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Ukraine conflict: Kyiv dismisses Putin’s ‘trivial’ Christmas truce.

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Rajeshchandra Devjee
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Rajeshchandra Devjee is the Founder and President of the Brand SAIndia, a print publication that was launched in South Africa in 2001 with a strong logistics distribution to 3500 magazine retailers and FMCG stores nationwide. The growth of the brand in its later years succumbed to a slow decline in print sales due to the inception of the 4th industrial revolution. To this day the brand has grown in leaps and bounds thanks to the advent of social media platforms and mobile app technology. SAIndia is now available on the internet and mobile platforms in 177 countries and growing at a phenomenal rate, acquiring an audience from all walks of life whose interests range from politics to fashion and other genres.

Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, has instructed his defense minister to impose a 36-hour ceasefire on the frontlines in Ukraine starting on Friday.
The truce, which is set to begin at 12:00 Moscow time (09:00 GMT), falls on the Russian Orthodox Christmas. Mr. Putin requested that Ukraine respond in kind, but Kyiv swiftly rejected the demand.
Mykhailo Podolyak, a presidential adviser for Ukraine, described it as a “propaganda gesture.”.

The Kremlin statement seemed to emphasize that President Putin ordered his troops to cease fire not because he was de-escalating—Putin never does—but rather because he had paid attention to a request from the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Earlier in the day, Patriarch Kirill had requested a Christmas truce so that believers could attend church services for the Orthodox Christmas.
According to the Julian calendar, Christmas Day is observed by the Russian Orthodox Church on January 7.

According to a statement from the Kremlin, “Taking into consideration the appeal by [Kirill], the president hereby instructs the Russian Federation’s minister of defense to impose a ceasefire regime along the entire line of contact in Ukraine” for the duration of the 36-hour period.
In response, Mr. Putin ordered Ukraine to allow for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day celebrations for the “large numbers of Orthodox believers [who] reside in areas where hostilities are taking place.”.

A short while later, Mr. Podolyak declared on Twitter that there could be no “temporary truce” until Russian forces left every area they had occupied.
Later on, he described it as a “propaganda gesture,” a “trivial ploy,” and an effort by Russia to entice pressure on Ukraine from European nations by portraying it as “humanistic.”.
He continued, “Russia was trying to buy time to regroup and build fortifications.”.
US Vice President Joe Biden stated that Vladimir Putin was merely “looking for some oxygen.”.

The Kremlin’s cease-fire fits in well with a typical Moscow narrative that is primarily directed at the domestic market. That is, the Ukrainians and the West are the enemies of Russia, and the Russians are the good guys.
The cease-fire can also be used as a convenient means of demonizing Ukraine; since Kyiv rejected the idea, Moscow will claim that Kyiv does not respect religious believers and is not interested in achieving peace.

However, it should not be forgotten that Russia was the one who instigated this conflict by attacking its neighbor without warning.
Additionally, the action was taken not long after a Ukrainian attack on a makeshift barracks in the occupied Ukrainian city of Makiivka resulted in the deaths of a significant number of Russian soldiers.

The death toll was 89, according to the Russian Defense Ministry, making it the highest single death toll Moscow has acknowledged since the war started.
Anger over what occurred in Makiivka was expressed by the families of the deceased as well as by some politicians and commentators, who laid the blame on inept military leaders. The incident took place on New Year’s Eve, the most significant holiday in Russia.

The Kremlin might want to prevent any additional significant fatalities on a significant Russian holiday, according to political analyst Tatyana Stanovaya.
On the Orthodox Christmas Day, she wrote, “Putin really does not want a repetition of that.”.
A “unilateral” ceasefire in Ukraine was requested earlier by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan so that both sides could engage in negotiations.

Of the Eastern Orthodox churches, the Russian Orthodox Church is by far the largest.
In Ukraine, some people celebrate Christmas on December 25 while others do so on January 7. The nation observes public holidays on both days.
For the first time this year, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine announced that it would permit its congregations to observe Christmas on December 25 along with some other denominations in western Ukraine.
In 2018, the church and the similarly named Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) split.
Prior to Russia’s invasion, the UOC itself was associated with Moscow’s religious establishment, and some of its most senior clergy have been charged with continuing to secretly support Moscow.

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