Putin orders 36-hour Truce For Orthodox Christmas

Putin orders 36-hour Truce For Orthodox Christmas

Jan. 6, 2023, 7:30 a.m.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered his troops to observe a ceasefire starting Friday to mark Orthodox Christmas. He said soldiers "along the entire line of contact" with Ukraine will hold their fire for 36 hours.

Putin gave the order on Thursday following an appeal from the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.

He called on Ukrainian forces to follow suit. However, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy rejected the idea.

Zelenskyy said, "They want to use Christmas as a cover to stop the advance of our boys in Donbas, at least for a while, and bring equipment, ammunition and conscripts closer to our positions."

He added that the war will end when Russian soldiers leave or his forces drive them out.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan asked Putin during a phone call on Thursday to declare a unilateral ceasefire. He once again offered to mediate peace talks. Putin said he is open to dialogue but that Ukrainian leaders would need to accept the loss of territories he has annexed.

One Kyiv resident said, "This is just a pretty candy wrapper that the Russians use to present themselves as wanting to end the conflict without actually doing anything."

Another said, "I don't believe Putin will go through with the ceasefire. We celebrated New Year's under bombs and missiles."

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