Putin orders a 36-hour cease-fire over Orthodox Christmas in Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has directed his defense minister to impose a 36-hour cease-fire on the Ukrainian frontline starting Friday.

The ceasefire, which is set to begin at 12:00 p.m. Moscow time (09:00 a.m. GMT), will coincide with Russian Orthodox Christmas.

Mr Putin asked Ukraine to reciprocate, but Kyiv quickly declined.

Keep hypocrisy to yourself,” Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said.

The Kremlin statement seemed to emphasize that President Putin ordered his troops to cease fighting not because he was de-escalating – Putin never de-escalates – but because he had heeded an appeal from the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Patriarch Kirill had earlier in the day called for a Christmas truce to allow believers to attend Orthodox Christmas church services.

According to the Julian calendar, the Russian Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas Day on January 7th.

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