Vladimir Putin‘s temporary ceasefire for Russian forces appears to have made little difference to the situation in Ukraine, after reports that artillery fire can be heard from the frontline and air raid sirens rang out across Kyiv and other regions.
Putin called for a 36-hour ceasefire starting at midday on Friday (9am UK time) in the wake of the head of the Russian Orthodox church, which uses the Julian calendar, suggested it to mark Christmas.
One witness in the Russian-occupied regional capital Donetsk, close to the front, described to Reuters that artillery fired from pro-Russian positions on the city’s outskirts could be heard after the truce was meant to take effect.
Denis Pushilin, the Russian-installed official in Donetsk, said on Thursday that Mr Putin’s order only covered offensive operations and his forces would hit back if fired upon.
Air raid warnings sounded in several regions across Ukraine, including around the capital Kyiv, but no major air strikes were reported by Ukrainian officials after the ceasefire starting time. Moscow said Ukraine had shelled military positions in Russian-held territory, including Luhansk, Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia.
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