Russia announces temporary ceasefire for Orthodox Christmas

Russia Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures during a state-of-the nation address in Moscow, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012. Putin on Wednesday angrily rejected what he described as attempts to enforce foreign patterns of democracy on Russia and vowed to preserve the nation’s identity against interference from abroad. Putin’s speech was his first state-of-the nation address since winning a third term in March’s election despite a wave of massive protests in Moscow. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko) Alexander Zemlianichenko

Russia announces temporary ceasefire for Orthodox Christmas

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Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed his forces to implement a temporary ceasefire in Ukraine later this week to coincide with the Russian and Ukrainian Orthodox celebration of Christmas.

“Taking into account the appeal of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, I instruct the Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation to introduce a ceasefire regime along the entire line of contact between the parties in Ukraine from 12:00 on January 6 to 24:00 on January 7,” a statement from the Kremlin released on Thursday said. “Based on the fact that a large number of citizens professing Orthodoxy live in the combat areas, we call on the Ukrainian side to declare a ceasefire and give them the opportunity to attend services on Christmas Eve, as well as on the Day of the Nativity of Christ.”


Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Rus’ urged a ceasefire earlier on Thursday.

It remains to be seen whether Russian forces will live up to any such short-term ceasefire considering Kremlin officials have repeatedly said one thing while giving contradictory orders to the troops.

In recent weeks, Russia has continued its pursuit of Bakhmut, a city in the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine. The fighting has been “vicious,” according to U.S. officials, and they expect the fighting there will continue for weeks, despite beliefs that the war would settle down amid the harsh winter conditions that are not suitable for the style of conflict playing out in the east.


Aside from the minimal grounds Russia has made in the east, they have simultaneously been using Iranian-made drones for months to target Ukraine’s energy infrastructure in an attempt to break the will of the Ukrainian people. It has forced millions to live without power, heat, or running water at times, while the Ukrainian energy grid is currently under extreme duress. Western countries have provided millions of dollars of aid specifically to help them sure up their grid.

Ukraine, for its part, has used U.S. and Western-provided weapons to get better at shooting down the Iranian “kamikaze” drones that have caused significant damage across the country. Ukrainians have also been able to recapture large swaths of territory that had been under Russian occupation, and oftentimes Ukrainians are left to assess the overwhelming destruction and apparent war crimes Russian forces committed.

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