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ISW: No signs Russia ready for good faith Ukraine peace talks

Pressure on Ukraine to negotiate an end to the war will likely remain meaningless if not harmful as long as Putin believes that he can achieve his objectives on the battlefield, an ISW assessment reports.
Photo: General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine via Facebook
ISW: No signs Russia ready for good faith Ukraine peace talks

Russia’s offensive operations around Avdiivka indicate that the Kremin continues to believe that it is possible to achieve its objectives with military force and is unlikely to enter peace negotiations with Ukraine, except to buy time to reconstitute for future offensive operations, according to a 4 November report by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

The report further highlights that there is no indication that Vladimir Putin is open to talks with Ukraine, and he appears confident in Russia’s ability to sustain the conflict as long as Western aid continues. Consequently, any pressure on Ukraine to engage in peace talks may be ineffective or even harmful.

NBC, citing current and former US officials, reported that US and European officials have been “quietly” discussing the prospects of peace negotiations with Ukrainian officials. However, Volodymyr Zelenskyy denied such a pressure.

The Ukrainian President also rejected the idea of a “stalemate” in Ukraine’s war, responding to Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief General Valerii Zaluzhnyi’s commentary on the war’s positional nature. He emphasized that the situation on the frontlines is not a stalemate, even if “time has passed” and “people are tired.” Zelensky underscored Ukraine’s focus on the safety of its servicemen and expressed the need for US support, particularly F-16 fighter aircraft and air defenses, to gain an upper hand over Russian forces.

Earlier, General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, in an article for the Economist, noted that the Russian invasion of Ukraine has transitioned into a “positional” stage marked by the centrality of technology. He described the war as an exhausting, static battle and stressed that to achieve victory, Ukraine requires advanced high-tech weaponry.

Other takeaways from the report include:

  • Ukrainian forces continued offensive operations near Bakhmut and in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast.
  • Russian forces continued offensive operations near Bakhmut, Avdiivka, Donetsk City and Vuhledar, in the Donetsk-Zaporizhzhia Oblast border area, and in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, and advanced in various sectors of the front.
  • The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) allegedly used claims that the Syrian government agreed to supply weapons to Iranian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah to subsume remnants of the Wagner Group in Syria and seize their air defense systems.
  • English-language Russian outlet the Moscow Times reported that the Russian government dismissed TASS General Director Sergei Mikhailov due to TASS’s failure to align with Kremlin narratives while reporting on the Wagner Group rebellion.
  • The Kremlin is testing an electronic voting system ahead of the 2024 presidential elections, likely to manipulate the results in favor of Vladimir Putin.
  • Russian authorities continue efforts to settle Russian citizens in occupied Ukraine.

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