Russia's ceasefire proposal 'bogus and hypocritical', EU's Michel says

EU leaders meet in Brussels

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin's call on Thursday for a 36-hour ceasefire in Ukraine is "hypocritical" and the only route to restore peace is for Russia to withdraw its troops from the country, European Council President Charles Michel said.

The Kremlin said Putin had ordered a ceasefire from midday on Friday after a call for a Christmas truce by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, head of the Russian Orthodox Church.

"Withdrawal of Russian troops is [the] only serious option to restore peace and security. Announcement of unilateral ceasefire is as bogus and hypocritical as the illegal and grotesque annexations and accompanying referenda," Michel said in a tweet.

Ukraine spurned the ceasefire offer over Orthodox Christmas, saying there would be no truce until Russia withdraws its invading forces from occupied land.

Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022 in what Moscow calls a "special military operation". The war has claimed tens of thousands of lives and devastated large swaths of Ukraine.

(Reporting by Kate Abnett; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)