‘A Wonderful Christmas Present’: Zelenskyy Praises US Military Package

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(RFE/RL) — Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskiy has praised the United States for including tank-killing armored vehicles and antiaircraft missiles in its January 6 package of military aid, saying that they will strengthen Ukraine’s army on the battlefield.

“A wonderful Christmas present for Ukraine,” Zelenskiy said on Twitter on January 6.

“For the first time, we will get Bradley armored vehicles — this is exactly what is needed. New guns and rounds, including high-precision ones, new rockets, new drones. It is timely and strong,” he said later in his nightly televised address.

The United States on January 6 announced $3 billion in military assistance for Ukraine. White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said the assistance is expected to include Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, other personnel carriers, and self-propelled howitzers.

Meanwhile, strikes were reported in Ukraine despite a brief cease-fire announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin to mark Orthodox Christmas.

Ukraine’s General Staff said that Russia fired 20 rounds from multiple-rocket launchers over the past 24 hours while also targeting settlements.

Regional Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said two civilians were killed due to Russian shelling in Bakhmut, adding that five people were injured.

Russia claimed its troops were observing the cease-fire despite attacks by the Ukrainian Army.

Putin called for the cease-fire for 36 hours amid accusations by his Ukrainian counterpart, Zelenskiy, and several Western officials who said it was a ploy by the Kremlin to buy time and improve its position on the battlefield.

The cease-fire was due to end on January 7 at midnight Moscow time.

RFE RL

RFE/RL journalists report the news in 21 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established.

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