Al-Jazeera correspondent said that the Ukrainian authorities declared a state of air alert in the capital, Kyiv, and the provinces of Kherson, Mykolaiv, Odessa, and Zaporizhia, which is usually issued to warn of Russian air and missile strikes.

Ukraine also revealed a military move near its border with Belarus, and announced renewed Russian bombing of Kherson, while Turkey presented an "not optimistic" assessment of the course of the war.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense said that two tank battalions and a rifle battalion approached the Ukrainian border through the territory of Belarus, as part of exercises conducted by the Russian army there.

For his part, the commander of the joint forces in the Ukrainian army, Serhiy Nayef, said that his country's forces conducted exercises that simulated confronting airdrops of Russian reconnaissance groups from the territory of Belarus.

He explained that the Ukrainian exercises come in response to the moves made by the Russian army in the regions of Belarus bordering Ukraine.

On the other hand, Mikhail Galuzin, the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, denied that the military union between his country and Belarus was directed towards the war in Ukraine.

He said that the task of this union is to repel any possible aggression against the lands of Belarus, which is allied to Moscow.

Galuzin had said that the "S-400" and "Iskander" air defense systems that Moscow provided to Minsk come within the framework of improving the combat capabilities of the Belarusian army and increasing the efficiency of the joint Russian-Belarusian air defense system.

Renewed Russian bombing of Kherson

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian military administration announced that ten people were killed and 55 others were wounded in the renewed Russian bombing of several neighborhoods in the city of Kherson.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said that the bombing, which he described as brutal, was revenge on the city's residents for their resistance to the "occupation," adding that his country would be able to prevent such tragedies if it obtained long-range missiles and artillery.

For her part, the US ambassador to Ukraine, Brigitte Brink, described the Russian attack on Kherson as brutal.

The head of the Ukrainian military administration in the Kherson province, Yaroslav Yanushevich, called on the population to evacuate the province because of the continued Russian bombing and the continuous cuts of water and electricity.

Yanushevich said that the authorities will provide places for everyone who leaves the city, which is facing real terrorism, as he put it.

📹 Russia continues to bomb Kherson on Christmas Eve.

10 dead;

68 injured as a result of the attacks.

— KyivPost (@KyivPost) December 24, 2022

Earlier, the Ukrainian General Staff said that Russian forces launched more than 90 attacks from multiple missile launchers on several provinces in the country, especially Kherson province, which witnessed intense shelling of the city center, killing 10 civilians and wounding dozens.

She added that the Russians are intensifying their efforts to carry out offensive operations in the eastern regions of the country, especially in the directions of Bakhmut, Liman and Avdiivka, and it is also seeking to improve its position towards Kobian, stressing that its forces are working to repel the Russian attack on more than one front.

For its part, the Ukrainian army confirmed that its forces carried out 4 raids during the past hours on the locations of the Russian forces, and also hit 4 control points and areas where S-300 missile systems were concentrated.

On the other hand, the pro-Russian Donetsk authorities announced that Ukrainian forces targeted residential neighborhoods in the province.

It broadcast footage of what it said was the destruction of a Ukrainian observation post in the Dzerzhinsky region, in the east of the country.

And the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that its country's forces had killed about 200 Ukrainian soldiers during military operations carried out in several provinces on Friday.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, Igor Konashenkov, said that the Air Force shot down a Ukrainian fighter and three helicopters in the Donetsk region.

Akar called for a ceasefire, at least for humanitarian reasons (Anatolia - Archives)

It will not end easily

On the other hand, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said that the war in Ukraine "does not seem like it will end easily."

"It would not be wrong to say that despite our good intentions and our calls for a cease-fire, the war is likely to continue in 2023," added Akar, whose country is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) mediating in the conflict between its two neighbors on the Black Sea.

And he admitted during a press conference in Ankara that "this war does not seem to end easily," referring to Western military aid to Kiev and the determination shown by Moscow to achieve its goals.

It is noteworthy that Turkey helped with the United Nations to reach an agreement on the export of grain from Ukrainian ports, and it hosted a meeting between the Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers at the beginning of the war in March, and talks between the two warring parties in Istanbul.

Akar concluded by calling for a cease-fire, "at least a cease-fire for humanitarian reasons. Then a permanent cease-fire, then peace talks," he said.