Ukraine: Putin orders a ceasefire, Western armor for kyiv

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday ordered a ceasefire in Ukraine for the Orthodox Christmas of January 6-7, the first major truce since the invasion began nearly a year ago, lambasted by kyiv who denounces “hypocrisy” and the desire to save time.

The day after the announcement by France to send light tanks to Ukraine, the United States and Germany promised kyiv, in a joint press release, the delivery of armored infantry, of the Bradley type on the American side and of the Marder model. German side.

Berlin has also pledged to provide a Patriot air defense battery, as Washington has already done.

Volodymyr Zelensky immediately hailed “a very important decision”, thanking the American and German leaders.

He also slammed the unilateral ceasefire announced by Vladimir Putin for Orthodox Christmas, which he says is only an “apology with the aim of at least stopping the advance of our troops in Donbass and bring equipment, ammunition, and bring men closer to our positions”. “What will be the result? No more deaths,” he said.

During the day, the Russian president announced this ceasefire, after a call to this effect from the Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, but also a proposal from the Turkish head of state Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who telephoned Mr. Putin in the morning.

“In view of the appeal of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, I instruct the Russian Minister of Defense to introduce a ceasefire regime along the entire line of contact between the parties in Ukraine from 12:00 p.m. on 6 January of this year until midnight on January 7,” the Russian president said in a Kremlin statement.

– “Give yourself some air” –

He also called on the Ukrainian forces to respect this truce in order to give the possibility to the Orthodox, the majority confession in Ukraine as in Russia, to “attend services on Christmas Eve, as well as on the day of the Nativity of Christ”. .

“Russia must leave the occupied territories, only then will there be a + temporary truce +. Keep your hypocrisy,” reacted on Twitter an adviser to the Ukrainian presidency, Mykhaïlo Podoliak.

For the American president, Vladimir Putin seeks “to give himself some air”. He “was ready to bomb hospitals, nurseries and churches (…) on December 25 and on New Year’s Eve,” joked Joe Biden.

This ceasefire “will do nothing to advance the prospects for peace”, responded British Foreign Minister James Cleverly, calling for a permanent withdrawal of Russian forces. Such a truce will bring “neither freedom nor security” in Ukraine, abounded the German diplomacy.

In his telephone conversation with Vladimir Putin, Mr. Erdogan had proposed a “unilateral ceasefire” intended to support “appeals for peace and negotiations between Moscow and kyiv”.

Russia is ready for a “serious dialogue” with Ukraine provided that the latter complies with Russian demands and accepts the “new territorial realities” born of the invasion of this country in February, argued Vladimir Putin.

Moscow claimed in September the annexation of four regions occupied at least partially by its army in Ukraine, despite multiple military setbacks on the ground, on the pattern of that of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in March 2014.

Volodymyr Zelensky insists on a total withdrawal of Russian forces from his country, Crimea included, before any dialogue with Moscow. Otherwise, he promises to take back the occupied territories by force.

During his discussions with Mr. Erdogan, Mr. Putin accused the West of “feeding the kyiv regime with weapons and military equipment and providing it with operational and targeting information”.

– Civilians killed –

The Russian truce is being offered less than a week after a Ukrainian strike on New Year’s Eve left at least 89 people dead in Makivka, eastern Ukraine. A particularly deadly bombardment that the Russian army had to recognize, an extremely rare fact, and which aroused criticism in Russia against the military command.

On the front in Ukraine, the bombardments continued Thursday with in particular the death of a woman and her 12-year-old son in a Russian bombardment in Beryslav, near Kherson, in the south, according to the deputy head of the administration presidential Kyrylo Tymoshenko.

Two people were also killed and three others injured in a strike on a village in the Zaporizhia region, also in the south, according to Governor Oleksandre Staroukh.

Residents of the eastern town of Chassiv Iar told AFP on Thursday that a Russian missile hit a building before dawn, injuring a man and a woman.

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