Russia to continue observing ceasefire until midnight

TEHRAN, Jan. 07 (MNA) – The Russian armed forces will continue observing the ceasefire until midnight, despite shelling by Ukrainian forces, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Lieutenant-General Igor Konashenkov said on Saturday.

"Despite artillery fire by Ukrainian armed forces on settlements and Russian positions, the Russian group of forces will continue to observe the announced ceasefire until 24:00 of today," he said, TASS reported.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday ordered a ceasefire on Orthodox Christmas Eve and Christmas Day along the entire front line of Russia's special military operation in Ukraine.

"In light of the appeal of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, I instruct the Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation to introduce a ceasefire regime along the entire line of contact between the parties in Ukraine from 12:00 pm on January 6 to 24:00 on January 7 of this year," the presidential decree, released by the Kremlin's press service, reads.

Most Orthodox Christians, including Russian and Ukrainian parishioners, celebrate Christmas on January 7, in accordance with the Julian calendar, which is 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar.

"Given that a large number of citizens practising the Orthodox faith live in areas where hostilities are taking place, we call on the Ukrainian side to declare a ceasefire, and give them the opportunity to attend services on Christmas Eve, as well as the Day of the Nativity of Christ," the order adds, Sputnik reported.

Ukrainian authorities dismissed Patriarch Kirill's ceasefire appeal earlier in the day, with presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak accusing the Russian Orthodox Church of acting as a "propagandist of war" and "calling for the genocide of Ukrainians." Podolyak characterized Kirill's request as "a cynical trap and a piece of propaganda," and said the Russian Orthodox Church was "not an authority for global Orthodoxy."

MNA/PR

News Code 195840

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