January 27, 2023

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Ukraine: Putin, Orthodox Christmas Ceasefire. Kyiv: “It is hypocrisy, withdraw and you will have peace” – The World

A short lull in the fighting – 36 hours in all – on the occasion of Orthodox Christmas, which falls on January 7. And how much Vladimir Putin decided unilaterallyTo appeal to Ukraine to accept the suspension of hostilities. But Kyiv replied that there would be an armistice only when the Russians withdrew during the presidency of the United States Joe Biden He said it was simply an attempt by Moscow to gain “some breathing space” to compensate for the difficulties facing its forces on the ground.

The response of the European Union was: “There is an aggressor: the Kremlin. And a victim: the Ukrainian people. The withdrawal of Russian forces is the only serious option to restore peace and security. Announcing a unilateral ceasefire is as false and hypocritical as annexations The President of the Council of the European Union tweeted Charles Michel.

President Volodymyr spoke in the evening Zelensky: “The Russian authorities want to use Christmas as a cover to stop the advance of our boys in DonbassEven if for a while, bring equipment, ammunition and mobilization near our positions. This will only lead to a further increase in the number of victims. He added that everyone in the world knows how the Kremlin uses lulls in the war to continue the war with renewed vigor, stressing that “the war will end when the ‘Russian’ soldiers leave or we expel them.”

The decision of the Russian president came after a telephone conversation in the morning with the Turkish Recep Tayyip ErdoganBasically He rejected the latter’s call for a “unilateral ceasefire.” – but for longer than the short Christmas period – to prefer the search for a negotiated solution to the conflict, for which Ankara again proposes itself as a mediator.

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For the umpteenth time, Putin said that his country is open to “serious dialogue”, but on the condition that “Kyiv fulfills known requests and takes into account new regional realities.” In short, if Ukraine abandons the insistence on regaining control over all its regions: not only Crimea, but also the four regions that Moscow annexed last fall after referendums that were condemned by the international community and which, among other things, are only partially controlled by Russian forces.

The Kremlin chief added a polemic against Western countries, accusing them of playing a “destructive role” in Ukraine by continuing to arm it and provide it with useful intelligence for its forces to identify targets. A few hours pass and Putin announces that he has ordered Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to carry out the Christmas truce, from noon on January 6 until midnight on the 7th, accepting a request to that effect from both sides. Patriarch KirillHead of the Russian Orthodox Church.

At the same time, the Russian leader A.A Kyiv appeal Acceptance of a temporary cessation of hostilities, to allow all Orthodox to participate in religious ceremonies. Sheer “hypocrisy”, replies the adviser to the Ukrainian President Mykhailo Podolak, who a few hours ago also attacked Kirill harshly, judging his request to be a “cynical snare” and accusing the church he leads of acting “only as propaganda for war”.

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba echoed what he said, “We can’t take it seriously.” If Russia wants an armistice, Podolyak insists, it has only one chance to obtain it: “withdrawal from occupied territories.”.

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But on the contrary, says the Minister of the Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Oleksiy Danilov, Moscow is preparing for a new escalation In February, when the first anniversary of the beginning of the conflict falls. If this is the actual scenario, Erdogan’s new peace initiative will certainly start uphill.

Speaking of the conversation he had with the Turkish leader, among other things, Zelensky He focused not so much on a general solution as on specific issues, such as the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the exchange of prisoners and the development of a grain export agreement. For the Ukrainian president, the good news today is concrete new military assistance from NATO allies.

Joe Biden and Olaf Schultz agreed, during a phone call, to send American and German soldiers to Kyiv. Berlin also joins the United States in supplying effective Patriot missile systems. Biden said the Patriots “work and the Russians are beginning to understand that they work well.”

Meanwhile, as rumors of Putin’s possible visit to Donetsk, in the Donbass, for Christmas are circulating stalking each other on Russia’s Telegram channels, Civilians are still dying under the bombing. Ukrainian sources reported that a married couple and their 12-year-old son were killed in Russian bombing in Bereslav, Kherson region. In the capital, the death of a 20-year-old was reported, while in the community of Stepnohorsk, in the Zaporizhia region, two people were reported dead and three injured.