Lviv, Ukraine/Moscow, Jan 6 (EFE).- Vladimir Putin’s unilateral and temporary Ukraine ceasefire to mark Orthodox Christmas was roundly rejected by Ukraine and its allies Friday, who said peace would be achieved with the full withdrawal of Russian troops from the country.
Putin ordered a 36-hour ceasefire to be observed until midnight of January 7 in order to allow Orthodox Christmas celebrations to go ahead in combat zones.
Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy was quick to shoot it down, saying Putin wanted to use the break to regroup Russian forces.
“Now they want to use Christmas as a cover to at least briefly stop the advance of our guys in Donbas and bring equipment, ammunition and mobilized men closer to our positions. What will this bring? Just another increase in the death toll,” he said in his nightly speech Thursday.
“Everyone in the world knows how the Kremlin uses respites at war to continue the war with renewed vigor. But to end the war faster, that is not what is needed at all.
“What is needed is the citizens of Russia who will find the courage to free themselves of their shameful fear of one man in the Kremlin, at least for 36 hours, at least at Christmas time.”
Nato and EU officials echoed Zelenskyy’s words Friday.
Russia’s defense ministry on Friday insisted its troops had limited their strikes to defensive measures against Ukrainian attacks.
Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov accused Ukrainian forces of targeting Russian positions and civilian targets. EFE