Putin privately indicates his interest in a ceasefire in Ukraine

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has privately indicated that he is open to a ceasefire in Ukraine The New York Times reported on Saturday, despite publicly saying he would not back down from the ongoing conflict since early last year.

More than 10,000 civilians have been killed and more than 18,500 others injured since the start of the war, according to the United Nations. United nationsIn addition to tens of thousands of soldiers.

The Times reported, citing two former senior Russian officials close to the Kremlin and other American and international officials, that Putin has been indicating at least since September that he is open to stopping the fighting at the current border lines.

This is a far cry from Putin's clear goal of bypassing Ukraine. Russia invaded neighboring Ukraine on February 24, 2022 and quickly took control of large swaths of the country. But Ukrainian forces responded forcefully and successfully forced Russia to withdraw from its northern regions. Since October 2022, the battle lines have changed It remained largely unchangedWith Russia controlling parts of the southern and eastern regions of Ukraine.

Putin also sent “sensors” for a ceasefire last fall, according to the Times, and expressed satisfaction with the territory they had seized. But the sources cited by The Times also warned that it could be an attempt to “mislead” or that Putin might change his mind if his forces regain momentum. It is also not clear that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will accept the deal, as Russia still controls parts of the country.

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The Russian army was exhausted by early 2023, with professional soldiers replaced by conscripts and prisoners who did not stand up well to Ukrainian forces. Only a small portion of Russians support the war effort, and Putin has faced an embarrassing mutiny by mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin.

However, Ukraine was unable to regain its lost territories. It faces hesitant support in the West and competes for international attention in the war in Gaza.

Zelensky has been pressing US leaders to finalize additional aid to his country, including visiting Washington last week to meet with congressional leaders and President Joe Biden.

Biden requested $60 billion for Ukraine, in addition to $14 billion for Israel, $10 billion for humanitarian aid, and $14 billion for the US border. That package has stalled in Congress, where the Republican caucus remains divided over whether to continue supporting Ukraine's fight against Russia.

The Biden administration has warned that it will soon run out of funding for the war effort in Ukraine without additional funds approved by Congress. Republicans refused to vote on the supplemental funding request without making major changes to asylum and border policies.

Negotiations between the two Senate parties, including White House officials and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, have been ongoing for weeks. The Senate hopes to reach an agreement and vote on it when Congress returns early next year.

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