Some alleged experts anticipate that Russian President Vladimir Putin will soon offer a ceasefire as Orthodox Easter approaches this Sunday, April 16, according to Newsweek. But this measure could be seen as a ruse, according to a report by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).
The ISW claims that Putin has never shown any respect for religion, which was exemplified last year when Orthodox Easter passed without any ceasefire. However, the new proposal could be a way to hold off a Ukrainian counteroffensive that the Kremlin is expecting. The most recent ceasefire was previously called by Moscow in January 2023 for Orthodox Christmas, but Ukraine reportedly rejected the 36-hour halt. That proposal was to allegedly prepare Russian troops for an offensive.
The ISW alleges that Putin is using religion as a way to influence the frontlines and display himself as a protector of Christianity, but notes that last Easter, Russia was in a militarily stronger position and skipped any such proposal.
It is uncertain whether Ukraine will accept the measure if asked, but the majority of Ukrainians (78%) are reportedly Orthodox Christians. If the ceasefire is accepted, the ISW states that it could bolster Russia’s attempts to secure the city of Bakhmut, which has seen intense fighting over the last few months.
Recent reports suggest that Ukraine may be looking to “strategically” pull out of the city, as Kyiv is unwilling to let their soldiers perish if there is not an advantage to hold onto the area, according to Zelensky’s advisor Alexander Rodnyansky. But Russia has also been losing soldiers, particularly from the Wagner Group, a private militia composed of pro-Russia recruits contracted by Putin to fight in the war, according to American Pigeon.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of the group, acknowledges that Ukraine is successfully defending the city.