Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday ordered a temporary ceasefire in Ukraine on Orthodox Christmas, celebrated this week by both countries, according to the Kremlin.
This is the first time Russia introduced a full ceasefire in Ukraine since the launch of the offensive in February last year.
The announcement comes following a request for a ceasefire during the religious holiday from Russia’s 76-year-old Orthodox leader Patriarch Kirill.
“I instruct the defence minister of the Russian Federation to introduce from 12:00 (0900 GMT) on January 6, 2023 until 24:00 (2100 GMT) on January 7, 2023 a ceasefire along the entire line of contact between the sides in Ukraine,” the Kremlin said in a statement.
“Given the fact that a large number of citizens professing Orthodoxy live in the areas of combat, we call on the Ukrainian side to declare a ceasefire and give them the opportunity to attend church services on Christmas Eve, as well as on the Day of the Nativity of Christ,” the statement added.
In a call with the Russian leader earlier Thursday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pressed Putin to declare a “unilateral” ceasefire in Ukraine.