Ukrainian troops in an armored personnel carrier in the village of Torske, Donetsk region, Ukraine December 30, 2022 (Yevhen Titov/Reuters)
Source: Institute for the Study of War
UPDATE 1618 GMT:
Ukrainian Presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak has responded to Vladimir Putin’s command for a 36-hour ceasefire within Ukraine on January 6-7.
First. Ukraine doesn't attack foreign territory & doesn't kill civilians. As RF does. Ukraine destroys only members of the occupation army on its territory…
Second. RF must leave the occupied territories – only then will it have a "temporary truce". Keep hypocrisy to yourself.
— Михайло Подоляк (@Podolyak_M) January 5, 2023
Ukrainian MP Inna Sovsun juxtaposes Putin’s annoucement with Russia’s missile and drone strikes during the holidays:
Oh so cute. Russians are now asking for a ceasefire for the Orthodox Christmas. The same russians who bombed Ukrainian cities on New Year’s day and night!…
— Inna Sovsun (@InnaSovsun) January 5, 2023
UPDATE 1603 GMT:
An image of protest from Kazan in southwest Russia….
"War is declared by the old, but the young die"
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) January 5, 2023
UPDATE 1549 GMT: After Vladimir Putin rejected his suggestion of a unilateral ceasefire and a “vision for a fair solution” (see 1312 GMT), Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke with Ukraine counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky.
Zelenskiy said he and Erdogan “discussed security cooperation”; “nuclear safety issues, in particular the situation” at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station; the exchange of prisoners of war with Turkish mediation; and the development of the grain agreement for Ukraine’s Black Sea exports.
“We appreciate Türkiye’s willingness to take part in the implementation of our Peace Formula,” Zelensky posted on Telegram.
UPDATE 1538 GMT:
The Kremlin says Vladimir Putin has instructed Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu to implement a 36-hour ceasefire in Ukraine from noon Friday to midnight Saturday, marking Orthodox Christian Christmas.
Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, foreshadowed the move with a call for the ceasefire so “Orthodox people could attend church services on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day”.
UPDATE 1532 GMT:
Four people, including a couple and their 12-year-old son, have been killed by Russian shelling in the Kherson region in southern Ukraine.
The family were preparing to celebrate the Orthodox Christian Christmas when “a cynical blow by the Russians killed them in their own home in a residential building in the town of Beryslav, said Ukraine Presidential aide Kyrolo Tymyshenko.
An 18-year-old man was also slain by the Russian attacks.
Tymyshenko noted that the shelling was soon after Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, had called for a ceasefire on January 6-7 for Orthodox Christmas.
This is all the baseness and meanness of Russia. In the morning, they talk about the “Christmas ceasefire”, and in the afternoon they kill the whole family. What did the husband, wife and their 12-year-old son do wrong? The fact that they are just Ukrainians?
UPDATE 1312 GMT:
Vladimir Putin has rejected the request by the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for a unilateral ceasefire and a “vision for a fair solution”.
Putin told Erdoğan during their call that Ukraine must “take into account the new territorial realities”, i.e., Russian occupation and Putin’s declared “annexation” of four Ukrainian regions.
The Russian also complained about “the destructive role of the West, pumping weapons into Kyiv, providing information and guidance”.
The two leaders also discussed the Black Sea grain corridor for ships with Ukrainian exports, and Erdoğan pressed Putin for support of his Government’s pressure on Kurdish-controlled northeast Syria, cloaked as “concrete steps to clear Kurdish militants from the Syrian border region”.
Putin has not responded publicly to the call of Russian Orthodox Church leader Patriarch Kirill — a supporter of the invasion — for a ceasefire on January 6-7 for the Orthodox celebration of Christmas.
UPDATE 0856 GMT:
Ukraine’s GDP fell by a historic 30.4% in 2022 because of the Russian invasion.
Economy minister Yulia Svyrydenko cited the sharpest decline since Ukraine’s post-Soviet independence in 1991, but said the contraction was less than initially expected.
The successes of Ukraine’s defense forces on the frontlines, the coordinated work of the government and businesses, the unbreakable spirit of the population and the speed of rebuilding damaged critical infrastructure units and also systemic financial support from international donors have allowed us to keep up the economic front and continue our movement towards victory.
Ukraine’s GDP grew by 3.4% in 2021.
UPDATE 0800 GMT:
Russia has destroyed more than 60% of Bakhmut, in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, in its eight-month attempt to overrun the city, says Donetsk Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko.
Despite the destruction and ongoing shelling, the Russian forces have been unable to advance on Bakhmut. Both UK military intelligence and the US-based Institute for the Study of War assess that, despite Vladimir Putin’s mass mobilization, Russia no longer has the organized troop strength to seize the city.
Kyrylenko summarized the failure of the Russian offensive.
Whatever attempts to enter the city the enemy makes, it fails to advance. Whatever advances they had, they have been pushed back to their previous positions, outside the city limits.
In fact, they are now in the flat, devastated area, which also contributes to their huge personnel losses.
He said Russia’s latest attacks across the region killed two civilians and damaged private houses, shops, a hospital building, and equipment at an infrastructure facility.
UPDATE 0731 GMT:
Another civilian has been killed by Russia’s ongoing shelling of Nikopol in the Zaporizhzhia region in southern Ukraine.
The 64-year-old man was injured on Wednesday and subsequently died in hospital.
Nikopol is located across the Dnipro River from the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, occupied by Russian forces in March and converted into a military base and firing point on Ukrainian-held territory.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: France’s President Emmanuel Macron has committed Paris to the dispatch of light AMX-10 RC armored combat vehicles to Ukraine.
A French official confirmed that Macron spoke with Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskiy about the delivery in a phone call on Wednesday.
Agreed with @EmmanuelMacron on further cooperation to significantly strengthen 🇺🇦 air defense and other defense capabilities. We also agreed to work on the implementation of #PeaceFormula. Thank you friend! Your leadership brings our victory closer. 2/2
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) January 4, 2023
President Joe Biden subsequently said the US is considering the transfer of Bradley Fighting Vehicles to Kyiv.
Australia was the first country to send light armored vehicles to Ukraine after Russia’s invasion, despatching the first 20 Bushmaster Infantry Mobility Vehicles last April. In July, Poland donated PT-91 Twardy battle tanks. The Czech Republic began sending T-72B battle tanks in December, with the US and the Netherlands providing $90 million for refurbishment.
In his nightly address to the nation, Zelenskiy thanked Macron while saying that other Western countries should also send tanks as Ukrainian forces pursue counter-offensives in the east and south of the country.
This is something that sends a clear signal to all our partners. There is no rational reason why Ukraine has not yet been supplied with western tanks. And this is very important to restore security for all Ukrainians and peace for all Europeans.
We must put an end to the Russian aggression this year exactly and not postpone any of the defensive capabilities that can speed up the defeat of the terrorist state. Modern Western armored vehicles, Western-type tanks are just one of these key capabilities.
Kyiv has sought the tanks, including US Abrams and German Leopard 2s, for months. However, Western partners have held out against the supply.
Biden gave no indication on Wednesday that his Administration is changing its position on the provision of the Abrams main battle tanks.
In a trip to Washington last month — his first journey outside Ukraine since the Russian invasion — Zelenskiy had appealed for the delivery of the tanks, including in an address to a joint session of Congress.
Ukrainian tankers training to operate the Slovenian-supplied M-55S tanks
The M-55S is a deeply modernized version of the Soviet T-55 tank updated with NATO L7 105mm gun, upgrade armor protection, digital ballistic computer, upgraded engine etc
— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) January 5, 2023