The bombardments continued this Friday on both sides of the front in Bakhmut, the epicenter of the fighting in eastern Ukraine, and in other towns in the country, despite the unilateral ceasefire decreed by Russia on the occasion of Orthodox Christmas.
AFP journalists they heard artillery fire from both sides of the front lines in Bakhmut, a city with streets largely destroyed and deserted, after the theoretical start of the ceasefire at 0900 GMT.
Pavlo Diatchenko, a Bakhmut police officer, called the truce a Russian “provocation.” Civilians “are being bombed day and night and almost every day there are deaths,” he said.
The Russian army assured, however, that it would respect its truce and accused the Ukrainian troops of “continuing to bombard Russian cities and positions.”
The deputy head of the Ukrainian presidential administration, Kirilo Timoshenko, reported two Russian bombardments in Kramatorsk and another in Kurakhove, in the east. He also reported a Russian bombardment in Kherson (on).
in the region of Luhansk (east), the local authorities reported 14 artillery shots and pointed out that the civilians stayed “all day in their basements.”
For their part, the pro-Russian separatist authorities in eastern Ukraine reported several shelling attacks on their Donetsk stronghold before the ceasefire decreed by the Russian president came into effect. Vladimir Putin.
Following the call of Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox ChurchKirill, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Putin ordered a “ceasefire along the entire line of contact between the sides in Ukraine” from 09:00 GMT on January 6 to 21:00 GMT on January 7.”
Putin is looking for oxygen
This was to be the first major truce in the Ukraine since the Russian invasion began on February 24.
Ukraine, however, greeted the announcement with skepticism. The president, Volodimir Zelenski, estimated that it was an “excuse to stop the advance” of the kyiv troops in Donbas, in the east, and bring “equipment, ammunition and bring men closer to our positions.”
Putin had asked Ukrainian troops to respect the truce to allow the Orthodox, the majority faith in both Ukraine and Russia, “to attend services on Christmas Eve, as well as on the day of the Nativity of Christ.”
kyiv’s allies also greeted the announcement coldly. The President of the United States, Joe Biden, estimated that Putin is “looking for oxygen.” “He was ready to bomb hospitals, day care centers and churches” on December 25 and New Year’s Day, he recalled during a White House speech.
British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said the ceasefire “will do nothing to advance the prospects for peace” and German diplomats said the truce would bring “neither freedom nor security” to Ukraine.
France, for its part, denounced a “crude attempt by Russia to hide its responsibility” while the attacks and bombings against Ukraine continue.
And the head of the European diplomacy, Josep Borrellcalled the ceasefire “hypocritical” and “unbelievable.”
“The response that comes to all of us is skepticism in the face of such hypocrisy,” he said during a visit to Fez, Morocco.
During his phone conversation with Erdogan, Putin said that Russia was ready to enter into a “serious dialogue” with Ukraineprovided that it complied with the Russian demands and accepted the “new territorial realities” derived from the invasion of the country.
Moscow demanded in September the annexation of four regions occupied at least partially by its army in Ukraine, despite multiple Russian military setbacks on the ground, just as it did with the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in March 2014.
Zelensky insists on the full withdrawal of Russian forces from his country, including Crimea, before engaging in any dialogue with Moscow. Otherwise, he promises to take back the occupied territories by force.
Putin accused the West of “supplying the kyiv regime with weapons and military equipment and providing it with information.”
The United States and Germany promised kyiv Thursday to provide Bradley and Marder infantry fighting vehicles. France announced that it would supply AMX-10 RC light tanks.
Berlin also pledged to send a Patriot air defense battery, following in Washington’s footsteps.
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