Strikes in east Ukraine despite Putin's ceasefire order

Artillery exchanges pounded war-scarred cities in eastern Ukraine on Jan. 6 despite Russian leader Vladimir Putin unilaterally ordering his forces to pause attacks for 36 hours for the Orthodox Christmas.

The brief ceasefire declared by Putin earlier this week was supposed to begin at 0900 GMT Friday and would have been the first full pause since Moscow's invasion in February 2022.But AFP journalists heard both outgoing and incoming shelling in the frontline city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine after the time when the Russian ceasefire was supposed to have begun.

Moscow's forces also struck Kramatorsk in the east, the Ukrainian presidential administration said, as well as the frontline town of Kurakhove where residential buildings and a medical facility were damaged.Putin's order to stop fighting during the Orthodox Christmas came after Moscow suffered its worst reported loss of life yet, and was followed by a US announcement of more than $3 billion in military aid for Kyiv -- its largest single assistance package of the war.- Ceasefire 'not serious' -Kyrylo Tymoshenko from the Ukraine president's office earlier said that Moscow's forces had struck a fire station in southern city of Kherson in an attack that left several people dead or wounded.

"They talk about a ceasefire. This is who we are at war with," he said.The head of Ukraine's Lugansk region meanwhile added that Russian forces had fired 14 times on Kyiv's position and attempted to storm a settlement held by Ukrainian forces.Russia's defence ministry said however it was respecting its unilateral ceasefire and accused Ukraine's forces of continued shelling.Both countries celebrate Orthodox Christmas and the Russian leader's order came following ceasefire calls from Turkish President Recep...

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