Dhe Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj has declared the ceasefire declared by Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin over the Orthodox Christmas celebrations to have failed. “The world could see once again how wrong statements from Moscow are on every level,” said the 44-year-old in his video message on Saturday evening.
“They said something about an alleged ceasefire, but the reality is that Russian shells hit Bakhmut and other Ukrainian positions again,” Zelenskyy said. The Ukrainian general staff also spoke of ongoing Russian attacks with tanks, artillery and rockets. Accordingly, two civilians died as a result of Russian shelling during the Christmas days in Bakhmut in the eastern Donetsk region.
On Thursday, Putin unilaterally ordered a 36-hour ceasefire, citing Christmas, which many Orthodox Christians celebrate on January 7, as the reason. From the start, Kyiv dismissed the Russian advance as hypocritical. Many international observers also spoke of a pure propaganda gesture.
Shortly after the official end of the period set by Putin, the authorities in the region around the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv directly reported several explosions. “Attention to the residents of Kharkiv and the region: stay in the shelters. The occupiers are striking again!” Governor Oleh Synehubov wrote on Telegram on Saturday evening. According to initial information, there is one fatality, Synehubov said. Air alerts were also issued almost immediately after 10 p.m. CET in the areas of Poltava, Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhia, Luhansk and on the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which was annexed by Russia.
Moscow: Ukrainian attacks returned
In the afternoon, while the ceasefire was officially in effect, Moscow admitted that it would continue to retaliate against Ukrainian attacks. “All positions of the Ukrainian army from which the shelling came were crushed by Russian forces returning fire,” Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said. There were combat operations in the Donetsk, Cherson and Zaporizhia regions. Despite this, Russia is sticking to the self-imposed ceasefire.