Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed on Dec. 25 that the Kremlin was “ready to negotiate with everyone involved” to reach what it views as “acceptable solutions” for its brutal war against Ukraine.
In an interview with Kremlin-controlled Rossiya 1 television, Putin again blamed Kyiv and its Western allies for blocking the negotiation process.
He reiterated that Russia would continue waging the war until its objectives were achieved. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian authorities have has said that Ukraine would fight until a complete Russian withdrawal from its territory, including the Donbas and the Crimean peninsula.
EU and US leaders have signaled their readiness to negotiate if Russia is serious about wanting to end the war.
Nevertheless, Putin showed no signs of seeking an end to the war; he claimed in his Dec. 7 speech that Russia was ready for a long war.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the following day that Russia was determined to capture areas in eastern and southern Ukraine that it illegally claims to have annexed in September. Putin’s Dec. 15 claim about negotiations comes amid Western officials’ warnings that Moscow may be trying to buy time to regroup its forces for a new major offensive.
Earlier this week, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg wrote in an opinion article that “Russia hopes to freeze the war to allow its forces to regroup, rearm and try to launch a renewed offensive.”
Senior Ukrainian officials, including Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov, have warned of a possible renewed Russian offensive from multiple fronts in early 2023, which could include another attempt to capture Kyiv.
While Putin has talked to some EU leaders in recent months, including French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, no direct Russian-Ukrainian peace talks have taken place since April.
The peace talks in the first weeks of the full-scale invasion ended without a breakthrough. Promises made by Russia, including the implementation of humanitarian corridors for safe civilian evacuations, were broken by Russian troops.