War in Ukraine. The truce under the bombs, the new American aid… Point in the night
On the occasion of Orthodox Christmas, Volodymyr Zelensky wished Ukrainians, who have lived in the war zone 318 days, a happy holiday. Despite Moscow declaring a unilateral 36-hour ceasefire, artillery duels and shelling continued on the battlefield, killing at least one firefighter.
The ceasefire that was supposed to start this Friday 6 January afternoon will officially end this Saturday 7 January 2023 at midnight. The date corresponding to December 25, Christmas Day, in the Julian calendar is still followed by the Russian Orthodox Church.
Fire despite a truce
In Bakhmout, which the Russian army has been trying to conquer since the summer, gunfire from both the Ukrainian and Russian sides was heard following the start of a ceasefire announced by President Vladimir Putin on Thursday.
However, the intensity is less than the previous days.
For Pavlo Diatchenko, a local policeman, a truce was a “provocation” It is the Russians who will not help the residents of Bakhmout, whose streets are mostly ruined and deserted. “They are being bombarded day and night and almost every day someone is being killed.”he complained.
The Russian army assured to respect the ceasefire, accusing Ukrainian troops “continued to bombard Russian cities and positions”.
The deputy head of the Ukrainian presidential administration, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, for his part reported two Russian attacks in Kramatorsk (east) that hit an apartment building without causing any casualties. Earlier, before the ceasefire, he mentioned Russian bombing in Kherson, in the south, which killed a firefighter and injured four others, according to Governor Yaroslav Yanushevysh.
In the Luhansk region (east), local Ukrainian authorities said 14 artillery shells and three attacks by Russians and civilians “staying all day in their cellar”.
The pro-Russian separatist authorities in eastern Ukraine, at the same time, reported the Ukrainian bombing of their stronghold in Donetsk.
The United States decried the “cynical” approach.
The United States says Friday’s attack in eastern Ukraine shows that the truce announced by Vladimir Putin for Orthodox Christmas is a step “cynical”.
State Department spokesman Ned Price, recalling having used the adjective to describe Russia’s announcement the day before, told reporters on Friday: “I believe the validity of this assessment has been confirmed, given what we have witnessed throughout the day. »
“Our skepticism is justified by what we have witnessed from Russia during this conflict”he added.
“Our fear is that Moscow will use any stoppage in fighting to re-equip, regroup and eventually strike back with more reprisal, brutality and even lethality”he continued noting.
Greetings President Zelensky Christmas
Volodymyr Zelensky wished Ukrainians a Merry Christmas in a new speech broadcast online and on social media late Friday.
“Wherever we are – at home, at work, in the trenches, on the street, in Ukraine or abroad – our family is more united than ever”noted the Ukrainian president in his speech of just over four minutes.
“We were forced to break some of our traditions to protect ourselves” complained the leader, explaining that “During holidays, one must not wear old or dark clothing, lest trouble enter the house. But trouble came to us on February 24th. So, from then on, we didn’t wear white and we fought against the dark forces.”
“On holy days, we can’t clean and take out the trash from our house, but we have been fighting the devil and removing the trash from our house for more than 300 days straight”he added.
The US lists more than $3 billion in military aid
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday detailed more than $3.75 billion in military aid to Ukraine and several neighboring countries, also punished by Russia’s invasion.
Antony Blinken said in a statement that Washington would supply Ukraine with Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, self-propelled guns, armored personnel carriers, surface-to-air missiles.
“Bradleys will further enhance Ukraine’s ability to perform complex maneuvers in almost all weather conditions and over all terrain, especially in the south and east of the country”said Laura Cooper, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia at the Pentagon.
The aid included armored vehicles designed to withstand improvised explosive devices, multiple rocket launcher systems, surface-to-air missiles, anti-vehicle landmines and munitions, said White House spokeswoman Karine Jean.-Rock.
“This year of victory has just begun”immediately welcomed the presidency of Ukraine, stated that ” Sir “ America also includes Himars precision missiles and Sea Sparrow anti-aircraft.
That “will make us much more prepared for any escalation from Russia and any attack that this terrorist state may make against us, be it a holiday or a weekday”, in turn personally welcomed the head of state Volodymyr Zelensky in the evening.
New Russian mobilization is visible
According to Ukrainian military intelligence, Russia plans to order the mobilization of as many as 500,000 conscripts in January. Guardian.
The Ukrainian military believes conscripts will be sent to front lines in the east and south of the country and will take part in new Russian offensives in the spring and summer, according to Vadym Skibitsky, deputy head of Ukraine’s military intelligence.
Vladimir Putin has previously denied Russia’s new mobilizations, saying in early December that he saw no reason to stage a new military mobilization beyond the fall.
But several sources assure that the Kremlin is continuing the mobilization in secret Kyiv Independent.
Less than one after the announcement a “partial mobilization” on September 21, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu claimed that Russia had mobilized 300,000 people with an average age of 35.