Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began on Feb. 24, but President Vladimir Putin says it hasn’t begun “in earnest.”
What Happened: Putin told Russian lawmakers, “Everyone should know that, by and large, we haven’t started anything yet in earnest,” reported The New York Post.
The Russian leader’s comments came as Russia’s advances in Eastern Ukraine appear to be slowing down, according to the report.
The Institute for the Study of War, based in Washington, D.C., estimates that Russia had failed to make any territorial advances in Ukraine on Wednesday — the first time in 133 days it had failed to gain any ground.
However, the president also said Russia doesn’t reject peace talks.
“But those who reject them should know that the further it goes, the harder it will be for them to negotiate with us,” said Putin, according to the Post.
Why It Matters: Analysts at the institute think Russia is taking an “operational pause” on major movements and the nation’s forces will restrict themselves to small-scale offensive actions.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s advisor, Mykhailo Podolyak, listed conditions for a ceasefire on Twitter recently. He called for returning of Ukrainian citizens, extradition of war criminals, and reparations among other measures
Even so, a ceasefire could actually complicate things for Zelenskyy and Ukraine and put the latter in a difficult situation, according to an analyst.
Benzinga’s Take: Putin’s comments come at a time when the Russian army controls an entire province in Ukraine. Russia’s president now wants his top generals to concentrate on Ukraine’s Luhansk region as per what he said was a previously “approved plan.”
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