Ukrainian special forces unit prepare to fire mortar shells at Russian forces on the frontline near Bakhmut, eastern Ukraine, December 20, 2022 (Pierre Crom/Getty)
Source: Institute for the Study of War
UPDATE 1311 GMT:
Vladimir Putin is the lone worshipper at an Orthodox Christmas service at the Cathedral of the Annunciation in Moscow.
UPDATE 1041 GMT:
Russian forces have continued to attack civilian areas across Ukraine despite Vladimir Putin’s declaration of a 36-hour ceasefire from noon on Friday.
Attacks over the past 24 hours in seven regions in southern and eastern Ukraine killed at least three people and injured 20.
p>Targets included residential buildings and a fire station — where one firefighter was killed and four wounded — in the Kherson region in southern Ukraine.
Governor Yaroslav Yanushevych said Russian troops shelled 39 times on Friday.
In the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, two civilians were killed in and near the frontline city of Bakhmut. At least 13 people were wounded.
Russian forces also continued to fire on residential and commercial buildings during the supposed ceasefire.
The Biden Administration has confirmed another $3.75 billion military assistance package for Ukraine and neighboring states.
US officials began telling reporters on Wednesday of the initiative, taking total military aid during Russia’s invasion to $25 billion. President Biden indicated that the package would include armored Bradley Fighting Vehicles.
Friday’s announcement highlighted 50 Bradleys. The tracked combat vehicle has an automatic cannon and a machine gun, and is capable of firing anti-tank missiles.
The package also includes radar-guided Sea Sparrow anti-air missiles; 500 anti-tank missiles; 250,000 rounds of ammuntions for the Bradleys; 100 M113 armored personnel carriers; 55 mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles; 138 Humvees; and 155mm artillery shells. Another $225 military finance for Ukraine and $682 million to Eastern European countries will enable purchases of American weaponry and military equipment.
The US announcement accompanied significant commitments this week by France, which is providing light AMX-10 RC armored combat vehicles for the first time, and Germany.
Ending weeks of resistance by Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the German Government said it will send 40 Marder infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine before the end of March. A Patriot anti-aircraft missile system will also be delivered.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy welcomed the commitments. He said in his nightly address to the nation:
For the first time, we will get Bradley armored vehicles. This is exactly what is needed. New guns and rounds, including high-precision ones, new rockets, new drones. It is timely and strong.
At the same time, Zelenskiy is continuing to press for supply of heavy battle tanks, as Kyiv hopes to pursue its counter-offensives in eastern and southern Ukraine and to blunt any renewed Russian offensive in 2023.
A senior Polish diplomat told the Wall Street Journal that Warsaw
is considering Kyiv’s request for the donation of Poland’s German-made Leopard battle tanks.
In April, Poland gave Ukraine more than 240 modernized Soviet-era T-72 tanks.
Turkish heavy armored troop carriers are spotted in Ukraine
The new batch of mine-resistant ambush protected vehicles Kirpi (Turkish for "Hedgehog") has arrived in Ukraine. Kirpi provides significant protection against mine and ballistic threats.
— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) January 7, 2023