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Putin orders Christmas truce with Ukraine on Jan 6-7

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting with senior military officers in Moscow, Russia on Dec 21, 2022. (VADIM SAVITSKY / SPUTNIK / RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY PRESS SERVICE / POOL PHOTO VIA AP)

MOSCOW/WASHINGTON – Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed the country's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to start a 36-hour truce along the entire line of contact between the parties in Ukraine from Jan 6 to 7, the Kremlin said Thursday.

"Taking into account the appeal of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, I instruct the Russian Defense Minister to introduce a ceasefire regime along the entire line of contact between the parties in Ukraine from 12:00 (0900 GMT) on January 6 to 24:00 (2100 GMT) on January 7," the Kremlin said in a statement.

Putin also called on Kyiv to declare a ceasefire based on the fact that a large number of Orthodox citizens live in the combat areas, according to the statement.

Meanwhile, the United States and Germany will send Ukraine armored fighting vehicles built respectively by the two countries to bolster Kyiv in the ongoing conflict, the White House said.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin also called on Kyiv to declare a ceasefire based on the fact that a large number of Orthodox citizens live in the combat areas, according to the Kremlin's statement

The announcement was made in a statement about a telephone conversation between US President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz earlier in the day.

During the call, Biden expressed the intent to supply Ukraine with Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles, tracked armored 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 United States and Germany will train Ukrainian forces on how to operate the respective vehicles being given to Ukraine.

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Additionally, to strengthen Ukraine's air defense capabilities, Berlin will join Washington in providing Kyiv 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 United States announced one such delivery when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Washington in December, according to the statement.