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Putin orders ceasefire in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday ordered a 36 hours ceasefire in Ukraine on Orthodox Christmas, celebrated this week by both countries.

Since the launch of the offensive in February last year, this is the first time Russia introduced a full ceasefire in Ukraine.

According to a statement by the Kremlin, the Defense minister of the Russian Federation is to introduce from 12:00 (0900 GMT) on January 6, 2023 until 24:00 (2100 GMT) on January 7, 2023 a ceasefire along the entire line of contact between the sides in Ukraine.

The statement added that given the fact that a large number of citizens professing Orthodoxy live in the areas of combat, “we call on the Ukrainian side to declare a ceasefire and give them the opportunity to attend church services on Christmas Eve, as well as on the Day of the Nativity of Christ”.

Meanwhile, Ukraine does not consider the gesture sincere and has dismissed the move by Russia as “hypocrisy”.

Ukrainian officials say Moscow just wanted a pause to gather reserves, equipment and ammunition.

Writing By Marian Benjamin; Editing by Muzha Kucha