Russia continues to promote the idea of negotiations with Ukraine, but Vladimir Putin is not going to refuse to continue the war and hopes to use a ceasefire to prepare for a new offensive in February-March 2023, reports the news outlet Meduza, citing its sources close to the Kremlin.
According to Meduza, Putin is thinking about resuming negotiations, despite the refusal of the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, to negotiate with him after Russia’s annexation of 4 regions of Ukraine. At the same time, Putin wants Russia to retain control over the occupied territories in the Donbas, and "does not want to discuss Crimea at all." Sources close to the Kremlin told Meduza that Putin’s position didn’t change.
The interlocutors of the publication reported that the Russian authorities have come up with a new "tactical option". It does not imply the conclusion of a full-fledged peace treaty, but the introduction of a temporary ceasefire. It is assumed that the corresponding agreement will be reached between the Ukrainian and Russian militaries, without involving the top leadership of the countries.
To reach this agreement, the Russian authorities are ready to withdraw troops from at least part of the occupied territory of the Kherson region.
"Now it is very difficult to hold Kherson, and the withdrawal of troops from the region can be presented as a gesture of goodwill and a compromise with Ukraine," one of the sources said.
Meduza's sources stressed that Vladimir Putin is not going to abandon the so-called "special operation" and hopes to use a possible ceasefire to prepare for a new offensive. According to his plan, during this time the Russian army will be able to train the mobilized Russians and somehow make up for the losses in weapons and equipment. According to the Kremlin's plans, a new full-scale offensive" may begin around February-March 2023.
Earlier, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Russia was trying to use negotiations to accumulate forces and resume attacks.