- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 5, 2023

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s call for a 36-hour cease-fire in his war in Ukraine on January 7 — Christmas in the Russian Orthodox tradition — is a cynical ploy to allow his battered forces time to rest, rearm and regroup for continued fighting, Biden administration officials said Thursday.

In a White House briefing on U.S. border security, President Joe Biden said he is “reluctant” to respond to anything Mr. Putin says, but called the proposal “interesting.”

“He was ready to bomb hospitals and nurseries and churches on [December 25] and New Year’s,” Mr. Biden told reporters. “I think he’s trying to find some oxygen.”

Pentagon officials said they aren’t holding their breath that Mr. Putin will follow through.

“There’s significant skepticism both here in the U.S. and around the world right now, given Russia’s long track record of propaganda, disinformation and its relentless attacks against Ukrainian cities and civilians,” Air Force Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters.

If Russia was truly interested in ending the violence and bloodshed, the Kremlin would pull its troops out of occupied territories and end the war once and for all, Gen. Ryder said.

SEE ALSO: Putin orders 36-hour cease-fire in Ukraine linked to Orthodox Christmas holiday

Russia seems to be pretty good at exporting violence [but] they don’t seem to be pretty good at exporting the truth,” he said. “Our focus will continue to be on supporting Ukraine with its security assistance as they fight to defend their country.”

• Mike Glenn can be reached at mglenn@washingtontimes.com.

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