaporizhzhya and Mykolayiv oblasts have found themselves in the frontline or occupied zone since the first days [of the war],” Demchenkov noted.

•   Payments on Ukraine’s national debt in 2023 will amount to UAH 658.4 billion, or $18 billion at the current exchange rate.

Foreign debt payments will amount to $3.3 billion, the Ministry of Finance said. According to the Ministry, the peaks of public debt payments fall on March – UAH 72.8 billion ($2 billion), May and June – UAH 102.6 billion ($2.8 billion) and UAH 89.9 billion ($2.4 billion), and November – UAH 84.1billion ($2.3 billion).

•   Warsaw has confirmed that it is ready to transfer several German Leopard tanks to Ukraine.

"We are talking about symbolic support, a few, a few dozen pieces... Absolutely not everything," a Polish official said, adding that the transfer of hundreds of tanks is out of the question. The Polish official also noted that Poland’s supply of these vehicles will take into account military aid deliveries from other countries supporting Ukraine.

•   The United Kingdom is considering supplying Ukraine with British tanks for the first time since the start of the full-scale Russian invasion.

A source with knowledge of the conversations told Sky News that discussions have been taking place “for a few weeks” about delivering a number of the British Army’s Challenger 2 main battle tank to the Ukrainian armed forces. Such a move would mark a significant step-up in Western support to Ukraine and could help prompt other NATO allies, in particular Germany, to follow suit.

•   Ukraine’s Donetsk Oblast police are looking for two volunteers from the UK who have reportedly gone missing.

The volunteers, Andrew Bagshaw and Christopher Perry, left the town of Kramatorsk on Jan. 6 and headed towards Soledar in Donbas. Soledar is one of the hottest spots on the frontline in Donbas, with Russian positions often separated from Ukrainians by only a few dozen meters.

The day’s long read: A look at the trio who convinced Putin to invade

NV shines a light onto Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, FSB Director Alexander Bortnikov, and Putin's friend and peer, businessman Yuri Kovalchuk – believed to be some of the loudest hawks in Putin’s ear.

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