Putin heads for Belarus as Russian drones target Ukrainian capital

Denis Pushilin, Russian-installed administrator of the portion of the Donetsk region controlled by Moscow, said that Ukrainian forces shelled a hospital in the Donetsk city, killing one person and injuring several others.

Reuters could not independently verify the battlefield accounts.

Putin casts what he calls Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine as a watershed moment when Moscow finally stood up to the Western bloc, led by the United States, seeking to capitalize on the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union by destroying Russia.

Kyiv and the West say Putin has no justification for what they have decried as an imperial-style war that has resulted in Russia now controlling around a fifth of Ukraine.

Moscow said on Monday Russian and Chinese forces would hold joint naval drills between Dec. 21 and Dec. 27, involving missile and artillery firing in the East China Sea.

While the drills have been held annually since 2012, Moscow has sought to strengthen its political, security and economic links with Beijing in recent months and sees Chinese President Xi Jinping as a key ally in an anti-West alliance.

Henry Kissinger, 99, an architect of the Cold War policy of détente towards the Soviet Union and China as U.S. secretary of state in the 1970s, said it was time for a negotiated peace in Ukraine.

“The time is approaching to build on the strategic changes which have already been accomplished and to integrate them into a new structure towards achieving peace through negotiation,” Kissinger wrote in The Spectator magazine.

Ukraine rejected the proposal, saying it amounted to appeasing the aggressor.

“All supporters of simple solutions should remember the obvious: any agreement with the devil — a bad peace at the expense of Ukrainian territories — will be a victory for Putin and a recipe for success for autocrats around the world,” Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak said on Telegram.

There are no peace talks currently under way.

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