Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Thursday night that his army will not attack Ukraine on January 6 and 7. That is, there will be a ceasefire from the Russian side for two days. Putin has taken this decision after the appeal of Patriarch Kirill, the 76-year-old Christian cleric of Russia.
This is the first time since the attack on Ukraine in February last year that Russia has declared a ceasefire. Russia and Ukraine both celebrate Orthodox Christmas. Orthodox Christmas is also celebrated in Eastern European countries such as Russia, Greece, Ethiopia and Egypt.
Russia and Ukraine share the same church
Ukraine and Russia are both adherents of the Russian Orthodox Church, but the Ukrainian church has strong memories of the repression of communist governments in the Soviet era. They did not have religious freedom. Now the Russian attack reminds them of the past.
The Orthodox Church of Ukraine separated from the Russian Orthodox Church in 2019 and liberated itself. Now the Church of Ukraine receives financial and other help from other western countries including America. This is not acceptable to Russia. There are about 240 million Orthodox Christians in the world.
Putin wants to reduce opposition in the country
Western media and Putin’s opponents in the country are constantly claiming that most of the people of Russia are tired of the ongoing war with Ukraine. The youth are being forcibly included in the army. The Russian government is not even ready to tell how many soldiers have died so far or how much damage has been done to the army.
It is believed that with this two-day ceasefire, Putin wants to give a message to his opponents in the country and the world that he is not in favor of war but in favor of peace and that is why he has given a two-day ceasefire on his behalf. Well, there are two screws in this and it is important to understand them.
On 24 February 2022, Russia attacked Ukraine. Putin hoped that the war would end in a few days because Ukraine is a weak country in every respect compared to Russia. However, this did not happen. Second thing- Patriarch Kirill is a staunch supporter of Putin and it is quite possible that he has taken this step only on the advice or behest of the President. With this, Putin will try to prove that he has taken a step towards peace from his side.
This could be a Trick
The US has recently given Ukraine Patriot missiles and air defense systems. He also has good drones. Because of this, Ukraine has made tremendous retaliatory attacks on Russia. Kherson and two districts were captured by Russia. Ukraine has now got them back.
Looking at it from this point of view, it can also be a ploy of Putin to gain time on the pretext of the ceasefire to regroup his army and then launch a fresh attack on Ukraine. Defense experts call it a ‘ceasefire for regrouping strategy’.
Difference between Orthodox Christmas and Catholic Christmas
There are some fundamental differences between the Orthodox Christmas and the Catholic Church. This is the reason why when Catholic Churches around the world celebrate Christmas Week in December, Orthodox Churches stay away from it and celebrate Christmas on January 7th. Their calendar is also different. Just as the head of the Catholic Church is called the Pope, similarly the head of the Orthodox Church is called the Patriarch. Just like the way there are Dharmadhikari in India.