Shelling continues in Ukraine, despite temporary ceasefire

The shelling continued on Friday on both sides of the front in Bakhmut, in eastern Ukraine, and in other towns in the country, despite the unilateral ceasefire decreed by Russia on the occasion of Orthodox Christmas.

A Bakhmuth policeman said the truce was a Russian “provocation” and that civilians “are being shelled day and night and almost every day there are deaths.”

The Russian army assured, however, that it respected its truce and accused the Ukrainian troops of “continuing to bombard Russian cities and positions.”

The head of the Ukrainian presidential administration, Kirilo Timoshenko, reported two Russian bombardments in Kramatorsk and another in Kurakhove, in the east. He also reported a Russian bombardment on Kherson in the south.

In the Lugansk region (east), local authorities reported 14 artillery flashes and noted that civilians stayed “all day in their basements.”

Temporary ceasefire announced by Russia begins in Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatist authorities in eastern Ukraine reported several shelling attacks on their Donetsk stronghold before a ceasefire decreed by Russian President Vladimir Putin came into effect.

Following the call of the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, Kirill, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Putin ordered a “ceasefire along the entire line of contact between the sides in Ukraine” from January 6 to January 7. .

This was to be the first major truce in the Ukraine since the Russian invasion began on February 24.

Ukraine greeted the announcement with skepticism. President Volodimir Zelensky said that it was an “excuse to stop the advance” of kyiv troops in Donbas and bring equipment, ammunition and bring men closer to our positions.

Putin had asked the Ukrainian troops to respect the truce to allow the Orthodox, the majority faith in both Ukraine and Russia, “to attend services on Christmas Eve, as well as on the day of the Nativity of Christ.”

kyiv’s allies also greeted the announcement coldly. The president of the United States, Joe Biden, estimated that Putin is “looking for oxygen”.

British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said the ceasefire “will do nothing to advance the prospects for peace.” German diplomats assured that the truce will not bring “neither freedom nor security” to Ukraine.

France denounced a “crude attempt by Russia to hide its responsibility” while the attacks and bombings against Ukraine continue.

And the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, called the ceasefire “hypocritical and” not very credible.

US and Germany to send armored fighting vehicles to Ukraine

During his phone conversation with Erdogan, Putin said that Russia was ready to enter into a “serious dialogue” with Ukraine, provided that all Russian demands were met and the “new territorial realities” were accepted.

Moscow in September demanded the annexation of four regions occupied at least partially by its military in Ukraine, despite multiple Russian military setbacks on the ground, just as it did with Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in March 2014.

Zelensky insists on the full withdrawal of Russian forces, including Crimea, before entering into any dialogue with Russia. Otherwise, he has promised to recover the occupied territories by force.

The United States and Germany promised kyiv on Thursday to provide it with infantry fighting vehicles. France announced that it would supply light tanks.

Germany also committed to sending a Patriot air defense battery.

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