Zelensky rejects Russia’s ceasefire !!!
Zelensky dismissed the Christmas truce offered by Russia, saying it was a “trick” to stop the momentum of Ukrainian forces in the Donbass.
“Now they want to use Christmas as a cover, even if only for a short time, to stop our army’s advance in the Donbass and bring equipment, ammunition and mobilized troops closer to the positions. ours,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address on January 5. “What would that give them? It would only add to their total damage.”
Speaking in Russian, addressed to both the Kremlin and the Russian people, Mr. Zelensky said that Moscow has repeatedly ignored Kiev’s peace plan. According to him, hostilities will only end when Russian troops leave Ukraine or are driven out of the country.
Zelensky’s comments came after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a ceasefire in Ukraine from 12:00 on January 6 to 24:00 on January 7, the time when Orthodox Christians in Russia and Ukraine celebrate Christmas. Russia also called on the Ukrainian side to declare a ceasefire and allow citizens to participate in the ceremonies.
“The end of hostilities means the end of your country’s offensive. The fighting continues every day while Russian soldiers are still in our country,” Zelensky added. “The whole world knows how the Kremlin uses the interruption of the fighting to continue the war with new strength.”
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church has been recognized as independent since 2019, rejecting any allegiance to Patriarch Kirill, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church. Many Ukrainian Christians have turned to celebrate Christmas on December 25 as in the West.
US President Joe Biden said that Putin’s Christmas ceasefire was simply buying time for the military effort in Ukraine.
“Russia is ready to bomb hospitals, kindergartens and churches on December 25 and New Year’s Day. I think Putin is trying to find some oxygen for the war,” Biden said.
US State Department spokesman Ned Price called the Russian ceasefire “suspicious”, saying “we have little faith in the intentions behind this announcement”.
Price also expressed concern that Russia would use the break to “regroup, rest and eventually strike again”.
“Putin may try to deceive the world by pretending to want peace. This does not seem to change the course of the war,” he said. “If Russia is really serious about peace, about ending this war, they will withdraw their forces from the sovereign territory of Ukraine.”
British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said Russia’s 36-hour cease-fire in Ukraine over the Orthodox Christmas period would “do nothing to advance the prospect of peace”.
“Russia must permanently withdraw its troops, give up illegal control of Ukrainian territory and stop attacks on innocent civilians,” he tweeted.