Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced a 36-hour ceasefire in Ukraine for Orthodox Christmas, but Ukraine authorities have called it a “trap”.
The announcement comes after the head of Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, made a ceasefire request.
The ceasefire will start on noon on Friday Jan. 6, according to Putin’s announcement.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said the truce is Russia’s way to prevent Ukrainian troops from mobilizing in Donbas.
He added during his nightly address that “the war will end either when your soldiers leave or we throw them out”.
Meanwhile, Zelensky’s senior advisor has called it a “cynical trap” and “an element of propaganda” on Twitter.
US President Joe Biden was also skeptical of the announcement and reminded that Putin “was ready to bomb hospitals and nurseries and churches on the 25th and New Year”.
Russia’s war effort has been dealing with major setbacks with troops retreating from Kherson last November, which has increased criticisms in Russia’s leadership.