Two killed in Ukraine despite Russia 'ceasefire' for Orthodox Christmas

Putin had ordered a 36-hour ceasefire to allow Orthodox Christians to mark Christmas which is celebrated on January 7 in Russia and Ukraine.

Published: 08th January 2023 07:49 PM  |   Last Updated: 08th January 2023 07:49 PM   |  A+A-

A cupola lies on the ground in front of the Orthodox Church which was destroyed by Russian forces.(Photo | AP)


KYIV: Two Ukrainians were killed and another nine were wounded despite Russian leader Vladimir Putin unilaterally ordering his forces to pause attacks on Orthodox Christmas, Kyiv said on Sunday.

As a result of "Russia's armed aggression", one person was killed and another eight wounded in the eastern region of Donetsk over the past 24 hours, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the Ukrainian president's office, said on Sunday.

One more person was killed in the northeastern region of Kharkiv and another was wounded in the southern region of Kherson over the same period, Tymoshenko said.

"Despite the so-called 'ceasefire' declared by the Russian occupiers, over the past day, the enemy launched nine missile and three air strikes and fired 40 attacks from multiple rocket launchers," Ukraine's defence ministry said in a separate statement.

"In particular, civilian infrastructure was hit."

Putin had ordered a 36-hour ceasefire to allow Orthodox Christians to mark Christmas which is celebrated on January 7 in Russia and Ukraine. The unilateral ceasefire ended at 11:00 pm in Kyiv (2100 GMT) on Saturday.

Kyiv and AFP journalists on the ground said there was little sign the fighting had eased on Saturday.

"After midnight the enemy launched seven rocket attacks on Kramatorsk and two on Kostyantynivka," said Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of the Donetsk regional administration.

The Russian defence ministry insisted Saturday it observed the halt in fighting but repelled a number of Ukrainian attacks and killed dozens of Ukrainian troops.

Ukraine had dismissed the halt as a tactic by Russia to gain time to regroup its forces and bolster its defences following a series of battlefield setbacks.

Sergiy Gaiday, head of the Lugansk regional administration, said that Russians were redeploying forces from Bakhmut, the current epicentre of the fighting, to the city of Kreminna.

"We are expecting an intensification of hostilities," he added, pointing to freezing temperatures.

"Our heavy equipment will finally be able to move forward faster."

India Matters


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