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Russia declares 36-hour ceasefire in Ukraine

At 12:00 Moscow time (0900 GMT)  the  36-hour unilateral ceasefire in Ukraine  ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin on the occasion of Orthodox Christmas,…

By Editorial , in Europe Politics , at January 6, 2023

At 12:00 Moscow time (0900 GMT)  the  36-hour unilateral ceasefire in Ukraine  ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin on the occasion of Orthodox Christmas, which is celebrated on January 7, came into force. and  as a response to the request of the patriarch of the Orthodox Church . Russia will apply this temporary truce  to the entire front line in Ukraine , as indicated by Russian state television this Friday.

At the moment, both parties defend opposite positions. On the one hand,  the Russian Ministry of Defense assures that its troops are limited only to responding to Ukrainian attacks  after the ceasefire came into force. “Despite the fact that since 12:00 p.m. in Moscow the group of Russian troops has observed the ceasefire, the kyiv regime has continued to attack towns and Russian troop positions with artillery,” said Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for the Ministry. of Defense of Russia.

On the other hand, the local authorities of  Bakhmut  have indicated that, despite the truce, there are still shots in this city, both on the Ukrainian and Russian sides, although at a lower intensity than previous days.

In this context, Ukraine has branded Putin’s temporary ceasefire as an act of propaganda and Ukrainian President  Volodimir Zelensky accuses Russia of wanting to use Christmas to stop the advance of Ukrainian troops in Donbas . For its part, Europe is also skeptical of this decision by the Russian president, and several leaders have reiterated their support for Ukraine.

Ukraine accuses Russia of “using Christmas as a cover”

However, this move by Putin has been branded as propaganda by  Ukraine . In fact, the Ukrainian president,  Volodímir Zelenski , has accused Russia on Thursday night of  trying to “use Christmas as a cover” to stop the advance of the Ukrainian Army  and regroup its forces.

“Now they want to use Christmas as a cover to stop at least briefly the advance of our boys in Donbas and bring equipment, ammunition and mobilized men closer to our positions. What will this bring? Just another increase in the death toll,” he defended. the Ukrainian leader in his usual late-night speech.

In addition, he has insisted that “to end the war faster, that (the ceasefire) is not what is needed at all. What is needed is for the citizens of Russia to find the courage to  free themselves from their shameful fear of a man in the Kremlin , at least for 36 hours, at least on Christmas.”

Along these lines, Zelensky stressed that “everyone in the world knows how the Kremlin uses the stoppages in the war to continue it with renewed vigour.”

Support for Ukraine from European leaders

In  Europe there is also skepticism  regarding Putin’s truce and, in this context, some leaders have reaffirmed their support for Ukraine. The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, has called Putin’s ceasefire a “false and hypocritical” gesture. For his part, the Spanish president, Pedro Sánchez, also held a conversation with Zelenski this Thursday, after Putin’s announcement, and reiterated “Spain’s full support until peace is reached.”

From Asia, the Japanese Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, had a telephone conversation with Zelenski this Friday and, although he has not yet confirmed a visit to Kiev, he has reiterated  Tokyo’s support for Ukraine . “I have strongly condemned Russia’s continued aggression,” he told reporters, also indicating that Japan would do everything possible to provide assistance to save the lives of the Ukrainian people.

NATO has also sided with Ukraine, recalling this Friday that Vladimir Putin was the one who started the war in Ukraine and that “he can stop it today” by withdrawing his troops from the country, as indicated by Oana Lungescu, one of the spokespersons for The alliance. ” NATO will continue to support Ukraine in defending its right to self-defense, enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations ,” she added.

Along these lines, the  United States  and  Germany  have jointly announced this Thursday that they will send armored tanks and anti-aircraft defenses to support the Ukrainian troops, something that Zelensky himself thanked in his late-night speech on Thursday.

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