Ukraine-Russia war news latest: Putin wants ceasefire as cover to push us back, says Zelensky

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Scores of Russian soldiers reportedly killed in Ukrainian attack

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russia of seeking a Christmas ceasefire as a cover to stop his forces advancing in the eastern Donbas region and to bring in more men and equipment.

Russian president Vladimir Putin has ordered troops to observe a 36-hour ceasefire in Ukraine to allow people to attend services on Orthodox Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

The Kremlin said Mr Putin had ordered a ceasefire from midday on Friday after a call for a temporary truce from Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.

But Mr Zelensky told Moscow the war would “end either when your soldiers leave or we throw them out”.

And Ukrainian officials called Mr Putin’s move hypocrisy and rejected his call for Kyiv to reciprocate.

US President Joe Biden told reporters at the White House that Mr Putin was clearly “trying to find some oxygen” by floating the potential truce.

Meanwhile, Germany, France and the US have all pledged to send Kyiv more defensive weapons.


Russia ‘offers 36-hour ceasefire for Orthodox Christmas Eve’

Vladimir Putin has offered Ukraine a 36-hour ceasefire in the war to allow people to attend services on Orthodox Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the Kremlin has said.

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, had earlier suggested a truce from 12pm on Friday until 12am on Sunday.

“Taking into account the appeal of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, I instruct the Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation to introduce a ceasefire regime along the entire line of contact of the parties in Ukraine from 12pm on 6 January 2023 to midnight on 7 January 2023,” Mr Putin said, according to the Kremlin.

“Proceeding from the fact that a large number of citizens professing Orthodoxy live in the areas of hostilities, we call on the Ukrainian side to declare a ceasefire and allow them to attend services on Christmas Eve, as well as on Christmas Day,” he added.

There was no immediate response from Ukraine to the order. However, in the wake of Patriarch Kirill’s suggestion, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak dismissed called it “a cynical trap and an element of propaganda”.

Daniel Reast5 January 2023 15:27


Foreign secretary says UK could send Ukraine tanks

Tanks “may well be part” of future support for Ukraine, the Foreign Secretary has said:

Jane Dalton5 January 2023 21:18


Russia wants truce as cover to stall Ukrainian troops, says Zelensky

Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russia of seeking a truce as a cover to stop Ukrainian advances in the eastern Donbas region and bring in more men and equipment.

“They now want to use Christmas as a cover, albeit briefly, to stop the advances of our boys in Donbas and bring equipment, ammunitions and mobilised troops closer to our positions,” the Ukrainian president said in his nightly video address, speaking pointedly in Russian rather than Ukrainian.

“What will that give them? Only yet another increase in their total losses.”

Zelensky said the war “will end either when your soldiers leave or we throw them out”.

Jane Dalton5 January 2023 20:45


US and Germany to send Ukraine more weapons

Germany will supply Ukraine with armoured personnel carriers and a Patriot missile battery, the government has said.

The announcement came after Chancellor Olaf Scholz spoke with US president Joe Biden and after France said it would deliver armoured combat vehicles. France’s presidency said it would be the first time this type of Western-made wheeled tank destroyer will be given to the Ukrainian military.

In a joint statement, the United States said it would provide Ukraine with Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles.

The German government did not specify how many Marder APCs would be supplied or when. It said Germany will train Ukrainian forces on them.

Germany already has delivered significant military aid to Ukraine, including Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft guns and the first of four IRIS-T surface-to-air missile systems.

The German leader has faced calls from Ukraine and some politicians at home to deliver Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, but so far has said that Berlin wouldn’t go it alone with such a move and that no other country has supplied similar Western equipment.

“President Biden and Chancellor Scholz expressed their common determination to continue to provide the necessary financial, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support to Ukraine for as long as needed,” the joint statement said.

Jane Dalton5 January 2023 20:29


Kremlin doubts Ukrainian aide truce rejection

A Kremlin spokesman has expressed doubt that the rejection of Russia’s proposed truce by an aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reflected the Ukrainian leader’s view, the Interfax news agency reported.

“It is difficult for us to judge whether Podolyak’s opinion reflects the view of the president of Ukraine,” Interfax quoted Dmitry Peskov as saying.

Zelensky has yet to comment on the proposed truce during Orthodox Christmas celebrations.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak rejected the proposal as “hypocrisy”, saying such an arrangement would only be possible if Russia left all territories it occupied.

Jane Dalton5 January 2023 19:20


McDonald’s to quit Kazakhstan as war disrupts supply chain

McDonald’s is set to abandon business in Kazakhstan following supply chain disruption triggered by the Ukraine crisis, writes Eleanor Noyce:

Jane Dalton5 January 2023 18:49


Moscow hasn’t changed, warns Nato chief

The head of Nato has said he detects no change in Moscow’s stance on Ukraine, insisting that the Kremlin “wants a Europe where they can control a neighbouring country”.

“We have no indications that President Putin has changed his plans, his goals for Ukraine,” Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said in Oslo after Vladimir Putin proposed a ceasefire for Christmas according to the Orthodox church calendar.

Ukraine‘s western allies have renewed a vow to keep supporting Kyiv for as long as it takes to defeat Russia.

Jane Dalton5 January 2023 18:18


Germany ‘set to step up delivery of weapons to Kyiv’

Germany is planning a “qualitative step” in its delivery of weapons to Ukraine, German media report.

One newspaper says the step could involve the supply of Marder fighting vehicles to combat Russian forces.

France is set to send light AMX-10 RC armoured combat vehicles to Ukraine, a move that prompted renewed calls from within German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s coalition for Berlin to send Kyiv more modern fighting vehicles.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky yesterday urged Western allies to provide his army with tanks and heavy weapons.

He thanked France for the vehicles, saying other allies should take that as a signal and that “there is no rational reason why Ukraine has not yet been supplied with Western tanks”.

Germany’s step could involve the delivery of Marder fighting vehicles, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported, citing government sources, with the decision said to have been made in close coordination with the United States and France.

The paper cited government sources as saying Germany would raise its military support for Ukraine to a new level.

Jane Dalton5 January 2023 17:52


No takers from Ukraine for Russian church leader’s ceasefire call

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church called Thursday for a 36-hour Christmas cease-fire in Ukraine at the end of this week, but his appeal looked unlikely to bring any breakthrough in halting the war that began last February with Russia’s invasion:

Jane Dalton5 January 2023 17:30


Truce offer ‘sign Putin’s army growing weaker’

President Putin’s ceasefire offer is a sign that he and his army are getting weaker, according to a Ukrainian adviser to the minister of internal affairs.

Anton Gerashchenko said Mr Putin ordered Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu to introduce the ceasefire from tomorrow.

Mr Putin “wants to use any pause in the destruction of his soldiers and equipment”, he said, but any truce or ceasefire was only possible after Russia left Ukrainian territory completely, including Crimea.

Jane Dalton5 January 2023 17:06

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