Putin announces Xmas cease-fire

Brussels 05.01.2023 Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday ordered a 36-hour cease-fire in Ukraine over Orthodox Christmas, the first major truce of the more than 10-month war that has killed tens of thousands and devastated swaths of Ukraine.

Putin ordered the cease-fire to begin on January 6, the Kremlin said. Many Orthodox Christians, including those living in Russia and Ukraine, celebrate Christmas on January 6-7.

Putin did not appear to make his conditional on Ukrainian agreement to follow suit.

But it wasn’t clear whether hostilities would actually halt on the 684-mile front line. Ukrainian officials have previously dismissed Russian peace moves as playing for time to regroup their forces and prepare for additional attacks. A senior Ukrainian official quickly dismissed the proposal.

“The Russian Federation must leave the occupied territories — only then will it have a ‘temporary truce.’ Keep hypocrisy to yourself,” presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak wrote on Twitter.

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, called earlier Thursday for both sides of the war in Ukraine to observe a Christmas truce.

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