Ukraine Rejects Russia’s Call For Orthodox Christmas Truce
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
KYIV (Worthy News) – Ukraine on Thursday rejected Russian calls for an Orthodox Christmas cease-fire, the first such truce since war broke out in January.
Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said a “temporary truce” would be possible only when Russia leaves the territory it is occupying in Ukraine.
The Kremlin earlier said Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, to introduce a 36-hour ceasefire along the entire line of contact in Ukraine from noon tomorrow to midnight, January 7.
However, in a statement monitored by Worthy News, Podolyak stressed that “Ukraine doesn’t attack foreign territory and doesn’t kill civilians” as “the [Russian Federation] RF does.”
He added on the social network Twitter that “Ukraine destroys only members of the occupation army on its territory.”
Podolyak stressed that Russia “must leave the occupied territories” as “only then will it have a “temporary truce.” Keep hypocrisy to yourself.”
It wasn’t clear whether Russia would walk away from its ceasefire following Kyiv’s rejection of such a deal. However, Moscow suggested that Putin’s order remained valid.
Russian troops must hold fire for 36 hours to allow people “in the areas of hostilities” to mark Orthodox Christmas, Putin explained Thursday.
Putin’s announcement came hours after the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, called for a ceasefire and a Christmas truce in Ukraine.
In a statement, Kirill said he appealed to “all parties involved in the internecine conflict” for the ceasefire so that “Orthodox people can attend services on Christmas Eve and the day of the Nativity of Christ.”
Before the ceasefire announcement, Putin told his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, that Russia was open to dialogue over Ukraine under conditions.
Putin said Kyiv would have to accept the “new territorial realities,” according to a readout of the call between the two leaders by the Kremlin.
Yet, Ukraine has so far declined to give up territories occupied by Russia.
Putin also “acknowledged the destructive role of the West, pumping weapons into Kyiv, providing information and guidance,” the Kremlin stressed in published remarks.
Erdoğan told Putin that peace efforts in the Russia-Ukraine war should be backed by a unilateral ceasefire and a “vision for a fair solution,” the Turkish presidency said.
There were no signs of peace returning to wartorn Ukraine on Thursday, with a couple and their 12-year-old son among those killed. They died when a Russian shell hit a residential building in the town of Beryslav in Ukraine’s southern Kherson region, authorities said.
The family was preparing to celebrate the Orthodox Christian Christmas when the attack occurred, explained Kyrylo Tymoshenko, an aide to the Ukrainian president.
As fighting continued, authorities published economic data showing Ukraine’s gross domestic product fell by 30.4 in 2022 – the most significant annual fall in over 30 years. The financial troubles linked to the war in Ukraine were still less than initially expected, suggested Yulia Svyrydenko. Ukraine’s GDP had grown by 3.4 percent in 2021.
Presidents Putin and Erdoğan also spoke about the Black Sea grain corridor, allowing Ukrainian grain shipments.
Additionally, they discussed creating a natural gas hub in Turkey and the construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant at a time of energy difficulties caused by the war in Ukraine.
Besides issues related to Ukraine, Erdoğan mentioned to Putin the armed conflict in Syria, saying concrete steps must be taken “to clear Kurdish militants” from the Syrian border region.
Yet doubts unclear Thursday whether their talks would bring about peace to Ukraine or other hotspots such as Syria any time soon.
If you are interested in articles produced by Worthy News, please check out our FREE sydication service available to churches or online Christian ministries. To find out more, visit Worthy Plugins.