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Ukraine: Putin orders ceasefire, Western armor for Kyiv

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday ordered a ceasefire in Ukraine for the January 6-7 Orthodox Christmas holiday. A day after France announced that it would send light tanks to Ukraine, the United States and Germany in a joint press release to Kiev promised to deliver Bradley-type armored personnel carriers and Marder models to the American side. . Berlin has also committed to providing a Patriot air defense battery, as Washington has already done. Volodymyr Zelensky immediately welcomed the “very important decision” and thanked the American and German leaders. He also condemned the unilateral ceasefire announced by Vladimir Putin for the Orthodox Christmas holiday, which he said was “at least an apology to stop the advance of our troops in Donbas, bring equipment, ammunition and bring people closer to our positions”. . “What will the outcome be? No more deaths,” he said. During the day, the Russian President announced this ceasefire after the call of the Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, and after the proposal of the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who called Mr. Putin on the phone in the morning. “Taking into account the request of the Holy Patriarch Kirill, I instruct the Minister of Defense of Russia to implement a ceasefire regime along the entire contact line between the parties in Ukraine from 12:00 on January 6 this year to midnight. 7”, the Russian president said in the Kremlin statement. – “Give some fresh air” – He also called on the Ukrainian forces to respect this ceasefire to allow the Orthodox majority in Ukraine, as in Russia, “to participate in the celebrations on Christmas Eve. The Nativity of Christ.” This truce is the first of a general nature since the beginning of the war, so far only local agreements have been concluded, for example, in connection with the evacuation of the civilian population in Mariupol (southeast) in April. Mykhailo Podoliak, adviser to the Ukrainian presidency, responded on Twitter: “Russia must leave the territories it occupies, only after that there will be a +temporary ceasefire+. Keep your hypocrisy.” 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. The ceasefire “will do nothing to advance the prospects for peace”, replied British Foreign Secretary James Wise, and called for a permanent 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, such as in Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in March 2014, despite numerous military setbacks on the ground. Russian forces, including his country, 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 killed – A Russian ceasefire is being proposed less than a week after Ukraine’s New Year’s Eve strike in eastern Ukraine’s Makivka 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. bur-rcb-pop/prh/ib

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