Ukrainian officials on Thursday dismissed the order on a ceasefire by Russian President Vladimir Putin calling it ‘hypocrisy’. The Kremlin announced that a ceasefire in Ukraine has been ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin in celebration of Orthodox Christmas, reported news agency Reuters.
The Kremlin stated that Russian troops must maintain the fire for 36 hours starting at 1200 HRS on January 6. On January 6 and 7, many Orthodox Christians, including those in Russia and Ukraine, celebrate Christmas. The order came after the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, called for both sides in the Ukraine conflict to observe a Christmas truce on Thursday.
However, Ukrainian officials expressed doubts about the temporary ceasefire stating that Moscow just wanted a pause to gather reserves, equipment and ammunition.In an address on Thursday night, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia aims to use Orthodox Christmas “as a cover” to resupply and stop Ukrainian advances in the eastern Donbas region.
“What will this accomplish? Only another increase in the casualty count,” the CNN report quoted the President as saying. Serhiy Haidai, head of the Luhansk regional military administration told Ukrainian television, “Regarding this truce – they just want to get some kind of a pause for a day or two, to pull even more reserves, bring some more ammo.”
“Russia cannot be trusted. Not a single word they say,” Haidai added. The battle entered its 11th month, which many experts thought would be over within days or weeks, and turned a grueling war.Christmas is observed on January 7 in the Russian Orthodox Church, which adheres to the ancient Julian calendar rather than the Gregorian calendar. However, some Christians in Ukraine observe the holiday on the same day.
Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the Ukrainian president, called Kirill’s call “a cynical trap and an element of propaganda.” Prior to December 25, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had made a withdrawal of Russian troops proposal that Russia rejected.