On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin surprisingly announced a day and a half unilateral ceasefire.
Marian NadlerEditor News
On December 14, 2022, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov (55) ruled out a ceasefire around the Orthodox Christmas celebration. In the meantime, his boss has changed his mind. On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin (70) surprisingly ordered a day and a half unilateral ceasefire. It is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. on Friday.
It would be the first time since the start of the Russian offensive in Ukraine that Moscow has announced a full ceasefire in the country. Officially, the ceasefire has a religious background. Putin responded to an appeal by Russian Patriarch Kirill, 76, who asked for such a ceasefire during the Orthodox Christmas celebrated in both countries. Kirill supports Putin and his policies and preaches against Kyiv and the West.
However, the experts at the American think tank Institute for the Study of War (ISW) suspect something other than religious reasons behind the Christmas peace. Apparently, the Russian military needs a break – to prepare a new major offensive.
Striking announcement by the Secretary of Defense
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky (44) is also convinced that this is not just a simple ceasefire. Russia wants to use Christmas as an excuse to bring “equipment, ammunition and conscripts” closer to the Ukrainian positions, he said in a video message. The Russian leadership is in a desperate situation and is ready for various manipulations.
Striking: Just before the announcement, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (67) announced an inventory of the army. The German political scientist Thomas Jäger (62) sees this in an interview with “ntv” as an indication of the preparation of a new offensive that Ukraine must “observe very closely”.
According to the ISW, Putin also wants to damage Ukraine’s reputation by stopping the fighting. Putin is trying to portray Ukraine as intransigent and unwilling to take the necessary steps to negotiate. Ukraine should also be perceived as an oppressor of religious groups.
Russian occupation chief wants to respond to Ukrainian attacks despite ceasefire
The leadership in Kyiv described the ceasefire as “hypocrisy”. Observers in the Ukrainian capital assumed that the ceasefire could save Ukrainians from rocket and drone attacks over the Christmas period.
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On the fronts in the east and south of the attacked country, on the other hand, the situation is unlikely to change. Mykhailo Podoliak (50), adviser in the Ukrainian presidential office, stressed that a “temporary ceasefire” could only begin if Russia left the occupied territories.
Whether the one-sided Christmas peace actually holds is questionable. Denis Puschilin, 41, an occupation chief deployed by Moscow to Donetsk Oblast in eastern Ukraine, said Russian troops would continue to respond to Ukrainian attacks despite Putin’s orders. The enemy will not be given a chance “to improve their positions on the front line during these holiday hours”.