The fighting has not stopped in Ukraine, despite a Christmas truce

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The unilateral cease-fire decided by Moscow from Friday afternoon ended at midnight Saturday (Moscow time, 21:00 GMT). Ukraine accused the Russian army of disrespecting it and Russia in turn accused Ukraine of preventing its implementation by forcing it to retaliate.

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  • 9:40 p.m.: shelling in Bakhmout despite a truce

Shellfire was heard Saturday around the nearly deserted streets of the Ukrainian city of Bakhmout, scene of the most intense fighting to date since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In a message posted on Facebook, the Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said Russian troops fired at dozens of targets along the front line on Saturday.

Moscow said its troops only responded with artillery fire after being targeted by Ukrainian troops. Reuters was unable to verify the origin of the gunshots heard in Bakhmout.

  • 19:03: “no Christmas truce”, assures Ukrainian civilians and soldiers to France 24

Ukrainian civilians and soldiers told our special correspondent, Mélina Huet, that “truce [décrété par Vladimir Poutine] absolutely nothing”. Two kilometers from the front line, in the north-east of the country, “the attacks were incessant on one side and the other”, reported Mélina Huet.


A Ukrainian man walks past destroyed residential buildings in Chasiv Yar, eastern Ukraine, January 7, 2023. © Dimitar Dilkoff, AFP

  • 16:03: London hosts a meeting on alleged war crimes in Ukraine

Justice ministers from around the world will gather in London in March to show their support for the International Criminal Court (ICC) in its investigation into alleged war crimes committed in Ukraine, the British government announced on Saturday.

Hosted by UK Justice Minister Dominic Raab and his Dutch counterpart, Dilan Yesilgöz-Zegerius, the meeting will be attended by ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan.

“Almost a year after the unlawful invasion, the international community must provide its strongest support to the ICC so that war criminals can be held accountable for the atrocities we have witnessed,” wrote Dominic Raab, who is also Deputy Prime Minister.

  • 2:17 p.m.: Armistice in Ukraine to end at midnight, says Moscow

Russia’s Defense Ministry said its troops in Ukraine would observe a cease-fire established on the occasion of Orthodox Christmas until midnight. The ceasefire was rejected by Ukraine, which accused Moscow of wanting to buy time to allow its troops to rest and rearm.

In its daily briefing, Russia’s Defense Ministry said its forces had been content returning fire to Ukrainian fire. Moscow and Kyiv have mutually accused each other of bombing civilian areas.

  • 1:47 p.m.: Russian troops claim to continue the ceasefire despite Ukrainian artillery fire

The Russian army has assured that it intends to continue to comply until the end of the day with the unilateral ceasefire concluded by Vladimir Putin on the occasion of Orthodox Christmas, despite Ukrainian artillery fire.

“Despite the artillery fire of the Ukrainian armed forces on populated areas and Russian positions, implementation of the announced ceasefire will be continued by Russian troops until 24:00 (21:00 GMT)”, the Russian Defense Ministry said in its daily. report.

  • 13:14: Vladimir Putin commends the Orthodox Church’s support for fighters in Ukraine

President Vladimir Putin praised in his Christmas message on Saturday the support given by the Russian Orthodox Church to Moscow’s fighting forces in Ukraine.

Unlike in previous years, the Russian leader attended the services celebrated on Christmas Eve alone in the Kremlin cathedral, avoiding public gatherings with other worshippers.

  • 11:56 a.m.: Ukrainian church leader at a well-known monastery is arrested in Moscow for Orthodox Christmas

Hundreds of parishioners attended a historic service on the occasion of Orthodox Christmas at the famous Kyiv Cave Lavra monastery, which was previously dependent on the Moscow patriarchate but turned over to Ukraine as a result of the war.

For the first time, Metropolitan Epiphany, the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church formed in 2018-2019 after the split with the Russian Church, presided over the Christmas liturgy in the Assumption Cathedral of the XI monasterye century, the largest in the country.

  • 10:08: Putin attends an Orthodox Christmas service alone at the Kremlin church

Vladimir Putin attended a service celebrated alone in a Kremlin church at midnight on Friday for Orthodox Christmas, which was marked by Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

The Russian president joined the celebrations in the Cathedral of the Annunciation, originally designed as a church for tsars, presided over by priests with gold albs, some of whom held candlesticks, according to footage released by the Kremlin.

In previous years, Vladimir Putin used to attend Orthodox Christmas services in the Russian provinces or on the outskirts of Moscow.

  • 09:59: A drone is shot down in the Sevastopol region, according to a governor

The governor of Russia’s posted Sevastopol, a Crimean port that serves as a Russian Navy base, reported that a drone was shot down by air defenses on Saturday morning, Orthodox Christmas Day.

“Even the holy holiday of Christmas is not a reason for these inhuman people to end their efforts to attack our heroic city,” wrote Mikhail Razvozhaev in his Telegram messenger.

  • 09:00: “fighting continues as before the armistice”, explains Astrig Agopian, our special correspondent in Kyiv

Ukraine is sticking hard to a unilateral 36-hour truce announced by Moscow, while the artillery duel continues.
Ukraine is sticking hard to a unilateral 36-hour truce announced by Moscow, while the artillery duel continues. © France 24

  • 7:30 a.m.: “the ceasefire is a big joke”, a resident of Kharkiv tells our special correspondent Mélina Huet


With Reuters and AFP

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