Ukraine war: Putin orders 36-hour ceasefire over Orthodox Christmas

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered his defence minister to impose a 36-hour ceasefire on the Ukrainian frontline, beginning on Friday.

The ceasefire, scheduled to start at 12:00 Moscow time (09:00 GMT), will coincide with the Russian Orthodox Christmas.

It follows an appeal from Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Before Mr Putin’s order, Ukraine said Kirill’s call was a “cynical trap”.

The Russian president’s order also called on Ukraine to declare a ceasefire so that the “large numbers of Orthodox believers [who] reside in areas where hostilities are taking place” could celebrate Christmas Eve on Friday and Christmas Day on Saturday.

The Russian Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas Day on 7 January according to the Julian calendar.

Earlier, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan asked Mr Putin to declare a “unilateral” ceasefire in Ukraine so that both sides could negotiate.

Source: BBC

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