Ukraine’s president has praised the United States for including armored anti-tank vehicles in its latest multi-billion-dollar military aid package, saying they are “exactly what” Kyiv troops need for the war against Russia.
Officials, for their part, were unclear whether Moscow was abiding by a 36-hour unilateral ceasefire it announced on Orthodox Christmas and which Ukraine considers a ploy.
The latest US aid package announced by the White House on Friday was the largest yet for Kyiv and includes Bradley armored vehicles, which fire anti-tank missiles, for the first time.
President Volodymyr Zelensky called it “a very powerful package” in a televised speech late Friday.
“For the first time, we will get the Bradley armored vehicle, which is exactly what we need. New weapons and projectiles, including high precision, new rockets, new drones. It is timely and powerful, ”he said.
Zelensky thanked his counterpart, Joe Biden, lawmakers and “all Americans who value freedom and know it is worth protecting.”
Ukrainian officials said on Saturday that a temporary truce announced by Moscow over religious holidays over the weekend was ignored by some of its troops, pushing ahead with an offensive that has lasted nearly 11 months.
In the disputed Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine, governor Serhiy Haidai reported frequent shelling and Russian attacks. In a telegram post, Haidai said that in the first three hours of a ceasefire that began on Friday for Orthodox Christmas Eve, Kremlin troops shelled Ukrainian positions 14 times and stormed the settlement three times. The claim could not be independently verified.
Britain’s Defense Ministry, one of Ukraine’s main providers of military aid, said in its daily report on the conflict on Saturday that “fighting has continued at a regular level over the Orthodox Christmas period.”
As explained by the Russian Defense Ministry on Friday, Ukrainian forces continued to attack their positions, to which they retaliated, although it was unclear whether these alleged clashes occurred before or after the start of the Moscow ceasefire. were.
Ukrainian officials called Moscow’s 36-hour unilateral order a ploy to buy time and allow its forces to regroup. The ceasefire was to expire at midnight on Saturday in Moscow, at 11:00 pm in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine.
Both Ukrainian and Western officials dismissed the announcement as an attempt by Putin to gain the moral upper hand, as well as possibly trying to take the initiative on the battlefield and reduce the momentum of the Ukrainian counter-offensive of recent months. were.