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Russian President Vladimir Putin supports troops on Christmas Eve

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke at an Orthodox Christmas liturgy on Saturday evening, pledging his support for soldiers who are defending Russia’s interests “with weapons in hand.” He ordered his government to provide more support to those fighting and called on his people to be kind and considerate towards them, Reuters reports.

The intimate midnight service was held in a cathedral at Putin’s Novo-Orgaryovo state residence outside Moscow on Orthodox Christmas Eve and was attended by families of soldiers killed in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.

According to Reuters, Putin said, “Many of our people, our courageous, heroic people, Russian warriors, even now, on this holiday, defend the interests of our country with weapons in hand.”

Two years later, since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the war that has displaced millions and killed thousands has degenerated into increased air strikes by both sides.

Reuters said Putin did not order a ceasefire in Ukraine this year because many Orthodox Christians celebrated on January 6–7, which also coincided with Russian holidays.

However, Ukraine said a Russian missile attack on the city of Pokrovsk killed 11 and injured 10. Russian officials also accused Kiev of shelling areas of Donetsk, which is currently under Moscow’s control, Reuters reported.

Putin, who is preparing for elections in March, has focused on unity and traditional values ​​in his soft speeches. Speaking to the families of the killed soldiers, he said, “I would like our meeting to be a clear, understandable signal to the entire Russian Federation and to all my colleagues at all levels, a clear signal to ensure that my colleagues Are with me always and everywhere.” You, I repeat, at any level of power,” Reuters wrote.

According to Reuters, Putin is also using the Orthodox Church as an ally to promote a “Russian world” rooted in Orthodox values. He asked the Church to help strengthen patriotism and “the institution of families” in the country. He also asked Russians to adhere to the “unshakable values” of “goodness, mercy and justice” in a congratulatory message posted on the Kremlin’s website.

Christmas services were also held in several areas of Russian-controlled Ukraine. Ukraine, on the other hand, does not celebrate Orthodox Christmas Eve, as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky changed the Christmas holiday from January 7 to December 25 last year, as an act of “abandoning Russian heritage”.

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