The Ukrainian President has rejected Vladimir Putin’s proposal for a 36 hour Christmas ceasefire which started at midday on Friday.
The Kremlin has been accused of using the ceasefire to “continue the war with renewed vigour” as they will reposition their troops closer to vital points on the frontline.
President Zelensky said in Russian in a message to Putin that a ceasefire will only end when “your soldiers leave or we throw them out.”
President Zelensky said, “Those who continued the terror against our country and sent all those people of yours to the slaughter, rejecting our offers to stop the Russian aggression, certainly do not value life and definitely do not seek peace.
“Now they want to use Christmas as a cover to at least briefly stop the advance of our guys in Donbas and bring equipment, ammunition and mobilised men closer to our positions. What will this bring?
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“Just another increase in the death toll.
“Everyone in the world knows how the Kremlin uses respites at war to continue the war with renewed vigour.
“You don’t give Ukrainians any respite. People are tortured, electrocuted, raped. This continues every day while your soldiers are on our soil.”
A Russian commander has hit out at Putin’s ceasefire warning that this is a “step towards defeat.”
Former army commander Igor Girkin who recently fought in Ukraine wrote on Twitter, “Vladimir Vladimirovich took such a bold and decisive step towards defeat and capitulation in the current war…The Hague applauds and begins to prepare a chamber.”
He added, “The armed forces of the Russian Federation are simply delighted…I think our military will like it.”
A spokesman for the US state department said the Christmas ceasefire is “cynical” at best and that they have “little faith” in Moscow’s concerns for the wellbeing of their troops in Ukraine.
The US President Joe Biden said that he believes Putin is “trying to find some oxygen” as Russian troops are finding it difficult to regain territory.
He added, “I found in interesting, [Putin] was ready to bomb hospitals and nurseries and churches on the 25th and New Year’s.”
The British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said the ceasefire will “do nothing” to help there be peace in the future.
He called on the Kremlin to “permanently withdraw its forces,” and that “a 36 hour pause of Russian attacks will do nothing to advance the prospects for peace.
“Russia must permanently withdraw its forces, relinquish its illegal control of Ukrainian territory and end its barbaric attacks against innocent civilians.”