Ukraine speaks of "hypocrisy": Putin orders ceasefire for Orthodox Christmas

At the weekend Russia wants to insert a ceasefire in Ukraine.

Ukraine speaks of "hypocrisy": Putin orders ceasefire for Orthodox Christmas

At the weekend Russia wants to insert a ceasefire in Ukraine. President Putin announces a day-and-a-half ceasefire from Friday afternoon. The Russian Orthodox Church had previously called for such a step. However, there is a clear rejection from Kyiv.

In view of the upcoming Orthodox Christmas, Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a ceasefire in Ukraine. Putin instructed the Russian Ministry of Defense to cease hostilities in the neighboring country from 12 noon on Friday (local time/10 a.m.CET) to midnight on Saturday evening (local time/10 p.m.CET), according to a Kremlin statement.

According to the Kremlin statement, Putin also called on the Ukrainian side to follow the Russian example and also to stop firing over Christmas. However, a refusal came immediately from Kyiv. It was initially unclear how Russian troops should behave if they are attacked by the Ukrainian army during the ceasefire.

The Kremlin's decision to call for a ceasefire was based on an appeal by Moscow Patriarch Kirill, it said. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church is closely linked to the Moscow leadership. The guns should be silent during the orthodox Christmas celebrations, demanded Kirill, who otherwise clearly supports the illegal attack on the neighboring country. The Eastern Churches celebrate Christmas on January 7 according to the Julian calendar.

In an initial reaction, Ukraine described the ceasefire ordered by Putin as "hypocrisy". "Russia must leave the occupied territories - only then will there be a 'temporary ceasefire'," Presidential Advisor Mykhailo Podoliak wrote on Twitter. Unlike the Russian opponent, Ukraine would not attack foreign territory and kill civilians. Only Russia does that.

Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock also criticized the brief ceasefire in Ukraine ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin. "A so-called ceasefire brings neither freedom nor security to the people who live in daily fear under Russian occupation," wrote the Greens politician on Twitter. Putin apparently wants to "continue the war after a short break". If Putin wanted peace, he would "take his soldiers home and the war would be over," Baerbock said.

EU Council President Charles Michel also describes Russia's ceasefire announcement as hypocritical. "A withdrawal of Russian troops is the only serious option to restore peace and security," he writes on Twitter. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had previously called for a "unilateral ceasefire" in a phone call with Putin, albeit from a statement by the Turkish Presidential Office it was not clear that he was addressing the Russian side.

Putin previously made recognition of Russia's conquests in Ukraine a condition of negotiations with the government in Kyiv. After Putin's phone call with Turkish President Erdogan, the Kremlin said: "Vladimir Putin once again emphasized Russia's readiness for serious dialogue - on condition that the authorities in Kyiv fulfill the well-known and repeatedly publicized demands and taking into account the new territorial Reality."