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Russia Announces a Temporary Ceasefire in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday announced a temporary ceasefire in Ukraine on Orthodox Christmas, celebrated this week by both countries, according to the Kremlin. This is the first time Russia made such a decision since the launch of the offensive in February last year.

It comes following a request for a ceasefire during the religious holiday from Russia’s 76-year-old Orthodox leader Patriarch Kirill. However, a Ukrainian Presidential adviser has termed the announcement ‘hypocrisy,’ and said Russia must leave occupied territory first.

‘I instruct the Defense Minister of the Russian Federation to introduce from 12:00 on January 6, 2023 until 24:00 on January 7, 2023 a ceasefire along the entire line of contact between the sides in Ukraine,’ the Kremlin said in a statement.

The vast majority of Orthodox Christians, including those residing in Russia and Ukraine celebrate Christmas on 6-7 January. Dating back to the first day Russian soldiers set foot in Ukraine, some Ukrainians are choosing to celebrate Christmas as per the Gregorian calendar.

Many Ukrainians are skeptical of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s order for a unilateral temporary ceasefire. Despite this, some believe it won’t change much. They believe even if the Russian military leadership conforms to the temporary ceasefire, the troops on the ground will not.

At least four people have been killed in Ukraine’s southern Kherson region on Thursday, as per Ukrainian officials. A family of three was killed in their home in the city of Beryslav due to sheeling, said Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the Office of the President of Ukraine.

US President Joe Biden has also joined in the debate expressing skepticism about the ceasefire ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin in Ukraine. ‘I’m reluctant to respond anything Putting say. I found it interesting. He was ready to bomb hospitals and nurseries and churches on the 25th and New Year’s.’ Biden told reporters on Thursday.

‘I mean, I think he’s trying to find some Oxygen,’ he added. The US is considering sending Bradley armored fighting vehicles to Ukraine, said President Joe Biden.

The Ukrainian economy shrunk by almost a third last year, after Russian troops invaded in February, according to a statement from the country’s economy ministry. But the figures are way ‘better than most experts anticipated at the beginning of the full-scale invasion, when estimates ranged from 40-50% of decline in GDP and deeper,’ it added.

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