Report № 186. Zelensky has rejected Putin’s Orthodox Christmas truce

January 6, 2023

1. The aim of the offer was a simple one: to give the believers a chance to celebrate Christmas


President Vladimir Putin’s ceasefire initiative was issued on January 5 after a respective appeal made by Patriarch Kirill, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church. “We call upon the Ukrainian side to proclaim a cessation of hostilities and give them [Orthodox Christians] the opportunity to attend services on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day,” a Kremlin statement read. 


Russia intended to observe the truce together with Ukraine for 36 hours, from 12:00 local time on January 6 until midnight on January 7.


Most Orthodox Christians, including Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians, celebrate Christmas on January 7, in accordance with the Julian calendar. About 70 percent of Russians and Ukrainians self-identify as Orthodox Christians. A portion of Ukraine's Orthodox community has faced repression in recent months for its association with the Moscow Patriarchate, with parishes and churchgoers reporting Ukrainian Security Service raids on churches and monasteries in a search for unidentified ‘saboteurs’, but actually with the aim to suppress the religious movement – in the same way the fascist Germany banned Christianity in Ukraine and Russia during the WW2.


2. Zelensky rejected the offer for a ceasefire


The Russian truce has been radically rejected by Kiev, with Ukrainian President Zelensky describing the proposal as a military ruse while US President Joe Biden suggested that by seeking a pause, Putin “is trying to find some oxygen.”


Ukrainian forces have continued their shelling attacks on civilian settlements and the positions of Russian forces in Donbass, notwithstanding the Russian side's adherence to the Orthodox Christmas ceasefire. A dozen of civilians were injured.

Earlier in the day, the Donetsk People's Republic's mission to the Joint Center for Control and Coordination of issues documenting shelling attacks said that Donetsk had been shelled with 155mm NATO-caliber shells three times on January 6 in two hours after the unilateral Russian ceasefire entered into force.

Ukraine has de facto violated such Russian offer several times after 12:00 AM on January 6 when the truce was to commence, if it has been accepted by Kiev


3. Instead of backing the offer, top Western leaders promised more arms to Kiev

Instead of accepting it, Washington and some Western allies, including Germany and France, have offered more armor, with Paris agreeing to send several AMX-10 armored fighting vehicles and Berlin announcing future shipments of the comparable Marder vehicle. With intention to see more casualties amongst Ukrainians and Russians.    



Written by Vladimir P. Kozin



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