Saturday, February 4, 2023

Moscow truce raises doubts as doubts about intent

KYIV ( Associated Press) – Questions were raised Friday over the effectiveness of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s order for his forces in Ukraine to observe a unilateral 36-hour truce, with Kyiv officials calling the announcement a ploy and not clarifying whether they were following it. Soldiers will do this. Same.

Moscow also did not clarify its reaction to the incident that Ukrainians continue to fight.

The ceasefire announced by Russia in the nearly 11-month war begins at noon on Friday and lasts until midnight Moscow time (between 0900 GMT on Friday and 2100 GMT on Saturday).

Putin’s announcement on the eve that his troops would stop fighting along the 1,100 km (684 mi) front line and elsewhere was unexpected. It came after Cyril I, the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, proposed a ceasefire for this weekend on the occasion of Orthodox Christmas.

The Orthodox Church, which uses the Julian calendar, celebrates Christmas on 7 January.

But Ukrainian and Western officials suspect the Russian president’s apparent goodwill gesture may have an ulterior motive.

His Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, questioned the Kremlin’s intention, accusing it of planning to stop the fighting “in order to continue the war with renewed vigour”.

“Now they want to use Christmas as a cover to slow down the progress of our men in (the eastern region of) Donbass and bring equipment, ammunition and people closer to our positions,” Zelensky said late Thursday. Huh.”

But he did not specify whether Kyiv would ignore Putin’s request.

US President Joe Biden also echoed Zelensky’s caution, saying it was “interesting” that Putin was prepared to bomb hospitals, day care centers and churches over Christmas and New Years.

“I think (Putin) is trying to find some oxygen,” Biden said.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price said that Washington had “little faith in the intentions behind this announcement,” adding that Kremlin officials “have given us no reason to take anything at face value.”

He said the ceasefire order appeared to be a ploy to “rest, recover, regroup and eventually attack again”.

The Institute for the Study of War agreed that the armistice could be a ploy that would allow Russian forces to regroup.

“Such a pause would disproportionately benefit Russian troops and begin to deprive Ukraine of the initiative,” the think tank said late Thursday. “Putin cannot reasonably expect Ukraine to abide by the terms of this sudden ceasefire announcement and may call for a cease-fire in order to present Ukraine as unwilling and unwilling to take the steps necessary for negotiations.” Huh.”

For its part, Washington showed its willingness to continue supporting Kyiv’s war effort. The United States is due to announce on Friday a new military aid package to the country, worth about $3 billion, that could include several dozen Bradley combat vehicles for the first time.

Nation World News Desk
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