Russia calls for a 36-hour ceasefire in Ukraine from noon tomorrow to celebrate Orthodox Christmas

Vladimir Putin has ordered a temporary ceasefire in the war in Ukraine to allow people to celebrate Orthodox Christmas, Russian media reported.

The Russian leader called on Kyiv to honor the proposed ceasefire, which would last 36 hours: from 12 noon on January 6 to midnight on January 7.

The Kremlin reported that he had ordered his Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu to introduce a ceasefire along the entire line of contact.

The call for a ceasefire follows an earlier proposal this week by Russian spiritual leader Patriarch Kirill for an Orthodox Christmas peace.

The move was dismissed by Kyiv as a cynical trap set by Moscow. There was no immediate reaction from Ukrainian officials to Putin’s announcement.

Vladimir Putin (pictured today) has ordered a temporary ceasefire in the war in Ukraine to allow people to celebrate Orthodox Christmas, Russian media reported

Vladimir Putin (pictured today) has ordered a temporary ceasefire in the war in Ukraine to allow people to celebrate Orthodox Christmas, Russian media reported

The Russian President called on Kyiv to honor the proposed ceasefire, which would last 36 hours: from 12 noon on January 6 to midnight on January 7. Pictured: A Ukrainian soldier fires a grenade launcher near the Ukrainian frontline on January 3

The Russian President called on Kyiv to honor the proposed ceasefire, which would last 36 hours: from 12 noon on January 6 to midnight on January 7. Pictured: A Ukrainian soldier fires a grenade launcher near the Ukrainian frontline on January 3

“Taking into account His Holiness Patriarch Kirill’s appeal, I instruct the Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation, dated June 6, 2023,” Putin said in the order.

“Considering the fact that a large number of citizens professing Orthodoxy live in the combat zones, we call on the Ukrainian side to declare a ceasefire and allow them to attend services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.”

Earlier Thursday, Ukraine’s presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak dismissed Patriarch Kirill’s call as “a cynical trap and an element of propaganda.”

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had previously proposed a Russian troop withdrawal before December 25, but Russia rejected it.

The Russian Orthodox Church, which uses the old Julian calendar, celebrates Christmas on January 7 – later than the Gregorian calendar – although some Christians in Ukraine also commemorate the holiday on that day.

The call for a ceasefire follows an earlier proposal this week by Russian spiritual leader Patriarch Kirill for an Orthodox Christmas peace. Pictured: Ukrainian soldiers ride on a tank in the village of Torske, Donetsk region, Ukraine, December 30, 2022

The call for a ceasefire follows an earlier proposal this week by Russian spiritual leader Patriarch Kirill for an Orthodox Christmas peace. Pictured: Ukrainian soldiers ride on a tank in the village of Torske, Donetsk region, Ukraine, December 30, 2022

Rescuers extinguish a fire after shelling the Bakhmut front in Ivanivske, Ukraine, as the Russo-Ukrainian war rages on January 2

Rescuers extinguish a fire after shelling the Bakhmut front in Ivanivske, Ukraine, as the Russo-Ukrainian war rages on January 2

Kirill has previously justified the war as part of Russia’s “metaphysical struggle” to prevent liberal ideological interference from the West.

Putin spoke to Turkey’s president by phone on Thursday, and the Kremlin said Putin had reaffirmed “Russia’s openness to serious dialogue” with Ukrainian authorities.

But this declared willingness came with the usual premise: that “the Kiev authorities fulfill known and repeatedly voiced demands and recognize new territorial realities,” the Kremlin said, citing Moscow’s insistence that Ukraine recognize Crimea as part of Russia and others illegal recognizes territorial gains.

Russian troops occupy large parts of eastern and southern Ukraine. The Kremlin claims it has annexed the Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporizhia and Kherson regions, although it does not control them fully.

Previous attempts at peace talks have failed at this hurdle, as Ukraine demands that Russia at least withdraw from the occupied territories.

Elsewhere, the NATO chief said he had seen no change in Moscow’s stance on Ukraine, insisting the Kremlin “wants a Europe where it can control a neighboring country.”

“We have no indication that President Putin has changed his plans, his goals for Ukraine,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Oslo.

Meanwhile, Erdogan urged Putin to declare a “unilateral” ceasefire in Ukraine.

Erdogan spoke to both Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy about his recent attempts as a mediator to broker an end to the 10-month war that began when the Russian despot ordered the invasion on February 24, 2022.

This is not the first time Putin has expressed his willingness to hold peace talks under the terms set by Moscow.

On Christmas Day, in an interview with state television about the war in Ukraine, Putin said Russia was “ready to negotiate some acceptable outcomes.”

In recent days, the Russian army has suffered a series of setbacks, with Ukraine attacking multiple targets – resulting in hundreds of deaths, according to Kyiv.

Russia on Wednesday said tolls rose in their worst single reported loss by a Ukrainian strike that an increasingly criticized Moscow accused troops of using their cellphones revealing their location.

The Ukrainian military’s strategic communications unit said nearly 400 Russian soldiers were killed in the eastern Ukraine town of Makiivka, and even Russian commentators said the death toll could be far higher than the 89 Russia admits.

The death toll in Makiivka is the highest reported by the Russian military in a single strike since its troops invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

The deadly strike came after months of domestic dissatisfaction with the military after a series of battlefield defeats and a hugely unpopular mobilization campaign.

The Russian Orthodox Church, which uses the old Julian calendar, celebrates Christmas on January 7 - later than the Gregorian calendar - although some Christians in Ukraine also commemorate the holiday on that day. Pictured: A Christmas tree is seen in Kyiv on January 2

The Russian Orthodox Church, which uses the old Julian calendar, celebrates Christmas on January 7 – later than the Gregorian calendar – although some Christians in Ukraine also commemorate the holiday on that day. Pictured: A Christmas tree is seen in Kyiv on January 2

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s western allies have renewed a vow to support Kyiv for as long as it takes to defeat Russia.

In the latest pledge of military aid, the French Defense Ministry said it plans to hold talks with its Ukrainian counterpart soon over the supply of armored fighting vehicles.

The French Presidency said it is the first time this type of western-made wheeled tank destroyers will be sent to the Ukrainian military.

Also, US President Joe Biden said Bradley Fighting Vehicles, a medium armored fighting vehicle capable of serving as a troop carrier, could be sent to Ukraine.

The fighting in Ukraine has become more and more of a war of attrition in recent weeks as winter has set in.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office, said on Thursday at least five civilians had been killed and eight injured by Russian shelling across the country in the past 24 hours.

The ongoing intense fighting for the eastern city of Bakhmut has left 60% of the city in ruins, Donetsk Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said on Thursday.

Ukrainian defenders held off the Russians, but Kremlin forces have bombarded the city with months of relentless shelling.

Taking the city in the Donbass region, a sprawling industrial area on the border with Russia, would not only give Putin a big win on the battlefield after months of setbacks, it would also cut Ukraine’s supply lines and open the way for Moscow’s forces to fight in To advance towards important Ukrainian strongholds in Donetsk.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11602985/Russia-calls-36-hour-TRUCE-Ukraine-noon-tomorrow-mark-Orthodox-Christmas.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Russia calls for a 36-hour ceasefire in Ukraine from noon tomorrow to celebrate Orthodox Christmas

Bradford Betz

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