Putin Signals Readiness for Ceasefire, Described as Satisfied with Russian-Controlled Territories in Ukraine

The two-year-long war in Ukraine, as of February 2024, has prompted Russian President Vladimir Putin to consider a ceasefire. Putin is said to be satisfied with the territories in Ukraine currently under Russian military control, especially since he has consistently emphasized that his country’s objectives in the Ukrainian conflict remain unchanged.

Moreover, considering the unsuccessful counterattacks from Ukraine and the weakening support from the West, Putin boasted before Russian generals on Tuesday (December 19, 2023) that Ukraine is so besieged that Russian forces can do as they please.

However, according to The Japan Times on Sunday (December 24), in recent backchannel diplomatic efforts, Putin has conveyed a different message. The former KGB official is reportedly willing to negotiate a deal.

Two former senior Russian officials close to the Kremlin and the United States (US) have stated that Putin has been signaling through intermediaries, at least since September, that he is open to a ceasefire. This is a far cry from his ambition to dominate Ukraine.

In fact, according to US officials, Putin also proposed a ceasefire a year earlier, in the fall of 2022. This clandestine offer, never reported before, occurred after Ukraine expelled Russian troops from its northeastern region.

According to these US officials, Putin has indicated his satisfaction with the territories seized by Russia and his readiness for a ceasefire.

Putin’s interest in a ceasefire is an example of how opportunism and improvisation define his covert approach to the war. “They say, ‘we are ready to negotiate a ceasefire,'” said a senior US official who met with high-ranking Russian officials this fall. “They want to hold on to where they are on the battlefield,” he added.

However, there is no evidence that the Ukrainian leadership, determined to reclaim its territories, would accept such a deal.

Meanwhile, some US officials suggest that this could be a Kremlin deception effort and may not reflect Putin’s willingness to compromise.