With this short truce, Putin relaunches his “domestic policy”

To listen to him, a sign from God, or at least from his representative on earth, would have motivated his decision. After ten months of a deadly conflict, Vladimir Putin on Thursday ordered a ceasefire in Ukraine “taking into account the appeal of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill”. This truce decided by Moscow, officially to allow the soldiers to celebrate Orthodox Christmas, is supposed to run from this Friday at midday until Saturday at midnight.

Even if the direct line between God and the Russian president is encrypted, it is difficult to imagine in this decision-making a simple spiritual motive. “It is a political coup attempted by Putin vis-à-vis his own opinion and the Orthodox of the whole world. He had not declared a truce on December 25, for Catholic Christmas. There, he wants to impose the Orthodox calendar, with the idea that it takes precedence over the Catholic civilization of the West”, analyzes Jean de Gliniastyresearch director at the Institute of International and Strategic Relations (Iris) and author of the book Russia, a new chessboard.

After Makiivka, “respite” given to soldiers

More than a possible detente with kyiv, this dead time allows the Russian president to send a message to his people and his army. “It is only a decision of internal policy. After the deaths of Makiivka, it was important for the authorities to give the soldiers some respite, to allow them to spend the holidays with their families. The power wants to reassure, to show that it takes into account the demands and needs of the army”, comments Cyrille Bretassociate researcher at the Jacques Delors Institute, for whom this ceasefire does not mark a “turning point” in bilateral relations Ukraine-Russia.

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This 36-hour break decided by Moscow was immediately denounced as “hypocrisy” and a “provocation” by kyiv and its allies. The ceasefire “will do nothing to advance the prospects for peace,” the UK said. Germany has estimated that it will bring “neither freedom nor security” to Ukraine, while European diplomacy considers this Russian act “not credible”.

A truce too short “to have an impact”

Even militarily, the one-and-a-half-day window does not seem sufficient for Vladimir Putin to seek “to give himself some air” as US President Joe Biden estimates. “Militarily, the announced truce is too short to have an impact. In thirty-six hours, Russia can try to move resources between the different fronts and move some troops. This can also make it possible to redistribute the cards in the military hierarchy ”, rebounds Cyrille Bret.

Just hours after it came into effect, the truce has already been broken. Artillery duels continued in Bakhmout, where AFP journalists heard gunfire from the Ukrainian and Russian sides. Incessant fighting which is not surprising, according to Jean de Gliniasty, former French ambassador to Moscow. “Once the political gesture has been made, business resumes. A unilateral ceasefire is not intended to last very long. It takes two to make a truce. »

Far from the scenes of fraternity between opposing soldiers during truces on previous conflicts, Russian and Ukrainian troops continue to exchange shells. “Truces are parentheses that should not be idealized”, explained a few weeks ago to 20 minutes Odile Roynette, professor of contemporary history at the University of Burgundy. His analysis has never seemed so relevant.

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