Ukraine: Air raid sirens in country - Despite Russia's 36-hour ceasefire

Ukrainians reject Putin's ceasefire and accuse Russia of launching attacks

26651715 Invasion of Ukraine, Ukraine

Airstrikes have been on alert in parts of Ukraine despite a 36-hour ceasefire announced by Russia.

The sirens sounded just hours after Russia declared a temporary ceasefire along the front line in Ukraine to mark Orthodox Christmas.

However, hours before the unilateral temporary ceasefire declared by Vladimir Putin came into effect, Russian forces continued to launch new raids on Ukrainian cities.

Russian shells hit the city of Kramatorsk in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region this morning, according to Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the Ukrainian president's office.

Russian troops "hit the city with rockets twice," he wrote on Telegram. A residential building was hit, but there were no casualties, he added.

Kramatorsk Mayor Oleksandr Honcharenko warned that the city was "under fire" and urged residents to stay in shelters. About 14 houses were damaged when rockets hit the residential building, it said.

Residents speaking to Reuters, spoke of several explosions. Oleksnadr, 36, told the news agency that things are very bad. "We have to push them, make them go away, maybe more air defense systems would help. This happens often, not only on festive occasions. Day after day" as he said.

Russia is "planning attacks on churches" during Christmas, according to Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk, who warned residents not to attend Orthodox Christmas services.

Russia, for its part, announced that Ukraine bombed Russian military positions today during the 36-hour ceasefire unilaterally declared by President Vladimir Putin.

Kyiv and its allies dismissed the truce as a ploy by the Russian president.

The Russian Ministry of Defense announced that its positions were attacked in the regions of Luhansk, Donetsk and Zaporizhia, and that its military forces were observing the ceasefire.

"Four mortar shells were fired at Russian positions by the armed forces of Ukraine in the direction of the port city of Liman," the Russian Defense Ministry said.

Kyiv, for its part, has announced it has no intention of halting its hostilities over Russia's proposed truce, which Ukraine and its Western allies have described as a scheme designed for Moscow to gain time to strengthen its military forces, but also its military equipment.

Putin ordered a 36-hour ceasefire in the 10-month war in a surprise move yesterday, saying the truce was to mark the Russian Orthodox Christmas.

Source: Lifo, Guardian, Reuters