The head of the Russian church wants peace in Ukraine, it is not looking for tenants

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KYIV, Ukraine – The head of the Russian Orthodox Church on Thursday called for a 36-hour Christmas ceasefire in Ukraine at the end of this week, but his appeal appeared unlikely to make any progress the war that started last February with Russia stopped. attack

Moscow Patriarch Kirill proposed a break from noon Friday to midnight Saturday, local time. The Russian Orthodox Church, which uses the old Julian calendar, celebrates Christmas on January 7. That is 13 days later than in the Gregorian calendar.

The proposal received short shrift from Kyiv officials, with Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak dismissing it as “a cynical trap and an element of propaganda.”

Kirill has justified Russia’s war in Ukraine as part of a “metaphysical struggle” to prevent the infiltration of liberal ideology from the West.

Moscow officials did not immediately comment on Kirill’s suspension. However, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by phone with the Turkish president on Thursday and the Kremlin later said that Putin “reaffirmed Russia’s openness to bad communication” with the authorities. – Ukraine.

But that confirmed willingness came with the usual strings attached: “that the Kyiv authorities fulfill the well-known and repeatedly reported demands and recognize new territorial realities,” the Kremlin said in reference to Moscow’s request that Ukraine would recognize Crimea as part of Russia and recognize it. other illegal territorial gains.

Previous attempts to settle peace talks have fallen at that hurdle, as Ukraine wants Russia to withdraw from occupied territories anyway.

Elsewhere, the NATO chief said he found no change in Moscow’s stance on Ukraine, insisting that the Kremlin “wants a Europe where they can control a neighboring country.”

“We have no indication that President Putin has changed his plans, his goals for Ukraine,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in a speech in Oslo.

The fighting in Ukraine has become an attractive war in the last few weeks, as winter approaches.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office, said Thursday that at least five civilians were killed and eight wounded across the country by Russian shelling over the past 24 hours.

The ongoing intense battle for Bakhmut has left 60% of the city in ruins, said Donetsk Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko in comments on Thursday’s television.

He said that the Ukrainian defenders were still holding the Russians back, but the Kremlin forces have bombarded the city with non-stop shelling.

Bakhmut is a city in the eastern part of Donbas, an extensive industrial area bordering Russia.

Taking Bakhmut would not only give Putin a major battlefield advantage after months of setbacks, it would also sever Ukraine’s supply lines and open a path for the Russia to advance to the main strongholds of Ukraine in Donetsk.

Russia has been beating Bakhmut for months.

Follow the AP’s coverage of the war at

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