According to the Kremlin, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday authorized a temporary ceasefire in Ukraine in honor of Orthodox Christmas, which is being observed by both nations this week.
Since the beginning of the offensive in February of last year, this is the first time Russia has imposed a complete ceasefire in Ukraine.
The announcement follows Patriarch Kirill, the 76-year-old head of Russia’s Orthodox Church, calling for a pause in hostilities over the holy day.
The Kremlin said in a statement, “I instruct the defence minister of the Russian Federation to introduce from 12:00 (0900 GMT) on January 6, 2023 until 24:00 (2100 GMT) on January 7, 2023 a ceasefire along the entire line of contact between the sides in Ukraine.
“Given the fact that a large number of citizens professing Orthodoxy live in the areas of combat, we call on the Ukrainian side to declare a ceasefire and give them the opportunity to attend church services on Christmas Eve, as well as on the Day of the Nativity of Christ.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to announce a “unilateral” ceasefire in Ukraine during a phone chat the two men had earlier on Thursday.