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Germany will supply Ukraine with Marder infantry fighting vehicles and an additional Patriot air defense battery, German Ambassador to the United States Emily Haber said on Thursday.
The Marder is an armored personnel carrier that has been used by the German Army since the early 1970s, but is constantly being updated. While the Bundeswehr is decommissioning the vehicle, hundreds are still in use.
An infantry fighting vehicle is a heavily armed armored vehicle used to move soldiers across the battlefield. It is usually deployed in tandem with main battle tanks.
German Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Robert Habeck on Thursday welcomed his government's "logical" decision to send more military aid to Ukraine.
"That is a good decision. Since the beginning of the war, we have continued to increase our support in cooperation with our partners. It is logical that we also took this step. Ukraine has the right to defend itself against a Russian attack, and we have a duty to help you in that,” he said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a 36-hour deadline on Thursdaytemporary ceasefirein Ukraine on January 6th and 7th for the Orthodox Christmas. Yet,President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyysaid Russia wants to use the holiday "as a cover" to supply and halt Ukrainian advances in the eastern Donbass region.
Here are other important developments:
- UN dissolves fact-finding mission into prison attack:The United Nations dissolved hisFact Finding Missionabout an attack on a detention center that killed more than 50 prisoners of war in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine.
- Shelling in the Kherson region:At least four people diedCherson region in southern Ukraineon Thursday, according to Ukrainian officials.
- Increased Joint Military Grouping:Belarus' Defense Ministry announced on Thursday that it is further expanding its joint military grouping with Russia in Belarus. The ministry also announced upcoming joint air force exercises between the two countries.
- Ukraine expects economic damage:ÖThe Ukrainian economy shrank by almost a third in the past year, after Russian troops invaded in February, according to a statement from the country's economy ministry. However, the number is "better than most pundits expected at the start of the full-scale invasion, when estimates ranged from a 40-50% drop in GDP and more," he added.
- Church leader calls for Christmas ceasefire:Patriarch Kirill called for a temporary 36-hour ceasefire in Ukraine on the occasion of Orthodox Christmas."Christmas Truce"would allow believers to attend religious services, he said. Kirill was once a vocal supporter of the war in Ukraine and gave a sermon in which he said, "Military service washes away all sins".
- Erdogan tells Putin he wants peace:Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Russian President Vladimir Putin that calls for peace and negotiations must be backed by aunilateral ceasefire declarationand a vision of "a just solution". Turkey has repeatedly called for an end to the conflict, and throughout 2022 Erdogan has tried to position himself as a mediator between Putin and the West.
- DPR chief says he visited wounded soldiers in Makiivka:The leader of the self-proclaimed, Russian-backed separatist Donetsk People's Republic said he was visiting soldiers wounded in the attack on Russian barracks in the occupied Ukrainian city of Makiivka.Denis Pushilinsaid he had traveled to a hospital in the Russian city of Rostov, where wounded soldiers are being treated. CNN could not verify whether the soldiers were the casualties of the attack or whether the hospital he visited was in Rostov.
- Biden confirms US will send new military equipment:US President Joe Biden announced Thursday that the United States "intends" to provide another round of security assistance to Ukraine, which also includesBradley combat vehicles.Bradley is aarmored vehicle for transporting troopson the battlefield. He is armed with several different weapons to protect the crew and attack enemy targets. The US could announce the transfer of Bradley vehicles in Ukraine's next security package, a defense official has said.
In his evening address on Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russia wanted to use the Orthodox Christmas celebration "as a cover" to supply and thwart Ukrainian advances in eastern Donbass.
In its first statements since then, the Kremlin announced a 36-hour suspensiontemporary ceasefireDuring the Orthodox Christmas season on Friday and Saturday, Zelenskyy said in Russian:
“Now they want to use Christmas as a cover to at least temporarily halt the advance of our men into the Donbass and bring equipment, ammunition and mobilized men closer to our positions. What will this bring? Just another increase in casualties.”
"Everyone in the world knows how the Kremlin uses lulls in the war to continue the war with renewed vigour. And to end the war faster, something completely different is needed,” Zelenskyj said.
"We need the citizens of Russia to find the courage to shake off their shameful fear of a man in the Kremlin for at least 36 hours over Christmas," he appealed. "Your fear of him is destroying your country, which is already at the bottom... but not in a bunker."
Zelenskyy added that the war in Ukraine will end "when their soldiers leave or we throw them out".
The US is considering bringing Ukrainians to the US for training on the Patriot missile system and training abroad "or a combination of both," according to a Defense Department spokesman.
"I clearly believe that we've come to a point in this fight where we're going to be able to provide that kind of training so that Ukraine can maintain that kind of system, so that they can focus on defending their country and focus on reclaiming territory. said the Pentagon press secretary, Air Force Brigade. Gen. Pat Ryder at a press conference.
Russia's "unilateral ceasefire" on Jan. 6-7 for the Orthodox Christmas "cannot and should not be taken seriously," said Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.tweeted on Thursday.
“President Zelenskyy proposed a clear ten-step peace formula. Russia ignored this and instead bombed Kherson on Christmas Eve and launched massive missile and drone attacks in the New Year,” Kuleba said.
Separately, Denis Pushilin, pro-Russian leader of self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic in eastern Ukraine, said President Vladimir Putin's order for a temporary 36-hour ceasefire would not prevent Russian separatists from responding to military actions taken by Kyiv.
"It doesn't mean that we won't respond to the enemy's provocations," he said in Telegram. "Or at least give the enemy a chance to improve their positions on the line of contact during these festive hours."
CNN's Uliana Pavlova contributed to this report.
The United Nations received and ordered Russia on Thursdaya temporary ceasefire in Ukraineand called for a complete end to the war between the two neighboring countries.
UN spokesman Stéphane Dujarric told reporters at a briefing that the organization welcomes any effort to end the conflict.
“Christmas is a sacred time for Russians and Ukrainians. The possibility of observing this sacred time with the cessation of all hostilities is always welcomed by the Secretary-General, knowing that this will not be a substitute for a just peace in accordance with the UN Charter and international law,” he said.
US President Joe Biden announced Thursday that the United States "intends" to provide another round of security assistance to Ukraine, which also includesBradley combat vehicles.
The announcement came at a reading of Biden's phone call with Chancellor Olaf Scholz, where they discussed the war in Ukraine. Biden said Monday the US is considering the move.
“President Biden and Chancellor Scholz expressed their shared determination to provide necessary financial, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support to Ukraine for as long as needed. To this end, the United States intends to supply Ukraine with Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, and Germany intends to supply Ukraine with Marder infantry fighting vehicles. Both countries plan to train Ukrainian armed forces in the respective systems," the statement said.
The United Nations has ended its fact-finding mission into an attack on a detention center in eastern Ukraine's Donetsk region that killed more than 50 prisoners of war, UN spokesman Stéphane Dujarric told a news conference on Thursday.
"The Secretary-General has decided to disband his FFM fact-finding mission on the July 29, 2022 incident in Olenivka, Ukraine, due to the lack of the necessary conditions to deploy the mission to the crime scene," he said.
The fact-finding mission was announced on August 3, 2022 at the request of Kyiv and Moscow.
"The Secretary-General reiterates his call for full respect for international humanitarian law and human rights, including the protection and treatment of prisoners of war," Dujarric said.
Olenivka prison served as accommodation for many of the Ukrainian soldiers whosurrendered at the Azovstal factoryin Mariupol.
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