Russia and Ukraine: Moscow is accused of violating a ceasefire declared by President Putin to mark Christmas
- Alexandra Foucher
- BBC News
It appears that the unilateral ceasefire ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin has not significantly affected the situation on the ground, after statements by Ukrainian officials emerged suggesting Russian forces have opened fire in more than one city in the Donetsk region.
A Ukrainian rescue worker was killed in a Russian bomb attack, while Russian state television confirmed that the Donetsk region was being bombed.
Russian forces were ordered to cease fire for 36 hours, coinciding with celebrations by Ukraine’s Orthodox Christian community for Christmas.
However, Ukraine refused to participate in this measure, fearing that Moscow would use it to strengthen its armed forces.
The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed that it is observing this ceasefire along the “front line” beginning at 12:00 p.m. Moscow time on Friday. She also accused Kyiv of continuing to bomb Russian sites and settlements in the occupied Ukrainian territories.
It was reported that shortly after the start of the ceasefire announced by Russia, warnings of air strikes sounded across Ukraine. The governor of the Kherson region said a firefighter was killed and four others wounded in a Russian airstrike on a fire station in the city, which was liberated by Ukrainian forces last November.
According to Ukrainian officials, the city of Kharamatosk was also attacked, damaging several buildings.
Luhansk region leader Serhiy Hai Day warned that the Christmas truce was “a lie and a trap” and advised residents not to attend Orthodox services and gather in crowded places amid possible “terrorist attacks.” ” plans. .
And Vitali Klitschko, the mayor of Kyiv, warned that temperatures in the capital could drop to 11 below zero and urged the city’s residents to rationalize electricity consumption.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the ceasefire announced by Russia was nothing more than an attempt to halt his country’s army advances in the east and buy time to bring in more Russian forces and military equipment.
And the sound of artillery shelling was heard on both sides of the battle front in the eastern town of Bakhmut, where Russia was concentrating its strikes to push west toward the town of Karmatorisk.
The commander of Wagner’s mercenaries, Yevgeny Prigozhin, said earlier this week the Ukrainians had turned every house in the city into a fortress. Satellite images were released Friday showing the damage caused by the battle since last August.
Despite Russian officials’ insistence on the continuation of the ceasefire, there is no indication that fighting between the two sides has experienced any significant calm.
“Two and a half hours have passed since the alleged ceasefire and air alert warning sirens went off across Ukraine, so I think the current situation clearly speaks for itself,” Ukrainian MP Inna Sovsan told the BBC, suggesting that it the Russians were who they claim were to implement a truce.
The Eastern Orthodox Church – the largest of the Eastern Orthodox Churches – celebrates Christmas on January 7 according to the Gregorian calendar.
But some Christians in Ukraine celebrate this occasion on December 25, while others celebrate it on January 7 every year. The state grants its workers vacation days on both days.
For the first time, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church allowed its synod to celebrate Christmas on December 25, as do some Christian denominations in western Ukraine.
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