Earlier this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin demanded a truce this weekend for the Orthodox Christmas holiday.
If this event were to happen, it would be the first mass-scale ceasefire ever since the war started almost 11 months ago.
Kyiv isn’t partaking in Putin’s 36-hour truce for Orthodox Christmas
However, much to Putin’s dismay, this decision didn’t sit right with Kyiv and the defending country refused to yield.
Putin announces Christmas truce, Ukraine rejects it pic.twitter.com/DAzBZhTHHc
— Kevin smith (@KJ00355197) January 6, 2023
Additionally, Putin didn’t declare whether the ceasefire was dependent on Ukraine accepting it; it’s still unclear whether the hostile activity on the 684-mile frontline will come to a temporary halt this weekend.
There have been several occasions when Russia ordered its troops in smaller areas to cease fire in order to allow civilians to evacuate; although it’s hard to say those orders were followed, considering the number of civilian casualties Ukraine has suffered.
This time around, Putin declared the first-ever country-wide truce that would last 36 hours, starting on Christmas Eve and ending on the Day of the Nativity of Christ.
Oddly enough, there’s been no indication whether the ceasefire also applies to defensive operations; it remains unclear whether the Russian army will fire back if the Ukrainians continue the battle.
Zelensky addressed his people and troops. Instead of clarifying whether Ukraine will accept Putin’s offer, the president questioned his motives, as there are more than a few for a move like this.
Putin had no qualms about sending bombs and missiles to kill Ukrainians during their Christmas and New Year's celebrations, but now he wants to unilaterally declare some kind of a pretend ceasefire to honor the Orthodox holidays. Cynical, revolting, theatrical hypocrisy. pic.twitter.com/TwsHW4IvQn
— Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) January 5, 2023
What’s the Kremlin planning this time?
Zelensky claimed that Putin is using Christmas to stop the advancement of Ukrainian troops towards Donbas, which would allow Russians to recuperate and restart the battle with newfound vigor and strength.
This is highly likely, considering Zelensky’s latest military actions have led to the deaths of over 110k Russian soldiers. It would make perfect sense for the Kremlin to cease the battle at such a crucial time.
In typical fashion, Russian authorities have failed to provide any data on their losses from the invasion of Ukraine; we have to rely on the information provided to us by Ukraine instead.
Biden dismissed #Putin's offer of 36hr ceasefire on Orthodox Christmas.
"I have no burning desire to respond to anything Putin says. He was ready to bomb hospitals, kindergartens and churches on December 25 and on New Year's Day. I think he's trying to get some oxygen." pic.twitter.com/OXauxA4WjJ
— Stepan Gronk (@StepanGronk) January 6, 2023
Zelensky’s advisor, Mykhailo Podolyak reassured the only way the two countries would reach a temporary truce is if Russian forces retreat from the occupied territories.
Biden spoke up on the situation as well, claiming he found it strange that Putin was ready to bomb hospitals and churches on Christmas and New Year’s Eve, alluding to the idea he’s merely looking for an air pocket.
Ned Price, the spokesman for the State Department, added he has little faith in what Kremlin’s offering to Ukraine and Russia has given little reason to take anything they say at face value.
Stephanie Dujarric chimed in on the matter as well, stating the UN welcomes the move, but that it will not be able to replace just peace that is in line with the UN’s Charter and International Law.