Putin’s 36-hour Truce Is A Tactical Ploy – Ukraine’s President

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has rejected out of hand a Russian order for a truce over the Orthodox Christmas period, saying the proposed ceasefire is a trick to halt the Ukraine army’s progress in the eastern Donbas region and allow Moscow to bring in more troops.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a 36-hour ceasefire – which will run from midday Friday (09:00 GMT) until the end of Saturday (21:00 GMT) – after a call for a Christmas truce by the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, the Kremlin said on Thursday.

“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…” the Kremlin said in a statement citing Putin.

The order did not specify whether the ceasefire would apply to both offensive and defensive operations by Russia, and it was not clear whether Russia would hit back if Ukraine kept fighting.

Speaking pointedly in Russian and addressing the Kremlin and Russians as a whole on Thursday night, Zelenskyy said Moscow had repeatedly ignored Kyiv’s peace plan.

“They now want to use Christmas as a cover, albeit briefly, to stop the advances of our boys in Donbas and bring equipment, ammunition and mobilised troops closer to our positions,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address.

“What will that give them? Only yet another increase in their total losses.”

“The whole world knows how the Kremlin uses interruptions in the war to continue the war with new strength,” Zelenskyy said.

The war would end, he said, when Russian troops left Ukraine or were thrown out.

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