At noon Moscow time (10 am in Italy) the Christmas ceasefire in military operations in Ukraine officially announced by Russia entered into force, which will last until midnight (10 pm in Italy) tomorrow. Moscow’s proposal for a 36-hour truce in Ukraine for Orthodox Christmas is “cynical” and merely an attempt by Putin to “get a bullet in the arm”: US State Department spokesman Ned Price reportedly said at a news conference. By The Guardian. “No word can describe (the armistice proposal) better than ‘cynical’. Our concern (…) is that the Russians seek to exploit any temporary lull in the fighting to rest, recover, regroup and eventually finish, reattach Price said. The proposed truce should begin at noon today (10 am in Italy) and end at midnight (10 pm in Italy) tomorrow, Orthodox Christmas Day according to the Julian calendar.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said that Russian forces were respecting the unilaterally declared ceasefire as of 12 noon Moscow time, while “the Ukrainians continued their artillery bombardment of populated areas and Russian positions”. This was reported by the TASS agency.
Russian forces bombed the city of Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine after the Christmas truce declared by Russian President Vladimir Putin entered into force. This was stated by the deputy head of the Ukrainian bureau Kirillo Tymoshenko. He wrote on social media that “the occupiers attacked the city twice with missiles,” adding that a residential building was hit, but there were no casualties.
Ukraine attacked the Donetsk region with artillery fire three times immediately after entering into the unilateral ceasefire announced by Putin on the occasion of Orthodox Christmas. The tax is reported. The bombing was carried out with 155 mm artillery provided by NATO, the task of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic in the joint control and coordination center on Ukrainian war crimes identified in Telegram.
An air alert has been sounded across Ukraine after two fighter jets take off from the Baranovichi base in Belarus. Residents have been invited to go to shelters. This was reported by the Belarusian Gayon monitoring group citing UNIAN. The A-50U radar aircraft of the Russian Air Force had taken off from Machulishi just before that.
Putin orders a Christmas truce. Kyiv, “Withdrawal”. A short lull in the fighting – 36 hours in all – on the occasion of Orthodox Christmas, which falls on January 7. This is what Vladimir Putin decided unilaterally, imploring Ukraine to accept the suspension of hostilities. But Kyiv replied that there would be a truce only when the Russians withdraw, while US President Joe Biden stated that it was just an attempt by Moscow to get “some oxygen” to address the difficulties facing its forces on the ground. The Russian president’s decision came after, in a morning telephone conversation with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, he essentially rejected the latter’s request for a “unilateral ceasefire” – but for a period longer than a short-term Christmas – to encourage research. For a negotiated solution to the conflict, for which Ankara again proposes itself as a mediator. 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 implement the Christmas truce, from noon on January 6 until midnight on the seventh of the day, accepting a request to that effect from Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, to this effect. At the same time, the Russian leader made an appeal to Kyiv to accept a temporary cessation of hostilities, to allow all Orthodox Christians 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, Podolak insists, it has only one option: “Withdraw from occupied territories.” On the contrary, the Secretary of the Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Oleksiy Danilov, says that Moscow is preparing for a new escalation in February, when the first anniversary of the conflict comes. If this is the actual scenario, Erdogan’s new peace initiative will certainly start uphill. Speaking about the conversation he had with the Turkish leader, among other things, Zelensky focused not so much on a general solution as on specific issues, such as the Zaporizhia 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. Meanwhile, as rumors of Putin’s possible visit to Donetsk, Donbass, for Christmas haunt Russia’s Telegram channels, civilians continue to die under the bombardment. 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.
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