Russia announced Christmas ceasefire, US anti-war activists urge others to follow suit

After Putin ordered troops to observe a ceasefire over Orthodox Christmas, US anti-war organization CODEPINK insists that the US and Ukraine also declare a Christmas truce

January 05, 2023 by Peoples Dispatch
US paratroopers deporting from an Italian base to Latvia on February 23, 2022. Throughout the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the US has egged on the violence by sending weapons and sabotaging peace talks. Photo: Sgt. Meleesa E Gutierrez

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a 36-hour ceasefire by Russian troops in the Russia–Ukraine war, for the Orthodox celebration of Christmas, to begin on January 6. This is the first major ceasefire declared in a devastating, nearly year-long war which has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and generated global hunger and inflation crises. Putin’s order comes after Patriarch Kirill, leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, called for both Russia and Ukraine to observe a ceasefire in honor of Christmas celebrations. 

Outside of Russia, key players in the war appear unlikely to follow suit in expressions of peace. Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak has declared the ceasefire to be a “cynical trap,” In the US, a nation which has provided tens of billions in military aid to fuel the war in Ukraine, President Joe Biden also dismissed Putin’s call for a ceasefire. “I found it interesting, [Putin] was ready to bomb hospitals and nurseries and churches on the 25th and New Years,” Biden remarked on January 5. “I think he’s trying to find some oxygen.” Meanwhile, a Ukrainian missile strike on New Year’s Day destroyed a vocational school in Donetsk, killing 400, according to Ukrainian authorities.

Putin’s support for a Christmas ceasefire comes after over 1,000 US-based faith organizations signed a statement urging for a Christmas Truce in Ukraine, in the spirit of the Christmas Truce in the trenches of WWI in 1914. US anti-war organization CODEPINK is now urging the United States and Ukraine to follow suit in declaring a ceasefire. As Marcy Winograd of CODEPINK said in a statement, “A truce would set the stage for a negotiated peace to end a US-Russia proxy war that threatens nuclear catastrophe. It is incumbent upon Congress and the White House to acknowledge there is no military solution and appeal to Zelensky to support this truce.”

Anti-war activists in the United States continue to call for a peaceful resolution to the war in Ukraine. On January 14, US anti-war organization the ANSWER Coalition is organizing a mass mobilization in Times Square, calling for an end to NATO expansion and for peace in Ukraine.