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Kremlin comments on Easter truce possibility

Such initiatives found no support in Kiev in the past, spokesman Dmitry Peskov remarked

So far no one has put forward an initiative for an Easter truce in Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has told journalists, adding that Moscow has had a negative experience with previous ceasefire ideas.

“The Holy Week has only just started. So far, there have been no such initiatives,” the official said on Monday. Orthodox Christians, who use the antiquated Julian calendar to count the liturgical year, celebrate Easter on April 16 this year.

“Let’s not forget that Moscow proposed and observed [similar] initiatives, but experienced the unwillingness of the Kiev regime to follow suit,” he added.

There have been attempts to implement ceasefires in Ukraine during major Christian holidays, namely last year’s Easter and Christmas in January 2023.

Last April’s proposal for a four-day truce came from Kiev with the UN’s backing, but Moscow expressed skepticism about it. Russia’s deputy representative at the organization, Dmitry Polyansky, noted back then that the country had offered regular ceasefires to Kiev in the first months of the conflict, but the Ukrainian side either ignored them or used them “for malign purposes.”

The Moscow-proposed unilateral truce in January was not particularly successful either, with the Russian Defense Ministry reporting a number of violations by Kiev. Zelensky accused Moscow of trying “to use Christmas as cover, to stop the advance of our boys in Donbass.”

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A new attempt was reportedly floated by Pope Francis in a private conversation with a representative of Old Believers, the splinter branch of Russian Orthodoxy, which rejected a 17th century reform and was considered schismatic by the mainstream Russian Orthodox Church until the early 1970s. Leonid Sevastyanov said the pontiff suggested suspending hostilities for two weeks starting April 9, when Catholics were due to celebrate Easter.

Peskov said last Friday that the Russian presidential administration took notice of Sevastyanov’s words, but did not hear anything from the Vatican directly. He declined to comment on the proposal.

April 10, 2023 at 06:24PM

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