Ukraine is shaking Putin’s ceasefire

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has dismissed Russia’s calls for a truce on Orthodox Christmas, citing times when the Kremlin’s army has failed to grant Ukraine such a respite.

In a statement released on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his defense minister, from the 6th weekend.

“Considering the fact that a large number of citizens professing Orthodoxy live in the combat zones, we call on the Ukrainian side to declare a ceasefire and allow them to attend services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day,” Putin proceeded with his appointment.

However, Zelenskyy rejected the Kremlin’s request in his nightly address on Thursday, instead citing two separate peace proposals that Putin had rejected in recent months.

Both leaders have recently claimed they are ready to negotiate, but experts have previously said so news week that the countries are unlikely to reach a peace agreement any time soon.

Zelenskyi rejects Putin's call for a ceasefire
At left, Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to a video conference in Moscow January 4. At right, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy addresses the US Congress in Washington, DC on December 21, 2022. Putin ordered his defense minister to cease fire along front lines in Ukraine ahead of Orthodox Christmas, which will be celebrated on January 7.
Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik/AFP via Getty; Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty

In one of Ukraine’s peace proposals in December, Zelenskyy said that Russia “received an offer to start implementing the peace formula with the withdrawal of occupying forces just on Christmas Day.” While the Russian Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas according to the Julian calendar, many in Ukraine celebrate Christmas on December 25th.

“Apparently both of our proposals were not heard by your country’s leaders,” said Zelenskyy, addressing “the citizens of Russia” towards the end of his nightly speech.

“Now they want to use Christmas as a cover to at least temporarily halt the advance of our guys in the Donbass and bring equipment, ammunition and mobilized men closer to our positions,” he continued, according to an English translation. “What will that do? Just another increase in the death toll.”

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba joined Zelenskyy a tweet Also on Thursday he wrote that Russia continues to ignore Ukraine’s “clear ten-step peace formula”.

“Russia ignored it and instead bombed Kherson on Christmas Eve and launched mass missile and drone attacks on New Year,” Kuleba said. “Your current ‘unilateral ceasefire’ cannot and should not be taken seriously.”

On Christmas Eve, Russian forces reportedly fired a barrage of 71 explosive shells into the Kherson region, killing 16 and injuring dozens more. Also on New Year’s Eve, Putin’s army carried out an attack in Kyiv that killed at least one person.

President Joe Biden told reporters Thursday he was “reluctant to respond to anything Putin says” when asked to comment on the call for a ceasefire.

“I found it interesting. He was ready to bomb hospitals, kindergartens and churches…on the 25th and on New Years,” Biden added. “I think he’s trying to find some oxygen.”

Ukrainian officials on Thursday claimed that the Russian army saw a huge spike in casualties during the Christmas and New Year period, and they estimate that 109,720 Russian troops have been killed since Putin invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

news week has reached out to Putin’s press office for comment. Ukraine is shaking Putin’s ceasefire

Rick Schindler

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