March 1, 2024

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Putin may be open to stopping fighting amid Russia-Ukraine war: report

Putin may be open to stopping fighting amid Russia-Ukraine war: report

A new New York Times report finds that Russian President Vladimir Putin may be open to a ceasefire in his war with Ukraine, as long as the country is still able to declare victory.

Putin, who remains confident in his forces, said Russia's goals had not changed. At his annual press conference at the end of last year, Putin warned that there would be no peaceful solution in Ukraine until Russia achieved its overarching goals, which were to “denazify” and demilitarize Ukraine.

Putin's message may be different now, as reports indicate that he is ready to make a deal. Since September, Putin has indicated he is open to stopping fighting along current lines, much shorter than his intention to take control of Ukraine, according to The Times, which cited two former senior Russian officials.

According to the United Nations, more than 10,000 civilians killing 18,500 people have been injured since the war began nearly two years ago.

According to US officials, Putin also fumbled a ceasefire in the fall of 2022 after he was unhappy with the amount of territory Russia had seized.

“Mr. Putin’s repeated interest in ceasefires is an example of how opportunism and improvisation have defined his approach to war behind closed doors,” the Times wrote.

The Times said it conducted dozens of interviews with Russians who have known Putin for years, highlighting his maneuvers to avoid risks and keep his options open in a war that has lasted longer than he thought.

The officials who spoke with The Times said Putin sees several reasons why now is a good moment to reach an agreement, especially since the war appears stuck in a stalemate, the Ukrainian attack has been disappointing, and the beginning of a war between Israel and Hamas.

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According to the Kremlin's analysis, popular support for the war is broad but not deep, which means that most people will accept anything that Putin might consider a victory.

Some Western officials doubt that Putin will rearm and rebuild only during a ceasefire.

There is no guarantee that Ukraine's leaders will accept the agreement, even though the country is struggling to fund its army amid funding delays from both Europe and the United States.

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