Locals gather in Mariupol, Ukraine, for the Orthodox Christmas and New Year celebrations. Photo: Alexei Alexandrov/AP/dpa
For the first time since the beginning of the war at the end of February there would be a ceasefire along the entire front line – if it is actually observed. However, this is extremely questionable. In Kyiv there is talk of “hypocrisy” and “propaganda”, and the federal government and other Western politicians have also reacted with caution.
After months of hesitation, the German government – like the USA – has now decided to deliver infantry fighting vehicles to the attacked Ukraine for the first time. Kyiv reacts gratefully, but at the same time hopes for even more help in the fight against Russian aggression.
Putin justifies ceasefire plan with Orthodox Christmas
Putin’s decree reads: “Taking into account Patriarch Kirill’s call, I am ordering the Russian Ministry of Defense from 6 January 12 noon (10:00 CET) to 7 January 24:00 (22:00 CET) along the entire line of armed forces to put the conflict in Ukraine into effect.” Earlier, Kirill, the influential leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, called for a ceasefire in Ukraine over Christmas. The Orthodox Churches in Russia and Ukraine traditionally celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on January 7 according to the Julian calendar.
Ukraine called announced ceasefire ‘hypocrisy’
The leadership in Kyiv described the ceasefire as “hypocrisy”. The adviser in the Ukrainian presidential office, Mykhailo Podoliak, wrote on Twitter: “Russia must leave the occupied territories – only then will there be a “temporary ceasefire”. Unlike the Russian opponent, Ukraine does not attack foreign territory and does not kill civilians. Observers in Kyiv assumed that the ceasefire could save Ukrainians from rocket and drone attacks over the Christmas period. On the other hand, the situation on the fronts in the east and south of the attacked country is unlikely to change.
EU Council President Charles Michel also accused Russia of hypocritical behavior. “A withdrawal of Russian troops is the only serious option to restore peace and security,” he wrote on Twitter.
Crew chief: Will return Ukrainian attacks despite ceasefire
An occupation chief has also said Russian troops will continue to respond to Ukrainian attacks despite Putin’s orders. “The decision concerns the cessation of initiating fire and offensive actions from our side,” wrote Denis Puschilin, who was deployed by Moscow in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, in the Telegram news service.
Puschilin added: «This does not mean that we will not respond to the opponent’s provocations! Or even give the enemy any chance to improve their positions on the front lines during these holiday hours.”
Germany delivers Marder tanks and Patriot system to Ukraine
Germany and the USA are now delivering infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine for the first time in the fight against the Russian attackers. The federal government is also providing Ukraine with a Patriot air defense system. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and US President Joe Biden agreed on this in a telephone call, as it was then said in a joint statement.
Germany wants to supply the Ukrainian armed forces with several dozen Marder infantry fighting vehicles, which were developed more than 50 years ago for the Bundeswehr. The US sends Bradley tanks. Both countries will also train Ukrainian armed forces on the tanks.
Zelenskyj thanks for new military aid
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked Scholz and Biden for the announced arms deliveries. “We will still get a Patriot system and powerful tank technology, that’s really a big victory for our state,” said Zelenskyj in his video speech on Friday night. At the same time, he declared that he was in constant contact with foreign heads of state and government in order to receive further military aid.
Russia’s ambassador accuses US of prolonging Ukraine war
Moscow’s ambassador in Washington accused the US of not wanting to end the war after it announced it would be supplying infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine. All recent US actions directly show that Washington has no desire for a political solution in Ukraine, Russian Ambassador Anatoly Antonov said in Washington on Thursday, according to the Russian state agency TASS.
“There should be no doubt who is responsible for prolonging the recent conflict.” The US administration’s decision confirms “that the United States has not listened to repeated calls from the Russian side to consider the possible impact of such a dangerous course by Washington.”