Russia's TASS agency said 23 Kherson residents received a Russian passport at a ceremony through a "simplified procedure" facilitated by a decree signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in May.
The US and Germany pledged to send Ukraine some of the most advanced weapons; Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov accused Washington of "adding fuel to the fire," saying "such supplies" did not encourage Kyiv to resume peace talks.
Zelensky announced the sacking of Ukraine's ambassadors to Germany, India, the Czech Republic, Norway and Hungary and said new candidates were being readied for the positions. "This rotation is a normal part of diplomatic practice."
"For months I have been working with my team on a charity initiative for Ukraine to support those who suffer because of the war," French Open champion Swiatek said in a statement on social media on Wednesday.
The development came as Belarus said it had intercepted missiles fired by Kyiv and Russia reported that Ukraine launched three cluster missiles at Belgorod, killing four people.
Third straight night of attacks signals new Russian tactic; Kyiv says Russian strikes are failing; Stern Putin New Year speech signals no let-up; Zelensky says Ukraine stands united; New Year tough in the Ukrainian frontline trenches
"It was a year of difficult, necessary decisions, the most important steps toward gaining full sovereignty of Russia and powerful consolidation of our society,” he said, echoing his repeated contention that Moscow had no choice but to send troops into Ukraine...
State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin said that governments giving more powerful weapons to Ukraine could cause a “global tragedy that would destroy their countries.”
“The deliberate shelling of active civilian medical facilities and the targeted killing of civilians are grave war crimes of the Kyiv regime and its Western masters,” the Russian foreign ministry said.
In video footage released by the Kremlin on Saturday, Putin presided at a meeting of around a dozen people at a circular table, flanked by Defence Minister and Chief of General Staff — both of whom have been heavily criticised by hawkish commentators.