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Four Russian sources have reported that President Vladimir Putin is prepared to agree to a ceasefire to end the war in Ukraine, but is also ready to fight for as long as necessary. Putin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has stated that Russia does not want an ‘eternal war.’ However, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has accused Putin of sending out misleading signals to undermine an upcoming Ukrainian-led peace summit in Switzerland. Putin is reportedly willing to cease hostilities if the West and Kyiv respond to his overtures.

Three of the sources, who are familiar with discussions within Putin’s inner circle, have indicated that he is frustrated with Western attempts to hinder negotiations, as well as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s refusal to engage in talks. Despite Putin being prepared to continue fighting, another source with knowledge of high-level conversations in the Kremlin has suggested that Putin may also be open to freezing the war at the current frontlines. However, peace talks remain a distant possibility as long as Zelenskiy remains adamant about regaining lost territory, including Crimea.

The appointment of economist Andrei Belousov as Russia’s Defense Minister is viewed by some as an effort to sustain the country’s economy for prolonged wartime mobilization. While Russia has made territorial advances in recent weeks, Putin reportedly favors using the current momentum to end the conflict. Despite some sources indicating that further military gains could require another nationwide mobilization, Putin is said to prefer selling the war’s existing victories to the Russian people. However, there are concerns that the conflict could cause social tensions in Russia as battle-hardened veterans return with limited job prospects.

Although a negotiated ceasefire or peace talks seem unlikely at present, plans for a peace summit in Switzerland in June have been initiated by Zelenskiy. The talks are intended to gather international support for ending the war in Ukraine, with the Swiss government not extending an invitation to Russia. Moscow insists that without its presence at the talks, they lack credibility. The United States has reiterated its support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and highlighted Russia as the main obstacle to peace in the region. However, Ukraine and its supporters are apprehensive about a ceasefire leading to a rearmament of Russian forces.

Putin is reportedly determined to secure any territorial gains in a potential deal to end the war in Ukraine. While he may be willing to freeze the conflict at the current frontlines, this would leave Russia with control over significant portions of four Ukrainian regions that it had incorporated in 2022. Putin has emphasized that these regions are now permanently part of Russia according to its constitution. Russian sources have indicated that Putin is seeking to expand territorial control in Ukraine, leveraging the country’s larger population to maintain superior manpower without the need for further mobilization.

Despite previous suggestions from Putin for a ceasefire to freeze the conflict being rejected by the United States, he is said to be intent on expanding Russian territorial control in Ukraine. As Russian forces continue to make territorial gains, Putin is counting on Russia’s sizable population to sustain this momentum even without a national mobilization. Western countries are committed to supporting Ukraine’s security and sovereignty, including the acceleration of weapons deliveries to combat Russian aggression. However, concerns remain about the potential for further escalation, including nuclear confrontation, over the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

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