Vladimir Putin did not actually offer to negotiate with Ukraine in a 25 December TV interview, the Institute for Study of War reported in its daily update.
In the interview, Putin noted that Russia has no choice but to continue to “defend its citizens,” before stating that Russia “is ready to negotiate with all parties” involved in the conflict.
Putin did not explicitly state that Russia was ready to negotiate directly with Ukraine, instead maintaining his false narrative that Ukraine – which he simply called the “the other side” – had violated Russia’s pre-invasion diplomatic efforts. The statement continues his perpetual rhetorical line that Ukraine is merely a Western pawn with no real agency, and appears to be a continuation of his previous discussions of negotiations, which have focused on putative discussions with the West rather than with Ukraine, ISW writes.
“Putin’s December 25 statement is a part of a deliberate information campaign aimed at misleading the West to push Ukraine into making preliminary concessions. The Kremlin did not publish the full transcript of Putin’s interview on its official website in contrast with its normal pattern, possibly to facilitate the misrepresentation of Putin’s full statement originally broadcasted in Russian and highlight his vague statement on negotiations. The Kremlin’s use of the interview clip on the Christmas holiday may also be a response to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s recent speech at the US Congress amidst the holiday season. The Kremlin has been intensifying this information campaign throughout December,” ISW writes.
Indicating that Putin is not serious about negotiations and still wishes to pursue his maximalist goals is his statement that he thinks Russia is “operating in a correct direction,” ISW notes.