He said Putin’s order involved only halting offensive operations: “It does not mean that we will not respond to provocations from the enemy. Or give any chance to the enemy at this festive time to improve their positions on the line of contact.”
That the truce proposal comes from the head of the Russian Orthodox Church is likely to make it even less palatable to Kyiv. Ukraine’s authorities view Kirill, who has described the Russian invasion as “blessed”, as a Putin ally used by the Kremlin to give religious justifications for war.
Russia’s Orthodox Church observes Christmas on Jan. 7. Ukraine’s main Orthodox Church has rejected the authority of the Moscow patriarch, and many Ukrainian believers have shifted their calendar to celebrate Christmas on Dec. 25 as in the West.
Earlier on Thursday, the Kremlin said Putin told Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan that Moscow was ready for peace talks – but only under the condition that Ukraine “take into account the new territorial realities”, a reference to Kyiv acknowledging Moscow’s annexation of Ukrainian territory.
Ukraine’s Podolyak called that demand “fully unacceptable”.