Espreso. Global

Putin isn't against negotiations, but won't give up seized Ukrainian territories - media

23 December, 2023 Saturday

According to US officials, in the fall of 2022, Putin reported that he was satisfied with the Ukrainian territory captured by Russia and was ready to negotiate a truce

This is reported by the New York Times.

Vladimir Putin says that Russia's military goals have not changed, and addressing Russian generals on Tuesday, December 19, he boasted that Russian troops are doing "what we want" in Ukraine.

"We will not give away what is ours. If they want to negotiate, let them negotiate," Putin said at the time.

However, Putin is now making it clear that he is ready to make a deal and start negotiations. Two former senior Russian officials say that since September 2023, Putin has signaled his openness to a ceasefire that could lead to a freeze in fighting along the front line, which is not in line with Russia's ambitions to dominate Ukraine.

According to US officials, Putin also sent terms for a ceasefire agreement a year earlier, in the fall of 2022. It was a secret speech that had not been previously reported. It happened after Ukraine defeated the Russian army in the northeast of the country. At the time, Putin said he was satisfied with the territory Russia had captured and was ready for a truce, US officials said. With this rhetoric, Putin privately communicates his desire to declare victory and move on.

"They say: 'We are ready to negotiate a ceasefire'. They want to stay where they are on the battlefield," said a senior international official who met with Russian officials anonymously this fall.

Some US officials say this may be a misleading attempt by the Kremlin and does not reflect Putin's true desire to compromise. Former Russian officials add that Putin may well change his mind if Russian troops begin to make progress.

"He's really ready to stand his ground," one former senior Russian official told the NYT, conveying a message he said was being sent in a veiled way by the Kremlin. He added that the Russian dictator is unwilling to back down even a meter.

Putin, according to current and former officials, sees a favorable moment for a deal at a time when the fighting appears to be stalemated, a result of Ukraine's failed offensive, weak Western support, and distraction from the war in the Middle East. 

Responding to questions sent after the interview request was denied, Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a voice message that "conceptually, these theses you presented are incorrect.”

"Putin is indeed ready for negotiations, and he said so. Russia continues to be ready, but only to achieve its own goals," Peskov emphasized.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says he sees no signs that Russia wants to negotiate.

"We just see a brazen willingness to kill," he said.

  • The United States believes that Ukraine, led by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, should decide on its own the course of further strategy in the war against Russian terrorists.
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