Russian front line shows no slow down ahead of cease-fire

Fighting has continued on the front lines of the war between Russia and Ukraine despite a 36-hour cease-fire that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered to observe Orthodox Christmas this weekend.

Russia has said that it is abiding by the cease fire in honor of the holiday, which is Saturday, but has blamed Ukraine for disrupting it, according to the state-run media outlet TASS. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has rejected the idea of Russia’s sincerity, saying that it is looking to institute the cease-fire to slow Ukrainian forces’ advance in retaking occupied territory in the Donbas region.

Zelensky said in an address to the Ukrainian people that Russia is preparing a “new wave of aggression” against Ukraine and the rest of Europe. He said Russia wants to use the cease-fire as an opportunity to bring equipment, ammunition and soldiers closer to Ukrainian positions.

The New York Times reported that residents of the city of Bakhmut have said they still heard fighting through Friday even though the cease-fire was supposed to start at noon local time.

Russia shelled a fire station in the city of Kherson on Friday morning, killing at least one person, The Times reported.

Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, called for the cease-fire for the holiday weekend before Putin made the announcement. Putin said he took Kirill’s request into consideration in making his decision.

Zelensky has issued a 10-point peace plan to end hostilities in Ukraine, including the total retreat of Russian forces from Ukrainian territory.

President Biden also dismissed the cease-fire as Putin looking for Russian forces to “find some oxygen” and noted that Russia attacked Ukraine during Christmas on Dec. 25 and over New Year’s weekend.

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