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Putin announces temporary ceasefire in Ukraine for Orthodox Christmas services

Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu to introduce a 36-hour ceasefire along the entire line of contact between the warring sides in Ukraine from January 6-7, the Kremlin said on Thursday.
"Taking into account the appeal of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, I instruct the Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation to introduce from 12:00 January 6, 2023 until 24:00 January 7, 2023, a ceasefire along the entire line of contact between the parties in Ukraine," the statement read, as quoted by CNN. Putin also called on Kyiv to declare a ceasefire so that a large number of Orthodox citizens living in areas of hostilities could attend church services on Orthodox Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, according to the statement.
"Based on the fact that a large number of citizens professing Orthodoxy live in the combat areas, we call on the Ukrainian side to declare a ceasefire and give them the opportunity to attend services on Christmas Eve, as well as on the Day of the Nativity of Christ," the statement added.

This comes a few hours after Patriarch Kirill, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church called for a temporary ceasefire, CNN reported.
Mykhailo Podolyak, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's key aide said Russia must leave "occupied territories" in Ukraine before any 'temporary truce'.
"First. Ukraine doesn't attack foreign territory and doesn't kill civilians. As RF [Russian Federation] does. Ukraine destroys only members of the occupation army on its territory," said Podolyak, an adviser to the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine.
"Second. RF must leave the occupied territories -- only then will it have a 'temporary truce'. Keep hypocrisy to yourself," Podolyak said on Twitter.
President Vladimir Putin held a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday, according to a Kremlin statement posted on its webiste. In his call with Erdogan, Putin said Moscow is open to 'serious dialogue', but Kyiv must accept the 'new territorial realities'. (ANI)

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