G7 statement on Russia
The foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America and the High Representative of the European Union have issued a statement in which they said they are "united in our condemnation of Russia’s military build-up and aggressive rhetoric towards Ukraine" and "call on Russia to de-escalate, pursue diplomatic channels, and abide by its international commitments on transparency of military activities as President Biden did in his call with President Putin on 7 December".
"Any use of force to change borders is strictly prohibited under international law. Russia should be in no doubt that further military aggression against Ukraine would have massive consequences and severe cost in response," the ministers said.
Pope on Russia-Ukraine tension
Pope Francis, in his first comments on the tensions between the West and Russia over Ukraine, called for serious international dialogue to resolve tensions and urged both sides to avoid an armed conflict, Reuters has reported.
"Weapons are not the path to take. May this Christmas bring peace to Ukraine," the Pope said in his noon blessing.
Deputy interior minister in hot water
Deputy Interior Minister Oleksandr Gogilashvili picked up a squabble with law enforcers because they stopped his car at the entrance to Donetsk Region on 10 December to check his ID.
In particular, he did not like that they did not know how he looked. In his opinion, this is insubordination. Gogilashvili also resorted to threatening the law enforcer: "Now you know [me], but now I know you too, my friend, and this will not be pleasant for you...".
After that Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyy signed an order to suspend Gogilashvili.
For his part, Gogilashvili apologised for being emotional during the incident and promised to assist in the investigation.
On 12 December, Ukrayinska Pravda reported that its journalist Mykhaylo Tkach unearther another video of Gogilashvili squabbling with a police patrol. It happened under similar circumstances only this time in Kyiv on 24 November.
According to some sources, Gogilashvili may have a Russian passport.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy asked the Cabinet of Ministers and the interior minister to consider the dismissal of Gogilashvili due to the incident at the checkpoint in Donetsk Region.
One Ukrainian serviceman was wounded in Donbas on 11 December, the Joint Forces Operation HQ has said. He is in satisfactory condition in hospital.
Zelenskyy on referendum
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that he does not rule out the possibility of holding a referendum in the occupied territories of Donbas and Crimea.
In an exclusive interview with One Plus One TV, he said: "I do not rule out a referendum on Donbas in general. And here the question is not about the status. This can happen in our life. This (referendum - ed.) can be on Donbas, on Crimea."
He also did not rule out the holding of a referendum on ending the war.
Former Kyiv city councilor and public activist Oleksiy Novikov died of a heart attack.