1. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has stressed his resolve to retake territory from Russia and help Ukrainians who have evacuated the country to return. Zelenskyy said Ukrainian forces have already managed to liberate more than 1,800 cities and villages from Russian occupation, and pledged to continue efforts to restore the country’s territorial integrity. The president said millions of Ukrainians have been displaced and found shelter abroad since Russia’s invasion began. He expressed gratitude to all the countries that have accepted and helped those people. Zelenskyy went on, “But we must reserve them as a part of Ukrainian society. We have to ensure their return.” 2. Battles for control of the Russian stronghold of Luhansk in Ukraine’s eastern region appear to be intensifying as Ukrainian forces try to take it back. Ukrainian forces are continuing counteroffensives to seize territories Russia is occupying. In the Luhansk region, Ukrainian troops appear to be stepping up their offensive to recapture Kreminna. 3. Railways, airports and expressways in Japan are packed with people heading off to hometowns and vacations during the year-end and New Year holidays.