At approximately 0400 EST, Moscow Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church called for a ceasefire in Ukraine from January 6th-7th. The ceasefire was called to observe the Russian Orthodoxy Christmas which is observed on January 7th. However, Ukrainian Presidential Adviser Podolyak immediately responded that a Christmas truce is a “cynical trap” and part of a Russian propaganda campaign.
Russian President Putin then ordered a ceasefire from January 6th-7th at approximately 1000 EST. Russian state owned media immediately began to circulate stories that the Ukrainian government was not reciprocating the ceasefire which is supposed to allow Russian service members the opportunity to attend Christmas services.
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Podolyak then responded that a ceasefire is only possible after the Russian Federation leaves occupied Ukrainian territories.
Reports then began to emerge that Russian President Putin would visit Donetsk city during the observed ceasefire. However, Russian Presidential Spokesperson Peskov told press that he was not aware of any plans by the Russian President to do so.
As a final measure, the Russian Ministry of Defense ordered a 36-hour ceasefire from 1200 Moscow Local on January 6th to 2400 on January 7th. However, it is unlikely that the Ukrainian Armed Forces will honor such a ceasefire due to the intense rhetoric coming from Zelensky’s office.
While the Ukrainian President has not specifically commented on the topic, his recent trip to the U.S. as well as his New Years address is clearly against concessions to the Russian Federation. In their eyes, honoring a truce would legitimize Russia’s invasion which Zelensky has repeatedly categorized as terrorist actions by a terrorist state.
This opens up several opportunities for the Ukrainian Armed Forces to strike large groupings of Russian troops in a relaxed environment, launch a local offensive, or even target prominent Russian leaders who may travel to Ukraine.