Even after Moscow announced ceasefire saying it had ordered its soldiers to stop shooting for a unilateral truce, Russian and Ukrainian troops exchanged artillery fire at the front line in Ukraine on Friday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had announced a 36-hour ceasefire from midday on Friday to observe Orthodox Christmas. Ukraine rejected the truce as a stunt by Russia to buy time to reinforce troops that have taken heavy losses this week.
“What ceasefire? Can you hear?” said a Ukrainian soldier, using the nom de guerre Vyshnya, as an explosion rang out in the distance at the front line near Kreminna in eastern Ukraine. “What do they want to achieve if they keep on shooting? We know, we have learnt not to trust them.”
Russia’s defence ministry said their forces began observing the ceasefire from noon Moscow time (0900 GMT) “along the entire line of contact”, but said Ukraine continued shelling populated areas and military positions.
“The situation today is exactly the same as yesterday, the day before yesterday, last week and last month,” said one, concealing his face with a scarf. “There is no point in talking to them, in believing in their promises, orders and decrees,” Ukrainian troops said.
Last year on February 24, Russia invaded Ukraine sparking a war that has left tens of thousands of people and displaced millions in Ukraine.