Russian President Vladimir Putin may have had an ulterior motive when he announced a "Christmas ceasefire", U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said during a briefing on Jan. 6.
"We are concerned that Moscow will seek to use any potential pause in hostilities to rearm, regroup, and ultimately attack again," Price said.
He said Russia's shelling of Ukraine on Jan. 6, at times after the "ceasefire" declared by Putin came into effect, confirmed the cynicism of the Kremlin.
The State Department spokesman added that Russia had previously called for a so-called "humanitarian ceasefire" in Mariupol, but immediately violated it.
Russian dictator Vladimir Putin instructed Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to “introduce a ceasefire” along the front lines in Ukraine from 1200 on Jan. 6 until 2400 on Jan. 7. This is according to Moscow time — in Ukraine the times are an hour earlier.
The dictator said the decision was prompted by the appeals of one of his regime cronies, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, as well as his own alleged concern for the religious community.
Putin then called on Kyiv to join the “Christmas truce” and institute a similar ceasefire.
Reacting to this, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that the aggressor state was using Eastern Orthodox Christmas as a cover and wanted to bring its equipment and soldiers closer to Ukrainian positions.
In turn, U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said that Putin's statement about the "ceasefire" was cynical, as it came a few days after Russia's New Year's attacks against Ukraine's civilian infrastructure.
A few minutes after the alleged start of the "ceasefire," it was reported that Russia's had shelled the city of Kherson, killing a rescue worker.
Russian invasion forces also attacked Kramatorsk and Kurakhove in Donetsk Oblast, and a settlement in Luhansk Oblast.
Ukrainian and foreign journalists reported from the frontline city of Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast, where Russian invasion forces are currently concentrating their assault on the country, that there had been no letup in Russian artillery fire after the ceasefire was supposed to have come into effect.
They also said Ukrainian forces were returning fire.
There was also an air raid alert across the whole of the country at 12.45 p.m., an hour and 45 minutes after Russia’s ceasefire was supposed to have come into effect. It was triggered by the launch of a Russian MiG-31K warplane in Belarus.
The warplane is of a type that can launch Russian Kinzhal hypersonic, nuclear-tipped cruise missiles.