Russian President Vladimir Putin has proposed a one-and-a-half-day truce in the Russo-Ukrainian war, but the Ukrainian leadership and their Western allies will have none of it, considering Moscow’s proposal a sham. To what extent the guns on the front will go silent until Saturday evening is highly questionable.
Officially, the Russian leadership ordered a ceasefire in the war in Ukraine on Friday from 12 p.m. Moscow time and 10 a.m. Hungarian time.
The truce was officially ordered by Putin at the suggestion of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, to allow Orthodox believers involved in the war to participate in the Orthodox Christmas Masses on 7 January.
Putin announced the ceasefire unilaterally, calling on Ukraine to do likewise. The Christmas truce would have lasted until Saturday midnight (10 p.m. Hungarian time).
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Ukraine’s Western allies rejected the proposal.
Zelensky believes that Putin would only use the Christmas truce to temporarily stop the advance of the Ukrainian armed forces in the east, the online Ukrainian newspaper Ukrainske Pravda says.
‘They want to use Christmas to stop the advance of our soldiers in Donbas for a while, and to send equipment, ammunition, and troops to our positions,’ the Ukrainian President said. He also opined that it would only result in another increase in the number of victims.
Mykhailo Podolyak, the Ukrainian President’s Chief Adviser, wrote on Twitter: ‘First. Ukraine does not attack foreign territory and does not kill civilians….Ukraine destroys only members of the occupation army on its territory…’ He also added that Russia ‘must leave the occupied territories—only then will it have a “temporary truce”. Keep hypocrisy to yourself,’ the Chief Adviser told the Russians at the end of his post.
The President of the European Council called the declaration of a unilateral Russian truce on Twitter false and hypocritical. Charles Michel emphasized: ‘The Kremlin is the aggressor, and the victim is the Ukrainian people.’ He expressed conviction that the announcement of a unilateral ceasefire is as false and hypocritical as the illegal annexation of Ukrainian territories and the accompanying referenda, and that the withdrawal of Russian troops is the only possibility to restore peace and security.
US President Joe Biden said he is generally reluctant to comment on Putin’s words, but this time he found them quite interesting, considering that the Russian President had no trouble bombing hospitals, kindergartens, and churches on 25 December and on New Year’s Eve.
Biden added that in his opinion, by floating a truce, the only thing Putin is trying to have some breathing room.
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