(HorizonPost.com) – On the eve of Orthodox Christmas, Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted the families of fallen soldiers at his home outside of Moscow, where he vowed to back the Russian soldiers who are defending Russian interests “with arms in hands,” Reuters reported.
In his address to the families of those soldiers killed in Ukraine, Putin praised the “courageous” and “heroic” Russians who, even at Christmas, were defending the interests of their country.
The Russian president hosted a dinner for the families at his home in Novo-Ogaryovo outside of Moscow, according to the UK Express. Following the dinner, the families attended an intimate midnight Divine Liturgy with Putin in the chapel at his residence.
Nearly two years after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the war has killed thousands on both sides and displaced millions of Ukrainians.
Unlike last year, President Putin did not call for a ceasefire during Orthodox Christmas, which is celebrated on January 6–7.
Kyiv said on Saturday that 11 people were killed and another 10 were injured after a Russian missile hit the eastern city of Pokrovsk. Meanwhile, a Russian-installed official in Donetsk, which Moscow illegally annexed in 2022, accused Ukraine of shelling the region.
With Putin facing elections in March, his speeches have softened in recent weeks as he focuses more on unity and traditional values. During his Orthodox Christmas gathering, Putin told the families that he had ordered every level of the government to provide increased support to the families of the fallen. In the president’s holiday greeting on the Kremlin’s website, Putin called for the Russian people to embrace the “unshakable” values of justice, goodness, and mercy and urged the Russian Orthodox Church to help bolster patriotism and “the institution of families.”
In recent years, Putin has relied heavily on the Russian Orthodox Church to help promote his “Russian World” vision based on traditional values to contrast Russia with what he views as the “decadent” West.
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