Over 30 million Ukrainians on Saturday celebrated Orthodox Christmas just as fighting in the Eastern Ukraine continued heavily.
Fighting continued in eastern Ukraine despite a Russia-ordered cease fire for the Orthodox Christmas celebration.
Fighting continued from the eastern Donbas region despite Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered his forces to pause attacks.
Russian defence ministry on Saturday said its forces were observing the ceasefire until midnight local time (21:00 GMT) which is 11p.m in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, but added that its army had repelled attacks by Kyiv forces in eastern Ukraine and killed dozens of Ukrainian soldiers on Friday.
Ukraine rejected Putin 36-hour ceasefire which started from midday on Friday to mark Orthodox Christmas.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described it as a ploy by Putin to buy time to reinforce troops that have taken heavy losses during the week.
General staff of Ukraine’s armed forces in a Facebook post had said Russian troops shelled dozens of positions and settlements along the front line on Saturday, with President Zelenskyy saying, the attacks showed Moscow could not be trusted.
“They were saying something about a supposed ceasefire. The reality, however, was that Russian shells once again hit Bakhmut and other Ukrainian positions,” Zelenskyy said in a video address on Saturday.
Soldiers and Civilians were seen inside and out of Orthodox Church on Saturday for the Christmas celebration.
Vladimir Putin was also seen on the eve of the anniversary inside Orthodox Church offering prayers to God as part of activities for the Christmas celebration.
The ongoing war in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions had increased heavily in the new year.
The war has spread all over the east of Ukraine.
On New Year’s Eve, there were very intense clashes on the eastern front.
Russian troops tried to advance from eastern Ukraine but failed.