Russia-Ukraine war latest updates: Moscow and Kyiv trade blame over fighting

Fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces continued early Saturday despite a 36-hour cease-fire declared unilaterally by Russian President Vladimir Putin to mark the Orthodox Christmas holiday. Moscow and Kyiv have blamed each other for the continued shelling, while Ukraine, the United States and others have dismissed the cease-fire, which was to start at noon Friday, as a ploy.

The British Ministry of Defense said Saturday that fighting in Ukraine had continued “at a routine level,” and the U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia said Friday that Putin’s call for a pause in hostilities should be taken “with a grain of salt. … This is the same man who said he would not invade Ukraine.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky congratulated Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Saturday for becoming House speaker, adding that Kyiv was “counting on your continued support and further U.S. assistance to bring our common victory closer.”

Here is the latest on the war and its impact across the globe.

4. From our correspondents

The erstwhile comedian Zelensky is now lionized as an inspirational leader across much of the globe. Here, as played by a compact look-alike named Michal Felek Felczak, he’s also the president next door, a figure not above a little roasting. In the play, he spars with a Putin double sent to taunt him, debates history with the ghost of Rasputin and ducks for cover every time an earsplitting bombing raid resounds.

The piece is one of the more robustly satirical entries in Krakow’s annual Divine Comedy International Theatre Festival, a bustling, nine-day theater marathon in a country that has absorbed millions of refugees from neighboring Ukraine amid the conflict.

Mariana Alfaro and Mary Ilyushina contributed to this report.

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