Artillery shells fly over the front lines in Ukraine despite the “ceasefire”. News of the war between Russia and Ukraine

Russian and Ukrainian artillery continued to pound targets in war-torn eastern Ukraine even though Russian leader Vladimir Putin said he ordered his forces to observe a 36-hour ceasefire for Orthodox Christmas.

An exchange of artillery fire was reported along the front lines of the Ukrainian city of Pakhmut, the town of Krymina, and other locations in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions on Friday after Moscow’s orders to its forces to maintain a unilateral truce from midday began. From the Russian holiday.

Russian missiles also hit residential areas in the cities of Kherson and Kramatorsk before the truce began at noon Moscow time (09:00 GMT).

What is a ceasefire? Can you hear?” a Ukrainian soldier told Reuters news agency as an explosion rang out in the distance at the front in Krymina.

“What do they want to achieve if they keep shooting? We know we have learned not to trust them,” the soldier said.

Ukrainian forces in Krymina returned fire from tanks.

Agence France-Presse correspondents heard of shelling coming and going on the front line in Bakhmut, after the time the Russian ceasefire was supposed to start.

Russia’s defense ministry said its forces had begun monitoring the ceasefire since noon Moscow time “along the entire line of contact,” but said Ukraine continued to bomb populated areas and military positions.

Pavlo Dyachenko, a police officer in Bakhmut, said he doubted the ceasefire would mean much for civilians in the city even if Russian soldiers respected it.

What could a church holiday mean to them?

They bomb every day and night, and almost every day people fall.”

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A witness in Donetsk, the Russian-occupied regional capital, described artillery fire fired from pro-Russian positions on the outskirts of the city after the truce was due to take effect.

The Ukrainian governor of Luhansk province east of the front line, Serhiy Hayday, said that in the first three hours of the alleged ceasefire, the Russians bombed Ukrainian positions 14 times and stormed a single settlement three times.

The region’s governor said one rescue worker was killed and four others injured when Russian forces bombed a fire department in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson before a deadline earlier on Friday.

Shortly before the ceasefire was scheduled, missiles hit a residential building in the city of Kramatorsk, near the eastern front line, destroying 14 homes, although there were no casualties as many people fled.

“It’s bad, very bad,” said Oleksnader, 36, outside a supermarket at the time of the attack.

“It happens a lot, not just on festive occasions. Every other day.”

The Kremlin on Thursday declared a 36-hour ceasefire, though Kyiv said it would not comply with the unilateral measure, which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called a ploy by Putin to slow Ukraine’s advance and create an opportunity for Russia to replenish its forces.

The Russian Orthodox Church, whose patriarch supports Moscow’s war in Ukraine, celebrates Christmas on January 7. The main Orthodox Church in Ukraine rejected Moscow’s authority, and many Ukrainian believers changed their calendar to celebrate Christmas on December 25, as in the West.

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The US State Department said continued Russian strikes on Friday proved the ceasefire was a “cynical” sham, while France’s Foreign Ministry called it a “crude” attempt by Moscow to divert attention from its responsibility for the war.

The EU’s top diplomat said on Friday that the ceasefire was “not credible”.

Josep Borrell, European Union foreign policy chief, said during a visit to Morocco that “the Kremlin completely lacks credibility and the declaration of a unilateral ceasefire is not credible.”

There was widespread skepticism about the declaration of a ceasefire across Ukraine.

“You can never, ever trust them… whatever they promise, they don’t deliver,” said Olena Fedorenko, 46, from the war-torn port city of Mykolaiv in the south of the country.

On Saturday, Putin personally attended Christmas services in the Orthodox church inside the Kremlin Cathedral, rather than joining other worshipers in a public ceremony.

RIA said this was the first time in years that Putin celebrated Christmas in Moscow rather than in the area around the capital.

State television showed two live clips of Putin inside the gilded Cathedral of the Annunciation as Orthodox priests performed midnight prayers, known as the Divine Liturgy.

Putin, who was dressed in a blue blazer and a white turtleneck, was the only worshiper and crossed himself several times in the video clip.

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