Russian President Vladimir Putin has unilaterally declared a 36-hour ceasefire in Ukraine to mark Russian Orthodox Christmas. Despite the declaration, fighting continued today along the eastern front. In Kyiv, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky rejected Putin’s truce, saying that Russia wants to use Christmas as a pretext to stop Ukrainian advances in the Russian-occupied Donbas region.
President Volodymyr Zelensky: “They now want to use Christmas as a cover, albeit briefly, to stop the advances of our boys in Donbas and bring equipment, ammunition and mobilized troops closer to our positions.”
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said Thursday he would welcome any truce in Ukraine during Orthodox Christmas, but warned that talks between Moscow and Kyiv to bring the war to a permanent end were not yet possible.
Secretary-General António Guterres: “I think we are still not in a situation where we can see peace in the immediate horizon, peace that we believe will have to come one day, and peace based on the U.N. Charter and international law.”
Guterres’s remarks came after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan offered to mediate an end to the war in Ukraine. This week, the U.S., Germany and France announced plans to supply Ukraine with armored combat vehicles including French-made light tanks and U.S.-made Bradley Fighting Vehicles. The 50 Bradleys would be part of a new U.S. military aid package to Ukraine worth nearly $3 billion.