Ukraine’s Zelenskyy says Putin’s 36-hour truce is a tactical ploy | Russia-Ukraine war News
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has flatly rejected a Russian order for a ceasefire over the Orthodox Christmas period, saying the proposed ceasefire is a ploy to halt the advance of the Ukrainian army in the eastern Donbass region and allow Moscow to send in more troops station.
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a 36-hour ceasefire that will last from Friday noon (09:00 GMT) until the end of Saturday (21:00 GMT) after the head of the Russian Orthodox Church called for a Christmas truce had , Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, the Kremlin said on Thursday.
“Taking into account the appeal of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, I instruct the Defense Minister of the Russian Federation to implement a ceasefire regime along the entire line of contact of the parties in Ukraine…” the Kremlin said in a statement citing Putin.
The order did not specify whether the armistice would apply to both offensive and defensive operations by Russia, and it was not clear whether Russia would retaliate if Ukraine continued fighting.
Zelenskyy spoke emphatically Russian on Thursday evening and addressed the Kremlin and the Russians as a whole that Moscow had repeatedly ignored the Kyiv peace plan.
“They now want to use Christmas, albeit briefly, as a cover to stop the advance of our guys in Donbass and bring equipment, ammunition and mobilized troops closer to our positions,” Zelenskyy said in his late-night video address.
“What will that do for you? Just another increase in their total losses.”
“The whole world knows how the Kremlin uses war breaks to continue the war with renewed vigour,” said Zelenskyy.
The war would end, he said, when Russian troops left Ukraine or were expelled.
The Russian Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas on January 7th. The main Orthodox Church of Ukraine has been recognized as independent and rejects any allegiance to the Moscow Patriarch. Many Ukrainian believers have also shifted their calendars to celebrate Christmas on December 25, like in the West.
In his address to the Russian people, Zelenskyy said that ending the war means “ending your country’s aggression… This continues every day that your soldiers are on our soil… And the war will end either when your Soldiers go or we throw them out”.
The Ukrainian leader also urged the Russians to challenge Putin and his portrayal of the war as necessary to protect Moscow’s interests vis-à-vis the West.
“To end the war faster, we need something completely different. We need Russian citizens who will find the courage, albeit for 36 hours, albeit at Christmas, to free themselves from the shameful fear of a man in the Kremlin.”
US President Joe Biden was equally dismissive of Putin’s announcement.
“He was ready to bomb hospitals, kindergartens and churches,” Biden said on December 25 and on New Year’s Day.
“I think he’s trying to find some oxygen,” he added.
European Council President Charles Michel said Russia’s withdrawal was the “only serious option for restoring peace and security”.
“The announcement of a unilateral ceasefire is just as false and hypocritical as the illegal and grotesque annexations and the accompanying referendums,” Michel said in a tweet, referring to the four Ukrainian regions Russia allegedly annexed in September 2022.
There is an attacker: the Kremlin. And a victim: the Ukrainian people. The withdrawal of Russian troops is the only serious option for restoring peace and security. The announcement of a unilateral ceasefire is false and hypocritical, as are the illegal and grotesque annexations and accompanying referendums
— Charles Michel (@CharlesMichel) January 5, 2023
Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock wrote on Twitter: “A so-called armistice brings neither freedom nor security for people who live in fear under the Russian occupation every day.”
Political scientist Tatyana Stanovaya said the ceasefire order “fits well with Putin’s logic, in which Russia is acting on the right side of history and fighting for justice.”
“In this war, Putin feels like a ‘good guy’, doing good not only for himself and the ‘fraternal nations’, but also for the world, which he is liberating from the ‘hegemony’ of the United States,” says Stanovaya , founder of the independent organization R.Politik Think Tank, wrote on Telegram.
She also linked Putin’s move to the recent attack by Ukrainian forces on Makiivka, which killed at least 89 Russian soldiers.
“He really doesn’t want to get something like that for Christmas,” she said.
Ukraine has claimed that up to 400 Russian soldiers were killed in the Makiivka attack, which took place on Sunday in the first minutes of the New Year.