Day 318: Reports of Shelling on Frontlines Despite Russia's Proposed Ceasefire

As Christmas church services were held across Russia and many parts of Ukraine on Saturday, reports suggest that shooting and artillery shelling continued to be exchanged along the frontlines despite Russia declaring a 36-hour ceasefire earlier in the week.

Day 318: Reports of Shelling on Frontlines Despite Russia's Proposed Ceasefire
Image credit: AP Photos [via Al Jazeera]

Facts

  • As Christmas church services were held across Russia and many parts of Ukraine on Saturday, reports suggest that shooting and artillery shelling continued to be exchanged along the frontlines despite Russia declaring a 36-hour ceasefire earlier in the week.
  • The unilateral declaration from Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin — set to last from midday Moscow time on Jan. 6 to midnight on Jan. 7 — was overwhelmingly rejected by Ukrainian leaders, making the ceasefire meaningless and unenforceable in terms of international law.
  • As such, in the latest intelligence briefing from the UK's defense ministry on Saturday, the agency said: "Fighting has continued at a routine level into the Orthodox Christmas period. One of the most fiercely contested sectors continues to be around the town of Kremina, in Luhansk Oblast."
  • Over the past day, Ukrainian officials reported Russian attacks in Luhansk, Donetsk, Sumy, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia. They added that two civilians were killed and seven more were injured in the Donetsk region.
  • Meanwhile, Russian officials said that Ukrainian attacks were also recorded in the regions of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia. They added that three civilians were injured in Russian-controlled parts of the Kherson region. Russian officials also reported that a drone was shot down over the waters of Crimea's Sevastopol.
  • Elsewhere, the US announced the latest military assistance package for Ukraine on Friday, which includes a $2.85B drawdown of current Dept. of Defense equipment — including the previously announced Bradley armored vehicles — as well as roughly $1B in military financing.

Sources: Al Jazeera, Yahoo News, Standard, Pravda, Tass, and CBS.

Narratives

  • Anti-Russia narrative, as provided by Newsweek. Putin's hastily announced ceasefire is part of an information war aimed at discrediting Ukrainians. Ukraine could not be reasonably expected to suddenly meet its terms, and Putin wants to leverage this to make Ukrainians seem unwilling to cooperate.
  • Pro-Russia narrative, as provided by Tass. A hand of Christian mercy was offered to Ukrainians, but this was swiped away. This helps Russians to know who they're dealing with and ensures that future opportunities for deception don't creep in.

Predictions