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Russia“s war on Ukraine latest: Putin calls for Christmas ceasefire

2023-01-05T19:43:54Z

Russia acknowledged on Monday (January 2) that scores of its troops were killed in one of the Ukraine war’s deadliest strikes, drawing demands from nationalist bloggers for commanders to be punished for housing soldiers alongside an ammunition dump. Sarah Charlton reports.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called for a 36-hour ceasefire in Ukraine to mark Orthodox Christmas, a move rejected by Kyiv which said there could be no truce until Russia withdraws its troops from occupied land.

* The Kremlin said Putin had ordered Russian troops to cease firing from midday on Friday along the entire front, in response to a call for a Christmas truce from Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, a close Putin ally.

* Ukrainian presidential adviser Mikhailo Podolyak tweeted back that Russia “must leave the occupied territories – only then will it have a ‘temporary truce’. Keep hypocrisy to yourself.”

* A new U.S. weapons package for Ukraine will include about 50 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, two U.S. officials said, with one of the officials saying the package will be worth roughly $2.8 billion.

* The Kremlin said Putin told Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan that Moscow was ready for peace talks – but only under the condition that Ukraine “take into account the new territorial realities”, a reference to Kyiv acknowledging Moscow’s annexation of Ukrainian territory.

* Ukraine’s Podolyak called that demand “fully unacceptable”.

* France’s decision to send light AMX-10 RC armoured combat vehicles to Ukraine prompted renewed calls from within German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s coalition for Berlin to send more modern fighting vehicles to help in the war against Russia.

* Ukrainian and Russian troops battled in eastern regions as Kyiv tried to push back occupying forces, while President Volodymyr Zelenskiy urged the West to provide his army with heavy tanks.

* The Ukrainian military said the Russians were focused on an offensive in the Bakhmut sector of the Donetsk region.

* A married couple and their 12-year-old son were killed when a Russian shell hit a residential building in southern Ukraine, a presidential aide said.

* Russia and Belarus have beefed up their joint military grouping in Belarus with weapons, soldiers and specialised equipment, and plan to hold joint aviation drills, the Belarusian Defence Ministry said.

* Reuters could not immediately verify the battlefield reports.

* Ukraine’s gross domestic product fell by 30.4% in 2022 – the largest annual fall in more than 30 years – because of the war with Russia, Economy Minister Yulia Svyrydenko said.

* The Secretary of Ukraine’s Security and Defence Council, Oleksiy Danylov, tweeted: “A ceasefire? Lies and hypocrisy. We will bite you in the singing silence of the Ukrainian night.”

Related Galleries:

People take part in a ceremony in memory of Russian soldiers killed in the course of Russia-Ukraine military conflict, the day after Russia’s Defence Ministry stated that 63 Russian servicemen were killed in a Ukrainian missile strike on their temporary accommodation in Makiivka (Makeyevka) in the Russian-controlled part of Ukraine, in Glory Square in Samara, Russia, January 3, 2023. REUTERS/Albert Dzen

People take part in a ceremony in memory of Russian soldiers killed in the course of Russia-Ukraine military conflict, the day after Russia’s Defence Ministry stated that 63 Russian servicemen were killed in a Ukrainian missile strike on their temporary accommodation in Makiivka (Makeyevka) in the Russian-controlled part of Ukraine, in Glory Square in Samara, Russia, January 3, 2023. REUTERS/Albert Dzen

Ukrainian servicemen ride an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC), as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in the village of Torske, Donetsk region, Ukraine December 30, 2022. REUTERS/Yevhen Titov