Vladimir Putin ordered a 36-hour ceasefire between Russian troops on Friday to honor Orthodox Christmas – but Ukraine refused to do so.

The proposed ceasefire is an important moment in this long and brutal fighting, although it is worth noting that there have already been reports of shelling in the town of Bakhmut.

This has prompted speculation that Russia violated its own ceasefire within hours.

Nevertheless, here we can get an idea of ​​what may have been the first major truce during the entire war.

Why does Putin want a ceasefire this week?

Moscow suggested the ceasefire would allow Russia’s Orthodox Church to celebrate Christmas on January 7 and any fellow adherents in Ukraine to celebrate Christmas.

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, has been a strong supporter of the war, having previously said that “military duty washes away all sin”, but called for a Christmas truce shortly before Putin.

However, the idea that Ukraine would be willing to temporarily halt the war effort in favor of a religious holiday seems unlikely given that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has severed ties with its Russian counterpart since the start of the war.

Many Ukrainian believers also began celebrating Christmas on December 25 this year, along with Europeans, as another means of distancing themselves from their neighbors.

But the ceasefire was not just about religion.

BBC noted that Putin’s ceasefire fits with the domestic narrative that Russian soldiers are “good guys” and that the West is “threatening Russia.”

Journalists Will Vernon and Samuel Horty said, “The conflict is also a useful tool that can be used to discredit Ukraine – as Ukrainians reject the proposal, Moscow will claim that Kyiv does not respect religious believers.” does and has no desire for peace.”

CNN reported The crisis also came after Putin spoke with his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan, who has tried to mediate between Russia and Ukraine.

After their talks, the Russian president said he was ready for “serious talks” regarding Ukraine, but that Kyiv would have to accept “new regional realities” going forward.

PA Graphics via PA Graphics/Press Association images

Why did Ukraine reject the ceasefire?

While it may seem strange that Ukraine would choose not to seek a ceasefire, Kyiv’s response to the ceasefire was less than enthusiastic.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the ceasefire was merely a “cover” for Russia to re-supply and stop Ukrainian advances in the eastern Donbass region.

Zelensky said: “What will it achieve? There is only one more increase in the number of casualties.

Serhiy Haidai, who heads the Luhansk regional military administration, told Ukrainian media: “They [Russia] Just want to take some kind of break for a day or two, get some more ammo, to pull even more reserves. Russia cannot be trusted. They don’t even say a word.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukraine’s president, also claimed on Twitter that Russia would have to leave Ukraine’s “occupied territories” before any “temporary ceasefire”.

What does the West think?

Kyiv’s Western allies felt the same way as Ukraine.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary James tactfully said that such a pause would “do nothing to advance the prospects of peace.”

Similarly, German Foreign Minister Annalena Bierbock warned that the promise of an armistice would bring “neither freedom or security”.

Hours after Russia’s announcement, Germany said it would follow the US and offer Kyiv the Patriot air defense missile system along with Armo = red vehicles.

France is also sending armored fighting vehicles.

US President Joe Biden suggested that Putin is trying to find “oxygen” through this proposal.

Responding to reporters at the White House, he said: “I am reluctant to respond to anything Putin says. I found it interesting that he was willing to bomb hospitals and nurseries and churches at 25 and on New Year’s.

Russia’s ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov, was quick to retaliate to Biden on Facebook: “It means [is] That Washington is ready to fight with us ‘to the last Ukrainian’ and that the fate of the people of Ukraine does not concern the Americans at all.

Why would Putin need ‘oxygen’?

Biden’s claim that the Russian president is trying to buy time touches on a series of failures Russia has faced recently.

Not only this, Moscow had not occupied its land in Ukraine since the beginning of the war. Kyiv’s successful counter-attack Autumn swept in, but missile strikes began to reach inside Russia.

Moscow has accepted at least 89 russian Killed on New Year’s Eve – the most important date in the Russian calendar.

“Putin doesn’t really want a repeat of this on Orthodox Christmas Day,” tweeted political analyst Tatyana Stanovaya.

attack only reacts honored Russian military figures as wellEspecially when Moscow tried to blame its own soldiers for the missile attack.

The UK Ministry of Defense also highlighted some of the divisions within Russia at the moment in their latest update.

Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) and Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) were two of these four in illegal possession Ukrainian territory Russia claims now belongs to Moscow.

However, both regions have been effectively controlled by Russia since 2014.

As the Ministry of Defense points out, the “status and identity” of the two regions “are likely to remain divisive within the Russian system.”

It adds: “Even before the February 2022 invasion, these areas represented a significant drain on Russian finances.

“Now that the Kremlin has openly committed to supporting them, they will likely constitute a huge political, diplomatic and financial cost to Russia that will last well beyond the current phase of the conflict.”

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