Ukraine: Disputed ceasefire in Russia to begin on Friday

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday ordered his army to observe a ceasefire along the entire contact line between the parties from 12:00 on January 6 to 12:00 on January 7 this year.

A Russia-ordered truce for the Orthodox Christmas holiday is due to begin in Ukraine this Friday, the first major truce since the invasion began, a gesture interpreted by Kyiv and its allies as a bid to buy time from Moscow’s departure.

Following the call of the Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, as well as the proposal of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday asked his army “to observe a ceasefire along the contact line between the parties from 12:00 p.m. This year on January 6 until 12:00 and January 7 until 12:00.

He called on Ukrainian forces to respect the ceasefire to allow the Orthodox majority in Ukraine, as in Russia, to “attend Christmas Eve and Nativity celebrations.”

His Ukrainian counterpart, Vladimir Zelensky, criticized this statement, saying that it is simply an apology with the aim of at least stopping the advance of our troops in Donbas, bringing equipment, ammunition and bringing them closer to our positions. “What will be the result? There is no more death,” he said.

Mr. Zelensky welcomed the “very important decision” of the United States and Germany, which promised to deliver armored personnel carriers to Kiev, Bradley type to the American side, and Marder model to the German side. Announcement of France sending light tanks.

Berlin has also committed to providing a Patriot air defense battery, as Washington has already done.

“Give it some air”

The Moscow-ordered ceasefire is the first general ceasefire since the start of the conflict, so far only local agreements have been reached, such as the one on the evacuation of civilians in Mariupol (southeast) in April.

“Russia must leave the occupied territories, only after that there will be a temporary ceasefire.” Stop your hypocrisy,” Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podoliak wrote on Twitter.

For the American president, Vladimir Putin wants to “ventilate himself”. He was “ready to bomb hospitals, kindergartens and churches (…) on December 25th and New Year’s Eve,” joked Joe Biden.

This cease-fire “will do nothing to advance the prospects of peace,” replied British Foreign Secretary James Wise, and demanded the final withdrawal of Russian forces. Such a truce would bring “neither freedom nor security” to Ukraine, German diplomacy abounds.

In a phone call with Vladimir Putin, Mr Erdogan offered a “unilateral ceasefire” to support “calls for peace and talks between Moscow and Kyiv”.

Russia is ready for a “serious dialogue” with Ukraine on the condition that Ukraine fulfills Russia’s demands and accepts the “new territorial realities” arising from its aggression against the country in February, Vladimir Putin argued.

Moscow claimed in September the annexation of four districts in Ukraine that were at least partially occupied by its military, despite numerous military setbacks on the ground, as it did in March 2014 in Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula.

Vladimir Zelensky insists on the complete withdrawal of Russian forces from his country, including Crimea, before any dialogue with Moscow. Otherwise, he promises to take back the occupied lands by force.

During his discussions with Mr. Erdogan, Mr. Putin accused the West of “feeding the Kyiv regime with weapons and military equipment, providing it with operative and targeted information.”

Civilians were killed

Russia is being offered a ceasefire less than a week after the New Year’s Eve strike in Makiivka, eastern Ukraine, that killed at least 89 people. The particularly deadly bombing, which the Russian military has to admit, is an extremely rare occurrence and has led to criticism of the military command in Russia.

According to the deputy head of the presidential administration, shelling continued on the Ukrainian front on Thursday, especially in Berislav near Kherson in the south, in which a woman and her 12-year-old son were killed as a result of Russian shelling. Kirill Tymoshenko.

According to governor Oleksandr Staroukh, two people were killed and three others were wounded during an attack on a village in the southern Zaporozhye region.

Residents of the eastern town of Chassiv Iar told AFP on Thursday that a Russian rocket hit a building before dawn, injuring a man and a woman.

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