The scale of the destruction of the besieged city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine during the past few months has been laid bare by new satellite images.
Maxar Technologies published a series of ‘before and after’ images of the city, which has been the focal point of intense fighting between forces from Ukraine and Russia.
The images, comparing sites between August and the end of December/beginning of January, reveal extensive damage to buildings, homes, infrastructure and the fields in and surrounding Bakhmut, which had a pre-Russian invasion population of around 70,000.
One of the images published by Maxar shows an overview of apartment buildings in Bakhmut that have been razed to the ground by Russian forces. Another shows a bridge across a river in the city completely destroyed.
Mr Putin ordered a 36-hour ceasefire on the frontline in Ukraine to coincide with Orthodox Christmas, which Moscow said had started at midday Moscow time (9am UK) on Friday.
However, there were reports that artillery fire could be heard from the front line in Ukraine after the official start of the unilateral ceasefire – a pause that has been rejected by Kyiv, which has described the move as a “trick”.
Kyiv has said it has no intention to reciprocate with the truce, rejecting the purported truce as a stunt by Moscow to buy time to reinforce troops that have taken heavy losses.
Russia’s defence ministry said its troops began observing the ceasefire from noon Moscow time (0900 GMT) "along the entire line of contact" in the conflict, but claimed Ukraine kept up shelling populated areas and military positions.
One witness in the Russian-occupied regional capital Donetsk, close to the front, tole Reuters that outgoing artillery fired from pro-Russian positions on the city’s outskirts after the truce was meant to take effect.
In the hours prior, rockets slammed into a residential building in the Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk close to the eastern frontline, damaging 14 homes but with no casualties, the mayor said. Residents described several explosions.
"It’s bad, very bad. We need to pressure them, get them to leave, maybe more air defence systems would help. This happens often, not only on festive occasions. Every other day," said Oleksnadr, 36, outside a supermarket at the time of the attack.
One rescue worker was killed and four others injured after Russian forces shelled a fire department in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson before the deadline early on Friday, the regional governor said.
Mr Putin ordered the ceasefire in the near 11-month-long invasion in a surprise move in Thursday, but Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine president, rejected the ceasefire out of hand as a ploy for Russia to buy time.
"They now want to use Christmas as a cover, albeit briefly, to stop the advances of our boys ... and bring equipment, ammunition and mobilised troops closer to our positions," he said in his Thursday night video address.