War in Ukraine: Russians and Ukrainians celebrate Christmas as hostilities continue

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War in Ukraine Russians and Ukrainians celebrate Christmas and hostilities continue

Fighting continued on Saturday despite a ceasefire ordered by Vladimir Putin on Orthodox Christmas Day.

A Ukrainian tank near Kubiansk on July 6, 2023.

Good pictures

Ukrainians and Russians celebrated the ceremony Orthodox Christmas In the middle of the war, the battle continued at several points of the front Armistice President Vladimir Putin decreed unilaterally. As the day before, the Russian military vowed to maintain the ceasefire until Saturday midnight (10pm in Switzerland), while condemning Ukrainian artillery fire.

The ruse is exposed

Moscow has either said it repelled the attacks or responded to Ukrainian gunfire that inflicted casualties on its adversary. Ukraine questions the sincerity of the Russian ceasefire, saying it is a ploy to buy time. Washington, Paris, London, Berlin and the European Union condemned the move.

Journalists in Chasiv Yar, eastern Ukraine, observed a series of explosions throughout the morning. And in Bakhmout, the heart of fighting further north, AFP heard artillery fire on both sides of the front on Friday, hours after Russia imposed a unilateral ceasefire. However, these scenes are less intense than the previous days.

Chappell struggles

The two countries, which have been at war since February 2022, celebrated the Orthodox Christmas holiday, which is the majority faith in Russia and Ukraine, on Saturday. On the Russian side, Vladimir Putin At midnight on Friday he attended a religious service alone in the Kremlin church, abandoning his habit of attending liturgies in the provinces or on the outskirts of Moscow.

In a message released by the Kremlin on Saturday, the Russian president sent his greetings to Orthodox Christians, indicating that the day encourages “good deeds and aspirations.” Church organizations “support our soldiers participating in a special military operation,” the Russian president said, using the official Kremlin term for the attack in Ukraine.

On the Ukrainian side, hundreds of faithful attended a historic service on Saturday at the famous monastery of the Lavra of the Caves of Kew, formerly under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate, but in December passed into the bosom of the Independent Ukrainian Church. Metropolitan Epiphany, head of the church created in 2018-2019 after the split with the Moscow Patriarchate, headed this office for the first time.

“Historic Event”

“We have been waiting for a long time for this sanctuary to be handed over to us. This is a truly historic event that all Ukrainians have been waiting for,” 19-year-old Veronika Martyniuk, who directs the choir, told AFP. “Every country has its church. We have our own church – it’s very good, a Ukrainian church, as it should be,” added 47-year-old Oksana Sobko, a believer.

Arms supply

Even if it had been respected, the ceasefire ordered by Vladimir Putin would have provided only a 36-hour reprieve in a high-intensity conflict that had dragged on for nearly 11 months.

Kyiv’s main backer, the United States, on Friday pledged $3 billion in new military aid to Ukraine, including Bradley armored personnel carriers, personnel carriers and howitzers. “This successful year has just begun”, greeted the Ukrainian presidency, adding that the US “package” includes HIMARS precision missiles and Sea Sparrow anti-aircraft missiles.

The announcement followed in the footsteps of France, which said it would send 40 “mortar” armored vehicles in the first quarter to Germany, which on Wednesday announced the delivery of AMX-10 RC light battle tanks. Western arms supplies were critical to Kyiv and enabled it to launch an effective counteroffensive that drove Russian forces from the Kharkiv region in the northeast and the city of Kherson in the south.

In winter, the front is often frozen. However, Ukraine said it feared a new offensive by Russia.

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(AFP)

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