Ukrainian separatists said they had pushed government troops out of two districts on the outskirts of their main stronghold Donetsk and their aim was to expand control to the entire eastern region.
Syriza has fallen tantalisingly short of an overall majority, winning 149 of 300 Greek parliamentary seats and taking 36.3 percent of the vote, 8.5 points ahead of the New Democracy party of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in what amounts to a decisive rejection of austerity.
With six days until elections, the polls have been remarkably steady in Greece, giving anti-bailout Syriza a narrow but consistent lead that suggests this time next week it will be the largest party in parliament with a mandate to form a coalition government.
The European Commission will unveil legislative proposals for its 315 billion euro investment plan and the findings of a public consultation on the investment elements of a planned EU-U.S. free trade deal which could significantly boost growth.
The last day of the year and all is quiet – but not for long.
Unless the price of oil bounces markedly or Vladimir Putin walks away from Ukraine thereby loosening western sanctions – both unlikely – Russia could be heading for a serious economic fall. Reserves are being burned defending the currency. They are sufficient for now but without hefty tax increases, public spending cuts and/or a higher pension age the outlook for 2016 and beyond is much gloomier.