Ukraine perplexed by Putin's decision to cease fire on Christmas

Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed the Defence Ministry to implement a ceasefire along the entire line of contact in the zone of the special military operation on Christmas Day, a message posted on the Kremlin website said.

The ceasefire will be in effect from 12:00 January 6 to 24:00 January 7 (Moscow time). The decision was made after request for ceasefire from Patriarch Kirill.

"Based on the fact that a large number of citizens professing Orthodoxy live in the areas of hostilities, we call on the Ukrainian side to declare a ceasefire and give them an opportunity to attend services on Christmas Eve, as well as on the Day of the Nativity of Christ,” the message says.

On January 5, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia called for a truce in Ukraine and the Donbass so that Orthodox believers could celebrate Christmas in peace. The patriarch also indicated the time for the truce — from 12:00 of January 6 to 24:00 of January 7.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu ordered the Russian military to cease fire.

Zelensky reject's Putin's proposal

Meanwhile, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky responded to Putin's ceasefire proposal for Christmas. Under the pretext of truce, Russia is trying to hide new steps of "aggression”, Zelensky wrote on his Telegram channel.

"Russia will not be able to hide its preparations for a new wave of aggression against Ukraine and Europe,” Zelensky wrote.

By taking advantage of the truce, Russia will only strengthen its position on the line of contact, he added.

Mikhail Podolyak, adviser to the head of the office of the President of Ukraine, also responded to Putin's proposal to cease fire in the special operation zone on Christmas Day.

Russia should leave for truce to come

"Russia must leave the occupied territories for a "temporary truce" to start," Podolyak said.

Denis Pushilin, Putin-appointed acting head of the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), said that "there can be no talk of any truce."

"The decision concerns a ceasefire or offensive action on our part. This does not mean that we will not respond to the provocations of the enemy," Pushilin said.

Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine said:

"Let's be practical here. To whom are they offering this truce? To themselves? There is a fairly simple solution: they pick up their suitcases, they pick up their belongings and go to Russia. That's it. There is no negotiations with them… It is their priest who came up with a date. It has nothing to do with us. This is our land. We will do what we think we should do on our land.”

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Author`s name Petr Ernilin
Editor Dmitry Sudakov
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