US, Germany bolster Ukraine defence with fighting vehicles

The announcement was made in a statement about a telephone conversation between US President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Thursday…reports Asian Lite News

The US and Germany will send armoured fighting vehicles to Ukraine to bolster Kiev in its ongoing war with Russia, the White House has announced.

The announcement was made in a statement about a telephone conversation between US President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Thursday, Xinhua news agency reported.

During the call, Biden expressed the intent to supply Ukraine with Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles, tracked armoured combat vehicles that are used to transport troops onto battlefield. Biden did not specify how many such vehicles will go to Ukraine.

Scholz, for his part, said Germany was prepared to provide Ukraine with Marder Infantry Fighting Vehicles, according to the statement. The US and Germany will train Ukrainian forces on how to operate the respective vehicles being given to Ukraine.

Additionally, to strengthen Ukraine’s air defence capabilities, Berlin will join Washington in providing Kiev with another Patriot surface-to-air missile battery. This will bring the number of such weapon system at Ukraine’s disposal to two after the US announced one such delivery when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Washington in December 2022, according to the statement.

Ceasefire offer

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has rejected Russia’s “trivial” Christmas ceasefire offer, saying it was a cover for Moscow to stop Ukrainian advances in the eastern Donbas region and bring in more conscripts and equipment.

On Thursday evening, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his Defence Minister to impose the 36-hour ceasefire on the Ukrainian frontline, beginning at 12 a.m. on Friday to coincide with the Russian Orthodox Christmas, the BBC reported.

The Russian Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas Day on January 7, according to the Julian calendar.

In a statement, the Kremlin said: “Taking into consideration the appeal by (Kirill, Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church), the President hereby instructs the minister of defence of the Russian Federation to impose a ceasefire regime along the entire line of contact in Ukraine for the 36-hour period.”

The order called on Ukraine to reciprocate so that the “large numbers of Orthodox believers (who) reside in areas where hostilities are taking place” could celebrate Christmas Eve on Friday and Christmas Day on Saturday.

But in his nightly address to the nation, Zelensky said: “Now they want to use Christmas as a cover to stop the advance of our servicemen in the Donbas for a short time and bring equipment, ammunition and conscripts closer to our positions. What does this mean? Just another increase in the volume of losses.

“Everyone in the world knows how the Kremlin uses the respite in war to continue the war with renewed vigour.”

Also responding to the ceasefire offer, Zelensky’s adviser Mykhailo Podoliak said that a “temporary truce” can only begin when Russia leaves the Ukrainian territory, reports Ukrayinska Pravda.

In a tweet, he said that the “Russian Federation must leave the occupied territories; only then will it begin a ‘temporary truce’. Keep your hypocrisy to yourself”.

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