An M2 Bradley fighting vehicle with the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division fires on a range in Poland. President Joe Biden said the US may soon send the heavily armored troops carriers to Ukraine. Bradley's would be the heaviest ground combat equipment supplied to Ukraine by the US. Photo by Staff Sgt. Charles Porter.
Russian president Vladimir Putin called for a weekend cease-fire in Ukraine on Thursday, Jan. 5, though Ukrainian leaders quickly reacted with skepticism.
The surprise call for a temporary truce came a day after President Joe Biden said the US may soon provide Ukrainian forces with Bradley Fighting Vehicles, heavy, tanklike troop carriers that could dramatically expand Ukraine’s ability to advance quickly against Russian lines.
Putin ordered a temporary cease-fire for Orthodox Christmas, which is celebrated on Saturday, Jan. 7. The Russian president said in a Kremlin statement that the cease-fire would last from noon on Friday through midnight Saturday.
But in a tweet, Ukrainian official Mykhailo Podolyak seemed to reject the call.
Putin’s call for a cease-fire came after Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church and a supporter of the war in Ukraine, posted an appeal for a holiday truce to the church’s official website on Thursday.
“I, Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, appeal to all parties involved in the internecine strife to cease fire and establish a Christmas truce from 12:00 PM January 6 to 12:00 AM January 8, so the Orthodox people can attend services on Christmas Eve and on the day of the Nativity of Christ,” the post said.
Putin cited the call by Kirill in his surprise order for Russian forces to stand down.
“Taking into account the appeal of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill,” Putin said in a translated statement to the Kremlin’s Telegram account, “I instruct the Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation to introduce from 12:00 January 6, 2023 until 24:00 January 7, 2023, a ceasefire along the entire line of contact between the parties in Ukraine.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin at his inauguration ceremony in 2018. Kremlin photo.
But The Kyiv Independent said Ukrainian officials have not returned the promise of a cease-fire.
Podolyak, an advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, tweeted Thursday that the “‘Christmas truce’ is a cynical trap & an element of propaganda.”
Russia had not slowed its attacks on Ukraine over the winter holidays, hitting Kyiv and other cities with airstrikes on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. According to The Kyiv Independent, the strikes on New Year’s Eve killed at least one and wounded 28.
Putin’s call comes just a day after Biden said while traveling in Kentucky that he would consider sending Bradley Fighting Vehicles to Ukraine, and just a week after the US said a Patriot missile battery will soon be deployed there.
The M2A4 Bradley Fighting Vehicle is the US Army’s main armored troop carrier. In the dug-in trench warfare now common across the Ukrainian front lines, Bradleys could be a major game changer.
Propelled by treads and topped by a rotating turret, the Bradley is sometimes referred to as a “tank” in news reports. It also weighs a tanklike 40 tons.
A US Army soldier squeezes into a Bradley Fighting Vehicle between water bottles on July 13, 2008. The armored troop carriers may soon be sent to Ukraine. Photo by Petty Officer Second Class Paul Seeber.
But while a traditional tank is designed to engage in direct-fire combat using its large main cannon, the Bradley is designed to transport troops in and out of combat. It can carry seven fully kitted-out soldiers inside its armored shell, nearly impervious to small-arms fire — capabilities that Ukrainian forces mostly lack.
In his recent speech to Congress, Zelenskyy asked specifically for heavy armored vehicles like the Bradley.
“I assure you that Ukrainian soldiers can perfectly operate American tanks and planes for themselves,” Zelenskyy said.
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Jenna Biter is a staff writer at Coffee or Die Magazine. She has a master’s degree in national security and is a Russian language student. When she’s not writing, Jenna can be found reading classics, running, or learning new things, like the constellations in the night sky. Her husband is on active duty in the US military. Know a good story about national security or the military? Email Jenna.
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