Russia says respecting ceasefire, accuses Ukraine of shelling

Kyiv regime continues artillery fire on population centres and Russian army positions, says defence ministry

By
AFP
Ukrainian service member fire a shell from a M777 Howitzer near a frontline, as Russias attack on Ukraine continues, in Donetsk Region, Ukraine. Reuters/File
Ukrainian service member fire a shell from a M777 Howitzer near a frontline, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Donetsk Region, Ukraine. Reuters/File

MOSCOW: The Russian army said on Friday that it was abiding by a temporary unilateral ceasefire in Ukraine from 0900 GMT as decreed by President Vladimir Putin and accused Ukrainian troops of shelling.

"Despite Russian forces respecting a ceasefire as of 12:00 pm on January 6, the Kyiv regime continued artillery fire on population centres and Russian army positions," the defence ministry said in a statement released on social media.

After the presidential order from Kremlin yesterday mentioning the ceasefire, Ukraine promptly rejected it by terming it 'hypocrisy', adding that "Russia wants to use truce as cover to stop our advances in Donbas and bring in more equipment."

As Russia accuses Ukraine of shelling on the Russian army, a Ukrainian official, earlier on Friday alleged Russian rocket strikes.

The deputy head of Ukraine's presidential administration said Russian forces struck the city of Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine on Friday after the supposed start of a unilateral Russian ceasefire.

"The occupiers hit the city with rockets twice," Kyrylo Tymoshenko said on social media, adding that a residential building had been hit but there were no victims.

The ceasefire came forth from Russia due to the Orthodox Charismas eve, first ever since the start of the Russian offensive in February 2022. The ceasefire was started after 12:00 pm on January 6 (today), however, both sides point fingers at each other for violation.

It should be noted that on Monday, Russia suffered massive causalities from the Ukrainian strikes up to 60 about which Ukraine claimed numbers as high as 400.

Assistance to Ukraine on the way

Ukraine dismissed as a trick a unilateral order by Russia for a 36-hour ceasefire starting on Friday and the leaders of the United States and Germany said they were sending armoured fighting vehicles in a boost for the Kyiv government.

The US weapons package, to be announced on Friday, is expected to include about 50 Bradley Fighting Vehicles as part of security assistance totalling about $2.8 billion, US officials said.

"Right now the war in Ukraine is at a critical point," US President Joe Biden told reporters. "We have to do everything we can to help the Ukrainians resist Russian aggression."

Germany would provide Marder Infantry Fighting Vehicles, according to a joint statement on Thursday from Biden and Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Both countries agreed to train Ukrainian soldiers on how to use them, it said. Germany would also supply a Patriot air defence battery to Ukraine, which has scored some battlefield successes since Russian forces invaded last February but has asked allies for heavier weapons.