Armistice, light tanks and Makiivka… The week of conflict in four infographics

“The war in Ukraine has reached a turning point. These were the words of Joe Biden who, on Thursday, during a meeting at the White House assured that “Russia is not (relaxed) on everything” before announcing an increase in American support for Ukraine. In his presence, Emmanuel Macron, on Wednesday, announced the good news by telephone to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky: France will deliver its French-made AMX-10 RC (cannon wheel) light battle tank to its allies. The first delighted Volodymyr Zelensky, who uttered “Thank you my friend! on Twitter against his French counterpart. And if on the cooperation front the news is good, on the field, in Ukraine, the duel continues. The New Year’s Eve strike against Russian troops in Makiivka marked morale and, despite the truce, fighting has continued in the east of the country.

Below are the points in four infographics about this new week of tensions, which ended this Friday, the 316th day of the conflict, when for the first time a major ceasefire was declared in Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24, 2022.

Strikes despite the truce

Situation map in Ukraine on January 6 at 8 am GMT. – SIMON MALFATTO, PAZ PIZARRO, KENAN AUGEARD / AFP

Artillery duels are still underway this Friday in Bakhmout, the epicenter of fighting in eastern Ukraine (see infographic above), despite a truce imposed unilaterally by Russia on the occasion of Orthodox Christmas. The deputy head of the Ukrainian presidential administration, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, also reported that two Russian attacks in Kramatorsk (east) hit a residential building without causing casualties. Earlier, before the armistice, he mentioned the Russian bombing of Kherson (south). The pro-Russian separatist authorities in eastern Ukraine, for their part, reported several Ukrainian bombings of their stronghold of Donetsk after a theoretical ceasefire had taken effect.

Vladimir Putin, for his part, asked Ukrainian troops on Thursday to honor this truce to give the Orthodox, the majority confessional in Ukraine as in Russia, the possibility “to attend services on Christmas Eve, as well as on the day of the Nativity of Christ”. continued until midnight on January 7 and, for its part, the Russian army ensured that it respected its armistice, accusing Ukrainian troops of “continuing to bombard Russian towns and positions”.

Criticism after Makiivka

Map of the Donetsk region, Ukraine, where the city of Makiivka was targeted by Ukrainian bombing on the night of December 31, 2022.
Map of the Donetsk region, in Ukraine, where the city of Makiivka was subjected to Ukrainian bombing on the night of December 31, 2022. – SOPHIE RAMIS, VALENTIN RAKOVSKY

Criticism increased this week in Russia after the New Year’s Eve attack on Russian soldiers in Makiivka, eastern Ukraine (see infographic above). The death toll was 89 according to Moscow, which questioned the military’s use of cell phones.

The Ukrainian general staff confirmed carrying out this attack and the strategic communications department of the Ukrainian army claimed a much higher toll in Russian ranks, totaling 400 killed and 300 wounded. But this statement has not been confirmed by the staff. The United States has also not yet commented on these figures. But John Kirby, a spokesman for the US National Security Council, said there had been “no complaints from the (US) government.” This is war. (Ukraine) has been invaded and they are fighting and defending themselves.”

Russian general Sergei Sevrioukov assured Wednesday that “necessary steps are being taken to avoid such tragic events in the future” and that “those responsible will be held accountable”. These were the heaviest casualties in a single offensive acknowledged by Moscow since the offensive began in February, which came after a series of humiliating military setbacks on the ground.

Hundreds of tanks

Sheet on the AMX-10 RC light battle tank.
Sheet on the AMX-10 RC light battle tank. – SOPHIE RAMIS, VALENTIN RAKOVSKY

The United States and Germany will deliver to Ukraine armored infantry vehicles, of the Bradley type on the American side and the Marder model on the German side, taking a new step forward in Western military support to Kyiv in the fight against the Russian invasion. Germany, under international pressure to increase its military aid to Ukraine, has also pledged to provide Patriot anti-aircraft defensive batteries, as the United States has done. The two countries were still unclear on how many tanks they would supply Kyiv and the delivery schedule, but Pentagon spokesman General Pat Ryder said Bradley was part of a new tranche of aid to Ukraine to be announced on Friday. According to the magazine Der Spiegelthe number of provided Marder armor is between 20 and 40.

France, for its part, promised Ukraine on Wednesday to deliver the AMX-10 RC light battle tank, further increasing pressure on Chancellor Germany, who has often been accused of being slow to support Ukraine militarily. Mobility, speed, agility, etc. The French, American and German armored vehicles that Paris, Washington and Berlin promised Ukraine were supposed to enable the breakthrough against Russia, which the Ukrainian army is now deemed capable of by Westerners.

The good news… on the inflation front

Evolution of natural gas prices in Europe on the Dutch TTF market, in euros per MWh, as of 4 January.
Evolution of natural gas prices in Europe on the Dutch TTF market, in euros per MWh, as of 4 January. – VALENTINA BRESCHI, STAFF

The good news was confirmed on the inflation front in Europe, with a slowdown in price increases at the end of 2022 that continued through the first week of 2023. The annual inflation rate in the euro zone has fallen in December for the second time in a row. month, to 9.2%, after 10.1% in November, Eurostat announced on Friday. Driven by gas, oil and electricity prices, and to a lesser extent by food prices, inflation worsened from spring 2022 with market disruptions related to the war in Ukraine.

This week, as we can see in the infographic above, consumer price inflation has fallen back below the symbolic 10% mark for the first time since October, when it hit a record high of 10.6%, after a year and a half in a row. rise. The tides were stronger than anticipated by analysts from Bloomberg and FactSet, who forecast inflation of 9.5% and 9.7% respectively in December.

The decline in inflation reinforces the notion “that the most apocalyptic scenario predicted several months ago will be averted”, commented Andrew Kenningham this Friday, Capital Economics expert for Europe. The latter expects a “sharp fall” in inflation in 2023, particularly thanks to the recent drop in wholesale gas prices.

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