Ukraine has rejected Russian President Vladimir Putin’s order for a ceasefire from midday on Jan. 6 until midnight on Jan. 7, for the duration of the Orthodox Christmas, calling the move “cynical.”
Putin had given the order to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to refrain from shelling Ukrainian cities during the holy period.
“Given that a large number of Orthodox citizens live in the area of the fighting, we call on the Ukrainian side to declare a ceasefire and allow them to attend services on Christmas Eve and for the Nativity of Christ,” read a presidential decree from the Kremlin.
Earlier on Thursday, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, asked the warring parties to observe a ceasefire on the occasion of Orthodox Christmas.
Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak called Putin’s ceasefire hypocritical.
“First, Ukraine has not attacked a sovereign state and is not killing civilians as Russia is doing,” Podolyak said, adding that first, the Russians should leave the occupied territories, and only then could there be talk of a ceasefire. “Keep your hypocrisy to yourselves!” Podolyak told the Kremlin.
Earlier on Thursday, the presidential aide called Patriarch Kirill’s call a “cynical trap.” According to him, the Russian Orthodox Church is not the supreme authority of global Orthodoxy and is merely a tool of war propaganda.
He recalled that the Russian Orthodox Church has called for the extermination of the Ukrainian people, incited mass killings, and insisted on the further militarization of Russia.