The US government is making billions in military aid available to Ukraine to ward off Russian war of aggression. The package, valued at around $3 billion (2.8 billion euros), is said to include 50 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles. The pack also includes 100 armored personnel carriers and mine-resistant vehicles, as well as 138 all-terrain vehicles known as the Humvee.

The USA is considered to be Ukraine’s most important ally in the war. Other Allied countries have also announced further arms deliveries to Ukraine as part of the new US aid package, including Germany. The federal government confirmed that it would deliver Marder infantry fighting vehicles and a Patriot air defense system.

Hundreds of Russian soldiers were injured in an attack by Ukrainian troops on the village of Havrylivka Druha in southern Kherson Oblast. This is reported by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on Telegram.

“An attack on Russian occupying forces in Havrylivka Druha in Kherson Oblast on January 5, 2023 has been confirmed,” it said. And further: “Currently there is information that up to 100 injured soldiers were taken to local hospitals. The information about killed occupiers is being determined.”

A concentration of Russian manpower and military equipment was suspected where the missile struck.

The Ministry of Defense is preparing to hand over armored personnel carriers from the Bundeswehr stocks. According to information from the German Press Agency, a corresponding test was still running in the military department on Friday. It was also examined how the goal of quickly handing over 40 armored personnel carriers can be achieved. The Bundeswehr has a total of around 370 martens, many of which also have to be overhauled before use. About half are considered operational.

According to state information, the Russian air defense system repelled another drone attack on the Crimean Peninsula, which had been annexed by Moscow since 2014. The unmanned flying object was shot down early on Saturday morning over a pier near Sevastopol, the naval base of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, the city’s governor, Mikhail Rasvozhayev, wrote in his Telegram channel, according to the Tass state agency.

The port has been the target of Ukrainian drone attacks on several occasions, most recently on January 4 when two drones were shot down. Russia supplies its occupying forces in southern Ukraine primarily via the Crimea. That is why Ukraine keeps targeting logistical and military targets on the peninsula.

London wants to advance the investigation of Russian war crimes in Ukraine and, together with the Netherlands, invited to an international meeting. In March, justice ministers from around the world are to meet in London to organize financial and practical support for the work of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, the British government announced.

What will be important on Saturday:

In view of the orthodox Christmas celebrations, the second and last day of a ceasefire ordered by Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin officially begins, but it did not last on Friday. Ukraine has dismissed the gesture as a propaganda ploy and hypocrisy, continuing its attempts at recapture.

In the meantime, the new Orthodox Church of Ukraine wants to celebrate its Christmas mass in the famous Kiev Cave Monastery. The usage contracts of the competing Ukrainian Orthodox Church for the two main churches of the monastery complex had not been extended at the end of the year. The church had long been associated with the Moscow Patriarchate and only broke away from it after the Russian invasion at the end of February.

The Russian military accuses the Ukrainian side of further attacks. Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin had previously unilaterally declared a ceasefire for his troops for the Orthodox Christmas. “Although the Russian army group is adhering to the ceasefire that came into effect at 12 noon today, January 6, the Kiev regime has continued to fire artillery at towns and positions of the Russian forces,” said army spokesman Igor Konashenkov in Moscow on Friday. Kyiv has publicly rejected the ceasefire announced unilaterally by Moscow. According to Konashenkov, there were battles on three front sectors.

However, the Ukrainian Presidential Office reported that Russian forces had attacked the eastern Ukrainian cities of Kramatorsk and Kurakhove. “The occupiers twice attacked the city with rockets,” wrote the deputy head of the Ukrainian presidential office, Kyryklo Tymoshenko, about the situation in Kramatorsk. A residential building was also hit, but there were no victims. Residential buildings and a medical facility were damaged in the city of Kurachowe. Local authorities also reported artillery shelling and other attacks on Ukrainian positions in the Luhansk region.

Russia’s ex-president Dmitry Medvedev berated Ukrainian politicians for rejecting the ceasefire. “Pigs have no faith or an innate sense of gratitude. They only understand brute force and squeakingly demand food from their masters,” wrote the deputy chief of the Russian Security Council in his Telegram channel. The 57-year-old also referred to Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock in this context.

According to Medvedev, the Russian leadership has stretched out the “hand of Christian charity” to the Ukrainians. This was rejected, also because the West did not allow the Christmas peace. “Even the uneducated woman Baerbock and a number of other overseers in the European pigsty managed to grumble about the inadmissibility of a ceasefire,” Medvedev wrote.

The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyj has reiterated his gratitude for the announced deliveries of armored personnel carriers from Germany and the USA. “We managed to take Ukraine’s strength and defense cooperation with partners to a new level,” said Zelenskyy in his video address on Friday evening. “From now on, Ukraine will have more anti-aircraft defenses, more armored vehicles, western tanks for the first time, more guns and missiles.”

The United States had previously announced a new package for Kyiv worth around three billion US dollars (2.8 billion euros), which should also include Bradley-type armored personnel carriers. The attacked country is to receive around 40 Marder infantry fighting vehicles and a Patriot anti-aircraft system from Germany. Although Ukraine has received Western tanks in the past, these were anti-aircraft, armored transport or recovery tanks and not – as this time – armored personnel carriers.

“Germany has taken a significant step forward in strengthening the security of not only Ukraine but all of Europe,” said Zelensky, who also spoke to Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) on the phone earlier in the day.

According to the Kyiv Independent, Russia recruits its mercenary soldiers for the Wagner group primarily in the Balkans. This is even the “main source” for the mobilization of the mercenaries. Serb gunman Deyan Berich, in particular, plays a key role in this process, the news site reports, citing the National Resistance Center organization managed by Ukrainian special forces. He would have fought for Donbass on the Russian side as early as 2014.

In the fight against Ukraine, due to staff shortages, Russia is increasingly relying on the support of the mercenaries of the paramilitary Wagner group. Her boss is Evgeny Prigozhin, also known as “Putin’s cook”.

According to official information, the Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko has inspected the joint Russian-Belarusian troops in the country. “During a visit to the Obuz-Lesnovsky military training area, Alexander Lukashenko said that the experience gained through the merging of military units and units is of great importance for Belarus,” the Ministry of Defense in Minsk said on Friday via its Telegram channel. Speculations have recently increased that Russian troops could attack Ukraine again via Belarus. The military training area is near the town of Baranavichy in the west of the country.

The joint task force set up in autumn 2022 is officially used to protect the external borders of the Russian-Belarusian Union – especially in the west, i.e. on Belarusian territory. The association also includes 9,000 Russian soldiers who are permanently stationed on Belarusian territory. The association is considered a possible spearhead for a new attack on Ukraine.