From Jamie Peipon (Day 315): In the picture you can see a demining team working to remove some unexploded ordnance from right next to a Ukrainian church. Also today, because of putin’s obviously deep concern for all things sacred, he declared a ceasefire that was scheduled to begin at noon local time on the sixth through 11:59 pm on the seventh. This is because the sixth is Christmas Eve and the seventh Christmas according to the Julian calendar which is followed by Eastern Orthodox churches. Ukraine would be thrilled with a permanent ceasefire so long as that means that russia ceases firing and goes back to their own territory. It is quite disingenuous, however, to invade a country and then, while clearly losing and in need of a break, you unilaterally declare that everyone needs to put down their weapons for a little while in order to observe a religious holiday. Please, russians in Ukraine, go home and celebrate this holiday with your families. And don’t come back.
There’s no way that putin truly believed that Ukraine would agree to give them a breather. More than likely, this was an attempt for him to show how “peace loving” he is and, when Ukraine inevitably does not agree to a ridiculous ceasefire while russia continues to occupy Ukrainian territory, to make it look like Ukraine is the aggressor in the situation on the international stage. I usually save Scripture for the end of the post, but I won’t wait longer today:
‘“They dress the wound of my people
as though it were not serious.
‘Peace, peace,’ they say,
when there is no peace.
Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct?
No, they have no shame at all;
they do not even know how to blush.
So they will fall among the fallen;
they will be brought down when I punish them,”
says the Lord.’
May it be so.
In other news, the latest round of military support for Ukraine has become quite contagious. There are more reports being released today confirming that the US will be announcing a new security package tomorrow that will include about 50 Bradley Fighting Vehicles. There will surely be ammunition and other goodies included as well. This is a significant number, albeit not a huge number. But the pattern has been that the US provides something, observes their effective use on the battlefield, and then sends a whole bunch more.
For all those that fear “escalation” with russia, it is worth noting that the news about modern IFVs being delivered to Ukraine broke yesterday and today, putin is not nuking the entire world because a fictional red line has been crossed. All of the sudden he’s suggesting a ceasefire. As NATO’s Secretary General Stoltenberg said today, “[Delivering] weapons is the way to peace in Ukraine.”
Germany has had the reputation of being the most reluctant European contributor in terms of military support, but the French and American donation IFVs even shamed Chancellor Scholz into participating. They have now pledged to send their own IFV, known as “Marder” AND an additional Patriot air defense battery. There’s really only one more thing that Germany has that is a top priority on Ukraine’s wishlist, and that is their main battle tank: the Leopard. Hopefully it won’t take more shame to get them to “free the Leopards!” In fact, the Chair of Germany’s parliamentary defense committee tweeted about their pledge today: “It’s very late, but not too late. Our commitment has worked. But we won’t give up. After the Marder comes the Leopard.” Please, Germany, feel free to lead the way.
The UK is also concerned about being left off the bandwagon. Their Foreign Secretary James Cleverly upped the ante a bit by saying that “tanks may be part of future support for Ukraine.” There isn’t a country that has provided proper, modern, western tanks to Ukraine yet so this comment is significant. We all look forward to seeing how the UK concretely and formally contributes to Ukrainian victory in this current wave of generosity.