The Ukrainian’s think Putin is trying to get points….
They don’t trust the Holiday pause…
President Biden has approved a light infantry armoured vehicle ( US Bradley Fighting Vehicles/German Marder Vehicles/French-made AMX-10 RC light tanks) for Ukraine troops and Germany and France will now supply it’s own similar vehicle’s….The Ukraine will also get a second Patriot anti-missle battery….
This IS a surprising decision from the American President that has shied away from up armouring the Ukrainian military….
Ukraine President is happy but wants to know when the heavy US and NATO tanks would be coming…..
The Ukraine military HAS tanks….Captured Russian ones pressed back into battle aginst the Russians….
A report below on the Wagner Mercenary group fighting for Russia….
Here’s what we know:
President Vladimir V. Putin told Russian forces to observe a 36-hour Christmas truce, but Ukraine dismissed it as hypocrisy.
Putin orders a brief, unilateral cease-fire for his forces in Ukraine.
Analysts and Ukrainian officials see Putin’s cease-fire order as a public relations ploy.
The U.S. and Germany pledge to send Ukraine armored fighting vehicles and another Patriot system.
What is the Bradley Fighting Vehicle?
Ukraine recorded its largest annual fall in G.D.P. in over 30 years, a top minister says.
The kind of armored vehicle France is sending isn’t a game changer, analysts say.
Citing a security stalemate, the U.N. disbands a fact-finding mission into a prison explosion in the east….
Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.
- Patriarch Kirill, a close ally of Putin’s, angered many priests by vocally supporting the invasion of Ukraine. The war has opened a rift in the Orthodox Church, pitting the Russian wing and its pro-Kremlin patriarch against Orthodox leaders in Kyiv and around the globe. Following the Russian invasion, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church said congregations could celebrate Christmas on Dec. 25 instead, as many Ukrainians seek to dissociate themselves from Russia. Kirill’s call for a truce this weekend was met with derision from Kyiv.
- President Biden told reporters Thursday he is “reluctant to respond to anything Putin says.” He added: “I found it interesting that [Putin] was ready to bomb hospitals and nurseries and churches on the 25th and New Year’s. I think he’s trying to find some oxygen.”
- Nykyforov, Zelensky’s spokesman, said a cessation of hostilities would come only when Russia withdraws its troops from Ukrainian territory. Russia “must leave the occupied territories,” Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said in a tweet following Putin’s announcement. “Only then will it have a ‘temporary truce.’” Oleksiy Danilov, Ukraine’s national security secretary, issued a threat to “a bunch of little Kremlin devils”: “We will bite you in the singing silence of the Ukrainian night.”
- Putin’s cease-fire order represents “a sign that Putin and his army are getting weaker,” Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s minister of internal affairs, said in a tweet on Thursday. “He wants to use any pause in the destruction of his soldiers and equipment,” he wrote, adding that negotiations with Moscow “are possibly only on the issues of reparations and contributions for the damages caused to Ukraine and compensations for dozens of thousands lost lives.”
- Limited, temporary cease-fires earlier in the conflict, such as an agreement meant to facilitate evacuations from the devastated port city of Mariupol in March, did not hold. Russia has a history of violating cease-fires in Syria as well.
- Denis Pushilin, head of the separatist, self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic in eastern Ukraine, said“there could be no truce.” Putin’s decision means the cessation of “offensive actions on our side” while Russia would continue to respond to “enemy provocations.” “This doesn’t mean … we will give the enemy any chance to improve their positions on the line of contact during these festive hours,” Pushilin added.
- The joint announcement from Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz that their countries would send armored combat vehicles to Ukraine came after the two leaders spoke over the phone Thursday. Germany will transfer Marder infantry fighting vehicles, while the United States will provide Bradley Fighting Vehicles, the statement said. Both countries will train Ukrainian forces on the systems, it added. U.S. officials said the Bradleys could be included in a weapons package to be announced as soon as this week. Germany will also supply a Patriot air defense battery to Ukraine.
- A French official confirmed Thursday that France would send AMX-10 RC armored fighting vehicles to Ukraine. “Modern Western armored vehicles, Western-type tanks” are key to ending the war, Zelensky said in his nightly address Wednesday.
- The war in Ukraine has led to the largest drop in the country’s GDP since it gained independence from the Soviet Union, Ukrainian Economy Minister Yulia Svyrydenko said in a statement Thursday. Ukraine’s gross domestic product had fallen by an estimated 30.4 percent by the end of 2022, according to the Economy Ministry — although the figure is better than previously feared.
- The first inmates recruited to fight for Russia’s Wagner mercenary group have received the pardons they were promised after completing six months of fighting in Ukraine, the group’s founder said. “They worked off their contract. They worked with honor, with dignity,” Yevgeniy Prigozhin told journalists Thursday, according to Russian news agency RIA Novosti. Last month, the Biden administration said the group had received infantry rockets and missiles directly from North Korea. The United States estimates that Wagner has 50,000 troops in Ukraine, 40,000 of whom were convicts serving prison sentences when they were enlisted.
- Russia is likely to have moved its long-range bombers to areas further away from Ukraine, the British Defense Ministry said Thursday, after some of its long-range and medium bomber aircraft were damaged during two separate attacks attributed to Ukraine last month. The ministry addedthat the long-range planes would still be able to fire cruise missiles into Ukraine because of the range of both the aircraft and weapons, but it noted that this could increase the maintenance stress on the planes.
- Sixty percent of the Ukrainian-held city of Bakhmut has been destroyed by shelling, according to the Ukrainian head of the Donetsk military administration. The city lies in the eastern Donetsk region, which is largely held by Russia, and Russian troops have been pushing hard to take the city. The fighting around Bakhmut “is still quite hot,” a senior U.S. official said Wednesday, adding that “what we’re seeing in Bakhmut we should expect to see elsewhere along the front, that there will be continued fighting in the coming months.”….
The Russian Wagner mercenary group run by Vladimir Putin-ally Yevgeny Prigozhin is making “incremental gains” in Ukraine’s Bakhmut region, a senior White House official told reporters Wednesday. But that’s in large part because of Prigozhin’s cavalier attitude toward his soldiers’ lives.
“It’s clear that Russia’s military, it took a backseat to the Wagner forces and then they began attacking Bakhmut in late May,” the official said. Since then, he said, the mercenary group’s forces have made small gains—but they have come at a very high cost in terms of casualties, the official emphasized.
The makeup of the mercenary group is likely the reason leaders are not bothered by the casualties, the official said. “We believe…he’s dedicated tens of thousands of mostly convicts to this effort. And we believe that 90% of the casualties that he has suffered have been, in fact, convicts. So they have…basically put a lot of effort into Bakhmut, and the Ukrainians are still fighting bravely for it.”….
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