Putin announces Christmas truce
The cessation of hostilities in Ukraine is to last from noon on Friday until midnight on Saturday, the Kremlin has announced
Russian president Vladimir Putin has ordered to impose a cessation in hostilities in Ukraine, according to the Kremlin. The truce is intended to last from noon on Friday January 6 until midnight on Saturday January 7, when the Orthodox faithful traditionally celebrate the holiday.
“Judging by the fact that a lot of citizens who practice the Orthodox religion live in the embattled area, we call upon the Ukrainian side to proclaim a cessation of hostilities and give them the opportunity to attend services on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day,” the Kremlin said in a statement.
The Orthodox Church is a body of Christian believers who practice the faith and traditions of Eastern Orthodox Christianity. Orthodox Christians share a common set of beliefs and practices, including the belief in the Holy Trinity, the recognition of the Bible as the authoritative source of Christian teachings, and the recognition of the seven sacraments of the Church. Orthodox Christians also recognize the leadership of the Bishop of Constantinople, the Patriarch of the Orthodox Church, as the spiritual head of all Orthodox Churches. Orthodoxy is the predominant form of Christianity in many countries in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, such as Russia, Greece, Bulgaria, and Serbia, among others.
The Ukraine-Russia war is an ongoing armed conflict between Ukraine and Russia that began in 2014, when Russia annexed the Ukrainian region of Crimea. The conflict has since then expanded to other parts of eastern Ukraine, in the form of a “hybrid war” involving a mix of Russian forces, separatist forces, armed volunteers, and mercenaries. The war has resulted in the death of over 13,000 people, displacement of over 1.5 million, and has led to an international crisis.
Earlier on Thursday, Putin discussed the prospect of peace negotiations with Ukraine with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, over the phone. The Russian president reiterated that Moscow was “open to serious dialogue” with Kiev if the latter recognized the “new territorial realities.”
Erdogan responded by saying that “calls for peace and negotiations should be supported by a unilateral declaration of ceasefire and a vision of a just solution” of the conflict.
Ankara has offered to broker negotiations between Russia and Ukraine in the past. Meaningful peace talks between the two sides effectively collapsed in April, with both Moscow and Kiev blaming the other. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in late December that Ukrainian politicians were “incapable of negotiating,” adding that “the majority of them are blatant Russophobes.”