Putin orders temporary ceasefire in Ukraine for Orthodox Christmas
On Thursday, January 5, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a 36-hour ceasefire in Ukraine over Orthodox Christmas.
This is the first major cease-fire in the war that lasted more than 10 months.
According to Kremlin, Putin directed that the ceasefire be declared effective on Jan. 6.
Many Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas on January 6-7, even those who live in Russia or Ukraine.
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow called earlier on Thursday for both sides of the war in Ukraine to observe a Christmas truce.
“Taking into account the appeal of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, I instruct the Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation to introduce a ceasefire regime along the entire line of contact of the parties in Ukraine from 12.00 on January 6, 2023, to 24.00 on January 7, 2023,” Putin said in the order.
Statements from the Kremlin invariably use Russian time.
“Proceeding from the fact that a large number of citizens professing Orthodoxy live in the areas of hostilities, we call on the Ukrainian side to declare a ceasefire and allow them to attend services on Christmas Eve, as well as on Christmas Day,” Putin said.
Ukraine earlier dismissed Kirill’s appeal, though there was no immediate reaction to Putin’s ceasefire announcement.