On Thursday, January 5th, 2023, Russia announced a 36-hour ceasefire in Ukraine to mark the Eastern Orthodox Christmas, that would be the most significant truce since the invasion began. Yet, leaders from Ukraine said the idea was an untrustworthy and ruthless enemy’s cynical posturing.

Exchanges of artillery fire along the front line have broken the truce. Ukrainian officials say that the exchange of fire also occurred in Kherson, a city in southern Ukraine, where one individual was killed, and in Luhansk, Ukraine’s eastern region.

Russian forces shelled the fire department on January 6th. This is according to Yaroslav Yanushevych, Kherson’s regional military administration’s head. He said the person who died was a firefighter and that other people sustained injuries. He said one of the four people was seriously injured. All the injured persons were hospitalized. Yanushevych added that a house built close to the fire station also sustained damage in the attack.

The Russian troops shot at the rescuers. However, the rescuers immediately set out to put out the fire. The soldiers continued their attacks on January 6th in Luhansk despite the unilaterally announced ceasefire stated by Serhiy Hayday, the region’s governor.

Russian President Putin had stated that the ceasefire was to start on January 6th at 9 a.m. GMT to noon in Ukraine and run until midnight on January 7th, 2023. However, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy of Ukraine and various Western officials accused the Kremlin of using the ceasefire period to enhance its position in the war.

According to Ned Price, the U.S. State Department spokesman, strikes in eastern Ukraine revealed that Russia’s announced ceasefire was a cynical ploy. Russian state television claimed that the troops started honoring the truce at noon Moscow time.

However, Ukrainian officials in Kramatorsk claimed that shelling occurred, and TASS, the Russian state news agency, claimed that Ukrainian troops had shelled Donetsk at noon. The mayor said rockets hit a residential building in Kramatorsk near the eastern frontline and ruined fourteen homes. Yet, they did not cause casualties. The strike happened before the ceasefire was intended to begin.

In the opinion of the Russian Defense Ministry, Ukrainian forces continued shelling their positions, and its forces chose to return fire. Igor Konashenkov, the ministry’s spokesperson, reported several Ukrainian attacks in the Zaporizhzhya, Luhansk, and Donetsk regions.

According to Reuters, Russian-backed officials had specified that President Putin’s order had only covered offensive operations and Russian troops could hit back if Ukrainian soldiers fired at them.