Ukraine Rejects Russia’s 36-hour Ceasefire For Orthodox Christmas
Ukraine has rejected a 36-hour ceasefire announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin to mark Orthodox Christmas.
Ukraine said there will be no ceasefire until Russia removes all its invading forces from all occupied land.
Putin ordered his defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, to introduce a temporary ceasefire along the entire line of contact in Ukraine for Orthodox Christmas from midday on Friday to midnight on Saturday.
The order, addressed to Shoigu and published on the Kremlin’s website, read in part:
Taking into account the appeal of his holiness Patriarch Kirill, I instruct the minister of defence of the Russian Federation to introduce a ceasefire regime along the entire line of contact of the parties in Ukraine from 12.00 on 6 January 2023 to 24.00 on 7 January 2023.
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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 allow them to attend services on Christmas Eve, as well as on Christmas Day.
However, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in his nightly video address, said Russia had called for a ceasefire in order to re-equip its troops. He said:
They now want to use Christmas as a cover, albeit briefly, to stop the advances of our boys in Donbas and bring equipment, ammunition and mobilised troops closer to our positions.
Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s national security and defence council, accused Russia of “hiding behind a Christian holiday”. He said:
There is a simple solution: they pick up their suitcases, pick up their trash and go to Russia. That’s it.
In a tweet, Danilov said the Kremlin has no moral authority to call for a ceasefire to celebrate Christmas. He said:
What does a bunch of little Kremlin devils have to do with the Christian holiday of Christmas?
Who will believe an abomination that kills children, shells maternity homes, and tortures prisoners?
Many Orthodox Christians, including those living in Russia and Ukraine, celebrate Christmas on 6-7 January because they use the Julian calendar rather than the Gregorian calendar that is used in the West. | The Guardian