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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Russian media: Putin requests Orthodox Christmas ceasefire on front line in Ukraine

by The Kyiv Independent news deskJanuary 5, 2023 5:17 pm

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin ordered Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to implement a temporary ceasefire along the entire front line in Ukraine from midday on Jan. 6 to midnight on Jan. 7, according to Russian state media agency RIA Novosti, citing an official Kremlin press release.

Earlier on Jan. 5, Patriarch Kirill, leader of the Russian Orthodox Church and a fervent supporter of Russia's war in Ukraine, had called for a "Christmas Truce" inspired by the famous ceasefire on the Western Front on Dec. 24, 1914, so that Orthodox Christian soldiers on both sides "could visit church services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day".

“Given the appeal of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill," Putin's statement read, "I instruct the Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation to introduce a ceasefire along the entire line of contact between the parties in Ukraine."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is yet to comment on the Russian planned truce, but presidential advisor Mykhailo Podoliak issued a firm rebuttal on Twitter. 

"RF must leave the occupied territories - only then will it have a "temporary truce", he said.

Ukraine has so far given no sign of any intention to observe such a ceasefire themselves, as Russian missile, drone, and artillery attacks on cvilians and critical infrastructure have continued at high intensity over the winter holiday period.

On Dec. 24, ten civilians were killed and 58 wounded by a Russian rocket strike on central Kherson, the southern city that was liberated in November after eight months under Russian occupation.

On New Year's Eve, Russia launched its latest mass missile attack on Ukrainian cities, killing one and injuring 28 civilians around the country.

The Russian Orthodox Church and some other Orthodox churches celebrate Christmas on Jan. 7, while a majority around the world celebrate it on Dec. 25. The Orthodox Church of Ukraine had historically preferred the Jan. 7 date but allowed its parishes to celebrate on Dec. 25 in 2022.

The Kyiv Independent news desk
The Kyiv Independent news desk

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