Ukraine: Russia’s Controversial Armistice Begins Friday
The truce ordered by Russia for Orthodox Christmas, on January 6 and 7, has been criticized by Western countries and Ukraine’s allies.
LThe Russian-ordered truce for Orthodox Christmas will begin this Friday, January 6, in Ukraine. The first major truce since the start of the invasion in February 2022 was a gesture that Kyiv and its allies interpreted as Moscow’s desire to buy time.
Following a call from Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, but also a proposal from Turkey’s Head of State Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday asked his troops to observe a “truce across the lines of contact between the parties from noon in January.” 6 this year until midnight January 7th”.
He called on the Ukrainian troops 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”. His Ukrainian colleague Volodymyr Zelensky denounced this announcement which, in his opinion, was simply “an apology with the aim of at least stopping the advance of our troops in Donbass and bringing equipment, ammunition and bringing people closer to our positions”. “What’s the result? No more death,” he said.
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Volodymyr Zelensky, on the other hand, welcomed the “very important decision” of the United States and Germany, which promised the delivery of armored infantry vehicles, the Bradley type on the American side and the Marder model on the German side, to Kyiv. after the announcement by France of sending light tanks. Berlin has also promised to provide Patriot air defense batteries, as Washington has done.
Putin and his truce have been criticized by the West
The truce ordered by Moscow is the first general truce since the start of the conflict, so far only local deals have been agreed, such as the evacuation of civilians from the Azovstal factory in Mariupol in April. “Russia must leave the occupied territories, only then will there be a ‘temporary truce’. Keep up your hypocrisy,” reacted on Twitter a Ukrainian presidential adviser, Mykhailo Podoliak.
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For the American president, Vladimir Putin is trying to “comfort himself.” He was “ready to bomb hospitals, nurseries and churches […] on December 25 and on New Year’s Eve,” joked Joe Biden. This armistice “will do nothing to advance prospects for peace,” reacted British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, calling for a permanent withdrawal of Russian troops. Such a truce would bring “neither freedom nor security” in Ukraine, German diplomacy abounded.
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In his telephone conversation with Vladimir Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdogan had proposed a “unilateral ceasefire” meant to support “peace calls and negotiations between Moscow and Kyiv”. Russia is ready for “serious dialogue” with Ukraine provided that Ukraine complies with Russia’s demands and accepts the “new territorial reality” born of this country’s invasion in February, Vladimir Putin argued.
Zelensky wants a complete withdrawal of Russian troops before resuming dialogue
Moscow claimed in September the annexation of four territories occupied at least partially by its army in Ukraine, despite numerous military setbacks on the ground, such as the pattern of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in March 2014. Volodymyr Zelensky insisted on the complete withdrawal of Russian troops from his country, including Crimea, before entering into dialogue with Moscow. If not, he vowed to take back the occupied territories by force.
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During his talks with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Vladimir Putin accused the West of “feeding the kyiv regime with weapons and military equipment and providing it with operational and targeting information”.
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A Russian ceasefire was offered less than a week after a Ukrainian attack on New Year’s Eve killed at least 89 people in Makiivka, eastern Ukraine. A bombing that was so lethal that the Russian army had to admit, an extremely rare fact, and one that gave rise to criticism in Russia of the military command.
Three died in Ukraine after Thursday’s bombing
On the front lines in Ukraine, bombings continued Thursday with notably the death of a woman and her 12-year-old son in a Russian bombing in Beryslav, near Kherson, in the South, according to deputy head of the presidential administration Kyrylo Tymoshenko. Two people were also killed and three others injured in an attack on a village in the Zaporizhia region, also in the south, according to Governor Oleksandre Staroukh.
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Residents of the eastern town of Chassiv Yar told Agence France-Presse on Thursday that a Russian missile hit a building before dawn, wounding a man and a woman.