Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday ordered a 36-hour ceasefire in Ukraine to run throughout Orthodox Christmas, a transfer rapidly dismissed by war-battered Kyiv and its allies.
Putin’s directive to his troops was introduced days after Moscow suffered its deadliest reported lack of the invasion, and as Ukraine’s supporters pledged to ship armoured autos and a second Patriot air defence battery to assist Kyiv.
Each nations have fun Orthodox Christmas and the Russian chief’s order got here following ceasefire calls from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russia’s religious chief Patriarch Kirill, a staunch Putin supporter.
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“Making an allowance for the enchantment of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, I instruct the defence minister of the Russian Federation to introduce… a ceasefire alongside the whole line of contact between the edges in Ukraine,” mentioned a Kremlin assertion.
It is going to run from noon Friday (0900 GMT), till the top of Saturday (2100 GMT), the Kremlin mentioned.
Kyiv rapidly denounced the transfer.
Russia “should go away the occupied territories — solely then will it have a ‘non permanent truce’,” Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak wrote on Twitter. “Hold hypocrisy to your self.”
US President Joe Biden was equally dismissive of Putin’s announcement.
“He was able to bomb hospitals and nurseries and church buildings” on December 25 and on New Yr’s Day, he mentioned. “I believe he is looking for some oxygen.”
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And British Overseas Secretary James Cleverly wrote on Twitter: “A 36 hour pause of Russian assaults will do nothing to advance the prospects for peace.”
– Orthodox Christmas –
For the reason that invasion started on February 24 final yr, Russia has occupied components of jap and southern Ukraine, however Kyiv has reclaimed swathes of its territory and this week claimed a New Yr’s strike that killed scores of Moscow’s troops.
After votes that had been internationally branded as farces, Russia annexed the Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson areas — regardless of not absolutely controlling them.
Putin is open to dialogue with Ukraine if Kyiv recognises “the brand new territorial realities”, mentioned the Kremlin, in a abstract of his phone dialog with Erdogan Thursday.
“The Russian facet emphasised the damaging position of Western states, pumping the Kyiv regime with weapons and navy tools, offering it with operational info and targets,” it added.
The 76-year-old Patriarch Kirill has given his blessing to Russian troops combating in Ukraine and delivered closely anti-Western and anti-Kyiv sermons all through the battle.
Kirill made his ceasefire enchantment “in order that Orthodox individuals can attend companies on Christmas Eve and on the day of the Nativity of Christ”, he mentioned on the church’s official web site Thursday.
The Kremlin’s choice to ship troops into Ukraine resulted in lots of clerics who had continued to stay loyal to Kirill turning away from Moscow.
In Might, the Moscow-backed department of Ukraine’s Orthodox Church severed ties with Russia, citing his lack of condemnation of the combating.
– Extra arms for Ukraine –
Information of Putin’s ceasefire order got here as Germany and america pledged to offer further navy assist for Kyiv, with Biden saying the promised tools comes at a “vital level” within the struggle.
Washington and Berlin mentioned in a joint assertion that they’ll respectively present Kyiv with Bradley and Marder infantry combating autos.
And “Germany will be part of america in supplying an extra Patriot air defence battery to Ukraine,” the assertion mentioned, doubling the variety of the superior methods which have been promised to Kyiv.
Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz has confronted renewed calls to ship Leopard gentle tanks, lengthy sought by Kyiv, after French President Emmanuel Macron introduced the supply of French-made AMX-10 RC gentle tanks to Ukraine.
Macron’s announcement on Wednesday made France the primary Western nation to announce the supply of such weapons to Ukraine.
– Worst single loss –
Putin’s ceasefire order got here a day after Moscow lifted its reported toll in its worst single reported loss from a Ukrainian strike to 89 lifeless.
Ukraine’s navy strategic communications unit has mentioned almost 400 Russian troopers died within the city of Makiivka in jap Ukraine, held by pro-Russian forces. Even Russian commentators have mentioned the demise toll could also be far greater than the Kremlin’s figures.
The lethal Makiivka strike got here after months of discontent inside Russia in direction of the navy following a collection of battlefield defeats and a massively unpopular mobilisation drive.