Putin may be open to cease-fire with Ukraine after nearly 2 years of war: report

Russian President Vladimir Putin has quietly signaled through diplomatic communications that he may be open to a cease-fire in the nearly two-year-long war with Ukraine despite the public bravado for dominating Kyiv.

Putin has been suggesting through intermediaries since September that he may be willing to accept a deal that “freezes the fighting along the current lines,” according to a report by the New York Times, citing two former senior Russian officials along with American and international officials.

It’s unclear whether Ukraine’s leaders, who have vowed to take back all of the nation’s territory, would accept such a deal. 

“They say, ‘We are ready to have negotiations on a cease-fire,’” one senior international official who met with top Russians this fall, told the Times. 

“They want to stay where they are on the battlefield.”

It’s unclear whether Ukraine’s leaders would accept a deal requiring they give up territory currently occupied by Russian forces. POOL/AFP via Getty Images
Ukrainian service members fire an L119 howitzer toward Russian troops near the front-line town of Bakhmut on Dec. 21. REUTERS

For Putin, an armistice may be ideal now that the war has effectively reached a stalemate, the long-anticipated Ukrainian counteroffensive has proven disappointing, and Western aid may not come through, the officials said. 

Despite publicly maintaining his goal of seizing control of Ukraine, behind closed doors, Putin has suggested that he simply wants Russia to declare victory and move on, the Times reported.

The Russian leader previously floated the possibility of a deal back in the fall of 2022, after the Ukrainian army began repelling Moscow’s forces and recapturing territory in the northeast. 

Some American officials, however, warned Putin may not be looking to cut a deal and this could simply be a misdirection tactic, while former Russian officials suggested he could also renege on the idea of a truce if Moscow’s forces began to gain momentum on the battlefield. 

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