RIA ( Russian News Agency) claimed that Vladimir Putin lauded the Russian Orthodox Church for its "huge, complex, and genuinely selfless work" in aiding Moscow's troops fighting in Ukraine. This morning, the Russian president was photographed visiting a Christmas celebration at an Orthodox church in the Kremlin. According to Russia's RIA news agency, this was the first time in years that he had celebrated Christmas in Moscow.
Russian TV stations broadcast footage of Russian President Vladimir Putin walking through an Orthodox Church during a midnight mass as Orthodox priests celebrated Christmas.
Putin attended the midnight service on Thursday, the first time he had done so since Russia began its military campaign in support of separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine in early July.
The Russian president called for a 36-hour ceasefire from midday on Friday. After numerous reports of infantry fighting and artillery strikes heard from the frontline, Putin's plea for a ceasefire appeared to have had little influence.