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Putin looking for ceasefire to cement gains in Ukraine, Reuters reports citing sources

by Chris York May 24, 2024 1:09 PM 2 min read
Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a government meeting on tourism development in Russia via a video link from Saint Petersburg on May 2, 2023. (Mikhail Klimentyev / Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images)
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Russian President Vladimir Putin is open to a ceasefire that recognizes the current front lines on the battlefield but will fight on if Ukraine and its allies do not agree, Reuters reported on May 24, citing undisclosed Russian sources.

"Putin can fight for as long as it takes, but Putin is also ready for a ceasefire – to freeze the war," a senior Russian source who has worked with him told the news outlet on condition of anonymity.

The Kyiv Independent could not verify the claims.

Except for unsuccessful talks during the early spring of 2022, there have been no direct peace negotiations between Ukraine and Russia.

Kyiv has said categorically that a full Russian withdrawal is necessary for any talks to go ahead, a condition that makes up one of the points in Ukraine's 10-point peace formula, first outlined by President Volodymyr Zelensky in the fall of 2022.

Reuters spoke to five Russian sources, three of whom said Putin had expressed frustration to advisors at what he views as Western meddling in attempts to bring Kyiv and Moscow to the negotiating table.

The sources also said Putin knows that any major battlefield successes would require a new wave of mobilization in Russia, something he hopes to avoid, fearing domestic unrest.

When asked about the reports, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told Reuters that Russia was open to dialogue and did not want "eternal war."

Ukrainian officials recently said the country "clearly understands" that Russia's full-scale war will end with negotiations, but a ceasefire that recognizes Russia's claims to the territory currently under its control is unlikely to be agreed upon by Kyiv.

Instead, Ukraine continues to push its peace plan, and a global summit will be held in Switzerland next month that will be centered around Zelensky's peace formula.

"This is a real diplomatic track that has every chance of contributing to a just peace," National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksandr Lytvynenko said on May 20.

"But we do not need a two-year truce; we need a sustainable peace for decades, which would enable Ukraine's development. And this is a matter of security guarantees."

Similar reports claiming that Putin is ready for peace talks emerged earlier. Bloomberg wrote in January that, according to sources close to the Kremlin, the Russian leader was sending signals to the West indicating a willingness to compromise on Ukraine joining NATO in exchange for keeping Ukrainian territories.

Putin has made made no indication of such a concession in public.

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