Putin orders ceasefire in Ukraine for Orthodox Christmas on January 6-7 …Kremlin says

 Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has instructed the Russian Defence Minister to cease fire in Ukraine over Orthodox Christ­mas, the Kremlin said on Thursday.

The announcement comes after Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Russia’s spiritual leader, Patriarch Kirill, on Thursday called for a ceasefire during the festive season.

President Vladimir Putin is “trying to find some oxygen” by floating a 36-hour ceasefire, US President, Joe Biden, told reporters at the White House on Thursday when asked about Moscow’s truce proposal.

The Kremlin said Putin had or­dered a ceasefire from midday on Friday after a call for a Christmas truce from Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Ukraine spurned the offer from Putin for the 36-hour ceasefire over Orthodox Christmas, saying there would be no truce until Rus­sia withdraws its invading forces from occupied land.

There is “little indication so far” that Ukraine plans to abide by Russia’s suggested ceasefire on January 6-7, said FRANCE 24’s Luke Shrago, reporting from Kyiv.

“Ukraine offered its own cease­fire over the period of Christmas on December 25 – something that was outright rejected by Russia,” Shrago said.

Ukrainian Presidential Ad­viser, Mykhailo Podolyak, on Thursday called the ceasefire proposed by Putin a “cynical trap”.

Turkish President, Tayy­ip Erdogan, told Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky, in a phone call on Thursday that Ankara was ready to take on mediation and moderation duties to secure a lasting peace between Russia and Ukraine.

A readout from Erdogan’s office said Turkey also offered diplomatic support regarding the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station. -(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP)

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