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HomeNewsInternational NewsPutin orders 36-hour holiday weekend cease-fire in Ukraine

Putin orders 36-hour holiday weekend cease-fire in Ukraine

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By ANDREW MELDRUM

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday ordered his armed forces to observe a unilateral 36-hour cease-fire in Ukraine this weekend for the Orthodox Christmas holiday, the first such sweeping truce move in the nearly 11-month-old war.

Putin did not appear to make his cease-fire order conditional on a Ukrainian agreement to follow suit, and it wasn’t clear whether hostilities would actually halt on the 1,100-kilometer (684-mile) front line or elsewhere. Ukrainian officials have previously dismissed Russian peace moves as playing for time to regroup their forces and prepare for additional attacks.

At various points during the war that started on Feb. 24, Russian authorities have ordered limited and local truces to allow evacuations of civilians or other humanitarian purposes. Thursday’s order was the first time Putin has directed his troops to observe a cease-fire throughout Ukraine.

“Based on the fact that a large number of citizens professing Orthodoxy live in the combat areas, we call on the Ukrainian side to declare a cease-fire and give them the opportunity to attend services on Christmas Eve, as well as on the Day of the Nativity of Christ,” according to Putin’s order, addressed to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and published on the Kremlin’s website.

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