Putin orders weekend truce in Ukraine, Kiev won't take part
The impact of Russian President Vladimir Putin's order for his forces in Ukraine to observe a unilateral, 36-hour cease-fire was in doubt on Jan. 6 after Kyiv officials dismissed the move as a ploy but didn't clarify whether Ukrainian troops would follow suit.
Moscow also didn't say whether it would hit back if Ukraine kept fighting.
The Russian-declared truce in the nearly 11-month war was due to begin at noon Friday and continue through midnight Saturday Moscow time (0900 GMT Friday to 2100 GMT Saturday; 4 a.m. EST Friday to 4 p.m. EST Saturday).
Putin's announcement Thursday that the Kremlin's troops would stop fighting along the 1,100-kilometer (684-mile) front line or elsewhere was unexpected. It came after the Russian Orthodox Church head, Patriarch Kirill, proposed a cease-fire for this weekend's Orthodox Christmas holiday. The Orthodox Church, which uses the Julian calendar, celebrates Christmas on Jan. 7.
But Ukrainian and Western officials suspected an ulterior motive in Putin's apparent goodwill gesture.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy questioned the Kremlin's intentions, accusing the Kremlin of planning the fighting pause "to continue the war with renewed vigor."
"Now they want to use Christmas as a cover to stop the advance of our guys in the (eastern) Donbas (region) for a while and bring equipment, ammunition and mobilized people closer to our positions," Zelenskyy said late Thursday.
He did not, however, state outright that Kyiv would ignore Putin's request.
U.S. President Joe Biden echoed Zelenskyy's wariness, saying it was "interesting" that Putin was ready to bomb hospitals, nurseries and churches on Christmas and New Year's.
"I think (Putin) is trying to find some oxygen,"...
- Log in to post comments