After 10 months of war, Ukraine did not see a ceasefire on New Year’s Eve, which is usually widely celebrated in the former Soviet Union republics. Instead, Ukrainian air defenses reportedly intercepted drones that Russia again sent to strike Ukrainian infrastructure during consecutive nights from Dec. 31 to Jan. 2. More surprising was the announcement on Thursday that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin ordered a 36-hour ceasefire starting at 12 a.m. Jan. 6 to allow citizens living in the areas of hostilities and professing Orthodoxy to attend church services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Ukraine did not immediately react to Putin’s ceasefire announcement. However, a senior adviser to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Mykhailo Podolyak, called the “Christmas truce” a “cynical trap and an element of propaganda.”
Russia maintains that it would entertain the idea of peace talks only when Ukraine takes into account “new territorial realities,” meaning its one-sided annexation in September of Ukrainian Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions.