Russia’s forces begin temporary ceasefire in Ukraine war as Zelenskyy rejects calls to halt offensive
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s troops have begun a temporary ceasefire in the Ukraine war on the occasion of the Orthodox Christmas celebration.
The ceasefire began Friday midday in Moscow (9am Irish time) and is expected to last 36 hours at the request of the Russian Orthodox Church, Russian state television confirmed.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has dismissed calls for a ceasefire and accused Russia of trying to halt Kiev’s progress in the bitter struggle in eastern Ukraine.
US President Joe Biden also pointed out that Putin was ready to bomb “hospitals, kindergartens and churches” on December 25 and on New Year’s Eve, but is now calling for a ceasefire.
Biden said, “I thought it was interesting. He [Putin] was ready to bomb hospitals and kindergartens and churches…on the 25th and New Years. I think he’s trying to find some oxygen.”
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) in the US said the ceasefire was just a tactic used by Putin to damage Ukraine’s reputation in the war.
The ISW said: “Putin’s announcement that Russian forces will observe a 36-hour ceasefire in celebration of Russian Orthodox Christmas is likely an information operation aimed at damaging Ukraine’s reputation.
“Putin cannot reasonably expect Ukraine to honor the terms of this suddenly declared ceasefire and may have called for the ceasefire to portray Ukraine as unaccommodating and unwilling to take the necessary steps towards negotiations.”
Russian forces stepped up attacks on Ukraine during Christmas and the New Year, despite calls for respite from Volodymyr Zelensky’s government.
Kremlin officials said Mr Putin, at the request of the head of the Russian Orthodox Church in anticipation of the Christmas celebrations in Moscow, ordered the ceasefire to last 36 hours from Friday noon.
The ceasefire call comes after the US announced it would send about 50 Bradley vehicles to Ukraine in its latest package worth around $2.8 billion.
https://www.independent.ie/world-news/russias-forces-begins-temporary-ceasefire-in-ukraine-war-as-zelensky-rejects-calls-to-halt-offensive-42266663.html Russia’s forces begin temporary ceasefire in Ukraine war as Zelenskyy rejects calls to halt offensive