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Putin’s call for Orthodox Christmas truce in Ukraine rejected



To commemorate Orthodox Christmas, Russian President Vladimir Putin asked for a 36 hour ceasefire with Ukraine. Kyiv rejected this request, stating that there would not be a truce until Russia withdraws its troops from the occupied territories.

The United States and Germany have announced a joint agreement to supply Ukraine armored combat vehicles. This is a significant boost for President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Ukraine’s president. He has been calling on Western allies for heavy weapons and armour to be sent to his forces for several months.

50 Bradley Fighting Vehicles would be included in a $2.8 billion US package. Germany has announced that it will send Marder Infantry Fighting Vehicles, in response to France’s announcement Wednesday of AMX-10 RC armored combat vehicle.

According to the Kremlin Putin ordered Russian troops not to fire on Friday at noon, in response to Patriarch Kirill’s request for a Christmas truce. Kirill is close to Putin and head of the Russian Orthodox Church.

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Putin stated in his Order: “Proceed out the fact large numbers of citizens profess Orthodoxy reside within the areas hostilities.”


The Russian Orthodox Church observes Christmas day on 7 January. Because the Ukrainian Orthodox Church rejected the Moscow patriarch, many Ukrainian believers moved Christmas to 25 Dec, the same day as the West.

True peace in Ukraine would only be possible if both sides had stopped fighting in Mariupol’s devastation port in May to allow Ukrainian forces surrender.

Zelenskiy stated that Russia wanted to use an truce to cover Ukrainian advances within the strategic area, eastern frontline, also known as the Donbas.


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In his nightly video address, Zelenskiy said that they would cover the advance in Donbas by Christmas. But it was only briefly. In his clearly translated speech, he spoke in Russian rather than Ukrainian.

The State Department and Pentagon welcomed Washington with skeptical reactions from US President Joe Biden. Biden said that he believed Putin was trying to “get some oxygen”.

While Ukraine has won some victories in the battlefield, Russia continues to launch drone and missile attacks against Ukraine’s power plants. This has led to power outages in winter for millions of people. According to Kyiv Russia has not attacked civilians since its invasion on 24 February. The strikes included New Year’s Day, Christmas Day and other attacks on civil infrastructure.

Ned Price, spokesperson of the US State Department, said that “There’s one Word that Best Describes That and That’s Cynical” during a press conference on Putin’s ceasefire.

Price stated that “our concern is that Russia will use any temporary suspension to fight to rest and refit then regroup, then reattack.”

Russia seemed to be challenging Putin’s ceasefire. Denis Pushilin, a Russian-installed leader in Ukraine’s Donetsk area, where there was the most fighting, wrote on Telegram “There cannot be any talk about any truce!”

He stated that Putin’s order was to stop offensive operations.

According to the Kremlin, Putin had told Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan that Moscow was open for peace talks but that Ukraine needed to “take into account the new territorial realities”. This refers specifically to Kyiv’s acknowledgment of Moscow’s annexed. This demand was called “fully unacceptable” by Mikhailo podolyak (the Ukrainian presidential advisor).

MEAT GRINDER

Ten months after Putin declared a special military operation to protect Russian security, Moscow and Kyiv entered the new decade in hardened diplomatic positions.

Despite his mounting losses, Putin has yet to express any desire to talk about the renunciation of his territorial conquests.

Although there are still heavy fighting, the frontline remains static since mid November’s Russian retreat. Bakhmut, an eastern city, was the site of some of the bloodiest battles. It has been compared to a meat grinder by both sides.

Ukraine claims Russia lost thousands of troops despite capturing little ground in its months-long futile attacks against Bakhmut. Russia claims that the city is vital to its goal of capturing Donetsk Province (one of the four regions it claims to have annexed).

Reuters saw smoke and explosions close to the front.

“We are holding onto. Viktor, a 39-year-old Ukrainian soldier, stated that the guys were trying to maintain the defense. He was driving an armored vehicle from Soledar, a salt-mining community at Bakhmut’s northeastern edges.

The majority of civilians have been evacuated from Bakhmut. Those who survived were subject to constant bombardment without heat or electricity. A few sections of the city were turned into a deserted wasteland from concrete piles piled up by abandoned blocks of residential housing.

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