Russia’s Defence Ministry was at pains to point out that troops were upholding the pause “along the entire line of contact”, accusing Ukraine of shelling Russian-held territory – despite the fact that Kyiv never agreed to the ceasefire, dismissing it as a ploy by Moscow to buy time to reinforce troops after taking heavy losses.
President Putin ordered the 36-hour ceasefire from midday on Friday (9am GMT) to observe Orthodox Christmas and called on Kyiv to reciprocate. The governor of Luhansk in eastern Ukraine, Serhiy Haidai, accused Russian troops of opening fire 14 times during the first three hours of the ceasefire, adding that forces had tried to storm one of the villages liberated by Ukraine in the area. Explosions were also said to have been heard on other parts of the front line in the east, which Ukrainian soldiers said were incoming Russian rocket fire.
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