On Thursday, in response to an appeal by Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a ceasefire across the front in Ukraine starting at noon on Orthodox Christmas Eve and running through Christmas Day January 6-7.
Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar has slammed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for rejecting Russia’s truce offering, and reiterated his position that continued US assistance to Ukraine is “immoral.”
“Unsurprisingly, Zelensky has rejected peace. It is immoral to fund this war,” Gosar tweeted.
Zelensky stated late Thursday that Ukrainian forces would not join their Russian counterparts in adhering to the 36-hour Orthodox Christmas ceasefire, and accused Moscow of seeking to use the truce as a “cover” to stop the Ukrainian military’s advance and to bring more troops and equipment to the Donbass.
Ukrainian presidential advisor Mikhail Podolyak dismissed Patriarch Kirill’s ceasefire request as a “cynical trap and a piece of propaganda,” and suggested the Russian Orthodox Church is “not an authority for global Orthodoxy.”
President Biden also dismissed the truce, accusing Russia’s Putin of “trying to find some oxygen” and charging him with war crimes.
The vast majority of Orthodox Christians, including Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians and their various denominations, celebrate Christmas on January 7, in accordance with the Julian calendar.
The United Nations said Thursday it would welcome an Orthodox Christmas truce, even if it would “not replace a just peace” in Ukraine.
Russian officials including President Putin have repeatedly floated peace talks with their Ukrainian counterparts going all the way back to late February and March of 2022, outlining a series of terms for peace including security for Donbass and Crimea, and Ukrainian neutrality in exchange for security guarantees. Media reported in September that Russia and Ukraine appear to have agreed on a tentative peace deal in April, but the deal was scuttled after now ex-UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson flew to Kiev to sabotage an agreement. Since then, Ukraine has rejected all Russian overtures toward peace talks, and has been pumped up with tens of billions of dollars of NATO weapons assistance.
Representative Gosar has become a consistent critic of US support for Ukraine, voting against new aid packages and calling on Washington to address America’s domestic problems, such as the national debt, homelessness, and the crisis at the border with Mexico. The Arizona Republican is one of twenty House members of the GOP holding up the selection of a new House speaker, rejecting California Congressman Kevin McCarthy’s bid on charges that he would do the bidding of the “uniparty” establishment.