Russian defence ministry said Ukraine continued artillery fire on population centres and Russian army positions while Kiev accused Moscow of striking the city of Kramatorsk.

(FILE) A Bradley Fighting Vehicle is parked at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC.
(FILE) A Bradley Fighting Vehicle is parked at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC. (AFP Archive)

Friday, January 6, 2023

US announces $3 bn in military assistance for Ukraine

The United States has announced $3 billion dollars in military assistance for Ukraine, which the White House said was the largest aid package for Kiev to date.

Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the assistance, which will be detailed later by the Pentagon, is expected to include Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, MRAPs and other personnel carriers, and self-propelled howitzers.

Washington and Berlin announced the previous day that they would provide armoured vehicles – Bradleys from the United States and Marders from Germany – but did not provide details.

Russia says respecting ceasefire, accuses Ukraine of shelling

The Russian army said 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 Kiev regime continued artillery fire on population centres and Russian army positions," the defence ministry said on social media.

Ukraine reports fresh Russian strikes after announced ceasefire

Russian forces struck the city of Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine, the deputy head of Ukraine's presidential administration said, 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.

Putin ceasefire order in Ukraine 'not credible': EU's Borrell

Russia's announcement of a temporary unilateral ceasefire in Ukraine is "not credible", the EU's top diplomat said, labelling it "hypocrisy".

"The Kremlin totally lacks credibility and this declaration of a unilateral ceasefire is not credible," European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said during a visit to Morocco.

"It was Russia that launched this illegitimate aggression," he said. "When the aggressor talks of a ceasefire, I think the response that comes to us all is scepticism in the face of such hypocrisy."

UN releases report on Ukraine telecoms damage by Russia

Ukraine will need at least $1.79 billion to restore its telecommunications sector to pre-war levels, a UN agency said in a report published alleging Russia had "destroyed completely or seized" networks in parts of the country.

The long-anticipated and sensitive damage assessment by the Geneva-based International Telecommunication Union (ITU) was commissioned in April to assess the extent of destruction of Ukraine's communication networks as a result of Russia's attack last February.

US imposes new sanctions on Iran for providing drones for Russia

The US announced a new round of sanctions on Iran over supplies of drones to Russia for its war in Ukraine.

"The Iranian regime’s military support to Russia not only fuels the conflict in Ukraine but has also resulted in violations of UN Security Council resolution 2231," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

"Iran has now become Russia’s top military backer. Iran must cease its support for Russia’s unprovoked war of aggression in Ukraine, and we will continue to use every tool at our disposal to disrupt and delay these transfers and impose costs on actors engaged in this activity."

Russia sends more military equipment to Belarus

More military equipment from Russia arrived in Belarus as part of the Regional Grouping of Forces (RGV), the Belarusian Defense Ministry confirmed. 

In a statement, the Defense Ministry said the bolstering of the RGV is "exclusively in the interests of strengthening the security and defence of the Union State (of Russia and Belarus), based on the evolving situation" at the country’s borders.

President Alexander Lukashenko also visited a military base in the southwestern Brest region where Russian troops are already stationed.

Putin's unilateral ceasefire starts in Ukraine

A unilateral Russian ceasefire ordered by President Vladimir Putin has come into force along the entire front as of noon Moscow time (0900 GMT), Russian state television said.

"At noon today, the ceasefire regime came into force on the entire contact line," Russia's state First Channel said. "It will continue until the end of January 7." 

Lukashenko visits Russian troops stationed in Belarus

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko visited a military base where Russian troops are stationed, the defence ministry said.

During the meeting, Lukashenko and an unnamed representative from the Russian army discussed the two countries' joint military drills, it said.

"At this stage, units of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation are ready to carry out tasks as intended," the representative said.

Türkiye vows to continue efforts for negotiations between Russia, Ukraine

The Russia-Ukraine war is "likely to escalate in the coming months. More war means more destruction, and a deeper, longer crisis. This is not good for anyone," Turkish presidential spokesperson said Ibrahim Kalin said on Twitter.

"Türkiye will continue its efforts for negotiations, ceasefire, prisoner exchange, nuclear security and grain export."

Train arrives in Belarus

A train carrying Russian troops and equipment has arrived in Belarus, Minsk's defence ministry said. 

Belarus, which is closely allied with Moscow, said it would receive more weapons and equipment from Russia as the two boost their military cooperation. 

This has raised concern that Belarus could be used as a staging post to attack Ukraine from the north.

Ukraine dismisses Putin's Christmas ceasefire as 'hypocrisy'

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that Russia was seeking a truce to use as a cover to stop Ukrainian advances in the eastern Donbass region and bring in more men and equipment.

"They now want to use Christmas as a cover, albeit briefly, to stop the advances of our boys in Donbass and bring equipment, ammunitions and mobilised troops closer to our positions," Zelenskyy said in his video address, speaking pointedly in Russian rather than Ukrainian.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak wrote on Twitter that Russia "must leave the occupied territories - only then will it have a 'temporary truce',"

"Keep hypocrisy to yourself."

Putin had ordered a 36-hour cease-fire along the entire line of contact in Ukraine from noon Moscow time Friday until midnight on Saturday.

US to send Ukraine dozens of Bradleys in $2.85B aid package

The US will send Ukraine nearly $3 billion in military aid, in a massive new package that will for the first time include several dozen Bradley fighting vehicles, US officials said.

European allies also stepped up their weapons commitments. Germany announced it will provide armored personnel carriers and a Patriot missile battery to Ukraine, and France said it will soon hold talks to arrange for the delivery of armored combat vehicles.

All of the announcements, however, fall short of sending heavier battle tanks, which are more complex to use and have a longer-range gun.

US appreciates Türkiye's role to end Russia-Ukraine war

The US "greatly" appreciates the role Türkiye has played in efforts to end the war between Russia and Ukraine, the State Department said.

"We greatly appreciate the constructive role that Turkey has played in trying to bring about an end to this barbaric work," spokesman Ned Price said at his daily news conference.

"We appreciate Turkey's steadfast commitment to Ukraine's territorial integrity, and its efforts to foster dialogue between Ukraine and Russia," he added.

For live updates from Thursday (January 5), click here.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies